Okay, you can call me a walking fall cliché. I like pretty leaf views, pumpkin spice, and cozy sweaters. What’s that? You don’t like pumpkin spice lattes? I suppose that’s fine if you don’t mind missing out on the most delicious thing ever. That said, the best part about the Adirondacks is that there is something for everyone, even if you aren’t on a quest to find the best fall flavored latte. For everyone else, soaking in the splendor of autumn while sipping on a brew is definitely still on the menu. Craft beer, delicious coffee, happy little leaves. What more could you ask for?
Each small town you can experience in the Adirondacks offers something wonderful to travelers in the fall. Be sure to check out these locations, and then explore a little on your own to see what you can find in the big outdoors!
Inlet is a great little community bursting with energy all year-round. Between snowmobiling in winter and spending time at the beach in summer, fall is the perfect time to visit. Walk the main street and window shop before heading out to go leaf peeping!
- The brew: Blue Line Coffee House. I really don’t think it can get more delicious than a s’more latte.
- The view: Moss Lake. A beautiful outing for just a quick photo or a longer hike, Moss Lake is a stop that definitely shouldn’t be missed. Plus, it has an accessible lookout, perfect for any and all visitors!
Wells, Hope, Benson
Wells, Hope, and Benson are three quiet communities in the southern reaches of the county that truly embrace wildness and small towns. Many of the waterfalls featured in the Hamilton County Waterfall Challenge are here, just waiting to be explored.
- The brew: Alpine Grille. You don’t want to miss out on a meal and cold beer here. Don’t just take my word for it. Everyone who dines here leaves (ha-ha a fall pun!) with happy taste buds.
- The view: Griffin Falls. This 8-foot cascading waterfall on the East Branch Sacandaga River is a great fall photo op. Several drops and many potholes, which were created as turbulent waters and rocks moved over the area, add to the excitement. For fall, the riverbank, lined with both coniferous and deciduous trees, creates a lovely rainbow of colors.
Blue Mountain Lake
Blue Mountain Lake is the cultural hub in the middle of the Adirondacks. It’s been a popular travel destination for many, many years. The first hotel with electricity was here!
- The brew: stop for a coffee and some breakfast at Chef Darrell's Mountain Diner. I love a good diner breakfast, and Chef Darrell's does not disappoint.
- The view: the roadside pull-off near Lake Durant. This large parking area has great views of the lake and the forest beyond!
- The brew: espresso at The Park. Trust me. This is the pick-me-up you didn’t know you needed.
- The view: Buttermilk Falls. Truly, Buttermilk Falls is a "mist"-stop waterfall. You can hear it from the road, so it’s not a far walk. Leaves of yellow and orange dot the far river bank, making a nice contrasting backdrop for any photo.
- The brew: Mountain View Adventures. I cannot recommend a breakfast sandwich and cup of coffee from here highly enough.
- The view: Route 30 overlook. The Smoky Mountains are known for their layers, but, hey, we have them too in the Adirondacks! The overlook at this pull-off on Route 30 is an absolutely breathtaking place to take in the bigger picture. Pro tip: later in the day is the best time to visit so the sun is behind you, creating amazing shadows across the mountains and valleys.
Speculator is dubbed an “all-season vacationland,” and for good reason. Between all the outdoor activities, there’s always something fun to do and something new to explore.
- The brew: Timberline Cafe and Bakery. The Timberline Cafe & Bakery specializes primarily in breakfast sandwiches, paninis, and soups and salads, but also features a daily selection of baked goods and gourmet coffee.
- The view: Route 66. Don’t forget to check out some history while you’re here, especially the miniature seven-building ode to Americana on Route 66. Spend some time exploring this “small town” in all its autumn wonder, and, if you’re so inclined, explore the nature trail along the Sacandaga River.
Piseco - Arietta
Piseco/Arietta is a lot of “big outdoors.” 95% of the community is made up of state forest. There is definitely no shortage of nature here!
- The brew: Lemon Tree Brewing is the newest place to grab a drink in the area! Grab a pint and a seat, and relax with some friends.
- The view: Piseco Lake outlet. While this paddling destination is perfect for canoeing and kayaking, it’s also a great place to peep some foliage along a peaceful waterway.
- The brew: after a day exploring, there is nothing better than a burger, French fries, and beer at the Taphouse.
- The view: the scenic pull off on Route 28. I’ve stopped here many times in the fall, and, each time, am blown away by the beauty of Raquette Lake itself. Across the lake you’ll find a sea of reds, oranges, and yellows.
Well, there you have it! Now that you know some good spots for fall foliage photos (try saying that 10 times fast) and great spots for some brews, it’s time to hit the road and experience autumn in the Adirondacks!