We take roads for granted. I sure did as a kid riding from Syracuse up to my Grandma and Grandpa’s house in Blue Mountain Lake. We drove on Friday nights with my parents and eight brothers and sisters, all stuffed into a station wagon (they were like minivans in 1960s and 70s). My grandfather told us stories about when he was a kid and Route 28 did not exist!
The Adirondack section of Route 28 starts near Otter Lake and runs northeast through Old Forge, Raquette Lake, and Blue Mountain Lake. It then curves southeast through Indian Lake, North Creek, and ends near Warrensburg. On the map, it looks like a crooked 90-mile frowny face.
Route 28 was built in the late 1920s. Before that, if you needed to get from the train station in North Creek to Sagamore Lodge (now Great Camp Sagamore) near Raquette Lake, you begin with a 30-mile, uphill stagecoach ride to Blue Mountain Lake. From there, you took a 5-mile steamboat ride to Utowana Lake. Then a 3/4-mile train ride (the shortest railroad in the world!) to the Marion River. Then, another steamboat ride to the South Inlet on Raquette Lake. Finally, you took a 3-mile carriage ride through the woods to Sagamore. The trip usually took more than one day. Now it takes about an hour. So, three cheers for Route 28!
Do you have a favorite road? Can you find it on a map? Use the internet to look up Blue Mountain Lake Stagecoach, the Tuscarora Steamboat, or the Marion River Carry Railroad if you want to know more about travel to Sagamore before Route 28.
Photo: Route 28 when it was brand new, near the South Inlet on Raquette Lake, about 1930. Courtesy of Great Camp Sagamore
Built in 1897 on 1,526 acres of remote Adirondack wilderness by William West Durant in Raquette Lake, Great Camp Sagamore was a wilderness retreat for the Vanderbilt family for half a century. It is now a National Historic Landmark imanaged by a non-profit educational institution in order to inspire others to help protect the environment, history, and culture of the Adirondacks.