Agritourism Fueled by Taste NY Continues to Contribute to the Welcome Center’s Success
Sales of Local New York Products at the Welcome Center Have Totaled Over $700,000 Since its Opening
Governor Kathy Hochul announced, in celebration of Taste NY’s 10th anniversary, that the Adirondacks Welcome Center, a premier destination for travelers and constructed by the State Department of Transportation, has reached a major milestone, attracting more than one million visitors. Since its establishment in 2018, this facility, located on Northbound I-87 between Exits 17 and 18, just north of the Saratoga County line and close to the banks of the Hudson River and Lake George, has been a true gateway to the North Country and Adirondack region, providing a wide range of regional food, beverages and gift items, exceptional service, convenience, and hospitality to visitors seeking local offerings, adventure, relaxation, and recreation.
“Travelers know the Adirondacks Welcome Center for its warm, rustic setting unique to the Adirondack Park and extensive range of amenities, including delicious local food and beverages from Taste NY,” Governor Hochul said. “From its modern facilities, including a video wall featuring stunning destinations within the Adirondack Park, to its commitment to introducing visitors to the region through local food and gifts, the center continues to create a memorable experience for each visitor. We are immensely grateful to the more than one million travelers who have stopped at this gateway to the Adirondacks and congratulate Taste NY on its success.”
For several years, the Adirondacks Welcome Center, operated by the State Department of Transportation, and the Taste NY area, which is overseen by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, has provided a cozy first impression for visitors from across the globe, providing a moment of rest while promoting area agriculture, tourism, and commerce.
The Taste NY area at the Welcome Center showcases a broad selection of local and New York State products in a vending model, ranging from fresh-made sandwiches and wraps with locally sourced ingredients to grab-and-go snacks, beverages, and specialty local gift items for sale. It sells craft sodas, locally sourced water, maple syrup and maple novelties, honey, jams, sauces, artisan cheese, fresh milk, ice cream, nuts, and candy, among others. Bringing in products from over 90 farmers and food and beverage producers annually from across the State, the Welcome Center’s Taste NY area has seen visitors purchase over $716,000 of product since its opening in 2018, providing an economic boost to the agricultural community in the Capital Region, North Country, and across the State.
Many visitors also enjoy capturing and sharing a selfie on the facility’s decommissioned chairlift from Gore Mountain or snapping a picture next to the iconic “I LOVE NY” logo statue. The Center also features a fun zip line for kids, pet area, and Wi-Fi for travelers.
From its start, the Adirondacks Welcome Center has been a shining example of sustainability with an eco-friendly building and technologies, including geothermal water source heat pumps for both heating and cooling the building, LED light fixtures, electric car charging stations, recyclables collection, water-efficient landscaping, and energy-efficient windows and doors.
New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said, “The Adirondack Park has a centuries-old legacy of exceptional beauty and hospitality – a playground for all seasons for people from around the globe, including those exploring the Lake George and Schroon Lake Regions, Lake Placid’s rich Olympic history, unparalleled scenic views of the snowy high peaks and outdoor fun throughout the year. While marking this achievement with gratitude to our loyal visitors, we continue to open our arms to new guests and those who live, work, or play in the Adirondack Park. New York State DOT is proud that The Adirondacks Welcome Center stands as a hub of connectivity and hospitality for all – come visit and see for yourself!”
New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “For ten years, the Taste NY program has helped promote our farmers and producers while showcasing the unique qualities of New York’s widely diverse regions. The Adirondacks Welcome Center and its Taste NY area is committed to showcasing the very best of the Adirondacks region and the farmers and local food businesses that set the area apart. We’re proud to have a hand in connecting travelers and residents to the agricultural community in the Capital Region and North Country and encouraging them to support the local businesses in their communities.”
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “The Adirondack Park lands belong to everyone, and in collaboration with our State and local partners, DEC encourages visitors to get outdoors safely and responsibly to protect themselves and others, as well as New York’s irreplaceable natural resources. DEC joins in celebrating the milestone of more than one million outdoor enthusiasts from around the world utilizing the Welcome Center all year round.”
Taste NY highlights the quality, diversity, and economic impact of food and beverages grown, produced, or processed in New York State. Taste NY aims to create new opportunities for producers through events, retail locations, and partnerships, such as at The Great New York State Fair and the Barclays Tournament at Bethpage State Park. Over the last 10 years, Taste NY has supported nearly 2,000 food and beverage producers participating in the program through retail outlets, events, and sponsorships. In 2022, 311 new producers were onboarded to the program through New York’s Welcome Centers. Taste NY’s food and beverage businesses also support the State’s farmers by using New York grown and produced ingredients in their products.
Governor Hochul has supported and prioritized New York’s tourism industry – one of the state’s key economic drivers. The governor recently announced record-breaking visitation and tourism spending in New York State with more than 291 million visitors generating more than $78.6 billion in direct spending in 2022. Under her leadership, new programs like the I LOVE NY Black travel initiative have been launched to expand visitation, and the historic “Bring Back Tourism, Bring Back Jobs” pandemic recovery package supported travel industry businesses and employees, and brought new events to the state. Earlier this year, the governor announced more than $14 million in grants were awarded to 30 local and regional destination marketing organizations through the EDA Tourism Partner Sub-Awards Grant Program. Additionally, Governor Hochul has announced game changing improvements to tourism infrastructure like state parks and airports, as well as comprehensive I LOVE NY marketing efforts to encourage travel throughout New York State.
Empire State Development Vice President and Executive Director of Tourism Ross D. Levi said, “New York State’s Welcome Centers provide a perfect opportunity to introduce visitors to the amazing destinations and experiences that await them on current and future trips, and I LOVE NY is proud that the Adirondacks Welcome Center has served more than one million guests. We are excited to continue furnishing great travel suggestions in fun, engaging ways – from selfie experiences to interactive kiosks to the outdoor children’s play area – in the Adirondacks and throughout the State, using Welcome Centers to show how easy it is to love New York State.”
Executive Director of the Lake George Regional Chamber of Commerce Gina Mintzer said, “The Adirondacks Welcome Center stands as a thriving magnet for visitors, and the Taste NY vending area has significantly elevated the overall traveler experience. Collaborating with over 80 vendors in this initiative has exponentially boosted small businesses and agritourism by increasing awareness, driving visits to individual farm stores, and positively impacting sales and revenue for each vendor. As the program’s operator, we take great pride in advancing the mission and promoting the message of ‘Choose Local, Buy New York.’”
At six million acres, the Adirondack Park is the largest protected region in the contiguous United States. This national treasure houses a massive expanse of nature, divided into both public and private land, providing endless outdoor recreation opportunities for residents of New York State and visitors from all over the country and the world. From accessible nature trails to rugged mountains towering at over 5,000 feet, small ponds to the enormous Lake Champlain, there is a destination for every size and kind of adventure.
Additionally, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation opened a boat inspection and washing station at the facility to help prevent the spread of invasive species and preserve biodiversity within the Adirondack Park. These efforts align with Governor Hochul’s long-range objective to preserve and protect the region’s natural beauty for generations of visitors and residents.
The State Department of Transportation installed people counter devices with software upon construction of the facility. As of October 2023, the Adirondacks Welcome Center totaled 1,074,162 visitors. Learn more about the Adirondacks Welcome Center, regional destinations, and to plan your next trip here. Learn more about Taste NY at the Adirondacks Welcome Center and see a list of the participating farmers and food and beverage producers at the market here.
Photo at top: Exterior of Adirondacks Welcome Center. I Love NY website photo.