Every year I take on the adventure of the Adirondack Scenic Railroad with the layover in Thendara! This year was no different, well, other than the fact one of my best friend’s couldn’t get time off of work and I missed her dearly. My pal’s Jenn, Mary and I headed to Utica from Syracuse to catch the train, not without a thruway rest stop jaunt to Starbucks!
We boarded the train and enjoyed the scenery from the dining cart (my go to train car for this adventure). Once we arrived in Thendara (about 12pm) we noticed that the shuttles to Old Forge were all full and it would be 15-20 minutes until the next ones so we called an Uber (the only Uber in the area, haha) to bring us to Old Forge. Our first stop was to the Front Door Diner for lunch. We know Old Forge is a small town, but we were reminded of this fact when we were told by our Uber driver that the diner we picked for lunch was run by his son! Ha. Guy, our driver, knew we wanted to hit up the McCauley Mountain chair lift afterwards so he hung out and had some coffee while we ate our chicken bacon ranch pizza and drank our iced teas.
We called for an Uber and what do you know, we were paired up with Guy again! He brought us to the mountain and we were up, up and away on the chair lifts to the top of the mountain for more scenic adventures! Once at the top of the mountain we wandered around taking photos and descended after maybe 20 minutes. The way back down via chair lift isn’t my favorite. I’m used to ascending via chair lifts, having skied for 7 years of my life, but descending by lift wasn’t a part of my practices. I was a bit uncomfortable on the way down but kept reminding myself that it was worth it for the views and photos we got along the way!
I was suddenly distracted by the height and steep mountain side when I thought I noticed Guy’s truck in the parking lot, still. Did he stay and wait for us knowing we’d need a ride back to town?! Yep, he did. When I was almost to the bottom of the mountain I called for an Uber and what do you know, like we said, Guy being the only Uber in town was paired with us to bring us back to town. Ha. We hopped in his truck and he dropped us off in town where I met up with a photog friend of mine, got smoothies and sweets and headed to a few shops. While on the last leg of our adventure, we ran into a wild deer just hanging outside of someone’s house. It was so friendly and curious that it tried to eat Jenn’s frozen chai drink and her pumpkin cookie!! We were able to get some up close and personal photos of the deer which was such a unique and amazing experience! The deer did not eat human food during said photo shoot, it just attempted to.
Time slipped by us, apparently, as I looked down at my watch and realized it was 4:22.. Our train was planning to leave at 4:30 and we were still in Old Forge and needed to get back to Thendara! We ran out of the store we were in and looked for any shuttle bus that may have been lingering for any slackers like us, but there were none in sight! We started to panic and think of all of the ways we would have to get back to our car in Utica! (Would Guy have to Uber us all of the way to Utica!?!)
After my head cleared from panic and the thought of Ubering to Utica from Old Forge I called for an Uber to bring us to Thendara train station and what do you think happened? We could see the diner that we had lunch at and we happened to see Guy’s truck in the lot and Uber paired us up with him (Surprised? Told you he was the only one, haha). We started running over to his truck as we saw him leaving the diner and we hopped in. He sped off with us in tow telling us he had a feeling we would be calling for him one last time! Haha. He hauled us over in record time and we made the train!! We were so thankful for his excellent service not only in our time of panic but for waiting at the diner and chair lift for us while we enjoyed our time in Old Forge! Uber success!
Without fail, Jenn passed out on the train trip home (typical) and I headed to the open air train car with Mary to enjoy the ride home. We were in that car the entire trip home which was perfect because at the start of the ride I was starting to feel nauseated which wasn’t exciting seeing we had a couple of hours to be in the train! The open air car was amazing and the fresh air pouring in the car with the landscape passing us by was lovely. I forgot about my motion sickness and posed for some photos for Mary and before we knew it we were back in Utica where we stopped for a lovely Italian meal and adult beverage at Georgios and ended the evening at the park and ride where we met up in the early morning! It was an amazing day and even though the tradition of riding the train up has been in the books for 5ish years, I think next year I’m going to plan a car ride up and possible overnight! But we’ll see! In the meantime check out some of the photos I took on our day trip!