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My 32nd Anniversary

Monday, August 14, 2017 1:27 PM

My 32nd Anniversary

My 32nd Anniversary

On August 8thmy wife and I celebrated our 32nd anniversary.  I decided to follow the advice I gave Bradley’s Face Book followers over the last 2 weeks, and I went to Ausable Chasm, Old Montreal and Ottawa.  The weather forecast wasn’t very optimistic, but we lucked out and our mini vacation was wonderful.  For the most part, it was a sunny romantic celebration.


Ausable Chasm:

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We left Watertown at 7:00 AM and we arrived at Ausable Chasm around 11:30 AM.  Ausable Chasm has 4 or 5 different trails based on how much energy you want to exert.  The more challenging trails require crossing rope bridges and scaling the walls of the gorge while linked into a safety system.  The path my wife and I choose consisted of a beautiful stroll above the chasm and a raft trip down the Ausable River.  We took the easiest way to see the chasm, and the experience lasted 3 hours.  If we dedicated ourselves to all the trails we could have made it a day’s event, but we decided to trek an hour and a half north to Montreal for the night.  It poured rain on our trip north, but it cleared up by the time we arrive in Montreal.


Montreal:

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My wife and I arrived at Montreal around 4:30 PM.  We quickly put our luggage in our hotel room, and we went out to get a bite to eat.  We found outdoor seating at a nice restaurant called “The Keg.”  I got a 20 once prime rib dinner and my wife ordered a sirloin steak and a glass of wine.  The food was awesome!  Next, we shopped at the many small shops that sprawls around Old Montreal.  On the way back to our hotel, we were roped into a show by one of the many street performers.  My wife and I didn’t want to participate, but we went along with the skit that was rather silly.  I had to court my wife with a magical feather flower, and the crowds loved it.  I felted like a fool, but it created a nice memory.

The next morning, we went back to the closed off cobble stone street area, had a crepe and took an hour cruise around the harbor after we enjoyed our breakfast.  We enjoyed Montreal’s waterfront, and then we packed up and traveled to Ottawa.  As always, we really enjoyed Montreal.


Ottawa:

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We left Montreal around 12:30 AM and arrived in Ottawa around 3:00 PM.  We kicked of the adventure by shopping at the farmer’s market, and then we strolled back to the Rideau Center Mall.  Since it was actually our anniversary, I bought my wife a purse and she bought me some cologne.  After we finished our shopping, my wife and I decided to enjoy some fine dining.  We ate at the restaurant located within our Hotel.  Within the Westin there is a very elegant restaurant.  The menu is a bit expensive, but it was our anniversary so we splurged.  We ignored the prices and ordered what we wanted.  Once our waiter discovered it was our 32nd anniversary he brought out 3 free finger dishes.  He took pictures of my wife and I.  He presented us with a desert with the words “Happy Anniversary” written in chocolate.  The staff also had a bottle of wine sent to our room.  The samples, desert and bottle of wine was all complimentary gifts of the Westin.  What a nice touch!


Summary:

We enjoyed 3 wonders of Northern New York and Canada within a narrow 2-day period.  It might seem like we crammed too much into a short period, but my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  Perhaps the next time you have a reason to celebrate you will consider some of the events we enjoyed last week.  My advice for you is to create your own “romantic getaway.”  There is so much to celebrate here in Northern New York.     

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Family Activities to Consider in NNY

Friday, August 11, 2017 10:54 AM

Family Activities to Consider in NNY

Family Activities to Consider in NNY

Have you recently arrived at Ft. Drum?  Are you wondering what your family can do when you get some time off?  Here are some tips.

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Old McDonald’s Farm:

If you have young children, they will love Old McDonald’s Farm.  Located by Sackett’s Harbor, the setting is what you might suspect.  They have horse rides and many farm animals that children can feed and pet.  Old McDonald’s Farm has steadily improved what they have to offer over the years, and it is highly rated. 


image_2 Thompson Park & Zoo:

Thompson Park has a very nice setting with a beautiful view of the city.  They have swings, barbeques, playgrounds and a public swimming pool.  Your children can play with other kids on the playground or pool while you prepare a picnic.  After you eat your meal you can enjoy the zoo.  It’s a “child oriented” zoo with wild animals as well as domesticated creatures you can pet.  The setting is small, but it’s nicely done.  Afterwards you can fly a kite on the Thompson Park’s hill top.  I don’t know why it’s so popular, but flying kites at Thompson Park is a North Country tradition.  A day at the park is inexpensive family fun. 


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State Parks:

If you like beaches, swimming, fishing and camping you have to visit the many State Parks in Northern New York.  Within Jefferson County I’m aware of at least 8 nice parks that consist of Southwick’s Beach, Westcott’s Beach, Robert Wehle, Keewaydin, Cedar Point, Kring Point, Grassy Point and especially the Nature Center at Wellesley Island.  This is inexpensive family fun, and I’m sure you will enjoy it.  *Note:  I have a very biased view of about Wellesley Island because my father-in-law, brother-in-law and nephew are COMPLETELY dedicated to improve Wellesley Island State park.  With this being said, it really is an ideal family oriented setting where children can appreciate nature.


image_4Water Safari:

Located in the quaint Adirondack town of Old Forge, Water Safari is an amusement park that offers water fun for the whole family.  The water rides are wild and absolutely trilling.  There are other types of rides and attractions as well. 

Next to Water Safari is another family fun attraction called Calypso’s Cove that offers various rides and a nice putt-putt golf course.  You also have the option to hike to the top of Bald Mountain.  The town of Old Forge has many restaurants and Adirondack shops.  You can easily spend a whole day and have a great time at Old Forge.  Water Safari is roughly an hour and a half drive from Ft. Drum.


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Rosamond Gifford Zoo:

The Rosamond Gifford Zoo is located in Syracuse.  It’s a little over an hour in travel time, and it offers a half day of animal entertainment for the family.  The Syracuse Zoo has more animals than in Watertown, and they have more exotic species.  Both predators and prey from the land, water and air are featured in a nice setting.  Most children will love the whole experience.


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Wonderworks at the Destiny Mall in Syracuse:

If you have high energy children who want to remain active then they can climb to their hearts delight at “Wonderworks.”  Wonderworks has climbing walls, rope bridges and various obstacles children can navigate.  Since it is located in the Destiny Mall, you can use this as an excuse to shop & dine as well.  The “Cheesecake Factory” has an incredible menu.  With this being said, Wonderworks gives you an opportunity to make the most of a day when the weather is not the best.


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The Cider Mill in Watertown:

This is wholesome family fun in late summer and early fall.  Purchase a gallon of their local cider as well as a couple of hot freshly fried donuts.  It’s a family tradition for my family to buy some cider, stock up on Crogan Bologna and buy some spicy cheese curd before an afternoon of Football.  We drink some cider and eat donuts as we watch the beautiful waterfalls behind the mill.  We admire the changing colors of the leaves and the rapids flowing downstream.  Then we go home and enjoy pizza, hot wings, Crogan Bologna and cheese curd as we watch a NFL football game.  This is a mandatory tradition every fall for the McKinney family.


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Everson Museum of Art & Museum of Science & Technology:

This is another day of fun you can capitalize on when the weather is miserable.  Children will especially love the Museum of Science & Technology with their dinosaurs, fossils and light displays.  You can see the wheels turning inside your children’s mind as they experience new sights and sounds.  It’s a wonderful learning experience for the whole family.


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Watertown Ski Lodge:

This is a wonderful opportunity for your children to learn how to ski.  The skiing in Watertown is best suited for beginners, and you typically find more children here than adults.  If your children are too young for skiing there are also some safe innertube slides. 


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Bowling in Watertown:

There are 2 bowling alleys in Watertown and one on Ft. Drum.  Seaway and Pla-More Lanes are located in Watertown.  Younger children can play with bumpers and older children can enjoy “Rock & Bowl.”  Typically, these bowling alleys also have other games for children like pool tables and air hockey.  This is another family event you can do when it is raining or snowing outside.  The fun must go on!


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Indoor Soccer and Swimming:

The greater Watertown area produces outstanding swimming and soccer programs because it has top notch starter programs.  The Fair Grounds YMCA has indoor soccer fields and leagues.  Watertown High School has the YMCA Blue Sharks swimming program as well.  During the winter months, my children used to participate in Watertown’s swimming, gymnastics and soccer programs.  Watching them compete constitutes some of my best memories, and it eventually set them up for scholarships later in life.  I strongly recommend these sports programs.  These programs tend to be well ran.  *Note:  The Blue Sharks has produced an amazing number of male & female “State Champion Swimmers” given the population size of the greater Ft. Drum region.


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Summary:

If anyone says there is nothing to do in Northern New York don’t buy into what their saying.  There is much to do in the summer as well as in the winter, and you don’t have to look hard to find the fun.  If you have any questions please contact Bradley’s, and we will be glad to point you in the right direction.  Trust me when I say this, “You can family find fun that will eventually produce scholarships later in life.”              

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What’s on the Other Side of the Boarder?

Monday, July 31, 2017 1:07 PM

What’s on the Other Side of the Boarder?

What’s on the Other Side of the Boarder for Soldiers to See?


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When I bring up the subject of going to Canada for a mini-vacation I’m surprised that few of my friends have really explored it.  The same holds true with the soldiers I speak with.  Here is my thoughts about Canada.  It’s the second largest country in the world. It’s only 30 miles north of us, and you got to check it out before you leave Ft. Drum.  This is especially true for Kingston, Ottawa and Montreal.  Let me tell you why.


Kingston:

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Kingston is a small waterfront city that has much to offer.  It has a nice selection of cafes, bistros, pubs, restaurants and quaint little stores.  It has nice waterfront hotels and dining choices.  It has a decent mall, and you can tour a historic War of 1812 battle site at Ft. Henry.  It’s a nice summer destination when it’s sunny, and it’s only an hour away from Ft. Drum.

How would I recommend visiting Kingston?  Take the Cape Vincent ferry to Wolfe Island and then take the second ferry from Wolfe Island to Downtown Kingston.  The cost of the ferry from the states is roughly $20, and the ferry from Wolfe Island to Kingston is free.  It’s a very nice experience taking the ferry.  It deposits you at Downtown Kingston, and I feel it’s worth the money.  Keep in mind, if you don’t want to pay the cost of a ferry you can always take 81 North to 401 West.  I just think the Ferry is a nice experience.

When would I go?  Choose a sunny day when there will be little or no chance for rain since you will want to visit the many small shops on Princess Street.  I would also recommend Saturday August 5th 2017.  This coming Saturday there will be a Blues Festival in Kingston, and it’s a blast.  I recommend that you stay the night and travel by taxi so you don’t drink & drive. Keep in mind that you will need an enhanced driver’s license or passport to get into Canada.


Ottawa:

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I don’t what to dismiss Kingston, but Ottawa has significantly more to see.  On the other hand, Ottawa is a 2 or 2 ½ hour drive.  With this being said, it’s well worth the trip.  Ottawa’s parliament building is an majestic sight.  The city has many shops and restaurants.  It has an impressive mall, and if you cross the Rideau River into Hull there is also a plush casino. 

When I go to Ottawa I typically visit the farmer’s market, explore the small shops surrounding the market and try appetizers at restaurants with outdoor seating.  I shop at the Rideau Center and St. Laurent Shopping Centre.  I also used to like dining at the Merlot Rooftop Grill, but it has been closed.  The restaurant used to set high on the skyline and rotate 360 degrees so you could have a bird’s eye view of Ottawa.  Don’t let this discourage you, Ottawa has many other fine dining choices with great ambiance.

When is the best time to visit?  Hands down, the “Winterlude” celebration that will take place February 2nd through the 19th in 2018 is the best time.  You can view the many magnificent snow and ice sculptures.  There are nice light displays.  You can skate down the Rideau River with large crowds of people and enjoy the small eateries on the ice.  This is an awesome experience.

Ottawa is also great all summer long.  Once again, there is great dining, drinking and shopping opportunities.  There are many sights to see and places to visit.  In the summer the farmer’s market and the surrounding area is my favorite.  Ottawa has an elegant European flavor that I think you will enjoy.

Where to lodge?  I recommend the Westin.  It’s located downtown.  You can view the parliament building from your window.  It’s actually attached to a nice mall (The Rideau Centre.)  It’s walking distance from the farmer’s market or the Winterlude events.  The Westin is a bit expensive, but it has the best location in the city.


Montreal:

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If you had a tour of duty in Europe and loved it then Montreal is your city.  To be more specific, you need to see “Old Montreal.”  Ottawa has a nice European feel, but Old Montreal has significantly more of this atmosphere.  It has the closed off cobblestone streets.  They have many small shops like in France, the people speak French and some of the buildings have European architecture.  If you are into history you will admire that some of these buildings date back to the mid-1600s.  It has wonderful restaurants, bistros and cafes.  The only drawback is Montreal is 3 to 3 ½ hours from Ft. Drum.

Despite the long trip you will enjoy the horse carriages and boat rides around the city as well as a whitewater jet boat that rides down the rapids of the St. Lawrence River.  The boat and carriage rides are romantic while the jet boat is a breathtaking adventure.  When I say breathtaking I mean it literally.  You will have to hold your breath as water plows over the railings.

When to go?  Winter is nice but summer is better.  What are the best attractions?  The whitewater jet boat ride and all the sights to see in Old Montreal.  What is my favorite hotel in Montreal?  It is a bit expensive, but I love the Queen Elizabeth Hotel.  Should you take the time to see Montreal?  Yes!     

*Note: If you visit Montreal and love it then you should check out “Old Quebec.”  It’s a much long drive, but it has even more of an old Europe feel than Montreal.


Summary:

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If you are stationed at Ft. Drum and didn’t spend some time in these 3 wonder cities before you PCS it would be a shame.  This is especially true if you missed out on the Winterlude celebration at Ottawa.  If you like fine dining, luxury shopping, romantic settings and a European atmosphere you need to explore Canada.  Make a beautiful summer day a little more sunny or make a dark winter day less gloomy by visiting our neighbors to the North.  You could call it a poor man’s trip to Europe.                

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Great Places to Fish in NNY

Friday, July 28, 2017 12:29 PM

Great Places to Fish in NNY

Great Places to Fish in NNY


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If you are new to Ft. Drum and you love fishing you are in good luck.  Northern New York offers some of the best fresh water fishing in the world, but let a crusty old local fisherman like me give you a few tips.

As most fishermen know every fishing location can be a boom or bust depending on your lures, bait and timing.  In most cases timing is everything.  Perhaps the title of this blog article should be called “Best Times to Fish in Northern New York” because timing is so critical.  Allow me to point out some popular fishing spots and when they will be hot.


April:

April often starts out slow and becomes progressively better as the month warms up.  The last 2 weeks of April and first 2 weeks of May are perhaps the best time of the year for fishing.  Big fish travel from the lakes and up through the rivers & streams to breed.  They become very aggressive and territorial during the breeding season which makes them easier to catch.

The beginning of April is the peak of trout season.  Brookies, Browns and Steel Head Trout are very active.  Large Yellow Perch are also hitting well.  As it warms up Bullhead, Suckers and huge Carp begin their run up stream.  Towards the end of the month Walleye Pike, Small Mouth Bass, Large Mouth Bass and Silver Bass also push upstream.  I think Walleye season starts at the beginning of May and Bass season starts in mid-June.  Since I always catch and release I don’t know the specific dates.  Just be aware you can’t keep Walleye and Bass in April even though they’re very active.


Trout:

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Where are the hot spots?  For trout Dexter and the Salmon River at Pulaski are popular destinations.  Near the mouths of many streams like Sandy Creek are also a good choice for trout.  Salmon eggs, mesh, sponge and tiny Mister Twisters are great lures.  Keep in mind they like white, neo orange and especially chartreuse.  Another tip, marinate your mesh eggs in aniseed oil for better results. Furthermore, try fishing during the first 2 hours of daylight in the morning and the same in the evening. 

 

Yellow Perch:

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At the beginning of April Yellow Perch are still biting aggressively on the docks at Clayton, Cape Vincent and Alexandria Bay.  Small Perch minnows are the best bait.  Although Perch are a small species you can catch fairly large ones in early April, and they are considered one of the best eating fish in Northern New York.  They can be filleted, quickly boiled in salty water and served with butter & cocktail sauce.  This is known as “Poor Man’s Shrimp.”


Bull Heads:

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Any mouth of a river and stream coming in from Lake Ontario or the St. Lawrence River are hot spots.  My favorite is by the bridge at Fisher’s Landing.  Worms work best at late evening or at night.  Keep in mind that fried Bullhead is a favorite amongst many in Northern New York.

Additional note, Bullhead bite best by the bridge at Fisher’s Landing while Bass and Snakeheads are more active near the reeds where the stream meets the bay.


Carp:

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Many people dislike Carp because they are a bottom feeder.  Since I’m a catch & release kind of guy I absolutely love catching Carp.  Trying to bring in a Carp using ultra-light tackle is one hell of a battle.  It has taken me a half an hour to bring in a big 25-pound Carp.  Where can you find them?  Dexter and Sandy Pond.  Try fast moving water near the mouths of rivers and streams.


May:

May starts out hot and slows down as the waters warm up.  Once again, the last 2 weeks of April and the first 2 weeks of May offers some of the best fishing in Northern New York.  Trout fishing is great at the beginning of the month, but it slows down as the month progresses.  Bass are striking at almost anything, but you have to release them.  Carp & Bull Head are still running strong at the beginning of the month.  Pike, Pickerel and Walleye are also very aggressive. 


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What bait or lure should you use?  Salmon eggs, mesh and a dangling worm works well for trout in May.  Only use 1 or 2 split-shot 24 inches above your bait.  Cast upstream and let your bait bounce downstream.  The advice I gave in the section dedicated to April fishing still works in May, and Dexter, Sandy Creek and Pulaski are still the hot spots.


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Pike, Pickerel and Walleye like #4 or #5 shiny Mepps Lures.  Diving minnow lures with green backs, orange sides and a chartreuse belly also work well.  Keep in mind that almost anything hits a chartreuse Mister Twister if it is bouncing downstream.  In most cases it’s always better to cast up or side stream and let it move downstream.  Above the bridge at Dexter is a good spot for these fish. 

Carps and Bull Head are bottom feeders.  Worms work the best.  Bull Head like a stationary worm lying on the bottom at dusk or night.  Carp like a worm bouncing on the bottom of fast moving water at dawn or dusk.  Fish Carp the same way as I described for trout.  Carps are plentiful at Dexter, and Fisher’s Landing is my favorite place for Bull Head.    


June, July & August:

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The quality and quantity of fishing dies down during the dog days of summer. The fish become lethargic and move to deeper cooler waters.  This is a great time to get a charter boat and go after Atlantic Salmon and Lake Trout in the Black River Bay.  I have just recently bought a boat with a down rigger for the first time in my life, so I don’t have much expertise with deep water fishing.  My advice is to go to Henchen’s Marina at Henderson Harbor.  Ask their staff who are the best charter boat captains in the area.  Ask Henchen’s staff and these Captains what deep water lures works best.


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Another option, you can bottom fish at Chaumont at night to catch Channel Catfish.  Catfish hit almost anything that’s stinky during June, July and August.  They grow large and put up a great fight.

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As for bass, Black Lake and the other small lakes surrounding the Black Lake Region have a great reputation for Bass fishing.  Although the Bass are small they’re also plentiful on the Black River North of Watertown.  I have caught them every 4th or 5th cast on the Black River, but you need to know the right fishing methods.  Only fish in the morning or evening and not when it’s bright.  When daylight is plentiful in the morning or evening use a #3 or #4 shiny Mepps.  When it is fairly dark or dusky use a jointed Rapala on the surface of the water.  Rapalas with Perch coloring or chartreuse work the best. Cast out and let your Rapala sit on the water for a minute or two.  Let all the ripples subside.  Then slightly tug or twitch the lure.  Let it set again for 30 seconds or up to a minute and repeat the tugging or twitching process.  Slow down.  Don’t reel in too quickly, and make the lure appear like a wounded minnow.  This works well at twilight or at dusk.  Mepps during daylight and Rapalas at dawn & dusk work well on the Black River and Black Lake.


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This might surprise you.  There is a trail that runs along the old post near Felts Mills.  It runs right along the Black River.  There is a section of this river that is very shallow shortly below a set of rapids.  There are small islands in this section of the river.  This is a great hot spot for small mouth bass during the last 2 hours of the day.  The bass are small but they fight hard, and they strike again and again.  They love a floating jointed Rapala that is cast close to shore.  What I do is wade into the waters and work along the shores and islands.  Of course, you stay in shallow waters that don’t go above your midsection. Typically, the waters are fairly shallow here in July and August, but this year it might not be wise to do any wading.  The waters are abnormally high this year, but when the waters are shallow the fishing is awesome.  You catch one fish after another.  If you use ultra-light tackle these little bass put up one hell of a fight.  It’s surprising how well they fight given that they only run 6 to 14 inches.  


September & October:

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As the temperatures drop the fishing gets better and better.  I said the last 2 weeks in April and the first 2 weeks in May was the best time for fishing, but this might be the case if you prefer Atlantic Salmon, Steel Head, Northern Pike and Muskellunge.  If you prefer bigger fish like me, then Columbus Day till the end of October is the best fishing.  Perhaps the whole month of October is great fishing.

Dexter and Pulaski are a destination for Brown Trout, Steel Head and especially Atlantic Salmon.  I have a honey hole on the Raquette River near Potsdam for Pike, but I can’t give the exact location.  Sorry, I’m going to keep this one for myself, but travel up north and try the Grassy and Raquette Rivers.  Eventually you will find your own hotspot for Pike.  As for Muskies, Cape Vincent claims to be “The Musky Capital of the World!”


Trout & Salmon:

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How to catch these Fish?  Trout & Salmon hit salon eggs, mesh and very small Mister Twisters.  Use the method I described earlier and work downstream.


Northern Pike:

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Cast out a #5 shiny Mepps near weed beds.  Use a stead retrieval process.  Silver, gold and a combination of red with these colors works the best.


Muskellunge: 

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Musky love large jointed Lazy Ike lures.  Some people call these a “Rattle Trap.”  I have a shiny silver & blue jointed Lazy Ike that has provided me with good results.  This Lazy Ike is quite large, and I troll with it.


Summary:

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Since I’m a military brat and I served in the Army for roughly 6 years I have fished all over the world.  Fishing is one of my passions.  I feel I have a certain level of expertise in this area.  With this in mind, you can believe me when I say the freshwater fishing in Northern New York is top notch.  The selection of fresh water fish in this region is very wide.  So try some of my recommendations, and feel free to contact me if you have any questions.  I will be glad to steer you in the right direction.  My advice is free.  

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Summer Activities For All To Enjoy in NNY

Wednesday, July 26, 2017 5:02 PM

Summer Activities For All To Enjoy in NNY

10 Summertime Activities to Consider in NNY

 

Have you recently arrived at Ft. Drum?  Are you wondering what to do with the remainder of the summer?  Here are some tips.

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#10.  Dining at Sackett’s Harbor New York:

If you want to absorb some military history, have a nice meal on the water and enjoy a romantic setting you should visit Sackett’s Harbor.  Ideally you should do this when you know there will be a nice sun set, or on the 4th of July.  Sackett’s Harbor has many historical sites that are associated with the War of 1812 and Madison Barracks.  It is a quaint little town with several waterfront restaurants, bars, micro-breweries and small shops.  As the sun sets on the water the fun starts at Sackett’s Harbor.  This is elegant fun for young couples, and it is only 30 minutes from Ft. Drum.


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#9.  Old McDonald’s Farm / Thompson Park Zoo:

If you have young children, they will love Old McDonald’s Farm.  Located by Sackett’s Harbor, the setting is what you might suspect.  They have horse rides and many farm animals that children can feed.  Old McDonald’s Farm has steadily improved what they have to offer over the years, and it is highly rated.  Thompson Park also has many animals that children will love, and they have a petting zoo.  Both of these attractions are wholesome family fun, and it is only 30 minutes from Ft. Drum.


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#8.  Kingston Blues Festival:

Located on a beautiful harbor on Lake Ontario, Kingston has many small shops, restaurants and bars.  There is quite a bit to experience, and this is especially true on Saturday August 5th.  There will be bands on the water and many other acts throughout Kingston’s bars.  The main theme of this night is Blues Music.  Once my wife and I got a waterfront hotel room, and we enjoyed the blues festival.  We really enjoyed that night, and I highly recommend it to you.  Kingston is roughly an hour from Ft. Drum.


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#7. The Farmer's Market in Ottawa Canada:

Ottawa is a “must see” destination.  You can view Canada’s Parliament Building, enjoy their many small shops and visit the farmer’s market.  Ottawa has a European feel to it, and their shops and markets are similar to a German “Marktplatz.”  They also have many restaurants, bars and an impressive mall.  Ottawa offers a nice day of summer shopping fun, and it is only 2 hours from Ft. Drum. 


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#6.  State Parks:

If you like beaches, swimming, fishing and camping you have to visit the many State Parks in Northern New York.  Within Jefferson County I’m aware of at least 8 nice parks that consist of Southwick’s Beach, Westcott’s Beach, Robert Wehle, Keewaydin, Cedar Point, Kring Point, Grassy Point and the Nature Center at Wellesley Island.  This is inexpensive family fun I’m sure you will enjoy..


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#5.  Uncle Sam’s 1000 Island Boat Tour:

Located in the tourist town of Alexandria Bay there is a boat tour of the 1000 Islands region.  It is an incredible experience, and there really is over 1000 beautiful island.  The highlight of the tour is Heart Island where you can visit the magnificent Boldt Castle.  Back in the town of Alexandria Bay there is many small shops, restaurants and bars.  It’s a great day of family fun, and it’s just 30 minutes north of Ft. Drum.


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#4.   Ausable Chasm:

This is a 3 ½ hour drive, but it’s worth the long ride.  Ausable Chasm is a spectacle of nature.  Ausable Chasm is a sandstone gorge and tourist attraction located near the hamlet of Keeseville, New York. The Ausable River runs through it, and then empties into Lake Champlain. It is directly due west of Port Kent. The gorge is about two miles long, and is a tourist attraction in the Adirondacks region of Upstate New York. It is fed by the Rainbow Falls at its southern extreme.  It is said that the chasms took 200 million years to form, and you can see all the splendor on a raft ride.


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#3.   Whitewater Jet Boat Tours:

I tried whitewater jet boating a couple years ago, and I totally loved it!  Initially the jet boat merely rode down the whitewater rapids.  This was fun, but then the boat speeded at roughly 50 MPH into the rough waters.  Water exploded everywhere!  At times, I had to hold my breath for prolonged periods, so I wouldn’t take in water.  It was quite the experience.  Even though the company provides wet weather gear everyone got wet.  It really was a blast, but you may not want to be in the front 3 row unless you want to get totally drenched.

There are 2 locations near Ft. Drum where you can experience whitewater jet boating.  One is located in Niagara Falls NY and the other is in the old sector of Montreal Canada.  Both locations have a lot of other attractions.  Niagara Falls is a wonder-of-the-World in itself, and Old Montreal has a nice European feel.  Both places are roughly 3 to 3 ½ hours from Ft. Drum.


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#2 Water Safari:

Located in the quaint Adirondack town of Old Forge, Water Safari is an amusement park that offers water fun for the whole family.  The water rides are wild and absolutely trilling.  There are other types of rides and attractions as well.  Next to Water Safari is another family fun attraction called Calypso’s Cove that offers rides and a nice putt-putt golf course.  You also have the option to hike to the top of Bald Mountain.  The town of Old Forge has many restaurants and Adirondack shops.  You can easily spend a whole day and have a great time at Old Forge.  Water Safari is roughly an hour and a half drive from Ft. Drum.   


summer_10

 #1.  White Water Rafting:

Here in our own backyard is a very special summertime attraction.  Located in downtown Watertown is B.O.B Rafting.  This company will raft you down the whitewater rapids of the Black River.  Since it is not the Colorado River you might think this sounds lame, but you would be totally wrong.  This is an experience of a lifetime!  The combination of thrilling rapids, amazing gorges and a beautiful river is AWESOME!  After the rafting is complete they also over you a chicken dinner, and the food is really good.  Since this attraction is only 15 minutes from Ft. Drum, and it truly is a great adventure, I rate a day with B.O.B Rafting as my number one summer time attraction in the Ft. Drum region. 


summer_11

Summary:

There is much to do in Northern New York, so go out and enjoy the fun.  Enjoy the rivers, lakes, mountains and unspoiled nature that surrounds Ft. Drum.  Go to a State Park, hike a mountain or fish a pristine stream.  Feel the rush of whitewater rafting or play it safe at a relaxing waterside restaurant.  Northern New York has much to offer military families as well as the single soldier.  Try out some of my suggestions and tell me if you enjoyed them as much as I did.  

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