My family picked me up at the Fort Edward train station and, after some embracing, we got into a car and headed towards a small cabin some 20 minutes away at Diamond Point in Lake George, NY. For most of the car ride, I was bombarded with questions by my mother, my father and my grandfather. I hadn’t seen them in two months.
As we rounded a curve, time seemed to stop. Pulled by the winds from the trees, flying rather than falling, yellow leaves rained. I vaguely remembered Gabriel García Márquez’s yellow butterflies from “100 Years of Solitude,” how their ethereal presence announced the rebirth of the spirit from the death of the material body, the transition from reality to fantasy. Then, in a moment, it was all gone.
Not to get too cheesy, but nature has a way of bringing out the poet in all of us.
Like any exhausted college student on break, I spent most of my time sleeping, occasionally emerging from my slumber in search of food. My family brought some of my favorite foods with them from Mexico: raw tortillas de harina (to make REAL quesadillas), frijoles, tortillas de maíz (for breakfast chilaquiles with my mom’s salsa verde) and freshly made tamales. I was in Mexican heaven.
Outside, the Adirondack Mountains displayed an explosion of color–amber, emerald, crimson, caramel and more. Different shades of colors for different stages in the foliage decay process. Here or there, a small chipmunk foraged for food. It would skip across the front lawn from the forest and into a burrow it dug into the ground near the house. I would go to it every morning, watching it go back and forth. Maybe Vassar’s squirrels left a hole in my heart that needed filling (if only for the week).
The town, though basically deserted (fall is Lake George’s offseason), has a bit of everything. Diamond Point’s main strip is lined with stores on both sides; anything from banks to antiques, Ben & Jerry’s to regional gift shops. For the naturalist, Lake George’s Million Dollar Beach provides another easy way to splurge a million or two bucks (kidding!).
Spectacular views of the lake, its islets and the surrounding mountains are best appreciated during the off season, in my opinion, when the absence of tourists allows for peaceful and serene contemplation.
Other attractions at Diamond Point include a champagne dinner on the Lac du Saint Sacrement steamboat–the largest inland-water cruise ship in New York–horse-drawn carriages around Downtown, the historical Fort William Henry Museum (which is also a hotel, and according to Ghost Hunters, haunted) and a Six Flags.
The last day of my stay, I noticed a bare-branched tree that, not two days ago, was still covered in orange leaves. The beauty of autumn colors is truly short lived. That night, I joined my family on the lawn for a campfire. The flame was small, but it was enough to keep us warm. We made s’mores at my request (even though I was the only one in the mood for sweets), and roasted sausages over the fire.
I returned to Vassar after a break stocked with souvenirs, food and much needed rest. My stay at Lake George, surrounded by the comforting presence of my family and the calm of nature, was just what I needed after a stressful week of midterms.
At two hours away by train, it is definitely a trip I would recommend, if only as a weekend getaway, for those who are looking to get to know the region.