Gimme a break

I have to stop. It's a compulsion. Whether I am heading north or south on the Adirondack Northway, as soon as I see the signs — you know the ones — I have an intense urge to flip on my blinker. Suddenly I realize I am hungry, thirsty, need gas, or need to stretch my legs. Mostly, I just need my dose of Schroon Lake.

This past week, in the frenzy of summer travels, I had two such occasions to visit my favorite little Adirondack town. I never pass up the opportunity — you shouldn't either! If you're heading north, take Exit 27 to Route 9. Trust me.

Peace of mind

The scenario: I was stressed, a little freaked out, and a mix of nervous and excited about delivering my son to sleepaway camp for the first time. Shockingly, we were running a bit ahead of schedule, so with an hour to spare pulling off at Exit 27 seemed the perfect way to procrastinate.

Regaling Oliver with tales of my own childhood summer adventures in Schroon, it seemed only appropriate to swing down Main Street and take a quick detour to the stunning shores of the lake.

Hoping to win best-mom-ever status before dropping him off for the week, I cheerfully agreed that he had time for a swim. And ice cream. (I think I succeeded, as he turned and quickly flashed this "thank you, mom" heart before dashing off to the sandy beach.)

I grabbed a beach blanket out of my jeep and settled on the grass to watch the action for a few minutes. There's something supremely relaxing about being in this town. I could seriously feel my shoulders slowly release and the stress just start to melt away as I breathed in the mountain air.

After the allotted 15 minutes turned into 25, a reluctant (and very wet) Oliver made his way up the grassy hill to me. Before loading up, drying up was in order, so we grabbed the promised icy treat and decided to spend a few minutes checking out the boats at the town dock and watching as the DEC steward carefully inspected each vessel for invasive species.

Lunch on the go

We had procrastinated enough — it was time to hit the road, the boy had places to be and memories to make. First, though, we needed to grab a quick lunch. I thought we would swing into Pitkin's, my favorite pit stop, but the beach detour had eaten up an hour.

With a change of plans we headed north on Route 9 and stopped at the newly reopened Mt. Severance Country Store — a true Adirondack one-stop shop. There we were greeted by a friendly pup and the smell of delicious baked goods. With two hearty sandwiches in our bag, we continued our journey north toward Exit 28.

Back to reality

We soon saw the flashing stoplight that marks the end of Schroon's main drag, and we hopped back on the highway, happy for our 6-mile diversion.

The boy was successfully dropped at camp and I needed to head home, though I would have stayed if invited! As I fondly think back on my own memories of Adirondack summers spent in Schroon Lake, I'm so happy to know he is making his own mountain memories — even if they're not with me. Sigh.

Of course, just a short while later, as I found myself on my normal 6-mile southern detour (off at Exit 28, back on at 27), I took the opportunity to indulge my sorrows with a selection of decadent cookies and an iced coffee from North Woods Bread Co. while I quietly took in the glory that is Schroon Lake.

What's your sign?

I can't help but wonder how anyone could pass this stretch of Route 9 by. Whether you have 15 minutes to spare, a couple of hours to browse, or a weekend to unwind, the road between Exits 27 and 28 is well worth taking. With awesome scenery, friendly people, funky stores, and quaint restaurants, the next time you're heading north — or south — visit the Schroon Lake Region. We think you'll like what you find!

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