Here's the thing — as anyone that follows my blogs knows, I travel a lot. And yet, there's always one stop on the Northway that, no matter the season, no matter the time of day, I feel

compelled to visit. Traveling from the Albany area and heading north it's Exit 27 (it's 28 if you're heading south).

The backstory

I have personal ties to Schroon Lake. My father was born in the area and until I left for college all of our vacations - winter, spring, summer, and fall - were spent on Hoffman Mountain.

In the summer we spent our days on shores of the beach or at what was then a little-known secret swimming hole on the edge of the Schroon River. In the fall and spring we hiked Mt. Severance, in the winter we bundled up and went sledding.

I won't lie - there were times as a teen I begged to go someplace else. Why not head south to the ocean or west to the Grand Canyon. Wouldn't Disney World be more of an adventure? But 9 out of 10 times I would find myself at my family's cabin in the woods.

My dad loved the piece and quiet of nature, the lack of crowds, and the pleasant folk that always greeted him with a smile. In my younger years I may not have always understood the appeal, now navigating the hectic day-to-day life of an adult I totally get it.

Set the scene

As we head north during a short lull in the most recent snowstorm I am happy to flip on my turn signal and coast down my favorite exit. I have my 8-year-old son in tow. No school for him means an adventure day with me — at least that's how I sell it (sounds better than, "I'm dragging you along to work.").

We have been driving for 3 hours, and the storm is making the ride slow going. We both need to stretch our legs and breathe in some fresh air. Plus, I'm in dire need of the hot coffee I know is brewed and ready to replenish my empty travel mug.

It's a cold mid-March winter day, although not frigid by any means; cool enough to need warm outer layers, but warm enough to be happily outdoors without shivering.

Oliver looks up from his Pokemon collection, "Is this Schroon Lake? Yes!! I knew it. I knew we'd stop here. Can we go to the beach?" Of course we can. One day he'll realize that stopping at the beach is as much a treat for me as it is for him. Until then, I'll let him think it's a treat for when he's behaving exceptionally well!

It's hard to see the lake and the beach - but we know it's there!

We don't have much time. The weather is starting to pick up again, and we still have the long drive through the High Peaks section of the Adirondacks to conquer before nightfall. But we need a quick refresher. And gas. And coffee. (See how good I am with making up reasons to stop!?)

We make a quick stop at the Stewart's and take an extra moment to cross the street and admire the park.

They say a picture speaks volumes. "They" are probably right. Looking back over these few quick shots that Oliver and I took on our 20-minute detour through town, they make my soul happy, they make me realize it's good to slow down and enjoy the scenery. They make me understand why my father chose Schroon Lake as his final resting place. What a peaceful, friendly town!

Goodbye for now, Schroon! We'll see you on our next trip around the Adirondacks!

Why not take a trip off the beaten path - and stay a bit longer than we did? There are tasty local eateries and cozy bed and breakfasts just waiting to welcome you to the friendly Schroon Lake Region!

This week's ADK stories:

Snowshoe quest: tallest tree in the ADK

Great March XC skiing

Waterfalls and whitewater

Libby’s: get a shot of local cuisine

John Brown Farm: walk through history

Snowshoe hikes: which ADK animal are you?

Where to drop a line