Last weekend I joined the good people at All Over Albany on an excursion into the Adirondacks on the Saratoga & North Creek Railway, with a wine and cheese tasting at barVino in North Creek. I had been curious about this train since Bennett brought back great photos for AOA on that very same route last winter, and Cheryl Clark’s enthusiastic review of barVino helped seal the deal. This was a beautiful ride, concluded with a superb feast of cheese. Pictures can’t quite do justice to the colors we are getting right now in the Adirondacks, but there is still some time for you to hop on board.
More photos below. Click on any of the thumbnails to open a larger view, or check the full-screen Flickr slideshow if you have Flash installed.
Pictured above, The Hadley Parabolic Bridge, across the Sacandaga River in Hadley, NY, as seen from the train. It is an iron bridge dating to the late 19th century. It is the only surviving iron semi-deck lenticular truss bridge in the state, and the only extant of three known to have been built. In 1977 it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Shortly afterwards it was closed to vehicular traffic, and at some time later to pedestrians as well (source: Wikipedia).
Service from Saratoga Springs to North Creek begins in the morning with return trips in the late afternoon, giving you plenty of time to visit the few stores and antique shops the town has to offer. It took about two hours to reach our destination along the Hudson River. The best way to enjoy the scenery is to seat on the river side, though I would also recommend you walk up and down the train in search for the perfect spot. We found it between the locomotive and the first car, where semi-open doors provide for a nice breeze and a better opportunity to soak up the foliage or snap pictures of bewildered cows.
For a spectacular panoramic view of the Hudson River and its gorgeous backdrop, reserve seats on the dome-windowed cars. The dome cars feature table seating on the upper and lower level, with meals served on the upper level (pictured above). You can upgrade from coach to dome for about $13 — alas, it was sold out when we tried. I would suggest you take that option though, it’s swank, especially when you are surrounded by a group of drunk senior citizens in coach.
We grabbed an early lunch at Cafe Sarah, I looked for a few gifts while Chrissy proceeded to pet every single dog in town, and we strolled along the North Creek river for a bit before joining the rest of the group at barVino. The wine and cheese tasting, hosted by the ladies from Whisk N’ Wine, Anna Bowers and Megan Diehl, was wonderful. Lorraine, one of the dairy farmers from Nettle Meadow Farm, shared more information and answered our pressing questions, mostly along the lines of “Can I have more of this please?”.
On the menu that afternoon and seen above, Kunik, a triple creme made from goat’s milk and Jersey cow cream, Crane Mountain, a semi-aged chevre made with 100% goat’s milk and covered with a white rind, Three Sisters, a combination of sheep, goat and cow milks, Simply Sheep, a semi-aged 100% sheep milk disk, and Honey Lavender, a delicious Fromage Blanc. We tried our best to pair them with a Monte Vicor Cava Brut, a Milbrandt Riesling, and a Katogi & Strofilia Xinomavro. I spent some quality time with the the jams, jellies, and toasts made by Anna’s and Megan’s mom.
Thanks to Greg and Mary, this was a great deal, a steal even. Extra thanks for the cider donuts. There is still time to hitch a ride on the Saratoga & North Creek Railway, it’s a relaxing trip to be enjoyed with friends, and according to Anna and Megan, it provides the town with much welcome business.
For more photos check AOA’s To North Creek and back.