Destination Recreation: Adirondack Museum - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Destination Recreation: Adirondack Museum

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Todd Happer visited the Adirondacks about a decade ago.

"I always thought, you know, that could be a really fun place to live; it's very much like where I grew up outside of Seattle," he says.

Today Happer works at the Adirondack Museum at Blue Mountain Lake where 24 buildings sprawl over 30 acres.

The history inside the museum dates back to around the 1820s, a time when the Adirondacks were just getting settled.

"People came in and they were doing lots of mining and lots of logging. It was some time around the 1860s and 1870s that people started saying whoa, maybe we shouldn't just strip everything that's there," says Happer.

Eventually high society, city-folk started vacationing in the Adirondacks, and a hotel even existed where the museum stands today.

Getting to the hotel was a challenge.

"There's this really cool diorama that the museum has," says Happer.

It shows how before there were roads you took a boat... then a train... then another boat to reach the hotel.

That train was installed by rich landowners, so vacationers would not have to move their luggage in steamer trunks.

"Part of why the museum was founded was to save the locomotive that used to carry people on the world's shortest railroad, 3/4 of a mile, from Raquette Lake to Blue Mountain Lake," he says.

Today, that locomotive is a big draw at the museum. Kids and adults love ringing the bell.

Transportion is one of the many focal points at the Adirondack Museum.

The Roads and Rails Exhibit shows what types of transportation ended up at the train station.

There's even a full-sized rail car. Step inside and you are greeted with intricate woodwork and high-end finishes.

It really gets the imagination going.

"I kept wondering what it was like for the people who took the trains at that time, like what their stories were, what it must have been like to play cards on the carpeted tabletop," says Jennifer Austin, who's visiting from Saratoga, California.

Other exhibits take you back in time but up in height.

The Adirondack Museum is also home to a fire tower from Whiteface Mountain that was built in 1935. There used to be dozens of these throughout the Adirondacks and observers would watch from here for forest fires.

If you're not into heights, there are other ways to get your hands dirty.

You can feed the fish at designated times, or do some chores. 7-year-old Rachel Kowal is filling up a bucket of water.

"I'm gonna push it over there so you can wash the clothes," she explains.

And wash she did, but it's not a walk in the park.

Reporter Nick Borelli: "Is it a lot of work to wash clothes the old fashioned way?"

Kowall: "Yeah!"

Hard work or not, it all helps tell the story of the Adirondacks.

And despite the museum's vast size, you're bound to find your favorite part.

"I like when we went and saw the animals," she says.

 Admission is $18 for adults, and it's open seven days a week through Columbus Day. We do recommend if you're going to print out directions. Because the museum is so remote, the GPS has a hard time finding it.

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