In and Around Hannibal: Ticonderoga

This past weekend I had an opportunity to attend a conference on Lake George located on the eastern border of New York state north of Albany.

It was like going home as I had taught about 45 minutes north of there in Ticonderoga and gone to college in Plattsburgh. 

Time didn’t permit me to go to ole P’burgh, but I did take that ride down memory lane in Ti!

We sure do live in a beautiful state.

I drove up Mt. Defiance — you can drive almost to the top and the walk to the top is doable, but it is steep. My college roommate used to staff the toll booth and gift shop at the top — the gift shop is gone now to be replaced by a picnic pavilion.

The toll booth is gone too — you purchase your ticket at the Fort now on the honor system. The trip to the top of this 835-foot-high mountain — out west they’d call it a hill — is well worth it, as the view is spectacular.

You can see up and down the Champlain basin, and get an aerial view of Fort Ticonderoga and Mount Independence.  It is a grand location for appreciating the great water highway which stretches from Montréal to New York City.

During the French & Indian War, the French (who called it “Rattlesnake Mountain”) decided not to fortify the position because it seemed too steep as to be inaccessible.

In the same war, the English used the mountain to scout out French activity below.  A generation later, at the outset of the Revolution, the Americans also neglected to fortify the position.  But in 1777, British Gen. John Burgoyne had the position scouted anew.

His artillery and engineering officers determined cannon could be positioned there, given 24 hours and a force of 400 men to cut a road.

Regarding the effort, Gen. William Phillips of the British Royal Artillery is quoted as saying “Where a goat can go, a man can go, and where a man can go he can pull a gun up after him.”

As a result, the Americans awoke on July 5, 1777, to find the first two guns staring down at them. They evacuated Fort Ticonderoga and its companion post, Mount Independence, and began a retreat that continued for four months and as far south as Saratoga (Stillwater), where Burgoyne was finally defeated.

Fort Ticonderoga was characterized then as “the key to the continent.”  Mount Defiance was the key to Fort Ticonderoga!’

The main street in downtown Ti is rather dismal, like many small towns, with bigger business moving to the outskirts and leaving the former business section to fend for itself.

I remember when it was a hustling and bustling place.

But there are signs of revival. The home where I used to have my hair done is now a beautiful florist and the front porch is a picture of serenity. I had coffee and dessert in a charming Wifi café.

And believe it or not, there is a Chinese restaurant … I could move back! The hospital has expanded too!

I drove by my roommate’s home and the house she bought when she married.  Both had been built by her grandfather and great uncle who were masons and so, of course, they were built of stone in the Adirondack style.

I remember we appropriated some of the neighbors corn and roasted it on a little charcoal grill on the wide porch railing. The houses are owned by others now, but it is good to know that others are enjoying them and creating memories of their own.

I drove around for a while, realizing that I had my ‘routes’ but missed much of what was there 40 years ago. Sometimes we need to look beyond what we always do!

Well I continued home taking the back roads — over the mountain — passing many small lakes filled with boats and surrounded by summer homes. Stopped at a few antique and used stuff stores.

Picked up a few books on Adirondack characters – tour guides, trappers, hunters, loggers, river rats and hermits. My friend found three handkerchiefs with beautiful tatting and embroidery and cutwork – in retirement we collect small things!

Once again, I discover the time away from home doesn’t have to be long to give you a new lease on life.  A change of scenery will do, and Lord knows, New York state has just about any kind of scenery a person could want…from the mountains, to the oceans white with foam!


Summer is half over – can you believe it?

The summer rec program will end on Aug. 15, but there is still time to get in on the fun. Lunch is served from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and then the Rec program begins and runs until 2:30.

AmeriCorps volunteers Kayleigh Troia and Amanda Sprague are staffing the program. Call 289-5120 or 447-3712 for more information or to order lunch for the next day.

Hannibal Senior Citizens will meet at noon for dinner. This week’s menu features:

  • Monday, July 28: Barbecued chicken breast, roasted potatoes, vegetable blend, pudding
  • Wednesday: Swedish meatballs over egg noodles, peas and carrots, orange juice, cookie
  • Friday: Hamburger on bun, garlic red potatoes, vegetables, juice, ice cream
  • Activities: good company, table games, bingo on Wednesday

Give Rosemary a call and make your reservation at 564-5471.

Please join the Summer Reading Program at the Hannibal Free Library. The program, Fizz Boom Read, will continue through Aug. 12.

This program encourages children ages 3-18 to read. It meets from 10 to 11 a.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.  On Tuesdays there will be a tennis instructor and four different times members of the Cooperative Extension will be doing science experiments with the children.

At the end of the summer there will be a parade. Children can join at any time during the program.

College Assistance Plus will be presenting a free College Workshop at the Hannibal Library at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 29.  Might be a good idea to check it out if you or your student are thinking about college. Information is always a good thing!

The Hannibal United Methodist Church annual turkey barbecue is from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 3 at the church at the corner of West and Church Street (State Route 3.)

On Aug. 5, the Friends and the Elderberries will present a Concert on the Lawn from 6 to 8 p.m. with Jeff Sawyer and Rick Bush. Food and drinks will be available. Bring a chair or blanket.

The Hannibal Center/South Hannibal United Methodist Church is having a Rummage and Bake Sale at 9 a.m. Aug. 7, 8 and 9.

Lots of good stuff. The church is located at the corner of County Route 21 and 36.

Connie Adsitt was the winner of the Hannibal Duck Derby last week.

Rita Hooper

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