Representatives from Warren County promoted the Lake George and Gore Mountain regions Thursday, May 17 at the annual New York By Rail event at Penn Station in New York City. From left are: Tanya Brand, Group Tour Promoter, Warren County Tourism Department; Sue Tucker, Senior Tourism Specialist, Warren County Tourism Department; Janice Bartkowski Fox, Lake George Regional Chamber of Commerce & CVB; and Sue Wilder, Saratoga and North Creek Railway.
Now that the Saratoga and North Creek Railway has established daily runs to the North Creek train station this summer and fall, business leaders and tourism officials are working hard to attract New York City travelers.
That was evident Thursday, May 17 when representatives from several local businesses and Warren County Tourism attended the annual New York By Rail trade show at Penn Station in New York City. Those attending the show are advertisers in the New York By Rail magazine, which promotes tourism destinations in the state reached by Amtrak railroad service.
And North Creek is one of those destinations. The new train schedule between Saratoga Springs and North Creek gives New York City and Capital District travelers the opportunity to take an Amtrak train to Saratoga, where they can board the Saratoga and North Creek Railway. Layovers in Saratoga are required during the mid-week, but through traffic is available Friday to Monday.
Local attractions attending the New York By Rail event included the Saratoga and North Creek Railway, Whitewater Challengers, Hudson River Rafting and the Gore Mountain Ski Center. Plus, there were representatives from Warren County Tourism and the Lake George Regional Chamber of Commerce & Convention and Visitors Bureau.
“That was a good turnout for us,” said Warren County Tourism Group Tour Promoter Tanya Brand, who said they were able to create their own Warren County space at Penn Station to promote the region.
Brand said many train hoppers recognized Lake George and other small communities in Warren County. By mid-day, they had given out the 600 travel guides they brought.
Some Penn Station travelers were surprised that there’s direct train service to North Creek through Saratoga Springs.
“They said, ‘Oh, I didn’t realize I could take Amtrak direct to Saratoga,’” Brand said, adding that there was a lot of interest in the Saratoga and North Creek Railway. “That was something new to talk about.”
Now that there is railroad service to North Creek on a regular basis — which is key for train-savvy travelers in New York City, where many people don’t own cars — transportation in Warren County must be addressed. Although the North Creek Business Alliance is working with businesses to establish transportation around the town of Johnsburg, Warren County Tourism officials say more needs to be done for train tourists who want to see nearby sights in other parts of the county, including Lake George.
“We really need to start thinking about rental cars,” Brand said. “I think it’s an important step to make Amtrak a viable travel option.”
The old-time standard of vacationing in one resort for two weeks, a month or an entire summer is history. In the tourism business, promoters now talk about the “hub and spoke” theory. Some call it making a “base camp.” Travelers stay in one or two spots during shorter stays and “spoke out” to see attractions throughout a region. And Warren County Tourism officials want to make sure they see as much of this corner of the Adirondack Park as possible before heading back to the Big Apple.
“We want people to know there is life beyond Albany,” Brand said.
Travelers can leave New York City at breakfast time and be in North Creek by mid-afternoon Friday through Monday. And they can leave North Creek after lunch and be back in New York City by bedtime. Layovers of six to seven hours are also available for those who want to spend time exploring Saratoga Springs.
New York City to North Creek: Departs New York City’s Penn Station at 8:15 a.m. on the Adirondack and arrives in North Creek on the Adirondack Limited (Friday-Monday) at 2:34 p.m. Travelers can also choose to spend the afternoon in Saratoga Springs before taking the Hudson Explorer (Friday-Monday) to North Creek; the layover would be from 11:57 a.m. to 7 p.m., arriving in North Creek at 9:09 p.m.
North Creek to New York City: Departs North Creek at 1 p.m. on the Adirondack Limited (Friday-Monday) and arrives in New York City’s Penn Station at 8:40 p.m. on the Adirondack. Those leaving North Creek can also take the New York Express at 7 a.m. (Friday-Monday) and would have a layover in Saratoga Springs between 9:12 a.m. and 3:48 p.m.
Those going back and forth between New York City and North Creek can do so daily; however, the schedules don’t work for through traffic on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday with connections between Saratoga Springs and North Creek.
For example, New York City travelers can arrive in Saratoga Springs daily at 11:57 a.m. and 9:15 p.m. But there is only one daily train from Saratoga to North Creek, departing at 10 a.m. and arriving at 12:09 p.m.
Those leaving New York City on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday would have to spend the night in Saratoga Springs and catch a train to North Creek the following day.