Fort Ticonderoga, home to 2 wars and 5 battles in early American history, hosted Homeschool day, so we took advantage of the opportunity to visit this historic landmark and talk with the passionate historians who work there bringing Fort Ticonderoga’s rich history to life everyday. This was an end-of-summer excursion for us.
Fort Ticonderoga is located on Lake Champlain overlooking Vermont’s Green Mountains in the beautiful six million acre Adirondack Park. For us, it is about a 1 and 1/2 drive, which on a day like this one meant we enjoyed ourselves along the way. This also meant we arrived around Noon, and despite the fact that this is a uniquely American landmark, we followed the Japanese saying “Hana Yori Dango” (More than Flowers, Bread) and headed straight to lunch at the onsite restaurant.
The Café had the usual American fare, but interestingly the salad ingredients and cut flowers were fresh from the King’s Garden which you can tour located on the lower part of this 2000 acre fort. We learned the Pell Family had this garden built in the early 1900s. Apparently, at the time it was fashionable for wealthy families to buy lands with architectural artifacts and to build gardens around them. They certainly picked an amazing artifact! It is worth noting the Pell family hired one of the first MIT female graduates to design the garden. Way to go, girl!
The Café service was fast, and after a quick lunch we were on our way to the Fort itself, where we literally felt as if we stepped back in time thanks to the staff and volunteers dressed in period costumes performing period duties. We witnessed a musket demonstration, a clothing maker tailoring soldier outfits, a shoe maker making shoes (of course), and a solider cooking for his troop. Ironically, the cooking demonstration was performed by a man from Charleston, who spoke with a full genteel Southern accent.
I had to ask him why he traded the ice clinking in his evening drink in South Carolina for the freezing tundra of New York. He told us that he wanted to be a part of telling Fort Ticonderoga’s story because he considers it to be truly America’s #1 Historical Site. His passion for Fort Ticonderoga was overwhelmingly convincing as he told stories, stories about Fort Ticonderoga’s place in Man’s Fight for Liberty, that truly and rightfully captivated our attention and held us as if spellbound.
We later learned all of the workers at Fort Ticonderoga hold history degrees, and it is clear through our various interactions with many of them throughout the day that they share this Man from Charleston’s passion for the Fort.
If you travel to the VT/NY area, Fort Ticonderoga is a must see! You can learn more history in 5 hours at this Fort than you could reading about it, because you actually experience it! Beyond the fascinating history, the Fort has a number of fun attractions as well, including a corn maze and beautiful gardens as mentioned earlier.
And, as added incentive, you can stop at one of the many crèemee stores on your way to Fort Ticonderoga!
Give me Liberty, or Give me Death, or you know, a Vermont Creemee might be nice, too.