Santa's Workshop, Whiteface Mountain, Kayaks

DAY 68 -- There are a handful of movies I've seen in my life that as I was watching them I started to wonder if someone had slipped something goofy into my drink -- Blue Velvet, The Monkees' Head, Good Burger. Today we visited Santa's Workshop in North Pole, NY where I had a similar feeling.

More on that in a minute.

. . .

I woke up early today -- somewhat unintentionally but I'm glad I did as catching a sunrise over Lake Champlain is something I wanted to be sure I did while we are here. With the water coming in over the rocks and the sun peaking out over the island in the distance, the mountains started taking form on the horizon and I was pretty content.

Then I went back to the house and wound up falling asleep for another two hours.

. . .

Okay. Santa's Workshop.

This place is apparently one of the country's first amusement parks and, located in a town called North Pole, is understandably based on a Christmas theme. The park seems to have been minimally updated over the years and still maintains a very vintage feel from the moment you hit the parking lot.

From there, things got a little bit...weird.

Santa's Workshop was staffed mostly by local teenagers clad in Santa hats and striped socks whose misery was visible on their surly faces. As I checked out one building packed with historical memorabilia and photos from the park (which opened in the 1940's, if I'm not mistaken), I found a book of several black-and-white photos that were especially interesting.

Curious about the story behind them, I thought I'd strike up a conversation with the teenager-historian staffing the room.
"These photos are great! Do you know what year they're from?" 
I could read between the lines here: "Look, man. Don't talk to me. I'm just here wearing this stupid hat so I can party on the weekends. Just leave me alone and let me salvage a little bit of my dignity."

There was candy, a parade, rides, and an icy North Pole. Ultimately, this place was for the kids and they had a blast.

. . .

We stopped for lunch near the start of a nearby trail where we decided we'd drive up Whiteface Mountain since we were so close. Not a bad view for lunch.

. . .

Starting out around 1,400 feet above sea level, Whiteface Mountain was going to take us to the highest peak in New York at somewhere around 4,000+ feet.

No big whoop. I'll drive.

Fifteen minutes and ten white knuckles later, we reached the top. After a few sharp curves with only a handful of large rocks separating our car from plummeting thousands of feet, I quickly lost my bearings and was quite content to park the car without taking the elevator the last few hundred feet to the actual summit.

Everyone else headed up the elevator to the top while I checked out the castle that was close enough.

While they were there, I will say I was able to level my brain a bit and the scenery became a little less intimidating and was simply breathtaking.

But anything is peaceful from 4,867 feet.

I think I see my dad.

They did take a few special pictures for me while they were up there, though.


. . .

Back at the house, Amy's brother and I decided it was time to take the kayaks in the garage for spin. The kids had been asking for the past few days for us to take them out on the lake but we wanted to make sure we were comfortable enough in the boats before taking them out with us. After a five minute refresher, we were ready to take the kids for a spin.

Despite the early morning visit to the lake and the kayak rides, still no Champy.

. . .

This house we're staying in is pretty quirky and unconventional -- in a good way. Here's a quick look.

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