Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Let's Skip the Fort

We skipped the opportunity to visit Fort Ticonderoga where for $15 per adult we could wander inside. We had done that “tourist thing” in 1997 when came through the area on our honeymoon. Instead, we opted to stroll The King’s Garden. This is the site of a garrison garden adjacent to the fort. It was originally planted in 1755 to feed the troops. Today, it is appreciated as a pleasure garden because it was designed in 1921 by Marian Cruger Coffin, a leading landscape artist in a field dominated at the time by men. Colorful blossoms filled the inner courtyard. Fruit trees yielded a harvest of apples that we sampled.

In 1886, The Pavilion was the private summer home of William Ferris Pell. He later turned it into a hotel for the growing number of tourists coming to visit the ruins of the fort throughout the 19th century. Steamboats delivered Lake Charles visitors. And, markers tell the history of a battle with Iroquois Indians; and claim the site, including the fort to be the first attempt at heritage tourism. As a former fund raiser, I was pleased to learn that the next philanthropic investment by the Friends of Fort Ticonderoga would be to restore The Pavilion. Its disrepair was obvious and disturbing.

Old canons lay in the weeds skirting the property. They were noticeable only if you respond to the whinnying of Doc in the corral. He’s a Clydesdale mixed breed. His owner looks like Santa and will give you a ride in the horse drawn wagon from the fort to the garden and back for only $3 per person. We passed on the ride but took a picture of Doc for our equestrian-loving daughter Suzie.

Doc wasn’t the only equestrian artifact. There was an iron mounting block anchored along the u-shaped road in front of The Pavilion. We took another photo for Suzie after we realized this wasn’t just a randomly placed seat in the yard. More interpretive signs would have helped at this venue.

No comments: