We meandered through Burlington at 11:00 and worked our way south along US 7, eventually getting out of the city and through countryside. We paralleled Lake Champlain as it narrowed, crossing over it into New York at noon. We continued south to Ticonderoga and traversed a surprisingly long unpaved road up to Fort Ticonderoga itself.
The fort is exceptionally tiny, especially after seeing the monstrous forts in Halifax and Québec. It was built by the French during the Seven Years' War (or the French and Indian War, as the theater in North America is usually referred to), captured by the British at the end of that war, then was taken without a shot by Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys at the beginning of the Revolution. It was eventually re-taken by the British, only to be re-taken by the Americans.
Fort Ticonderoga had degenerated into ruins by the mid-1800s, but was later refurbished and restored with help from funding from an affluent tycoon. Nowadays it's run by a nonprofit organization - not the National Park Service, strangely enough.
We wandered in and around the fort - it's not that big - leaving ample time for ambling around museums and exhibits that weren't always air conditioned. It took us two hours to get around when all was said and done, but most of our time was spent indoors, marveling at their impressive collection of muskets, powder horns, and other artifacts - including a trundle bed once owned by Benedict Arnold.
We climbed up into the Adirondack Mountains, cutting across scenic landscapes and paralleling Paradox Lake, eventually intersecting with a deserted I-87 heading south to Saratoga Springs. Traffic picked up considerably as we continued on the road.
It was somewhat backed up getting into Saratoga Springs, but it did not delay us much, and we checked into the hotel at 3:30. As we unloaded our bags, my dad got us a reservation at the Wheatfields Restaurant, the local restaurant institution in Saratoga Springs. We cleaned up (well, as much as we could, as my dad and I are sporting some exceptionally ragged facial hair) and headed out, navigating the absurdly cramped streets of downtown Saratoga and eventually paying ten dollars for parking because there was literally no other parking spot in the entire downtown area.
Wheatfields was larger and different to my dad vivid descriptions, although his last visit was 23 years ago. The menu and décor were significantly different, but their main attraction - pasta made in-house - was still there. Having had little to eat all day, we thoroughly enjoyed the fresh bread, with butter that had just enough of a hint of garlic to make it interesting. We all split two appetizers - calamari, lightly breaded and glazed with a spicy Thai sauce, and crab cakes. I ate the majority of the calamari, including the delicious tentacles. It was easily the best calamari I've ever had.
The squid, however, ended up being the highlight of the meal, as our respective pastas were much more mediocre than we'd come to anticipate from the bread and the appetizers.
Tomorrow: the Battle of Saratoga en route to Kingston, New York.