Sunday, August 9, 2015

Cranberry Lake and Wanakena Walkabout

What a treat we never knew we had in store before strolling down the streets of Cranberry Lake
A passerby told us that this marina/lodge used to be the place where everyone put their boats in, purchased gas, and secured repairs. The owner passed and though it is partially open, it is not the same.

This is  giant Cranberry Lake with blue, blue waters.

Across the street is the local library/community center, which used to be the school.

The post office is in back of the community center.

Venita and I loved these flags

Cranberry Lake is a huge lake. The first dam was constructed in 1867, which consisted of lumber cribs filled with stone. A wooden sluiceway was installed to send logs to the mill. When the dam was built and the land flooded, the trees and stumps were covered leaving some tree tops close to the surface. The original lake was only five square miles. It is now about 134 square miles.

The general store smelled like cookies and we tried to buy one, but to no avail. Taking a whole pack was out of the question since we had many more miles to go. This is the lovely clerk who agreed to let me take her picture.

This is the Oswegachie River. Venita and I felt like we were back in the highlands of Scotland looking down on the River Dee.

This is a  walking bridge they have decorated with flowers. At one time, it carried vehicles but no more. We loved that they didn't just tear it down. Instead they blocked it, decorated it and provided a wonderful view of the river.

Wow, this was a neat looking rescue boat. In Cranberry Lake, they look out for you.

Here we are feeling like we are in Scotland again. There is a path the whole way around Cranberry Lake (50 miles) and, no, we did not walk it. There were many trails and paths to walk on. I'm going back for sure.

Here is the restaurant in town. It is also the ice cream place. Oh well, there go all the calories I am losing on this walk. It was worth it though. Good ice cream and we met the owner's son who was a very friendly chap. Later, when we came back through, there was a line for ice cream. Cranberrians know a good thing when they have it.

Several people in town told us that we had to go to Wanakena, a hamlet down the road a few miles, so here we are at the sign. We were in for an absolutely delightful surprise.

Wanakena is a planned hamlet. In 1902 Herbert Rich came to the area to purchase land for his lumber business. The town was carefully laid out and the railroad connected the village to Carthage and the Adirondack Railroad at Benson Mines.

Had to snap this picture of this unique weather vane.

Here is the town general store and post office. Sadly, the owner told us that they will be closing the store in September because there is not enough support for it year around.
The owner of the Old General Store graciously allowed us to snap this picture. It was with much sadness in his voice that he told us about the closing of the store. However, in speaking with two other townspeople, we learned that the population in the winter is under 40 so suffice it to say that the old wooden store steps are no longer being worn down. PLEASE, lets all go to the general store shopping so it doesn't have to close.

Here is the awesome suspended footbridge built in 1902. It is a National Historic Landmark and may be the oldest suspended footbridge in continuous use in the United States.

Tragically, in January of 2014, a giant ice flow came rushing down the river and slammed into the bridge. A man who lived close to the bridge told us that it was very loud, and within minutes he had four feet of water in his house. The picture to the left shows what is left on one  bank of the river. The community is trying raise funds to build it again. In fact, they said they will build it again. Donations can be sent to the Historical Society, P.O. Box 73, Wanakena, NY 13695.

We are doing the River Walk. What a beautiful place! The historic society has placed plaques in front of several historic houses and places. We met a woman who grew up here and she told us a lot about the place. The people of Wanakena were all so friendly and proud of their home. We want to run away to Wanakena!

The Western Adirondack Presbyterian Church, built in 1904 is recognized as a historic landmark.

Paddling on down the river like a Mark Twain day
on the Mississippi.

Halleluiah, another bridge and I love bridges! We couldn't use the footbridge but here is another one that we crossed to get to some unique ponds.
Just past here was the playground and several ponds including Mill Pond. I forgot to take pictures of those so you will have to visit this place to see the rest. I know I will definitely be back. There is also a Ranger's School about a mile from the town and many trails all around.

Thank you Cranberians and Wanakenians. We are absolutely in love with you and your towns!


  1. Gail, Cranberry Lake is where my grandfather proposed to my grandmother under the pines at a church picnic. She worked as a waitress for the Cranberry Lake Inn back in the early 20s I believe. He lived to be 108 and grandma to 106. They had fond memories of Cranberry Lake in their youth.

  2. Sure wish I was able to go on one of your and Moms walks!!! I will do it when I visit next ya scooter