It was extremely cold and lightly snowing during most of our tour of the Town of Stratford. I guess that was not completely unexpected as it was December 27th, and as we all know now, our 2017-2018 winter was indeed a snowy one. The snow, and the cold, did not deter our level of interest as we were chauffeured around by Town Supervisor, Allicia Rice.
If anyone has never visited Stratford before, you are not alone. This was my first trip to the northwestern part of Fulton County and I have spent the majority of my life here. It is a pretty ride – just what you would expect as you drive into the southern Adirondack Park. Ron and I met Allicia at the Town Hall, which is just off the main road through town, Route 29A. She started our drive along the back roads until we reached the entrance to Ferris Lake Forest Preserve. The tour was enhanced by Allicia’s extensive knowledge of all things Stratford. She not only knows these rural roads well, she also knows her neighbors well – and yes, we did see her house along our way. I couldn’t help but to feel like I was in a different era. People today just don’t normally know their neighbors like this. I think of myself as a friendly person – I talk to random people at the grocery store, waiting rooms, on airplanes (yes, I am one of those people) – but for some reason, there are certain neighbors that I have had for YEARS that I just never got to know. So this was refreshing to me.
After Ferris Lake Forest, we made our way back to town. We visited East Canada Stop and Shop. This store shares a building with the Stratford Post Office on Route 29A, just before the bridge that crosses East Canada Creek. This bridge also marks the border of Fulton and Herkimer Counties. Here are some pictures:
After a tour of the store, and a quick cup of coffee, we journeyed south of town to Stewart’s Landing; a dam located on Sprite Creek which is a popular swimming site in the summer months. We drove along the road that follows the Creek. Allicia, of course, knew many of the year-round residents here and talked about getting to know the people in her district. She and her husband are originally from New Jersey. They used to vacation here and decided to relocate when they retired from full-time secular work. Wanting to make a difference in her new home town, Allicia ran for Supervisor. Her passion for the area is evident in her abundant knowledge of local history and the needs of the community.
Our last stop for the day was at the Pleasant Lake Inn. This rustic and lovely restaurant is popular in winter with snowmobilers. They cater to this sport by selling gasoline to them as they come to eat and enjoy the beauty of the area.
When I asked if there were any places for snowmobilers or other travelers to stay in Stratford, Allicia said that there currently is not a hotel or anything of that kind in Stratford. While not a large town, perhaps a bed and breakfast or some cozy cabins might do well for the area. For those who love the outdoors, there is plenty to get excited about in Stratford, whether in winter or summer. I for one am looking forward to a return trip sometime. Perhaps in warmer weather when my fingers won’t freeze while taking pictures.
Fast Facts: Stratford is approximately 70 square miles with approximately 70 miles of road and it’s made up of 70% state-owned land. Now that’s a lot of 70’s…
Written by: Becky Hatcher, Membership Coordinator