and photos by Persis Granger
“Char-lie, wait for meeee!” The chipmunk-cheeked five-year-old
had been left in his brother’s dust.
|A hug on the trail
The slender eight-year-old with wispy white-blond hair, paused
farther down the trail, tapped his toe and said, “Come
on, Will. There’s a
neat cave up here. I’m going inside!”
In short order, the two towheads, now together, scampered down
the well-traveled path dappled in hot summer sunlight, and
disappeared into the cool, damp recesses of a small, gently lit
It was our grandsons’ second annual trip to Natural Stone Bridge
and Caves in Pottersville, New York, once a farm given to a
Revolutionary War soldier as payment for his military service.
In the course of more than two centuries since then, many
generations of his family have lived here. In the 1950s, one of
them, Lydia Neubeck opened the caves to the public, and in the
1950s incorporated the attraction. It has been a popular tourist
site ever since.
The unique character of this property was recognized as far back
as the early 1800s, as can been seen in the 1813 and 1824
Gazateers of the State of New York, and again in 1880, in
French’s Gazateer, which references a description of the caves
in Morse’s 1796 Geography.
| Sign for bridge and caves
The geologic feature that intrigues and astounds visitors is
what has been described as a “massive stone bridge arch – the
largest marble cave entrance in the east.” At up to 180' wide
and 62' high, it may be just that, and side by side with the
marble is pink granite gneiss. Potholes,
grottos, a gorge and waterfalls add to the awe-inspiring natural
beauty of the property. The stream that flows through it,
changes from season to season, and markers show how high water
has risen when spring floodwaters rage through the gorge.
On our treks around the attraction, the boys were less
interested in history and geology than in their own adventure of
discovery, the challenge of following signs to Noisy Cave,
seeing pennies that someone had tossed into one of the pot holes
hollowed in rock by the rotating motion of loose stones whirled
about by flowing water. They don’t need to know all the
technical information to delight in the trail and the marvelous
mysteries found around each curve of the trail.
Bridge and Caves is located in the Lake George Region of New
York’s Adirondack Mountains, easily accessed by scenic state
highways, or, for those on a tight schedule, by the Adirondack
Northway, I-87. No reservations are necessary for your
self-guided tour, but you should plan at least an hour and a
half for your stay, especially if you’d like to spend time in the
gift shop, or the rock shop adjacent to it.
NSB Rock Shop
Some visitors who seek a more in depth experience opt to reserve
spots on a guided adventure tour, with some real spelunking. Be sure to check the website for
available days and hours to reserve a spot on one of the three
to four-hour staff-guided “Adventure Tours,”available Wednesday,
Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
NSB tour adventures
Our little guys were happy just self-guiding on the above-ground
tour, and experimenting with the walking sticks available for
use along the trail. Sticks were soon cast aside, as they slowed
Charlie and Will’s progress toward their inevitable destination,
the rock shop. They moved from bin to bin, fascinated by
the polished and rough stones there, unable to resist touching
them. Eventually they migrated to the Mexican geodes, the ugly
ducklings of the stone population. Who could imagine that the
mottled rough exterior encased a hollow rimmed with agate and
quartz crystals. They selected their geode and left it to be cut
with the rock shop’s diamond saw, returning a few minutes later
to admire the transformation.
With Cave Man
Charlie has developed quite an interest in stones since visiting
the caves, and we attribute that fascination to his visits to
Natural Stone Bridge and Caves. He even went so far as to take a
sack of polished stones on a recent family airline flight. We
suppose the airline security folks have seen stranger things.
If you have time on your next North Country visit, do take time
to visit the caves in Pottersville. Take your camera to snap
pictures of the amazing scenery, or perhaps even local cavemen.
Remember to carry an extra
layer of clothing for the changeable mountain weather, and
perhaps a walking stick—unless you think it will slow you down.
Before going check the website,
for the schedule, or to reserve a spot on a guided tour, or even
look into a winter snowshoeing expedition and rental cabin. And
don’t miss Pottersville’s other attraction, the unforgettable
Railroads on Parade.
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