Brighton: Dusk 'til Dawn

A wonderful family filled day of fun can be found right in the heart of Brighton. A town located just outside the Village of Saranac Lake and spreading through the Hamlet of Paul Smith’s. Brighton offers a tremendous amount of history, feasts, and fun. 


Brighton is overflowing with history starting in 1815 when the first settlers appeared to this small town. There were railways created, that made it an easier area to travel for great camps and adventuring. Paul Smith’s Hotel, a beautiful establishment built on Lower St. Regis, even started a stage line directly to the railroad station. The surrounding beauty was so great that many wealthy families purchased land for Great Camps. Unfortunately, a fire at Paul Smith’s Hotel destroyed the hotel. The land was then generously donated to build the College now known as Paul Smith’s College. Several of the surrounding areas were eventually sold back to the DEC. The land that was sold back was added to the Adirondacks, that was to be forever wild.

Paul Smith's Hotel on the shores of Lower St. Regis

Eventually, as with many towns around it, Brighton became a hub for those searching out the cure from Tuberculosis. Camp Gabriels was a massive Sanatorium that was built and opened in 1897 to house those searching for the fresh Adirondack air to cure in the Hamlet of Gabriels. It was later turned into a prison and unfortunately closed in 2009. The property has recently been purchased by a New York entrepreneur, in hopes to open it again someday.

The Brighton Town Hall, Marjorie Merriweather Post’s Camp Topridge, and White Pine Camp were all designed and built by Benjamin A. Muncil in 1914. These buildings are a staple in Brighton and are still standing today, although many have needed restoration over the years. I highly recommend stopping at some of these buildings if time allows and searching out the hidden history of Brighton. The history is endless and most locals will be willing and able to inform you of the many stories of the Town of Brighton.

Brighton Town Hall, one of the many historical buildings still operating today.


 This family filled day was also fueled in Brighton. This marvelous little town is home to several of the most delicious mom and pop restaurants in the region. The day started at Packbasket Diner located right on route 86 heading towards Osgood pond. The restaurant serves up a great breakfast menu, complete with delicious pastries and coffee. You’ll be sure to leave full and ready for the day that we have planned ahead. Hey, and if you really enjoyed breakfast return to Packbasket later in the day. Perhaps try their great burger challenge to restore some energy. And we can't forget to mention,  in the winter they provide snowmobile services - this market is so versatile and perfect for the Adirondacks.

The Packbasket Diner, located on Route 86.

Lunch on our journey was brought to us by Brighton Mini Mart, where the local deli makes a mean sandwich and some wonderful sides. The best part is that you can take this treat to go and find yourself a wonderful place to picnic. One of my most memorable places is Paul Smith’s Campus, so that’s where we chose to picnic. The shores of Lower St. Regis make for a beautiful view and perfect lunch spot. The picture below is of the Brighton Memorial Park donated by Paul Smith’s College. The park has a playground, sports fields, and a place to enjoy a nice picnic with family and friends.

Brighton Memorial Park, donated by Paul Smith's; located next to Packbasket on Route 86. 

Last but not least we ended our feasting at another hidden gem, The Shamrock Bar & Grill. This bar and grill has a home-town feel and the food is made with love. A common place for locals to relax and enjoy the end of their day, The Shamrock offers daily specials and some amazing desserts. The staff is always welcoming, making this place an all around great place to stop and finish your day in Brighton. 

Grilled Crab Cakes and tossed salad, as featured on The Sharmrock's site and menu. Yum!


Today, Brighton makes for a great pit stop for a day of adventure ranging from canoeing and hiking, to petting zoos and mazes. The town has plenty to keep you and the family busy. Start your day with a nice paddle across Osgood Pond - the shore is home to White Pine Camp, The Summer Whitehouse of 1926 for President Coolidge. This pond's abundant beauty makes for a perfect day on the water. 

Looking out over Osgood Pond from White Pine's New Boat House

Then cruise on over to White Pine Camp to take the in the breaktaking and historical walking tour of the grounds. Between the stories and history this is truly a gem in Brighton, one of the last standing and publicly accessible Great Camps. Not to mention you can vacation at White Pine Camp throughout the year, an experience you’ll never forget.

White Pine's Japenese Tea House, one of my favorite places on the tour.

After immersing yourself in the beauty and history surrounding Osgood Pond, venture over to Moody Farms where the animals are ready for a visit. The Farm is home to several types of animals and visitors are welcome to feed and pet most of them. The farm is family-owned and operated similar to most businesses in the Town of Brighton. The summer yields for a wonderful petting zoo, while the winter months call for a great tree harvest. The farm provides fresh cut trees for customers, or allows them to experience the tree search and cutting it down on their own. They have a wonderful store with knick-knacks, and snacks, and fun souvenirs to tie up the whole experience at Moody Farms.

Moody Farms gift shop is a staple building on their land.

Last, but not least, Tucker Farms has the Great Adirondack Corn Maze throughout the fall. The maze is a place to lose yourself in the beauty of the great farm and the rolling mountains and hills around it. As the sun sets on the maze you can hear the fake-frightened screams of all ages enjoying the final escape from the maze. On Friday and Saturday they offer a campfire after the maze with everything needed for s'mores - a perfect end to a fun-filled day in the Adirondacks. Tucker Farms has been around for centuries and is well known for their produce and fun. The maze only occurs throughout the months of August, September, and October, however Tucker Farms is constantly impacting the area with their fresh produce and their love of the art of agriculture.

Getting to Tucker Farms will be easy while traveling Down 86 between Saranac Lake and Paul Smith's, Directions are clearly available.

This area of the Saranac Lake Region has such marvelous attractions throughout all seasons. The little town may be built up of small Hamlets, but the history, feasts, and fun in each are endless. The best part of this entire trip, however, is how much fun and diversity is available just a short drive from Saranac Lake!  So head to Brighton next time you’re in the Northern Adirondacks. You’ll be sure to enjoy this beautiful gem of a town with so many offerings all around. There are plenty of places to stay so bring the extended family and make a reunion out of it. There is no better place to enjoy family then the coolest place in the Adirondacks



Looking for more unique ADK locales? Check these out:

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