When America’s 3rdPresident and author of the Declaration of Independent traveled to Lake George, he not only wrote that it was “without comparison the most beautiful water I ever saw,” but also that he experienced health benefits from the vacation.
“I think to avail myself also of the present interval of quiet to get rid of a headache which is very troublesome, by giving more exercise to the body & less to the mind. I shall set out tomorrow for New York, where mister Madison is waiting for me, to go up North .”
— Jefferson wrote to George Washington on May 15, 1791.
Jefferson was referring to James Madison, who would be America’s 4thPresident.
Both of them found relief on their mont-long northern tour of the country that included the Adirondacks.
“Madison’s bilious attacks and Jefferson’s periodical headaches vanished in the days spent walking over Revolutionary War battlefields, scrutinizing botanical novelties, and fishing on Lake George. The whole, for Jefferson, was fortified by a scientific focus of national utility,” according to a post on Monticello.org.
Madison said the object of this trip was “health, recreation and curiosity.”
Here are some of Jefferson’s observations about the plant and animal life and geological features of Lake George. Please excuse any spelling errors as it is taken verbatim from the journal:
“Lake George. Honeysuckle [Lonicera] wild cherry with single fruit, the black gooseberry, Velvet Aspen, cotton Willow, paper birch or white birch, bass-wood wild rose, Spruce pine with single leaves all round the stem ⅓ I. long, with abundance of sugar maple pitch pine, white pine, silver fir, thuya, red cedar. The Thuya is much covered with a species of long moss of a foot long generally, but sometimes 4.f. Strawberries now in blossom and young fruit.
This lake is formed by a contour of mountains into a bason 36. miles long and from 1. to 4. miles wide, the hill sides shelving down to the water edge and only here and there leaving small intervals of low land, tolerably good. Now and then are precipices of rock forming the bank of the lake, as well as hanging over it in immence heights. One of these is famous &c. [famed by the name of Rogers’s rock, the celebrated partisan officer of that name having escaped the pursuit of Indns. by sliding down it when covered with snow, and escaping across the lake then frozen over. The neighborhood of this lake is healthy but there are few inhabitants on it.] It’s waters very clear, except just at the North end, abounding with salmon-trout of 7.℔ weight, speckled or red trout, Oswego bass of 6. or 7.℔ weight, rock bass, yellow perch. There are seagulls in abundance, loons and some wild-ducks. Rattle snakes abound on it’s borders.”
In a letter to his daughter, Jefferson wrote those now famous words:
“Lake George is, without comparison, the most beautiful water I ever saw; formed by a contour of mountains into a basin thirty-five miles long, and from two to four miles broad, finely interspersed with islands, its water limpid as crystal and the mountain sides covered with rich groves of thuja, silver fir, white pine, aspen and paper birch down to the water edge, here and there precipices of rock to checker the scene and save it from monotony. An abundance of speckled trout, salmon trout, bass, and other fish with which it is stored, have added to our other amusements the sport of taking them …”
Now Just think what a boat tour with LAKE GEORGE ISLAND BOAT TOURS can do for you, if Lake George cured Jefferson's migraines.
What are you waiting for? Call today — 518-469-8745 — or book online to schedule your private tour of the lake today.
Hear about sunken ships, ghost stories, see the beautiful mansions, go swimming,t ubing and cliff jumping or just relax.
Your choice !