New York State: Palatine Bridge (Wagner House)


On the way back from Ottawa it rained non-stop for about 36 no photos of the Adirondack National Park, I'm afraid. (If you want to see what it was like, you could try the Catskills from the previous year - it was remarkably similar.) The first night I stopped at a run-down Econolodge in Cornwall, just on the Canadian side of the St Lawrence river. The motel room itself wasn't bad, but the breakfast was truly awful - some tiny stale sticky-sweet doughnuts, some vile stale white bread and weird goopy grease to spread on it, dreadful stewed coffee and - nothing else! Not even any cereal! Here indeed was proof to any visiting American that Canada falls a long way behind.

Next night I aimed higher - a nice-sounding place in New York State called Palatine Bridge. Sadly, names can be deceptive: I had stumbled on the burned-out industrial rust belt that stretches from Albany through New York State, Pennsylvania, Ohio and beyond - an area where life seems have collapsed about 20 years ago and has little prospect of recovery. It's surprising compared with the nicer sides of New York State (e.g. Saratoga) and Pennsylvania (e.g. Amish Country); but there is indeed this deadly-dull dreary side to it all.

It was also a mistake to stay at the Rodeway Inn. The girl on the desk was clearly a particular sort of muslim: buried in a headscarf and refusing to look above the level of the counter. All you got by way of communication was a miserable disembodied voice and a hand with a room key. The office stank of curry; my room was dank and musty; breakfast was again awful, and I decided I really must spend a little more the next night!

There was nothing nice at all in Palatine Bridge, but I did find a derelict old house - the Wagner House, home of Webster Wagner who claims to have invented the Sleeping Car. I set myself a challenge to take some creepy gothic horror-movie pictures. They look even better in black-and-white, but here goes with the genuine dismal rainy green of the day... 









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