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A Weekend of History: The French and Indian War Encampment in Crown Point

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French and Indian War Encampment at the Crown Point Historic Site in Crown Point, NY

French and Indian War Encampment, Crown PointIf you’ve never been to an encampment, the French and Indian War Encampment in Crown Point on August 13-14, 2011, may just be the perfect one to make your first. Hosted at the Crown Point State Historic Site for over 15 years, the French and Indian War Encampment Weekend attracts a few hundred re-enactors from around the country and parts of Canada. The majority of those coming from Canada come to represent the French (who teamed up with the Algonquins to take on the British and the Mohawk/Iroquois).

A very unique aspect of the historic site: All of the ruins are original and stay where they fell all those years ago. Another cool fact: It’s actually two national historic landmarks in one. The French ruins were declared a historic landmark a full five years before the British section.

Just walking the grounds gives you a fantastic idea of what the area must have been like when soldiers were living there. If your imagination can’t muster up an image of what that would look like, the encampment will do an excellent job in assisting you.

“Our priority is always to be the safest, pleasantest, encampment we can provide,” explained Crown Point State Historic Site Manager, Tom Hughes.

The re-enactors set-up camp for the weekend and civilians are welcome to walk among them. Not only is the scenery along Lake Champlain breathtaking (no bias here, I swear), but the re-enactors are some of the best-smelling. Since some would agree that a bad odor might ruin an experience, it’s worth mentioning that the campsite across the street allows participants to use their showers.

To backtrack a little and force a little history lesson, there was never a huge battle at Fort St. Frederic or at the British-built fort at Crown Point, per se. There were, however, 19 skimishes nearby.

“Deadly, but puny,” chuckled Tom. “So there’s no battle to recreate.”

Why go, then? Because there is a “tactical weapons demonstration,” on both Saturday and Sunday afternoon. To the naked eye, it will look like a battle re-enactment. But it’s not.

When you’re not in the fields (and no, you’re not just standing out there in the middle of things–there are barriers and boundaries), take a peek in the museum. It looks tiny from the outside but it boasts two galleries of exhibits AND a 12-minute high definition video, sound and light show. How many museums can you go to in the Adirondacks that have something like that?! Education and entertainment: just how I like it.

Throughout both days, there will also be various demonstrations. Specific schedules will be handed out the day of, but here’s a few examples of what’s been done in the past: “The Flame Soldier,” a man who does fire-breathing as the sun sets; medical demonstrations (warning: may be gruesome); and an abbreviated French Catholic military service. I can’t guarantee that these will all be there, but I can guarantee that whatever is available, it will be fun.

The French and Indian War Encampment Weekend takes places on Saturday, August 13, 2011 and Sunday, August 14, 2011 at the Crown Point Historical Site in Crown Point, NY (21 Grandview Drive). Cost of admission is the usual admission fee to the site, which is $4 per adult, $3 for seniors, and children 12 and under free. I’m sure your GPS will get you there but if you just follow Route 9N/22 through the town of Crown Point and head toward the Lake Champlain Bridge, you can’t miss it. Especially since, with no bridge, you pretty much dead-end into it.

–Halley Offner is a Contributor to The Free George.

The Free George is the online magazine and visitors’ guide of Upstate NY, covering things from Albany to Lake Placid, including Saratoga, the Lake George region and the Adirondacks. Check out our City Blogs section for our extended coverage areas as well.

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