The Lake George Steamboat Co. celebrates its 200th anniversary this year with a new logo and some special cruises. The company prides itself on being one of the longest continually operating companies around.
April 15 is the anniversary of the date the company was incorporated in 1817. That weekend, which is also Easter weekend, three special cruises are planned: a seafood dinner cruise on Friday evening, a free cruise for area residents on Saturday and a brunch cruise on Sunday.
After the April celebration, the boats will remain in winter quarters until the regular summer season begins in mid-June. Then, all three of the company’s fleet will be out on the lake.
One of them, the Mohican II, commissioned in 1908, will have a newly refurbished hull and be ready to “continue for another 100 years,” according to Victor Bates, the company’s special events chairman.
The company offers lunch, brunch, and dinner cruises and sightseeing cruises. Every Tuesday, the sternwheel steamboat Minne-Ha-Ha makes a full-length tour of the lake lasting four and a half to five hours, with stops at Bolton Landing and, sometimes, at Baldwin. Although the Minne-Ha-Ha is a relative newcomer to Lake George Steamboat Co., chartered in 1969, the full-length cruise of the lake has been a company staple for 200 years.
Some 250,000 people cruise on Lake George Steamboat Co. boats over the course of the year, Bates estimated.
The Minne-Ha-Ha also brought steam back to the fleet for the first time since the Mohican was converted to diesel in 1946. In 1988, the boat was cut in half and a 34-foot section inserted in the middle. The work was done at Crandall Marine in Baldwin, the same shipyard that is fixing the Mohigan’s hull.
In addition to the Tuesday trips, the Minne-Ha-Ha does a shorter cruise every hour, typically transporting 300-350 people on each trip.
The company was started by James Caldwell and a small group of partners when Lake George Village was known as Caldwell. The first boat was also named for Caldwell. It operated for four years before burning in its berth. It took a few years to fix the Caldwell. The company operated smaller boats in the interim.
The first boats were sidewheelers. Later, they were replaced by boats of similar design to canal boats. Boats of more traditional design replaced those. A boat called the Ganowski was the company’s first propeller-driven boat.
Cruises on the Mohican include going through Paradise Bay. That boat was designed and built to fit into the narrow bay.
The company’s newest boat, the Lac du Saint Sacrament, will host the “big bi-centennial bash” on June 17. That is planned as a big family party cruise complete with fireworks, according to Bates.
It will set off a summer with special pricing, souvenir giveaways and signature drinks. A food-truck festival and entertainment on the company’s pier at 57 Beach Road in Lake George Village is scheduled for the Adirondack Balloon Festival weekend in September.
Schedules and further information are available on the company’s website, lakegeorgesteamboat.com. The company can be reached by telephone at 800-553-2628.