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Ambassadors point train tourists to downtown Saranac Lake

Gail Brill reports to the Saranac Lake Village Board Monday, July 9 about her experiences as an Adirondack Ambassador, welcoming train tourists at the Union Depot arriving from Lake Placid.

Gail Brill reports to the Saranac Lake Village Board Monday, July 9 about her experiences as an Adirondack Ambassador, welcoming train tourists at the Union Depot arriving from Lake Placid. Photo by Andy Flynn.

— “When people were getting off the train, as I was handing things out trying to answer questions, people were walking by me, and I couldn’t talk to them,” Rabideau said. “And the ones I did talk to started walking away and they didn’t really know how to get to downtown.”

Brill shared her experience of finding people to talk to.

“I would kind of hang around for a while,” Brill said. “When they came out of the gift shop, I would approach them, and when I saw clusters of people, I would walk up to them … I don’t want to say I chased them down, but I walked up to them and said, ‘Do you want to know what to do in Saranac Lake today?’”

Rabideau said train patrons had a tough time finding the sidewalk to go downtown and promised to work on better signage for people coming off the train.

Brill suggested painting footprints from the train to the sidewalk leading to downtown Saranac Lake. And the mayor liked the idea.

“Allie (Pelletieri) and I will do that this weekend,” Rabideau said, volunteering his fellow Village Board member.

“I’ll help you,” Trustee Pelletieri replied. “I think I’m free this weekend.”

Brill said an ambassador program at the Ice Palace during the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival would also be a good idea.

A similar ambassador program was established this year in North Creek, where the newly formed Saratoga & North Creek Railway operates daily runs between Saratoga Springs and North Creek. North Creek Business Alliance members built a concierge booth at the train station this spring, and it is manned by volunteers, including former Johnsburg Town Supervisor and current Adirondack Park Agency Commissioner Bill Thomas.

The Adirondack Scenic Railroad operates a 20-mile round-trip scenic train between Lake Placid and Saranac Lake during the spring, summer and fall. It also has operations in Utica and Thendara.

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