Growing pains of a tourist town


Now that the Saratoga & North Creek Railway features daily service to the North Creek train station, the community is relying more on businesses and attractions to stay open seven days a week instead of five. While it’s not an easy transition, it’s essential for the success of this town.

It’s a welcome wake-up call and one that is well overdue. After all, we’ve had tourists pass through here in their cars for decades.

In order for this to work — establishing North Creek as a bona fide four-season resort destination — all tourists need to find things to do and places to shop and eat during their stay, no matter the day of the week or their mode of transportation.

For business owners and attraction managers, maintaining the community as a seven-day-a-week community requires additional resources; it costs more to keep the lights on and to staff the store for two additional days. If a restaurant needs one or two days off a week, stagger the days off with other restaurants so there are places to eat any day of the week. The same goes for shops.

For not-for-profit attractions, it requires more volunteers. The Tannery Pond Community Center, North Creek Depot Museum and Owens House are all examples of places that currently need docents to watch the buildings and help visitors learn more about the exhibits. If enough docents aren’t found, hours of operation would be cut, and that’s not good business.

We encourage people to sign up and volunteer, for one of these organizations or other places, such as the Business Alliance golf cart program, which serves people who need transportation from the train station to the business district.

By being in the tourism industry, North Creek is continually inviting people here to our home in the Adirondacks to stay and play. We are in the hospitality business, and like any good host, we want to show people a good time, no matter what day of the week they show up. As a tourist town, that is our obligation.

Thanks to the Saratoga & North Creek Railway, we have a real opportunity to re-invent this town and make it more successful than it’s been in decades. Yet, we shouldn’t be satisfied with just being a tourist town. What’s wrong with adding industry along the freight line? We’re not sure the economic recovery of the Upper Hudson Region is possible without a diverse range of business activity, but tourism is a great start.

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