Not far from Montreal, even closer to Burlington and Lake Placid, this little-known upstate New York town has actually popped up a few times in American history. Key battles in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 were fought off the Plattsburgh shores of Lake Champlain.

Home of the Michigan hotdog, a former US Air Force base, and lots of Canadian tourists.

Plattsburgh is a small city (and town as well) of about 20,000 people in upstate New York, located about thirty miles from the Canadian border, and 156 miles from the state capital of Albany. It also lies about an hour west of Burlington, Vermont, and 45 minutes north of Lake Placid, home of the 1932, and 1980 Winter Olympic Games. It sits off the coast of Lake Champlain, the sixth largest freshwater lake in the country. The town was founded on February 28, 1787 by Zephaniah Platt with land granted to him by Governor Clinton, the first governor of New York state (and the man for which the county Plattsburgh is in was named.) In 1902 the Town of Plattsburgh became the City of Plattsburgh (although there is still a substantially large "Town of Plattsburgh" that still exists around the city.)

Plattsburgh is home to Plattsburgh State University, which boasts a very competitive Division Three athletics program, whose men's soccer team is often in the top five, and whose hockey team has won the national title multiple times, and who is a perennial east coast power. The school dominates the west side of the city with the east being mostly light residential. Further to the west you hit the Town of Plattsburgh, where most of the commercial area is located. This includes a K-Mart, Lowes, a shopping mall, and assorted hotels and restaurants. The city is basically the county seat in a vacuum known as the Adirondack Mountains between Montreal and Albany.

The city used to actually be quite a bustling community with about a third of its population living on the Plattsburgh Air Force Base. The air base existed for KC-135's, that would refuel our bombers en route to Russia in case of World War Three. But post-Cold War politics led to the base's demise around 1994, and the city's economy took a staggering hit, especially in the downtown which was nearer to the base. The city was left with a giant concrete parking lot, which led to the creation of PARC (Plattsburgh Airbase Redevelopment Corp.) which sought to bring businesses to the base. They have done a good job, and now the air base is busy serving the country again, as a team works on base with genetically altered goats that produce spider silk proteins in their milk. The silk is then tested for the development of lighter bullet proof vests for use by American servicemen and women. Pratt and Witney has an engine test site on the base as well, and all the base housing has been revamped, and people are beginning to move in.

Plattsburgh boasts a small county-funded airport that has local flights to Albany, Burlington, Boston, and a few other relatively nearby cities. The city is considering moving the airport onto the base itself. Why? Because they want to pave over the airport to make room for a new NASCAR track!

Plattsburgh has a few other minor claims to fame as well. They boast a minor (and I mean minor) league football team known as the Lake City Stars. The city was home to the Battle of Plattsburgh, an important yet unsung battle in which a British invasion of New England was repulsed in the War of 1812. Plattsburgh also suffered through Ice Storm 98' which is listed in "The Guiness Book of World Records" (and I was there!)

The climate of Plattsburgh is cold, with snow possible starting around Halloween, though it usually holds off till Thanksgiving. It will continue to snow through at least late February, and snow in May is not ultra-rare. It is frosty and dreary nine months out of the year, but in the summer it is actually a great place to be, and in the fall it makes a great base for "leaf drives" if you are into that little autumn hobby. As someone who spent the first thirteen years of his life there, my advice is to check it out some summer if you like natural beauty like lakes and mountains, or as a base for some good quality skiing. Otherwise, just keep driving until you hit Montreal.

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