On Ice: WW Durant & Raquette Lake Navigation Co

On the way home from our delightful trip to Tupper Lake in the Adirondacks, we made a pit stop at Raquette Lake. There’s a boat there in the lake– right in the ice!– that serves as a snowmobilers’ rest stop. The place was totally packed with red-cheeked, frosty-breathed snowmobilers. The boat, the W.W. Durant maintained by the Raquette Lake Navigation Company, is covered with little white lights. It’s very pretty. We went inside and had some hot dogs, and mingled with a few of the snowmobilers.

WW Durant on Lake


The Raquette Lake Navigation Company is a family-owned business, established in 1991. The family provides terrific Adirondack Tours– my gracious host, Donna, explained that the boat specializes in a circular Adirondack tour: to the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake, the Camp Sagamore (built by the Vanderbilts in 1897), and around the beautiful lake. The Gilded Age Tour sounded SO good. I hope we can do this, this summer or fall. I’ll bet viewing the striking fall foliage from the deck of the Durant is amazing!


After learning about the boat tours and getting ideas for future trips, the snowmobilers encouraged us to take our car for a spin on the frozen lake!


Oooo I was SO tempted! But the car I was driving wasn’t mine, it was a rental car… and if the company found out what I was doing…. ! So we walked on the lake and watched the guys roar over the ice. And then we wandered over to an ice-cutting activity. That weekend was the big ice harvest, and the workers were preparing the area for the event. It was a great experience for the kids.

Cutting Ice

Cutting Ice 4

It was kind of spooky, standing on the edge of cut ice, out on a lake! But the ice was pretty thick.

Cutting Ice 3

Donna told me that the ice is used for refrigeration during the summer. The ice is hauled up on a conveyor belt, onto a truck, and into storage.

Cutting Ice 2

It’s kind of neat to see that the “old ways” still continue. It was like something out of a Laura Ingalls Wilder book. Except for the electric ice saw..

Our stay was all too brief. But I was anxious to get home before nightfall, and the conditions of the roads that morning made me nervous about driving.


But it was smooth sailing. What a great adventure! We are learning more about this wonderful area of New York State (of which I know so little) and will be returning many times to come!

For more information, see

About the Author

I've been traveling throughout New York State since I got the travel bug after touring the Herkimer Home on a school field trip as a youngster. We've been blogging about our travels since 2006 and have visited over half of New York's 62 counties so far.

Comments (7)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. John says:

    Loved this boat! Took the tour around Raquette Lake this past summer. Excellent, not to be missed! Very classy boat.

  2. that looks like so much fun. all except the snow machines whirrrrrring. reminds me too much of sarah palin and her ice-machine references. that ice looks thick. they still cut and haul the ice in upper michigan the same way. storing it for the upper peninsula for summer I’m told. that’s a really nice day trip. this is a great piece indeed Becs. where are the smiling kids faces ???? and the HOT Chocolate ???? I feel deprived…

  3. Alice Audrey says:

    I had no idea people still did ice harvesting. Cool! Um… literally.

  4. Donna Pohl says:

    Thanks for stopping by and for this nice write-up. Just to clarify..don’t want your readers to think the boat goes to Sagamore and the Museum! The Durant cruises on Raquette- ranging in duration from 1.5 hrs to 3 hrs. Historic commentary throughout. We partner with Great Camp Sagamore (4 miles away) and Adirondack Museum (12 miles away) to offer the Gilded Age Tour. This is a great experience for those who love history. We also partner with Wild Center in Tupper – Cuisine and Critters- and the train ride out of Utica or Thendara- Rail and Sail. For groups of 20+ we make the arrangements for the tour. For individuals, you just drive yourself to each venue. Come see us this summer! Donna

    • Hi, Donna! Thanks for clarifying the mission of the boat cruise. It must be HEAVENLY in the summer. We have hopes of seeing you again! Thanks for your comment. 🙂

  5. […] been wanting to go on a cruise ever since we visited the boat in winter of 2010, when the boat was docked in frozen Raquette Lake and the locals were harvesting […]