I just got back from another rendezvous with my other lover, upstate New York.

Anyone who knows me knows that once I find myself in a pine tunnel atop Tug Hill I finally feel at home.  It is one of the last bastions of natural beauty that does not have wacko hippy activists and loggers are a welcome tradesman.  In short, it is one of the last places where the world has not gone crazy.

Map of Tug Hill

Over the past few years of traveling the area I have dined at many of the local restaurants. Here is a quick list of some of the more memorable in the southern part of Tug Hill:

1. Milk Plant Tavern:  It is gross to look at, but the people are friendly and the food is both incredibly cheep and good and is on the snowmobile trail system.  Simply put; I don’t know why, but I love this place.

2. Red Dog Tavern:  One of my favorites.  Great food, legendary home-made wing sauces, fun atmosphere and is located next to the lake and by hiking trails for a fun summer dinner.

3. The World Famous Osceola Hotel: It’s a fun backwater bar, not much to be said, other than Turtle races could be the only thing that would make them famous.

4. Osceola Outpost: Next to the aforementioned bar, it offers fuel, a general store, a book store, and a cozy family diner style eatery at good prices.  What else could you want? How about an extremely friendly family of wait staff that not only excel at their job, but give you local history and even recommendations for other places to visit?  Got that too.  Located on a main trail system and on a major crossroad.

5. Capri Pizza: Only easily accessible by car, but worth the drive.  Located in the center of Boonville, the “booming metropolis”, this is the best pizzeria I have found in the area, bar none. (Sorry Boonville Pizza, I still love you too!)

6. Boonville Hotel:  A hop skip and jump away from Capri Pizza, this restaurant/bar offers a large menu, great service, wonderful food at a competitive price.

7. The Cheese Factory: On the snowmobile trail and heavily advertised via wooden signs I have only been to this place once.  That was enough for me, I doubt I will return.

8. The Hayloft Pub: Across the street from the Cheese Factory, this place offers a much cleaner and friendlier environment, but of the last few times I have eaten there, I can say the quality of the food has gone down as well as the quality of the help.  Overall, this is a great place to stop at.  The website (click their picture for the link to their site) reminds you this eatery is in a 200-year-old barn.  This place is certainly not a pass, but I would not put it on the “must visit” list either.

9. The Reservoir Inn: Located on the main trail system across from- you guessed it- the Salmon River/Redfield Reservoir.  They, like the Outpost offer gas and a general store, but also offer booze.  The people are friendly, the food is good, I have only been there once, but it is not too memorable.

10.The Pine Tree Inn:  My family loves it there.  It has a neat outdoor sporty decor and the best “Moose Breath Burger” to be found.  The staff is fun and functional providing excellent service at a price comparable to like restaurants outside of this economically depressed area.

Since ten seems like a good round number, I’ll stop there.  Please note this list is far from inclusive and is NOT a top ten list, it is simply a list of ten places in the small geographic area that I have eaten at, and where selected at random (although the Milk Plant is number one because it holds a place in my heart for reasons unknown.)  Please note the above pictures are not my own.  Clicking on any image will bring you to the host site.

Now on to the last two.  These are the two I visited this weekend.  The first I would like to mention is “The Flat Rock Inn”.  This place has everything.  It is a bar, a restaurant, a gas station, a snowmobile rental office, a motel, home of the snowmobile watercross, directly accessible by any means of conveyance one would use.

The view around this place is stunning.  Located on the top of the Tug Hill plateau,  on a clear day one could see for miles.  The gorgeous views go from the wooded area to the towering wind turbines that are sprinkled through the area.  Nearby the famous and breathtaking gorge sits just waiting for your visit.

The inside is more of a typical bar/restaurant for this area and includes a clothing and equipment shopping area.  The food is good, the prices reasonable, but what makes this place a must is the old, location, location, location.

My second place is a new favorite of mine.  Granted I have just recently been there, it was my first time there, and it was my first meal alone with my wife in a while- so all of that might color my insight, but this place is an absolute must in my humble opinion.

It is: The Boondocks Restaurant & Bar.  They have posted pictures of their exquisite food that make me pine for them right now, (excuse me while I grab a snack) but for the love of God, why don’t they have pictures of their interior/exterior?

The Boondocks is conveniently located on a major highway and directly on the trail system.

There is no accurate way to describe the experience they provide for you here.  The food is beyond all the others in quality (although I have spoken with others who had a complaint about the $12.95 Queen Cut prime being too tough, but were quickly satisfied without trouble, and with the explanation that no one will leave unsatisfied.)  Neither myself nor my wife had an opportunity to complain nor were we given a reason.  They’re entrees were exemplary and their Fried Dough Supreme was supreme in the realm of desert foods (just picture a large circle of fried dough complete with confectionery sugar- add ice cream, hot fudge, ect).  I would love to show you a picture of it, but before I could get the phone out of my pocket, I had already devoured half of it.  On the kids side, I can’t wait to bring my children there for the Triple Stacker PB&J / Fluffernutter (depending on his mood).

Food quality aside, every place in this rural tourist trap has a gimmick, and they are no exception… well, actually they have a lot of gimmicks.  First and foremost the tower of beer.  That’s right- a freaking tower.  We are talking 100 ounces of your favorite draft beer for $20.

Next is what it offers- food and drink aside, The Boondocks also offers a conference room that works as a multi-purpose room for everything from sport event and special occasion catering to business meetings and everything in between.  It is also conveniently located directly in front of The Edge Motel in case you need a place to stay.

Finally, we’ll move onto the ambiance and decor.

I know it is hard to see in this picture, but dining area is beautiful.  At our booth, my wife’s back was against the waterfall.  The water streamed down into the stream that runs through the dining area with a bridge that connects the two halves.  On the far side of the river there in center stage is a large dead looking tree, and the far wall has a mural on it giving diners the feeling they are dining outside in the Adirondacks during the early spring.

The bar is separated from the dining area, and unfortunately I did not go into the bar so I cannot comment on it, but I will comment on the view from my booth to the bar proper.

Across the river, through the wrap around porch, next to the porch lights, you can press yourself against the mock cedar home and look through the quad-pane window to the bar.

That’s right, if appearances be believed, you dine outside in the Adirondack wilderness, and walk into your “camp” to the comfort of your bar.

Food, staff, ambiance, gimmicks, lodging, accessibility, 100 oz beers, this place has it all, and I can’t wait to get back to it.

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