Speculator diner fuels hike up Chimney Mountain

The sign outside the Sunrise Diner in Speculator says “Good Food, Great People.” I don’t know if they mean the people who work there are great or if folks like me, who stopped in one day last week, are great.

Let’s say both for argument’s sake.

In Speculator, NY

I will say it was a friendly crew as I stopped for breakfast in the unassuming eatery on Route 30, just past the intersection with Route 8.  The man behind the grill sported a beard that would make ZZ Top proud, and he whipped up a very nice bacon and cheese omelette. The place only has five tables and five stools at the counter. Pictures of family members adorn the outside of the refrigerator, and you can buy little containers of cereal and some other breakfast items if you’re heading for your favorite camping spot in the Adirondacks.

I was heading to Chimney Mountain, just south of the hamlet of Indian Lake. The mountain, which reaches 2,641 feet, is a popular spot, but this being a Monday I thought I would mostly be on my own. I was sort of right.

The trailhead is easy to get to, on good roads that lead to the Cabins at Chimney Mountain. The owners allow hikers to park on their private land for just a $2 fee, and a machine selling water and energy drinks was very welcome at hike’s end.

I was surprised how quickly I got to the summit. It is a steep, sweat-inducing climb, but it took me just 30 minutes. The craggy summit is covered with jagged boulders that provide nice cool spots and interesting formations as well as providing wonderful perches to view the surrounding mountains. 

I enjoyed a rest at the top until snippets of a large group’s conversations became staccato shouts, and I decided to head back down. Whenever I hear God dropped into a conversation more than three times a minute, I get nervous, even if I was actually closer to the Big Guy/Gal at 2,600 feet.

A second trail leads to Puffer Pond, and I decided to hike the 2.4 miles to what I hoped would be a refreshing swim. It was a buggy mucky hike, but a wonderful spot to take a dip. I found an outcropping of rocks and hopped in the water, which was warm and clear.  Not another soul to be seen at the pond, and the beauty of the Adirondacks settled in yet again.

As I drove back down to CNY, I was determined not to miss a chance to stop somewhere and refuel. I found myself in Rome, on West Dominick Street, and sitting outside the Boys From Italy restaurant and pizzeria. My in-laws have eaten here and raved about it. I was interested in pizza, and I have to say it was some of the best thin-crust pizza I’ve had in a long, long time. Terrific crust, great sauce, and wonderful flavor all around.

I had a double bonus when I was able to secure the last loaf of bread at the Franklin Hotel, just a short drive away on James Street.  This is better than manna from heaven, and a steal at $2 a loaf.

I’ve had many wonderful meals at the Franklin, meals that are authentic, plentiful, and outrageously inexpensive. I’ll make sure to do a separate post on this Copper City gem another time. Suffice to say for now that the bread was torn, tugged at, and half gone by the time I reached Solsville.


4 thoughts on “Speculator diner fuels hike up Chimney Mountain

  1. Wow – i’ve BEEN to the Sunrise Diner- it’s been a while granted – good to know Mr Beardy Man is still working there – haha

    Thanks for sharing this, I moved from NY to CA about 10 years ago and the pictures brought back many fond memories – thanks! 🙂

    • Jason. Too funny. Mr. Beardy Man was definitely running the show, and serving up some good food. You need to get back to the ‘dacks yourself for a visit and stop in at the diner!

  2. Tim, nice piece about Chimney Mountain, which is a geological oddity in the Adirondacks. If you clamber down into the little valley below the mountain there are talus caves where you can find snow in summer. Coincidentally, i was driving through Speculator yesterday evening and looking for a place to eat. I spied the Sunrise Diner, but it was closed. I ended up eating at the Long Lake Diner.

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