The leaves are turning. You might have noticed.
It's a time of year when local residents hop in the car to check out nature's color show. But maybe you'd like to look at more than just the leaves.
We're surrounded by beautiful mountains, rivers and forests. Hundreds of roads cut across the landscape. Some come with interesting histories, others feature unusual geography.
Presented here are six country drives, all reachable from the Glens Falls area. Each is interesting or picturesque for different reasons. Most can be done in half a day or less. And you don't even have to wear a face mask.
But first, a couple of recommendations.
1. Bring along a detailed map. Your GPS and/or cellphone might not get reception on some of these routes.
2. Some of these roads can be curvy and challenging. If you're at the wheel, keep your eyes on the road and let your passengers do the sightseeing, lest you and your car become an unwitting addition to the scenery.
Blue Ridge Road
From Glens Falls, it'll take just short of an hour to reach Exit 29 of the Northway. Take a left off the ramp onto Blue Ridge Road, but first, make sure you've got gas in the tank. You're about to leave civilization.
The road slashes across the wooded landscape of the Adirondacks. There isn't a lot of foliage on this route — most of the trees are evergreen — and not a lot of mountain views. Its beauty comes from the starkness of the terrain.
It is a lonely, desolate journey that may leave you feeling as if you're lost in some forgotten region of Canada. Dwellings are few and far between. Sometimes the road runs relatively straight over gentle hills; other times it curves through walls of trees.
At its end you can turn left and take state Route 28N back through Minerva, perhaps with a quick side trip to North Creek and its cozy little downtown.
Or, if you dare, you can take the Tahawus Road 7 miles north to the trailhead for Mount Marcy. The last 2 miles cover a narrow, twisting, pothole-filled road that parallels the adolescent stages of the Hudson River. It's little more than a large stream meandering through the forest at this point; a river as yet unaware of its coming greatness.
What's left of a ghost town can be seen just before you reach the trailhead. That road marks the last piece of pavement on the south side of the Adirondacks.
To Indian Lake
If you hit this at the right time, you're sure to see fall foliage on the drive up state Route 28 from Warrensburg to Indian Lake.
The road is most interesting after you pass North Creek and come alongside the Hudson River. There are several pull-offs on the right side for parking by the river. The last one, across from Adirondack Adventures, is next to some low-grade rapids as the river begins to flex its muscles.
Bring your lunch. Crack the window open. Listen to the Hudson gurgle past as you chomp on your ham and cheese.
Route 28 climbs through the next 10 miles before reaching Indian Lake, which is an oasis among the hills. You'll pass two beautiful lakes on the way into town — first Lake Abanakee, then Adirondack Lake. At the second lake, the road runs uphill past a small dam, making it feel as if you're ascending out of the water.
If you're up for spending the whole day on the road, continue on to Blue Mountain Lake, then north to Long Lake, then east through Newcomb on the way home.
A sense of history is needed to appreciate this drive through the town of Argyle.
According to Argyle town historian Susan Brennan, the Coach Road is part of a route from Troy to Whitehall that has existed since the American Revolution. At a meeting in 1803, the town petitioned Congress to make it a post road to carry mail. The Lansingburgh Stage traveled the route.
Some of this road is still dirt and gravel, barely more than one lane wide. Brennan said residents have fought to keep it unpaved. It's not hard to imagine the days when horse-drawn coaches were the main traffic.
It's best to take it from the south to north. About 4 miles south of the village of Argyle on state Route 40, across from The Stovery, turn east onto county route 49. You'll take a left onto Coach Road less than a half-mile later.
The dirt portions of the road are often covered by a canopy of trees, which should be quite colorful when leaves hit their peak. Rolling fields run alongside the road with grazing sheep or cows, sometimes framed by tree-covered hills or ridges.
Brennan said there is at least one farm on the road that's been there for 200 years. There's also a building that existed as a tavern in 1812.
Be prepared to pull to the right if you meet oncoming traffic where the road is most narrow. Traffic moves at normal speed when the road turns to pavement toward the north end.
A slice of Vermont
Got a whole day to kill? Our neighboring state of Vermont has plenty of scenery to offer.
There are many ways to take such a trip, depending on where you live. One way is to go to Cambridge, then hop on state Route 313 as it follows the Batten Kill over the Vermont border. There's a covered bridge along the way.
In Arlington, hang a left onto state Route 7A. A few miles north there's a private toll road that will take you to the top of Mount Equinox.
Whether you take this side trip depends on the time of day (the gate closes at 4 p.m.), whether you want to fork over the money ($20 per car, $5 for each additional passenger), whether you can take the hairpin curves (imagine an Olympic bobsled run) and whether your brakes can handle the trip down (that burning smell may be you!).
If you make the drive, you'll be rewarded with a near 360-degree spectacular view of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
Afterward, head back north on 7A through the pleasant small village of Manchester. Then take state Route 30 north.
This road follows the floor of a valley and it seems impossibly flat for quite a stretch, given the terrain all around. Tree-filled hills surround it on all sides with farmland and forests along the sides of the road. There is color everywhere.
You can come back to New York through Granville, or continue up to Poultney or even U.S. Route 4 before swinging back.
Since you'll be crossing state lines for this trip, you should consult travel restrictions before leaving. If you stay in the car throughout the drive there can't be any danger of exposure, but you do have to walk into a lodge to buy a token for Mount Equinox. As of Saturday, that would put a Glens Falls area resident in danger of violating Vermont's restrictions, but the situation could change by next weekend.
Back to the Hudson
There are two ways to go from Corinth to Lake Luzerne. The westernmost way, Route 9N, takes you along the west bank of the Hudson.
The road hugs the river like a long-lost relative for the first couple of miles. The water is smooth and glassy. You can see across to the tree-lined shore on the other side, where docks protrude into the river. If only those telephone poles weren't there to ruin the view.
The road then winds through trees and takes you over the Hudson and into Lake Luzerne. Take a left on Bay Road at the Stewart's and you're briefly driving along the Hudson again.
Now take a left onto Bridge Street and park along the side. Walk over the right side of the bridge for a view of the small waterfall and the rocky shores just to the north.
There's a stern warning that the bridge is for pedestrian "through traffic only," but it seems to be legal to stroll across and back again without stopping.
Down the canal
On exiting Fort Edward, Route 4 takes you over the Champlain Canal at Lock 7, then parallels the canal and the Hudson River down to Schuylerville.
The road itself is unremarkable, but there are interesting little things along the way.
A couple of miles south of Fort Edward you can turn east onto Blackhouse Road. About 2 miles in you'll come to the Washington County Grasslands Wildlife Management Area, which offers a short path to a viewing stand. Farther south on the eastern side of Route 4 is a small parking area for the Denton Wildlife Sanctuary (if coming from the north, a left turn into the tiny parking lot is almost impossible).
A few miles south of Fort Edward, either of two one-lane bridges will take you over to Galusha Island and Fort Miller, a tiny community sandwiched between the canal and the Hudson. Lock 6 is at the southern tip of the island. A small bridge takes you right past the lock doors.
Imagine what it must have been like in the early 1800s when the canal was first built. Airplanes were just a pipe dream. Cars and passenger trains were still decades away. That canal must have seemed like a miracle, moving goods and services around the state in mere days.
Route 4 eventually bends to the right and follows a steel grate bridge over the Hudson. The river that was just a youngster up near Tahawus moves below you now as a full-fledged adult, getting deeper and wider, gathering strength, destined to become the mighty force that will eventually pass under the George Washington Bridge and on to the Atlantic Ocean.
Follow Sports Editor Greg Brownell via Twitter: @glensfallsse.