SARANAC LAKE - The reigning Citizen of the Year and the village's mayor have served as greeters to arriving train visitors from Lake Placid at the village's Union Depot.
It's part of the village's new Adirondack Ambassador program, where local volunteers greet arriving passengers on the Adirondack Scenic Railroad's tourist trains, provide them with information on Saranac Lake's attractions and direct them to downtown businesses.
Gail Brill, this year's winner of the Saranac Lake Area Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year award, volunteered for the job recently. Brill gave the village board a report at its meeting Monday night. She said she's done it twice so far.
"People get off the train, and they don't really know where they are or what to do," Brill said. "The first thing I do is say, 'Welcome to Saranac Lake. What do you want to do today?' And I have a basket of information with a map. I walk them out to the front of the depot and show them how to get to downtown."
Brill said the first day she served as an Adirondack Ambassador was the Fourth of July. She said there was a group of 30 people who listened to her talk about what they could do during the train's layover in the village.
"People loved it," she said. "It was really well received."
Brill suggested the same ambassador program be used at the site of the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Ice Palace.
"It's amazing how many people come to the Ice Palace and don't know anything about Saranac Lake and where to go or where to eat," she said.
Mayor Clyde Rabideau said he also served as a greeter to train visitors on Saturday.
"There was quite a few people that got off the train, but as I was handing things out and trying to answer questions, other people were walking by me and I didn't get to talk to them," Rabideau said.
Some people even had a hard time finding the sidewalk on Depot Street to get them started toward downtown, walking instead down the paved area next to the railroad tracks.
"When they started going, they were still confused," Rabideau said, suggesting some signage is needed to direct people downtown.
Brill recommended putting stenciled footprints on the sidewalk that lead people downtown from the depot.
"We'll get better at this," Rabideau said.
Anyone interested in being a volunteer ambassador can contact the village Community Development office at 518-891-4150.