‘A Thrill At 3 Miles An Hour’

Try North­east Off-Road Ad­ven­tures

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - CHAMBER NEWS -

The Shawan­gunk Moun­tains are beau­ti­ful from just about any an­gle, but now you can ex­pe­ri­ence them from be­hind the wheel of a Jeep at North­east Off-Road Ad­ven­tures (NORA).

Ad­ven­ture-seek­ers from all over the coun­try are mak­ing the trek to Ellenville for the ex­pe­ri­ence of low-speed, of­froad driv­ing in­struc­tion. Own­ers Scott and Su­san Trager and the NORA team of trail guides lead driv­ers through miles of pris­tine driv­ing trails and ob­sta­cles at a 68-acre moun­tain­top fa­cil­ity.

Driv­ers can use their own 4-wheel drive ve­hi­cle or rent one of NORA’s Jeeps for the day.

“You’re off the road, you’re off the pave­ment, you’re in the woods and you’re in the beau­ti­ful Shawan­gunk Moun­tains,” ex­plained Su­san Trager. “You’re get­ting a thrill at 3 miles an hour.

“All of a sud­den your left wheel is up, your right wheel is down, and you’re look­ing at your dash­board at a 45-de­gree an­gle. That can be a pretty scary thing, but your ve­hi­cle is cer­tainly ca­pa­ble of do­ing that with­out miss­ing a beat.”

NORA, which opened two years ago, of­fers classes by ap­point­ment only for stu­dents who want to learn how to drive off-road.

“Whether you are a novice or you have off-road driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, NORA of­fers a fun-filled adren­a­line rush for all,” said Scott Trager, an off-road en­thu­si­ast.

Public and pri­vate classes are avail­able, in­clud­ing be­gin­ner and ad­vanced skills train­ing, cor­po­rate ad­ven­ture team build­ing and multi-day driv­ing events. Classes are usu­ally held on week­ends and by ap­point­ment.

Su­san Trager said a typ­i­cal ses­sion gets started with a 90-minute in­tro­duc­tion in NORA’s open-air pav­il­ion, fol­lowed by a trip to the park­ing lot, ob­sta­cle course and then the trails.

“The trails are groomed and pris­tine,” she said. “We haven’t had any sort of ac­ci­dents or scrapes. The trails are main­tained by our em­ploy­ees.”

Lunch is served on the trail and every­one talks about the ex­pe­ri­ence be­fore the af­ter­noon ses­sion, Su­san Trager said.

“It’s a lit­tle less hands-on from the guides,” she said. “We kind of let the stu­dents feel their way while they’re driv­ing on the trails. Every­one is al­ways to­gether. They’re never off on their own. It’s a group-learn­ing event.”

Peo­ple come from all over the United States and even Puerto Rico, Canada, United King­dom, Aus­tria and Italy to hit the trails.

“We’re get­ting calls all the time from all over,” Su­san Trager said. “We had some­body come up from Florida

“Whether you are a novice or you have off-road driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, NORA of­fers a fun-filled adren­a­line rush for all.” – Scott Trager

re­cently.”

Scott Trager said NORA has 25 5-star rat­ings on Face­book and sev­eral more 5-star rat­ings on TripAd­vi­sor.

NORA’s web­site (www. ny­of­froad­driv­ing.com) is full of tes­ti­mo­ni­als, such as this one from a driver in New Jersey: “I can’t say enough good stuff about the com­pany. Af­ter do­ing the en­try-level class and trail ride to­day, I am hooked and want more hands on knowl­edge. To sum it up in just a cou­ple of words … su­per pro­fes­sional, su­per car­ing, su­per knowl­edge­able.”

An­other driver writes: “I couldn’t be hap­pier with my find­ings and choice to at­tend one of their be­gin­ner classes. The folks at NORA are pro­fes­sional, well ed­u­cated, and love what they are do­ing. That is ev­i­dent from the minute you drive onto their grounds and start meet­ing peo­ple.”

The Tragers bought the prop­erty six years ago and were hope­ful about a pos­si­ble casino open­ing in Ellenville, but that plan fell through. They are equally thrilled about de­vel­oper Michael Tre­anor’s plans to bring Nevele ProS­port, a $150-mil­ion com­plex for youth sports to the for­mer Nevele Ho­tel prop­erty in Ellenville.

“We just fell in love with the prop­erty and fell in love with Ellenville,” Su­san Trager said. “There is just a lot of po­ten­tial for this lit­tle town to sort of put it back on the map in a very pos­i­tive way.

“The hik­ing is beau­ti­ful. The restau­rants are great … the peo­ple are won­der­ful. Ellenville is go­ing through a re­nais­sance right now and we’re proud to be a part of it.”

The Cham­ber hooked NORA up with the chil­dren at the Cen­ter for Spec­trum Ser­vices in Ellenville, al­low­ing them to see the Jeeps and honk horns re­cently.

“Go­ing to the Mix­ers is great,” Su­san Trager said. “When we can do it, we’re more than happy to re­source and work with peo­ple at the Cham­ber.”

NORA also gives back to local pantries and other com­mu­nity groups.

“We’re look­ing to ex­pand and build a con­fer­ence cen­ter and be more of a pres­ence in the Ul­ster County area,” Su­san Trager said. “We want to con­tinue to net­work with peo­ple and bring peo­ple into the area so they can see what it has to of­fer.”

North­east Off-Road Ad­ven­tures, lo­cated in Ellenville, can be reached at (845) 514-9895 and www. ny­of­froad­driv­ing.com.

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