At AHRN.com, we want to offer our readers a place to turn to when facing the challenge of a PCS move. You know how it is when you get orders. You go to your Facebook friends list, find someone who is there or has been recently and get all the details! We’re sharing the little things that help you to make a home at Fort Drum! Whether you’re moving to Fort Drum soon or have been here a lifetime, we hope this guide will make things easier.
What are the best neighborhoods?
The historic area of Watertown, NY is a great place to live. Some families choose to live in Sackets Harbor, a very quaint town that borders Lake Ontario.
What schools are considered the best?
Watertown elementary schools get high marks and General Brown schools are highly respected!
Is there anywhere traffic is especially bad?
GPS is usually a good indicator, except on post. Traffic is at its worst immediately surrounding the main and secondary 24 hour gates. Aside from that traffic is relatively acceptable throughout the area. The traffic near the main post theater can be very heavy during the duty day because training is often conducted there.
Are there any installation specific policies?
PT belts are color coded. Yellow for junior enlisted. Green for e5 and up. Blue for officers.
There used to be a policy that you had to travel at 10 miles per hour when passing so much as a single pedestrian on either side of the road. This was due to someone who nearly struck the post commander with his POV a few years ago. However, I don’t know if that policy still stands.
Expect morning PT to be an hour and a half long and no outdoor PT when it is below zero. The gyms will be full, so go in the barracks hallways and do some calisthenics.
There is a 70 mile travel limit without an approved pass, just far enough to get to Syracuse, but no further. You need a pass to really go anywhere.
Where do I (service member) actually report to when I arrive?
Clark Hall is the main point for in processing and will contact your gaining unit’s staff duty to guide you to their location. It is easily accessible from the front gate and is directly next to the PX and Burger King.
What is the easiest gate to get in during high traffic times?
All of the gates are a pretty accessible.
Can I get off post for lunch?
Yes. Traffic isn’t that bad for lunch.
Where do you like to do your grocery shopping? Where is the best produce? The best prices?
The Commissary is a good option, though it isoften packed because of the amount of families who live on the post. However, there is a 24 hour Super Wal-Mart immediately off the post that served me well in my time there.
What are your favorite local restaurants?
My favorite is Brew Pub in Sackets Harbor. But you have to try Art’s Jug and Cavallario’s Cuccina. In addition, you MUST go to the Golden Unicorn for breakfast. They have the biggest pancakes ever…beware! And, you can find pretty much every major chain restaurant is near the base.
Where do you like to do your clothes/home shopping?
I’d recommend you visit Salmon Run Mall.
Where do you go if you want to grab a coffee with friends and relax?
Sackets Harbor, though I prefer to stay on post with friends and attend small gatherings at their homes. There are plenty of camp grounds and biking trails around too, as well as some lakes for jet skiing and swimming. I recommend you adopt some outdoor recreation hobbies. There are lots of beautiful sights to see.
Best spot for a date night?
Sackets Harbor, Art’s Jug, Cavallario’s Cuccina, or Stefano’s Pizzeria & Restaurant for dinner and you can’t go wrong with a movie at Salmon Run Mall! It’s also nice to spend Spring, Summer and Fall evenings at the Black River drive-in movie theater too!
What do you LOVE about your duty station?
It’s well taken care of. And, it’s easy to travel to the major cities like New York and Boston from this location.
What else would you tell your friend who has just received orders?
It snows a lot in Fort Drum and they have plenty of snow removal equipment. Pack lots of warm clothing. Do not expect the base to close for snow unless it snows three feet or more. Also, Junior soldiers and NCOs should expect to receive training on how to operate snow removal equipment and to be on call for snow removal operations. Last but not least – don’t bring your guns!
Thank you Micah for sharing your experiences at Fort Drum!
We Want To Know:
Have you lived at Fort Drum? What would you add to these questions?