Roadside America

Star Trek Original Series Set Tour

The Star Trek Original Series Set Tour is one of the most unique things I’ve seen while traveling, and I nearly stumbled on it by mistake. I was visiting Fort Ticonderoga, when on a whim I decided to check Roadside America for tips on other places to see in the area.

The listing seemed too good to be true. A replica of the original Star Trek set, built by an Elvis impersonator in an old grocery store? Crazy! It also just opened that summer, in August 2016. I didn’t realize I was among the first to get a look inside.

James Cawley and friends began building a faithful reconstruction of the set in 1997 after receiving copies of the original blueprints. They reproduced everything in meticulous detail. What wasn’t in the blueprints, they took from photographs and screen stills.

Cawley explained the purpose of the tour is to show the sets and studio equipment as the actors would have seen when filming there in 1966. Part and parcel of that is to show some of the visual tricks and optical illusions that were used to bring the ship to life, including various objects that could be stuck to the same corridor wall and moved around to make it appear as though the actors were walking down different passageways.

It’s hard to describe the feeling of standing on the transporter pad or sitting in the captain’s chair on the bridge. For a non-actor who’s never set foot in a television studio before, the experience is, for lack of a better word, magical. It’s like a childhood fantasy suddenly becomes reality.

Cawley holds an annual event, called Trekonderoga, the last weekend in August. It features some of the actors and actresses from the original show, presentations and workshops, a costume contest (of course), actors’ panel, and autographs and photo ops. Cawley even performs as Elvis and his band.

The Star Trek Original Series Set Tour is located at 112 Montcalm Street in Ticonderoga, New York. Tour times and dates seem to vary depending on the month. Check out the website for details. The set tour costs $22.50, plus $3.47 in taxes and fees. This is definitely a once in a lifetime experience, and worth the price of admission.

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