We sadly checked out of our cozy homes away home at the Blue Spruce and headed out of Old Forge...
we had a seriously bad breakfast at this place- don't go there - they don't have a clue about crispy bacon- you would think we were back in new Zealand where TB and I couldn't find a piece of CRISPY bacon to save a life- ours or any one's....
We were on task to arrive for the ten AM tour of Great Camp Sagamore - a Vanderbilt home from the late 1800s... Today it is used for inter-generational camps for grandparents and grand kids through Road Scholar as well as some other group activities and is run by a non profit - I will comment more on it after the photos tell their story-
down a four mile dirt road with only a sign at the highway- you find the outbuildings of the camp and the gift shop-
an exhibit in the hall begins to assist in seeing the entire set up here-
drawings and photos of the main lodge-
the canoe building shed-
the barn (now visitor's center where you see a film before the tour)
some exhibits before the tour-
another photo of the main lodge-
the school house for the staff members kids from this camp and others nearby-
the blacksmith's shop- every thing hand made - in the era of the "arts and crafts" movement...
the excellent tour guide Kate- begins showing us the camp buildings for the swells who came to visit- they call them "sports" but they were pretty much anything but....
there is a lot of discussion about the elements of the "great camp" style- the bark peeled from trees (which kills them) to use as a decorative (back to nature) motif for the siding of the buildings-
the stone fireplace had rocks brought in with moss growing on them and the moss was tended to for years as part of the illusion of "nature"-
we finally come into sight of the main lodge-
a postcard like view-
the dining hall-
the maple syrup was supposed to be the golden color of the tables -
some of the cottages at the camp for guests-
the kitchen at the playroom (pool, billiards, cards etc...)
they had an open air bowling alley so they could pretend to be out in nature while bowling- (seriously?)
even the switch plates were made of "bark"-
Sagamore was one of a number of "great camps" in its era-
We left the camp discussing the useless swells(sports) who built it and their lifestyle.. stopped for lunch at the first and what turned out to be the only place to eat along our chosen route for the afternoon- a golf course club house where we had a very nice lunch of wraps and salads and then onward. We thought after a circuitous route south and a bit west that we would head back into the ADK Park to Lake George area for the evening. That was until we SAW Lake George...if Lake Placid was the rough equivalent of Lake Geneva, Lake George was definitely The Dells... we drove out of town as quickly as we had driven into town and headed back south to Wilton- where we found The Birches right outside of Saratoga and along the road we had spied the Wishing Well our dinner venue for a fancy last night on the road meal....
I will have some wrap up thoughts in a later post but here is a tip- the ADK is big big big- and there are lots of wonderful small towns and villages within its borders- HOWEVER - if you have heard of the place before you can pretty much bet it is not a place you want to visit if you are seeking an alternative to tacky tourist... take our advice- the two places we had heard of Lake Placid and Lake George were the worst two towns we passed through in nine days of byways---- but wait- there's more. So come back for our final day and a wrap up "tomorrow"....