4 Historic Adirondack Inns Capture Past and Color the Present
Historic hues and fall foliage create a captivating and colorful autumnal adventure in the New York Adirondacks. ILoveInns.com highlights Lake Clear Lodge and Retreat, Friends Lake Inn, Saratoga Arms and Captain Schoonmaker’s Bed & Breakfast.
By Shirley Anitra Swagerty
Lake Clear Lodge and Retreat Lake Clear, New York
Four generations of the original pioneer family have run the European-style Lake Clear lodge and Retreat surrounded by 25 acres of colorful Adirondack scenery and 175 feet of private New York lakefront. For more than a century, inviting accommodations and delicious German cuisine have been offered amid an Old World ambiance. Cathy and Ernest Hohmeyer share a sense of place they call the “Adirondack spirit,” offering interpretive vacation experiences and educational features with passion and experience.
The historic significance of Lake Clear Lodge is also important for its part in being a strategic commerce point. Originally the Great Woods were only accessible by Indian trails and water routes. The scenic beauty and the railroad, with a New York City connection to Lake Clear birthed the rich heyday of the grand hotels and great camp of the Adirondacks. This region has inspired many notables including Longfellow, Thoreau, Einstein and the Roosevelts and became the playground of the rich and famous.
Lake Clear is one of 58 bodies of water in the northeast quadrant of the 6-million-acre Adirondack Park. The St. Regis Wilderness area provides an almost endless amount of picturesque recreational opportunities right outside the door and Lake Placid Olympic sites are nearby. Vivid fall foliage attracts leaf peepers, but this region boasts year-round color and activities.
Friends Lake Inn Chestertown, New York
Surrounded by the beauty of the Adirondack Mountains, Friends Lake Inn overlooks the small, pristine lake. John and Trudy Phillips have made significant renovations to the intimate country inn. Luxury accommodations offer pampering amenities and the inn’s highly acclaimed restaurant entices the palate with creative New-American cuisine and a superior wine selection. Chef Matthew Bolton and Sous Chef Scott Dewar designed an innovative seasonal menu for autumn dining in the Adirondacks. The flavorful regional foods are as colorful as the gorgeous scenery. The inn lives up to its credo of “perfection without pretense.”
Early Chestertown’s primary industry was the tanneries and the local workers were lodged at this landmark inn. Logging was also at its peak at that time and the bark of trees, a by-product, was used to soften hides. During the Prohibition Era, Adirondack inns became a popular refuge from hot, crowded city life. Guests arrived on the train and were transported to the inn by horse and carriage. The festive atmosphere was filled with camaraderie and games during the day. Evening was an extravagant affair with guests dressed in formal attire for drinks, dinner and dancing to a live band.
Saratoga Arms Saratoga Springs, New York
An award-winning historic boutique hotel, Saratoga Arms is family-owned and operated by Noel and Kathleen Smith. A two-phase renovation project enlarged the downtown Saratoga Springs concierge hotel that features state-of-the-art conference areas, upscale guest rooms, a fitness center and massage rooms amid authentic Victorian design. Handwritten tiles in each shower display facts about Saratoga that reflect the significance of the area’s history. Seasonal packages are created and can be personalized for memorable visits. The inn was built by the grandson of the proprietor of the town’s first inn and commercial bathhouse.
Native Americans called the area’s natural mineral springs “Saratoga,” which means Place of Fast Healing Waters. Saratoga Springs has long attracted visitors who come to “take the waters.” The area is also known for being the home of Saratoga Race Course, America’s oldest thoroughbred track. After the races, genteel celebrations were held on the massive wraparound porch of the Second Empire brick inn.
Captain Schoonmaker’s Bed & Breakfast High Falls, New York
Ten landscaped wooded acres surround Captain Schoonmaker’s Bed & Breakfast in colorful Hudson Valley between the Catskill and Shawangunk Mountains. Judy and Bill Klock provide warm hospitality. Thoughtful details make each stay relaxing and refreshing in a delightful setting. The High Falls, New York, location at the base of Mohonk Mountains, boasts two seasonal waterfalls, a trout stream and the remains of a stone grist mill. The historic farmhouse was built by its namesake, a reknown Revolutionary War hero.
Dutch settlers turned the region’s original flood plain into the nation’s breadbasket during the Revolution. Henry Hudson called it the “best land for farming he ever saw,” and it is now known as the Hudson River Valley. The Delaware & Hudson Canal Museum at water’s edge in High Falls invites you to follow the fascinating engineering of the famous D&H Canal. Go through a working model of a lock and dioramas as well as seeing the actual stonework and walking the towpaths along locks 16 to 20.Take a side trip to Rondout Harbor, once bustling with anthracite-barge traffic, now dotted with marinas, restaurants and shopping.
The gorgeous Adirondack area in New York provides a plethora of seasonal activities to fully experience the stunning scenic beauty and feel immersed in the region’s captivating and colorful cultural heritage while staying at inviting bed and breakfast inns.