Thursday, August 13, 2015

OTF WITH PHD IN THE ADK

Canoeing on Saranac Lake

Snow appears every day in Lake Placid

Adorable downtown Saranac Lake 

Camping at Fish Creek Ponds
Walk along the tree tops at The Wild Walk in Tupper Lake
It's safe to say I fell in love with New York state when we moved here seven years ago, but little did I know a few years later I would fall head over heels with Adirondack State Park.  Encompassing 1/3 of the total land area of New York and bigger than the state of Massachusetts, the Adirondack State Park (ADK) is the largest park in the continental United States, with 6.1 million protected acres, 10,000 lakes, 30,000 miles of rivers and streams and just a short five hour drive from Manhattan.  Last month we went OTF (On The Fly) for a week of camping, glamping, canoeing, hiking and touring of this great area so we could unwind, recharge and re-group.  Our focus was on the Saranac Lake region with Saranac Lake and Lake Placid as our host towns.  Saranac Lake became the retreat for the elite of Manhattan, where families like The Vanderbilts and Rockefellers built great camps on the edges of Saranac Lake. The term "vacation" is said to have originated in the ADK as wealthy New Yorkers would "vacate" the steamy city in the summer months and retreat to the cool mountains.  Robert Louis Stevenson, Mark Twain, and Albert Einstein are just a few who owned cabins in the area. For those who, like me, think of the stink and filth of Manhattan when picturing New York, a trip to the incredible ADK will introduce you to another world.
SARANAC LAKE: Comprised of several lakes, Upper Saranac the largest, canoeing or kayaking the area is the best way to get a sneak peak at the incredible camps peppering the lakes, most passed on from generation to generation.  When the rare camp pops on the real estate market, most sell for no less than seven figures. The village of Saranac Lake has many historical buildings, wonderful restaurants, cafes and great antiquing. (www.saranaclake.com)
LAKE PLACID: one of the three places in the world to host the Winter Olympics twice (in 1932 and 1980), located 288 miles from Times Square in Manhattan, Lake Placid is home to Olympic Park (complete with a ski jump) and a treasure trove of family activities.  The adorable village features several outlet stores for those who can't quite get away from it all, restaurants, bars, a movie theater and incredible views of the lake.
GET CAMPY: Fish Creek Ponds Campground is located a fish-toss away from Upper Saranac and accessible via streams and rivers to over thirty lakes, including Saranac. Fish Creek is the only state campground in New York where every site is beach front, and while the campground doesn't offer power, the northern lights will brighten up any ones site. While July tends to be crowded and loud while the kiddos are on vacation, June and August are still crisp, cool and relatively quiet.  A lovely grocery store complete with butcher, ice and beer is just steps from the campground and a boat rental company will bring a canoe or kayak directly to your site.  Not into camping?
GLAMP: The term is starting to bug me as we move further and further away from the idea of camping, but hey, if you aren't into really roughing it, no problem.  Located at the south-eastern tip of the ADK is Lake George, just south of Lake Champlain, both of which form the eastern border of NY with Vermont.  Posh Primitive (www.poshprimitive.com) offers glamped-up cabins and tents for those who want to rough it...kinda!
WALK ON THE WILD SIDE: This year the WILD WALK opened in Tupper Lake, just twenty minutes west of Saranac, which offers an opportunity to walk along the treetops. (www.wildcenter.org).
CABIN FEVER: If camping or glamping isn't your cup of tea, the area offers incredible rentals for a tad more than a hotel stay.  Get a real feel for how the elite retreated in the day by renting a cabin with a boathouse and breathtaking views. (www.saranaclake.com)
ADK: Because I'm always trying to be original, OF COURSE I picked up some cool, comfy chairs from the birthplace of the Adirondack Chair in Blue Mountain Lake, NY.
HOW TO GET THERE: Located just under five hours from Manhattan and slightly over five from Boston, a drive to the area from either city is incredible.  In the fall, don't miss and opportunity to witness the changing colors by hopping on Amtrak in Penn Station and heading north.  While Saranac offers a few flights a day in and out of their tiny airport on Cape Air, most would never make it off the tarmac due to the tiny size of the planes, so Albany International is only a few hours away. www.visitadirondacks.com