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Saranac Lake Travel Guide: 37 reviews and 46 photos

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Many people who think of "New York" only imagine New York City, but New York State is also the home of an incredible park with 3000 lakes and ponds, 2000 miles of hiking trails, and some of the most beautiful mountains in the world. This 6 million acre treasure is called The Adirondack Park. Of the 6 million acres, about 2.5 million acres are public lands, owned by the state of New York. The remaining land is privately owned, and includes a number of interesting towns and villages. Aproximately 130,000 people live in the towns and villages that fall within the Park's boundaries. The towns include Lake Placid, home of the 1980 Winter Olympics, and Saranac Lake, which this VT page will feature.

The Adirondack Park was established by the New York State Legislature in 1892. The Constitution of New York State decrees that the public land in the Adirondack Park can never be developed and that they "shall be forever kept as wild forest lands."

Accommodations in the park range from simple camping to the most luxorious resorts you can imagine. There are over 100 campgrounds (both state and privately managed). Check my tips for information about a range of accommodations.

Saranac Lake holds a major place in my heart and soul; it is one of the most beautiful places on this earth. My grandmother had a summer house on Upper Saranac, and while growing up, I spent part of every summer there. I have dozens of cousins in Tupper Lake, Lake Clear, Saranac Lake, and Lake Placid-- they educated me in the wonders of the Adirondacks. For a few years I had the luxury of staying in Saranac Lake for the entire summer. After many years away, I returned in July 2004.

If you enjoy the mountains, lakes, hiking, canoeing, fishing, you will be in your glory in the Adirondacks.

And if you enjoy winter sports, this region offers a multitude of options.

For general information about the Adirondacks, visit this website

For the official Saranac Lake web site, go here

Living on the Lake

My grandmother and her twin sister at Saranac Lake, a long, long time ago (probably about 1920). One winter she was driving her car across the lake (then a fairly typical practice, as it is very cold in the winter and the ice is quite thick; as I type this on January 16, 2004, it is minus 22 centigrade/minus 7 Farenheit there). The ice broke and the car plunged into the water. I am very grateful she escape safely; otherwise I wouldn't be here typing this!

An Adirondack "Camp"

Wealthy New Yorkers built beautiful summer "camps" in the Adirondacks. These were summer homes, often mansion-sized, built in a rustic Adirondack style. Some survive to this day; for example, The Point, an exclusive hotel I describe under accommodations, was a Rockefeller Camp.

My great-grandfather was a caretaker at the Agar Camp. My grandmother used to speak of the beautiful grounds and buildings. The owners came for a few weeks each summer, and the rest of the year it was "home" for my grandmother and her family.

Pros and Cons
  • In a nutshell:As my grandmother always said: "god's country"
  • Intro Updated Nov 12, 2004
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Reviews (24)

Comments (35)

  • Pawtuxet's Profile Photo
    Feb 2, 2009 at 1:58 PM

    What a beautiful natural area....ideal for an outdoors person into hiking, skiing, camping. Personally loved the expensive hotel...oh, my! Adirondack style is very much in vogue again. Met a woman from this town recently. Thanks for showing me around.

  • KiKitC's Profile Photo
    Dec 15, 2006 at 3:49 AM

    Happy birthday! I think I would have loved your grandparents task of tending that camp year round...how beautiful!

  • kucha's Profile Photo
    Jul 20, 2006 at 8:20 AM

    Wow. This photo looks amazingly familiar. We recently bought a place on Lower St. Regis Lake and looked at several homes on Upper Saranac first. I could swear this red cabin was right next door to something we saw!!!

  • acemj's Profile Photo
    Jul 8, 2005 at 4:38 AM

    This page definitely inspires me to go here. I'll have to find the Gulch!! Looks like fun.

  • scottishvisitor's Profile Photo
    May 27, 2005 at 3:31 PM

    Great links to great songs - very clever I enjoyed my vt tour lovely place indeed

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Mar 2, 2005 at 1:18 AM

    Isn't it great to have cousins!

  • belgianchocolate's Profile Photo
    Feb 18, 2005 at 7:54 PM

    Your grandma must have been quit special. Great pictures...I love the architecture of the camps and the boat houses. Quit some nature on this page ; I like it.

  • chodearm's Profile Photo
    Feb 11, 2005 at 7:51 AM

    I always forget how lucky one in NYC or LI is to have this not too far north.

  • ronaldpk's Profile Photo
    Jan 31, 2005 at 6:50 PM

    Upstate New York is my favourite area of North America. I love the Hudson Valley with its cozy towns, romantic landscape and friendly people. A great getaway place from noisy and stressful New York City!

  • Maillekeukeul's Profile Photo
    Nov 14, 2004 at 5:47 AM

    Indeed, a place to visit... Splendid pics, witty tips...


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