Nestled in New York state’s Adirondack Mountains, the historic Sagamore hotel blends Old World charm with contemporary sophistication.

Considering its rugged beauty and immense natural assets, one way or another upstate New York’s Adirondack region was pre-destined to become a spectacular vacation playground. What ultimately launched this area known today for its cluster of lofty mountains, thousands of lakes, thick forests, millions of acres of parkland and pure clean air was an 1869 book, Adventures in the Wilderness, written by a Boston minister. In it, he recorded vivid personal tales of Adirondack fishing, hunting and canoeing experiences that immediately put what was then a relative hinterland on the map forever.
Inspired by the book, great numbers of people from American presidents to the rich and famous from New York and Philadelphia suddenly wanted to embark on getaways to this stretch of unspoiled wilderness whose only prior importance had been connected to logging and iron ore mining. A New York Times editorial of the period stated that “Within an easy day‘s ride from our great city….is a tract of country fitted to make a Central Park for the world.” With all of its new found attention, the region quickly became a fashionable place to holiday which first led to the hasty building of rustic inns, followed shortly thereafter by a construction burst of lavish hotels. Among those that sprang up in the 1800s was the Sagamore, an enduring establishment three hours south of Montreal that I have repeatedly gravitated to for the past several years.

Located in the southern Adirondacks, the Sagamore is situated on a private 70-acre island (attached to the mainland by a bridge) on Lake George at the small town of Bolton Landing. Built in the architectural style reminiscent of 16th-century England, it opened as one of the most posh hotels in the Adirondacks. Over its 123-year history the hotel that has become an all-seasons resort was ravaged twice by fires but multi-million dollar reconstructions carefully returned it to its original grandeur. In fact, each time the Sagamore was rebuilt the result was a bigger, better version that incorporated all of the modern amenities without sacrificing the charm and character that first made it famous.

Today, this Adirondack jewel that’s listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places contains 350 rooms and suites, 100 of them in the main building, together with the remaining 250 in various lodges (many of them featuring fireplaces and private patios) overlooking Lake George. Five restaurants cover the gamut from pub-style food to elegant dining and other amenities include a full-service spa, fitness centre and tennis.

However, what particularly attracts me to the Sagamore is its championship, 18-hole Donald Ross-designed golf course. Originally built in 1929 and restored to its original Scottish character in 1985, this challenging and creative track winds through stands of hardwood forest taking full advantage of the splendid Adirondack Mountain scenery. Moreover, in 2004 Conde Nast Traveler magazine ranked the course among the top 100 golf resorts in North America and the Caribbean, and in 2003 Travel & Leisure Golf magazine named it the most underrated golf resort in the U.S.
Although I have never visited the Sagamore in winter, I can picture its mountain setting being perfect for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice fishing and skating on Lake George. Also, a complimentary hotel shuttle service takes guests to nearby Gore Mountain for downhill skiing. During summer, the activity options (in addition to golf) are endless: fishing, water skiing, wind surfing, kayaking, hiking, biking and white water rafting nearby. Summer is also the time you’ll see The Morgan plying the waters of Lake George. The Morgan is the Sagamore’s antique, 72-foot classic-designed motor launch that takes hotel guests on lunch or dinner cruises and every Thursday evening in July and August there’s a special fireworks cruise.

A host of off-site activities equally abound reflecting the area’s rich cultural and historical heritage. Among them is Fort Ticonderoga, a restored colonial fortress originally built by the French in 1755.

This must-see attraction that remained active through 1785 houses a museum with war memorabilia, costumed interpreters, weapons and uniforms illustrating the founding of the American nation from the French and Indian Wars through the American Revolution. During summer, visitors to the fort can witness regular fife-and-drum performances and canon firings.

A 15-mile drive south of the Sagamore at the town of Lake George, there’s an abundance of outlet shopping featuring more than 70 name brand stores selling everything from clothing to shoes, sporting goods, household items and electronics at considerably less than regular retail prices. The town is also the home of the Great Escape Fun Park and with more than 100 rides it’s one of New York state’s largest amusement parks.

Also in close proximity to the Sagamore is a host of antique shops and stores selling uniquely Adirondack-type goods including the famous Adirondack chairs together with other rustic furnishings large and small.

Also within easy driving distance from the hotel is the Saratoga Race track at Saratoga Springs. Dating back to the late 1800s, this is America’s oldest race track where harness racing commences in mid-April and extends to mid-November.
For more information about the Sagamore, including rates and special packages, call 1-800-358-3585 or go online at More information about the Adirondacks can be found on the internet at or

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