Great Camp Sagamore on Sagamore Lake (click on photos to enlarge)
A couple weeks ago TD and I had the pleasure of attending the wedding of Maggie Boehlert, who is the daughter of my cousin Peter, and her beau Adam Blossom. Peter and I are the same age and he was my childhood pal. Growing up, we usually spent a week or more in the summer and the week between Christmas and New Year's together, and we laughed nonstop. This wedding weekend was held at Great Camp Sagamore on Sagamore Lake in the Adirondacks in upstate New York, and TD and I had a wonderful time.
In a rented car we zipped up the New York State Thruway and then the Northway to Lake George where we then drove west into the Adirondack Park for about an hour and half to arrive ultimately at Great Camp Sagamore near Raquette Lake. It was a fascinating place to visit. Camp Sagamore was originally built in 1897 by William West Durant, who designed and built camps in the Great Adirondack Style using native materials like logs and cut stone. Durant was forced to sell due to financial problems, and businessman and sportsman Alfred Vanderbilt (pictured below) purchased the property in 1901. Returning from England in 1915 aboard the Lusitania, Alfred was among the 1198 killed when the ocean liner was sunk by a German submarine. Alfred's widow Margaret, his second wife and heiress to the Bromo-Seltzer fortune, carried on, expanding the property and entertaining the leading lights of Hollywood, Broadway and Washington, D.C. at the camp in the woods.
The Vanderbilts used the camp until the 1950s. It eventually became a non-profit and today Great Camp Sagamore is used for educational purposes as a place where visitors can explore Adirondack culture and nature.
When we arrived we checked in. I loved our big room in the Lodge, which the literature said was the Vanderbilt master bedroom.
It had wonderful camp furniture made out of logs and branches, and the old-fashioned patterned wallpaper featured deer in the woods. A big fireplace was made out of locally-cut granite.
New York City was boiling hot when we left but up in the Adirondacks the air was cool and Sagamore Lake so quiet and serene.
On Saturday we had fun visiting with my cousins and meeting other friends and family members. TD and I walked around the grounds which was dotted with cottages, a blacksmith shop, school house and carriage house, as well as a real bowling alley.
In the morning we took a guided canoe tour of the lake. At one point we passed an overgrown steep incline down to the water which we were told had been a winter snow sledding hill; somewhere in the camp was a photograph of guest Gary Cooper sledding down the steep hill to the lake. Later in the day we had a refreshing swim in the lake out to the raft.
On Saturday night at last it was time for the main event. We all gathered in the boat house on the edge of the lake and Maggie processed in on the arms of her mother and father to marry Adam. Afterwords, Maggie and Adam in the center gathered for a photo with my cousin Peter and his wife Lorie on the right and sister Dottie and her husband Bryce on the left - Good looking group, no? Congrats to the newlyweds!
Guests filed into the Dining Hall where we sat at great long tables decorated with white country flowers. The delicious family-style dinner was catered by Sisters Bistro, a restaurant in nearby Old Forge.
After dinner we headed up to the Play House (yes, the Vanderbilts had a Play House) for locally-made ice cream sandwiches. Peter and Maggie had a father-daughter dance together.
And then the DJ let loose with some rowdy rock 'n roll for dancing late into the night.
The next morning we stirred to fortify ourselves with breakfast in the
Dining Hall overlooking the peaceful lake.
Soon it was time to be on our way. We said goodbyes and left on Sunday with tales of the Vanderbilts and memories of Maggie as a beautiful bride –