When we travel as a family, it is usually for two different purposes.
1. It is a stop along the way
The first is a stop along the way to our destination, and while we seek out the unique and different, we are tired and are looking for ease and convenience to continue the journey.
While comfortable and safe, the rooms in these places are differentiated not by their individual characteristics but by number of beds and digits on the door. Look at one, and the next is much the same. They serve a purpose for us road warriors, and we are glad they exist on those days of covering many miles.
2. Making it a destination
The second type of travel for us is once we reach our destination. How often have we picked a place to travel to because the place to stay looks cool - and warm - and is representative of the area, things to do that are different on site or nearby, family run, and intimate, so you are not a number?
And speaking of a number, this may sound crazy; we look for places where the rooms do not have numbers but names or, in some cases, pictures and symbols!
While this does not mean that this is a great place to stay, it means each room has a story to tell and is a character and part of the owners' personal, personable, and unique theme. It seems if they care about the individual rooms, they care about the individual staying in them.
The story behind the names
So you may wonder, when you look at our lodgings, why do they have all of these crazy names, and why are they all different? We call them artisan lodgings for a reason. When different generations of the family were building them, it seemed they blossomed with their distinct nature - and we let them - in fact, it was part of the design.
I can remember more than once when Cathy’s father, one of the great Adirondack builders and a Yale engineering graduate, had this plan for April Melody and November Moon chalets to be the same. Still, as we built them, the designs evolved as if the wood inside was connected to the trees outside, curating the design. There may be some truth to that as we do our own milling, and individual lodgings are built mainly from wood from the estate. They are connected!
He designed the very first chalet our generation built, and we remember this extraordinary November Moon as if it was nature’s welcome light to travelers seeking a connection to nature, hence the name November Moon.
Loons Watch is our second-story suite in the Guesthouse that overlooks our Great Camp lawn and picturesque beach on pristine Lake Clear. When we were restoring it, there was a long period when we started to work each day and ended at night, the lake always seemed to be still, and the loons would greet us and say good night. And you know, there always comes a point in a construction project where your patience is tried, and the loons were singing to us, and we felt they were saying, “Guests will find reconnection here, don’t give up.” How could we not call it that?! Oh, yes, when you stay there, a family of loons may still greet you. By the way, Lake Clear is a migratory lake for them, and often there may be loons rather than boats on the water!
Eagle’s Nest is the top-floor suite at our Lakehouse with a beautiful view and a large enclosed porch. Our family loves eagles, and they used to be so rare here - until we were building the suite, and lo and behold, an eagle could be found on a tree branch a safe distance away. We thought it was an unusual occurrence, yet it reappeared consistently. When we finished, we found the eagle had built its own lodging, a nest down to the right of our beach!
A story to tell
Our lodgings have different names, each with its unique story. We have added these stories to our new website, which will be released soon! The one common denominator was that they sparked thinking of a bigger picture, a more significant meaning, that we were not building or restoring a room but discovering the nature around us, reimagining ours, and offering a destination where you can reconnect with yours.
Today, we may be one of the only Great Camps in the Adirondack Park that is still family-operated, and family-run tourism businesses are becoming harder to find. A tourism study I read (I was the founding director of an Adirondack Park sustainable development organization) indicated that generational family-run businesses are disappearing. What was common for a business to be run by a family for four or five generations has shortened considerably. I am sure you have seen that too. It's a shame as part of the story or character of a place is the family legacy and, as a guest, being able to communicate directly with the owner/operators.
We are certainly the longest, working on nearly 140 years and many generations.
Our family looks forward to meeting yours and inviting you to be part of a unique, fun, and imaginative experience that is one of the last of its kind.