If you picture the Roaring Twenties here in New York, and you might imagine something straight out of The Great Gatsby: gilded seaside mansions sunk into an urban-adjacent harbor, with the city lights twinkling just off in the distance. But here in the Adirondacks, the glitz and glamour of the Gilded Age still stand strong in a very different, much more serene setting: the Great Camps located along our lakes.
Constructed by the same Gilded Age royalty that so dominated the big city, the Adirondack Great Camps were created as nature-bound retreats for the wealthy and powerful to escape from the cluster of urban life.
Of course, being the barons they were, these movers and shakers spared no expense when it came to constructing these scenic getaways—leading to the creation of some of the grandest homes our area had ever seen before.
These Great Camps were the epicenter of sophisticated life here in the Adirondacks, hosting everyone from Vanderbilts to U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt during their heyday in the early 20th century.
Although the following decades saw traffic to these Great Camps decrease over time, many of these grand residences remain right here on the banks of our lakes.
Today, visitors from all over the world flock to the Adirondacks to canoe, kayak, and sail around our local lakes, admiring Great Camps like Knollwood Club, Camp Pinebrook, Camp Topridge, and others—many still famous among architects for their unique designs and thorough use of native materials.
Even with so many years of history, these Adirondack Great Camps are a must-visit for any traveler seeking a tour of true Gilded Age construction, and for anyone interested in seeing the history of our region right up close and personal. And, when you’re ready to plan your adventure to the Great Camps, there may be no better complement to the experience than a stay at another historic Gilded Age icon of our area: Hotel Saranac.