There’s a special quality to our Adirondack home that seems to bring out creativity, passion, and poetry in those who come to visit—and that might just be the reason Saranac Lake has served as inspiration for poets, writers, artists, and creative minds for well over a century.
Some of the greatest works of poetry, fiction, and music in our nation’s history found their beginnings right here in our neighborhood, where our famously fresh air and rejuvenating atmosphere have long drawn creative minds seeking an escape from busy city life.
Take, for instance, one of our most famous residents and creator of the classics Treasure Island and Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: Robert Louis Stevenson. A literary celebrity in his own lifetime, Stevenson earned his fame as a novelist, essayist, poet, and playwright early in his career—and although that was not his initial career path, it was this talent for the written word that would propel him to fame.
Coming from a family of lighthouse engineers, Stevenson first developed his passion for writing influenced by his own time spent sick and in bed as a child with chronic respiratory illness. Over time, this passion for writing would grow… as would his struggles with illness.
Given Saranac Lake’s fame as a retreat for the treatment of tuberculosis thanks to the pioneering work of Dr. E.L. Trudeau, Stevenson spent the winter of 1887 and 1888 at the Baker Cottage, which overlooks the Saranac River near Moody Pond in Saranac Lake. It was during this exceptionally cold winter that Stevenson, wrapped in blankets and sequestered to his living room, would produce some of his most formative essays, and would lay the groundwork for his later novels, poems, and writings.
But Stevenson isn’t the only famous poet and writer to grace the banks of our lakes. Our home has been a refuge for a wide variety of local poets, creators, musicians, and literary minds—and remains so to this day.
For over a century, Saranac Lake hosted numerous famous poets and authors, including early explorers like transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson to world-renowned composers like Béla Bartók. Even American author Sylvia Plath once visited for a winter getaway (and reportedly broke her leg skiing Mount Pisgah), and has since left her mark on our thriving local art scene.
Today, our village remains a powerful force for poets, artists, and writers who still flock to our area seeking artistic communion with nature—and as any visit to the Adirondack Center for Writing or a poetry performance at Waterhole Music Lounge will demonstrate, those same passions that drove Stevenson, Plath, and Emerson still influence our local poets today.
The best way to soak up a bit of this inspiration for yourself: plan your visit here at Hotel Saranac, and get ready to experience all that our artistic, poetic atmosphere has to offer.