Our Adirondack home has earned something of a reputation as a getaway for the best and brightest thinkers, writers, scientists, and storytellers—and that’s no accident. In fact, it’s based in a century and a half of history, starting with the original “Philosopher’s Camp.”

It all began back in 1858, when a group of 10 of the nation’s leading thinkers and philosophers came seeking rest and rejuvenation among the Adirondack wilderness. Together, they traveled from Boston to our own nearby Follensby Pond, located just between Raquette Falls and Tupper Lake, to begin an experiment in seclusion and to take inspiration from the wilderness.

Perhaps most notable among this early group of Adirondack explorers was the famed philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, a leading figure of the transcendentalist movement and legendary poet, thinker, and lecturer in his own right.

Emerson gathered nine trusted scholars—including scientist Louis Agassiz, Romantic poet James Russell Lowell, naturalist Jeffries Wyman, and other leading figures of the day—to seek out a spot in nature here in the Adirondacks… and, so, the Philosopher’s Camp of Follensby Pond was born.

It was here, at the Philosopher’s Camp, that Emerson (along with his illustrious travel companions) would cement one of the founding features of transcendental thought: a deep, spiritual connection between nature, art, and literature.

Today, that transcendental connection still bonds our local lakes and mountains with the spirit, heritage, and inviting atmosphere that’s so native to the Adirondacks.

Whether you’re inspired to come to our lakes seeking that same connection to nature—or just a relaxing and rejuvenating rest in the same spaces enjoyed by these Philosophers—there’s no better place to center your stay than right here at the historic Hotel Saranac.

Plan Your Stay

Long a camp for history’s leading thinkers, our area has a way of motivating bold ideas. What will yours be?