Blogger's note: Last week, I decided to be a crazy mom and surprise my seven-year-old son with a day playing hooky - his first missed day of the year! We decided to extend our weekend in the Adirondacks' Schroon Lake Region with a bonus Monday meant for holiday exploring and maybe a little playing in the snow, and of course, dining out!We felt naughty. Skipping school, what rebels we were! Of course, we woke up on Monday morning and Oliver's school was closed for the day - so instead of being rebels, we were just a mom and her kid playing in the snow!
It did however remind me of another time in Schroon Lake, that I could definitely repeat in the near future. And this one I still feel a bit guilty about! Let's do a little rewind back two years, and my wild younger days. :)
Guilty, Guilty, Guilty...
I don’t know that I have ever felt quite as guilty as I did when Greg and I walked into the Schroon Lake Bed & Breakfast - sans 5 year old. I mean, we had already enjoyed a fun Tasting at Paradox Brewery, and a fabulous dinner at Sticks & Stones Bistro & Bar - you can check out the details of that part of our adventure in the first installment of our Schroon Lake weekend away blog.
But… there are a few things Oliver absolutely loves, and the fact that I am about to enjoy one of them without him - a stay away from home - makes me feel fairly sneaky, wicked guilty, and more than a tad bit naughty. I feel like I am about to get caught cheating on a test - if I still took tests. Of course, I am too old for most tests, and I am consoled by the fact that there is no indoor pool (the real reason he likes to go away), and like many Bed & Breakfasts children under 16 are not permitted - we soon understand why.
A Welcome Light On A Chilly Night
It’s a late-fall evening in the Adirondacks, meaning a brisk 35 degrees or so. The Schroon B&B is a welcome sight - lit up in a soft glow and just beckoning us to come in and stay for the night. Unfortunately, we are poor planners - we have not made reservations and so we show up unannounced; luckily a sign indicates there is, indeed, room at the inn. We knock on the door and are greeted by our potential hosts-to-be, Sharon and Mark. As we are ushered into the large living room, I am immediately enveloped in warmth - not just from the beautifully blazing fireplace.
The decor is from an older day and age, I feel at home - well, maybe not my home - I could never keep my house this well-appointed! Antiques, flower arrangements, knick-knacks… that’s all it takes. With a huge sigh of relief, I am glad Oliver has been left at home - his tornado-esque ways would have already destroyed a keepsake or two, I am sure.
Sharon assures us there is room available and asks Mark to give us the tour, "he’s the better tour guide." From the entrance door, to our right is the living room - complete with fireplace, sitting area, books, and dozens (possibly hundreds) of movies. Off to the left is a formal dining room including a grand selection of teas, cocoa, and coffee (I’m sold).We head upstairs. To our left is a luxurious king suite (reserved), to our right an intimate queen room with a sitting room across the hall. And then, at the end of the hallway, we enter the Pine View. This is, of course, my pick. We enter the suite and to our left a grand bedroom opens up before us, complete with an electric fireplace adding to the romantic ambiance. There is a private bath - I realize most lodging has private bathrooms, but when discussing B&Bs this is a question I always ask - I’ve stayed in some lovely properties in Maine, all with shared baths - not particularly to my liking. To the right is a private sitting room complete with fridge, couch, and television - also notable when discussing B&Bs. I open the closet and spy the luxurious bathrobes. This will be our room for the night. I’ve decided.
Back downstairs we fill out paperwork, grab our luggage, and find out the specific etiquette for this lovely establishment. Guests are welcome to come and go - a key is provided for the front door, but quiet is encouraged. We are welcome to take any of the DVDs to our room, and while coffee and baked goods are available around 7:30am, a full breakfast will be served after 8:30am. And, this is pretty cool: Sharon actually asks if we like eggs or have any allergies as they try to accommodate their guests needs. For the record, if it’s made for us, we will eat it. What a treat!
Out And About
Since it’s a Saturday evening and we’re on our own little spontaneous Adirondack vacation, we decide 7pm is too early to call it a night. We head down to Flanagan’s Pub and Grill on Main Street. Now, the last time I was in this Irish Pub was almost 20 years ago. So, wasn’t I surprised when we opened the doors!? I won’t lie, I was expecting a little old-fashioned, hole-in-the-wall, locals spot. Flanagan’s new look (well, new to me) was shocking. Beautiful wooden booths, an open - yet intimate - layout, still the feel of a great locals spot. Clean, welcoming, and a great selection behind the bar; I couldn’t wait to pull up a stool and have a draught (or two). But wait! There was a backroom with a pool table - the night just keeps getting better and better. We grab a couple of sticks and play a few games before the day finally catches up with me.
As we head back to the car we remember there is a fridge in our room. Obviously we should pop into Stewart’s and grab a pint of our favorite ice cream (chocolate peanut butter cup - as if it could be anything else). The thing I love about Stewart’s - no matter the town - is that there are always a few friendly locals enjoying coffee or a snack and looking to strike up a conversation. Tonight, football is the subject at play - and although I have little to contribute, Greg is quickly debating the day’s results. And, I am soon fantasizing about a hot shower, plush bathrobes, and watching a good movie complete with plastic spoons and shared tub of ice-cream.
Sleep It Off
While I manage the first part of my plan, we are soon curled up in a huge bed dozing off as the flames in the fire flicker at our feet. Tonight, there would be no movie. After thinking about this long day which started with a stint outside in the frigid air watching a High School football play-off game, followed by a scenic Adirondack drive, a bit of education and tasting at Paradox Brewery and a dinner out, I can justify falling asleep by 10pm.
We wake to the smell of fresh coffee brewing and something delicious baking. While I would love to lounge here all day, I am also looking forward to talking with Sharon and Mark before exploring a bit more of Schroon Lake and heading home. After an hour or so of procrastinating - because we could, we finally motivate and start our day.
Sharon meets us as we enter the dining room and immediately offers us coffee - a woman after my own heart. There are a variety of juices, and a lemon-zest muffin that I could happily eat every day. Bowls of fresh fruit are proffered before Mark pops out from the kitchen in full chef mode. As he places our plates in front of us, I am overwhelmed. THIS is way more than I had imagined. As an avid hotel-traveler, I was expecting a serve-yourself, family-style breakfast; not a made-to-order plate of edible artistry. Mark gives us the rundown of what is being served, and where the local products came from. I could try to describe the meal in detail but you know that old saying about a picture saying a thousand words, so here you go…
Sharon and Mark are an amazing team. Seamlessly bustling back and forth while simultaneously working, keeping the conversation lively, answering our many questions, and pointing out the many types of birds at the feeders.
We learn about the history of the B&B, how its clientele varies from couples looking for a romantic evening as they pass through town to groups of fisherman visiting for tournaments. The property acts as a welcoming home-base for family reunions, weddings, group events, and athletes and adventurists. And, after staying here, I can confirm the repeat customers are proof that they are offering a great service to the region.
We discuss town and all it has to offer - Sharon is a wealth of knowledge. We learn about the thriving arts community. Mark is a musician and hearing my background in the arts, he immediately lets us know about the monthly Open Mic Nights that happen right down the street and draw a great deal of local talent.
Pack Your Bags
What can I say… at 10:30am we know we need to say goodbye. We have had a great time in Schroon Lake so far, but there are still places to see, mountains to climb, people to meet. We offer Mark our sadly-untouched ice cream which he enthusiastically accepts (did I mention it’s the best flavor, ever?) - it’s the least we could do after such a relaxing night away.
While we stayed at the inn for maybe 16 hours, I feel like we snuck away for a week. And, hey, you know what? There’s nothing naughty about taking a little time for yourself, right? And it should be noted: I didn't even try to sneak out with my robe. Now, eating that third lemon muffin — which was packed by our hosts in a to-go bag for the 5 year-old — well, that might be a bit naughty, but hey, we’ll call it our little secret, ok?
This week in indulgent ADK news: