Once upon a time, the Adirondacks became the focus of something new to all kinds of people. The concept of vacation.
Once transportation was established, people began to "vacate" their cities, with its heat and crowds, to spend time in the cool of the forest, lakes, and mountains. At first it was only the rich who could build Great Camps and spend summers here. But then grand resort hotels sprang up, and little cabins, and summer camps, and soon many people could spend summers in the Adirondacks.
And create traditions.
Before air conditioning, the only way to escape summer heat was to go to a place where summers were not so hot. While cities had many civilization advantages, all that stone and brick and mortar and cement would concentrate the heat and make it even more oppressive.
The natural coolness of the lakes and mountains were a dramatic remedy.
As seen in this antique postcard from the turn of last century, the resort hotels of the time would show off their deep porches and stunning scenery. They wanted to contrast their restful tranquility with the man-made bustle of the cities their visitors came from.
Now, this same tradition of hospitality, relaxation, and nature enjoyment has not changed.
When it is time to unwrap the boats and take to the water, it is that special time known as Adirondack Summer. And while the tradition of "summer at the lake" is a long and honored one, the way you like to do it can form its own traditions.
The first thing you notice is the slower pace. Nobody wants to hurry in summer. There's a whole day to accomplish a simple task called "fun."
Just sitting on a bench and looking at the lake does qualify. It's different when you are contemplating millions of acres of unspoiled forest and mountains. Our nature is like a widescreen look at something you've only gotten a glimpse of before. That's why the simple act of taking a walk can feel so different here. You might want to take one every day.
There's lots of ways of enjoying our delightful town beach. Whether you like to soak up the sun or soak up the lake.
Being up for more active tasks can range from a quiet morning of fishing to a lively afternoon of water skiing. There are many different waterbodies to explore, in various ways.
If you have not tried a day of paddling, you are in for a treat. This is my favorite way of enjoying lots of scenery for very little effort. Pack a lunch, pick a route, and spend a whole day finding out what is around that next bend in the shoreline.
There's something special about family or friend time out on the water. From pointing out a lovely angle for a photo to consulting about the best spot to stop for a picnic, the sun, wind, and water add intensity and specialness to this time together.
While others I know prefer the meditative travel of Stand Up Paddleboards. This is more of a Zen option, where the journey becomes the purpose.
All day special
Vacations are about breaking our usual pattern. Whether you choose a gracious old B&B and get breakfast every morning, or book a lakeside cottage and find a different place to have coffee during your morning walk, you will craft a new pattern.
Maybe it is walking the dogs through a mountain meadow.
You can get your treats from a truck and share this memento of childhood with your own children.
Maybe it is a fine meal to celebrate relationships.
Maybe it is all of these things, and more.
We keep people coming back, summer after summer, because they have created their own summer vacation traditions from our long and storied history. Once the great resort hotels created their own "village life" for their residents. While those grand hotels are gone now, we still have the village and lake very much like it was a century ago.
Families came to do their favorite things together. Friends came to share the hunt for the big fish or the camaraderie of the big hike. Couples came to truly have alone time.
Things have changed... but then again, in the most important ways, they have not.
We see the Schroon Lake vacation tradition as not just launching a boat. It's a launching pad for all kinds of dreams.
Choose your kind of lodging. The drama camps that used to be a part of camp life for children are still here in spirit, with the summer performances of Seagle Music Colony. The gourmet meals of the giant kitchens are now the enjoyable dining of our cafes and bistros.
This week in related ADK summer planning news: