After spending summers in the Colorado Rockies, most other mountain ranges seem, well, underwhelming. Last summer, when my family met in the Adirondacks for a week of hiking, biking, kayaking, shopping (try bustling Old Forge) and togetherness, I was awed by the sweeping beauty of this northern range.
Blue Mountain Lake - Photo by flickr's dwstucke
Our base was Hemlock Hall , a rough-hewn lodge set high on a hill above Blue Mountain Lake. Hemlock Hall is one of those destinations that seem suspended in a simpler, better time. The lodge offers both en suite and shared-bathroom facilities. We splurged for the en suite, and my window offered a view of the steep, grass-covered hill that led to the lake. We spent many nights sitting on the porch while the kids rolled or ran down the hill. We played splatter ball on evening, the kids tried touch football another. One word of caution: the mosquitoes are thick and no bug spray could combat the blood-sucking hordes. We all looked like chicken-pox victims by week's end.
Your nightly rate includes use of kayaks, fishing equipment, a paddle boat, the beach and Blue Mountain Lake. We spent hours at the lake edge, dipping our toes “ the water was frigid “ and watching the kids swim to the raft. Kayaking one early morning, we saw some egrets land in the lake just as the sun rose above the lip of the water. Breakfast and dinner are also part of the rate. The portions are more than generous: breakfast consists of oatmeal or cereal, eggs, and then the main course of toast, platters “ yes, platters “ of bacon and pancakes. The family-style dinners differed each of our seven nights, but the food was ample and delicious after hours hiking a trail. We never made a guided whitewater raft trip, but some of our party visited the Adirondack Museum , which hosts the Annual Rustic Fair and the Rustic Preview Benefit on September 4, 2009.
For some of my family, this trip was a homecoming. Growing up in upstate New York in the 50's and 60's, they couldn't stop raving about how similar the landscape looked and the continued unaffected friendliness of the locals. We can't wait to go back again.
By Anna Philpot