Sunday, July 3, 2011

Is it a Camp or a Lodge?

The Adirondack State Park is as large as the state of Massachusetts, and offers a great variety of options for lodging.  Many of those are called "camps" going back to the late 19th century when wealthy New Yorkers traveled to the mountains for a vacation in a rustic setting.  Times have not changed much, though this is a quieter, less touristed vacation spot than the more common destinations of many New Yorkers. By standards both present and past, some "camps" border on elegant, and some are more true to my definition of that word - musty cabins and campsites for families of all sizes.  The Hedges, in Blue Mountain Lake, NY is comfortably beyond the middle -- just the right mix of mountain life with cozy and modern amenities.  It is very nicely appointed, but you will not find plush towels, fancy soaps, or multi-ply toilet paper.  You will find clean and cozy accommodations with a friendly and unobtrusive staff there to meet your minimal needs.  Lodge or camp: their website does not do the place justice.

The setting of The Hedges is magnificent, right on Blue Mountain Lake with its wondrous varieties of color, and sunshine glinting off the water in the late afternoon.  The property has a host of cabins, two lodges, a dining room, and swimming and boating docks. The boating dock is equipped with canoes and kayaks just waiting to be used (for no fee!), and visitors can spend as long as they like exploring the area with paddles in hand. The entire attitude at The Hedges is "do as you please" and that may mean parking yourself in a rocking chair and reading for hours, hiking the extensive trails in the area, playing bingo or making ice cream, or boating and swimming.  There are no camp counselors or announcements to be heard, instead there is a hushed tone and slow pace throughout the resort.  Our favorite hours were spent on lounge chairs at the end of a dock, sipping wine while the lake lapped inches away.

The accommodations are comfortable, handsome, and satisfying. Our room was ample and attractive, with wood details and paneling.  Common rooms have fireplaces along with chess, checkers, board games, and puzzles. Breakfast and dinner are served in a big-enough dining room and are included in your stay, and we found both to be generous and delicious.  Shorts and t-shirts were the common wardrobe at meals.  A picnic lunch can be purchased and it, too, is healthful and yummy, served appealingly in a picnic basket with cloth napkins. You are given a flashlight when you check in because it's quiet and still after dark, though there is a campfire and s'mores if you are out watching the stars and find yourself still hungry!
Stone Lodge at The Hedges
So while the building we stayed in was called Stone Lodge and catered to adults only, The Hedges offered a camp-like feel with lodge-like amenities.  A happy combination for our peaceful few days in the beautiful Adirondack Mountains.

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