An Adirondack Great Camp on Lake George That’s Truly Adirondack, and Truly Great
Once so remote that it was accessible only to a few serious sportsmen, the Adirondack region was, by 1890, still remote enough to be fashionable. Here, “sylvan freedom was artfully blent with the most studied personal luxury,” wrote Edith Wharton, who chronicled the Gilded Age in her novels about New York society.
The Adirondack great camps designed by William West Durant, William Distin, Robert Henderson Roberts, Ben Muncil and others, satisfied the taste for luxury.
And, surrounded by woods and water, they elicited and fostered the taste for freedom.
On Lake George, the only resort, public or private, that was built in the rustic style that later came to be identified as “Adirondack” was the Horicon Pavilion, a hotel built on Black Mountain Point in 1880.
Lake George’s summer architecture was, to say the least, eclectic; it ranged from Queen Anne to Greek revival and more often than not, was meant to impress the visitor with the owner’s wealth and social standing, be it real or aspirational.
The Adirondack Park’s Blue Line was not extended to encompass Lake George’s eastern shores, uplands and mountains until 1931, so it is only in recently that people have come to associate Lake George with the Adirondacks. (Some still don’t.)
And as people have come to identify Lake George with the Adirondacks (or perhaps as the result of the influence of people such as Ralph Kylloe and Ralph Lauren), the taste on Lake George for Adirondack-style architecture has grown.
Many of the attempts to replicate the style have been unsuccessful, in part because the logic of the aesthetic has been ignored.
To be authentic, an Adirondack camp must be built with the land, rather than in defiance of it. (A century before the term “low-impact development” was coined, William West Durant was practicing it.) Nature must be retained, not groomed to within an inch of its life. It should feel like a camp, not a mansion, no matter what its size. And it should be surrounded by woods and water, not the neighbors’ lawns.
A camp on Northwest Bay that meets that criteria has recently come on the market for $8.5 million.
Built of stone, cedar and log, it’s situated on more than eight acres of rocky, wooded slopes with 1,300 feet of shoreline.
“Although it’s large, it’s very unpretentious,” said Lonnie Lawrence of the Sherwood Group, the Lake George real estate firm that is representing the sellers.
Its lack of pretension would certainly have suited the land’s previous owners. For more than a century, it was the property of the Loines family, who originally owned 12,000 acres on Tongue Mountain and Northwest Bay.
In 1916, New York State purchased 8,000 of those acres, which are now part of the Forest Preserve. Another 31-acre parcel at the mouth of Northwest Bay Brook is managed by the Lake George Land Conservancy.
Members of the family retained property on Lake George through the third generation, and according to Lonnie Lawrence, these eight acres “were their favorite. That’s why they kept this land rather than selling it. When they sold it to the current owner, they wanted it to remain as pristine as possible. The property can never be subdivided.”
The interior of the house, which is faced with stone and Douglas fir, is spare and functional. Its focus is on the woods and on Lake George, which is as it should be.
For more information, contact Lonnie Lawrence at the Sherwood Group at 518-668-9500, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 518-361-0230 (cell.)