Saturday, July 24, 2010
Adirondacks, a guest at the Lodge stepped up next to me and said, “Another day in paradise.” That about sums it up.
Elk Lake is a precious place for many reasons. For one, the Lake is ringed by High Peaks, so the view, either dockside or from a canoe, is incomparable. For another, since there is no motorboat traffic, it's a nesting place for loons. As, so far as I know, cell phones get no reception and internet access is limited to the Lodge office, time slows down in a way that can’t be duplicated in town.
Elk Lake-Clear Pond Forest Preserve, in that admixture of public and private that is the Adirondacks, is a 12,000 acre private preserve in the midst of public land. A conservation easement to New York State “ensures that nothing will ever spoil the view of Dix, Macomb, Nippletop, and the Colvin range.” There are forty miles of private trails in the Preserve, some of which link to state-maintained trails in the High Peaks.
We tended to spend afternoons on our front porch contemplating the lake and reading in a desultory way. For a stretch mid-afternoon, we’d often take a walk down a nearby trail, then head back to freshen up in time for a gin and tonic before the 6PM dinner bell. (Hard liquor is BYOB, but a small, though decent, selection of wines is available at the Lodge.) Dinners are always good (lemon-pepper trout and barbecued ribs were favorites of ours this time out)—and some dishes, like apple and celery gazpacho garnished with walnuts, are positively inspired.
Some guests come for a night or a weekend; others reserve a week at the same cabin year after year. There’s plenty of room to be apart and come together, as you wish. Guests gather to swap notes on the Lodge’s front porch or in the Adirondack chairs at lakefront: where the fish are biting, the rock where a black duck built its nest, where the little tribe of mergansers was last spotted, which trails were soggy and which dry, and what the view was like at trail’s end. Some are 46’ers (those who’ve climbed all the major Adirondacks peaks), some are avid fishermen and women, and others simply enjoy the out-of-doors.
The accommodations range from simple Lodge rooms to old-time rustic and more modern cabins. Lodge rooms are more readily available, but, unless you’re lucky enough to snag a cancellation, booking a cabin, at least during the summer months, must be done a year in advance, sometimes more.
Every day is different at Elk Lake: the weather passes through and leaves its mark. The constants each day are the morning breakfast and evening dinner bells, the spectacular beauty of the vistas, and the serenading of the loons.
For details about Elk Lake Lodge accommodations and rates, click here.
For a related post, about photographing birds in the Adirondacks, click here.