Photo: Seth Jones, Courtesy of Adirondack Mountain Club
Larger than Yellowstone, Everglades, Glacier, and Grand Canyon National Parks combined, New York’s Adirondack State Park is massive. Established in 1892 to protect water and timber resources, its ample lakes, waterways, hardwood forests and mountains are a magnet to outdoor adventurers and nature lovers.
The gateway to the High Peaks Wilderness area is often called the heart of the Adirondacks. It’s here you’ll find the Adirondak Loj at Heart Lake. The founder, Henry Van Hoevenberg, was camping with his fiancée on top of Mt. Marcy in 1877. He spotted a small lake aptly shaped like a heart, named it Heart Lake and built a 60-room lodge (with the correct spelling) to accommodate paying guests.
By the early 1900s, Van Hoevenberg’s lodge was taken over by the Lake Placid Club . It was the club’s founder, Dr. Melvil Dewey (yes, Melvil Dewey of the Dewey Decimal system), who changed the name to Loj. In addition to library science, Dewey was on a crusade to reform the spelling of English words to be phonetic.
Photo: Mountainaire Gatherings, Courtesy of Adirondak Mountain Club
When the original Loj burned, a smaller version was rebuilt in 1927 then later sold to the Adirondack Mountain Club, which currently keeps it open year-round for paying guests.
A mere 15 minutes from the Loj is Lake Placid; a hub of all things Adirondack. The idyllic small town is filled with excellent restaurants, entertainment, and shops and the surrounding area is an outdoor sports mecca. Lake Placid hosted the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics (the Miracle on Ice happened here) and the region pulsates with athletes training and competing in high-level competitions.
Photo: John Campbell, Courtesy of Adirondack Mountain Club
All this charm makes Lake Placid an expensive destination. In contrast, the Adirondack Loj offers delightful year-round accommodations at more affordable rates. It’s everything you expect of a classic base camp cabin retreat. The wood interior with rustic timber framing and details, library, and stone fireplace feel historically authentic and relaxing.
Choose between private rooms, a bunkhouse, or loft (both co-ed). Scrumptious homemade lunch and dinners are optional. Bathrooms are shared. And, importantly: plan ahead. With space for only 38 guests the Loj fills up quickly.
Hiking, SUP, mountain biking, trail running, swimming, boating, fishing, snowshoeing, Nordic and Alpine skiing, tobogganing, and ice-skating are all nearby. Olympic venue experiences are also open to the public.
To find out more, or book your trip, visit their website here.
Photo: Photo: Seth Jones, Courtesy of Adirondack Mountain Club
See also: A Lakeside Cottage and Guesthouse on Copake Lake in the Berkshires