The Peak of Alpine Luxury
Roughing it Rockefeller-style in Saranac Lake, N.Y.
VICTORIA ABBOTT RICCARDI
Photo Credit: Kindra Clineff
You could drive the nearly six hours to the Point, a swank resort in Saranac Lake, N.Y. But you might as well fly. Cape Air offers an easy hour-and-a-half flight from Logan to Adirondack Regional Airport, with bird’s eye views included.
A driver from the Point will greet you, and 20 minutes later you’ll be sipping Pommery Champagne in the lodge’s foyer. It’s an elegant prelude of what’s to come, particularly in winter when soft powder blankets the land in a cozy white hush providing the perfect backdrop for outdoor adventures, crackling fires and lush dinners eaten with a view of the woods.
Gilded Age barons like the Vanderbilts, Astors and Guggenheims liked to construct log estates along the lakes of upper New York state to serve as bucolic respites from the smog and confines of urban life. William Avery Rockefeller built the Point a century ago on 75 secluded acres to serve as his family’s “Great Camp.” Today, it’s a place to celebrate a marriage, a big anniversary or to simply rough it, Rockefeller-style.
Spread among the compound’s original four log cabins are 11 guestrooms, each with water views and rustic, elegant furnishings—chunky stone fireplaces, oversized armchairs, dark-wood walls adorned with 19th-century oil paintings and heavy fabrics smoothed over handmade beds. All meals and beverages are included, including wine and spirits from four open bars. The point staff seems to anticipate every whim, whether it’s laundering wet ski socks or simply showing up with another cold martini.
In the tradition of the Great Camps, everyone at the Point dines together, although arrangements can be made for private in-room breakfasts, dinners and picnic lunches elsewhere on the property. Most guests order a pot of coffee or tea to savor in their room before joining the group for breakfast in the Main Lodge, which also houses the kitchen, Great Hall and four guestrooms. Beyond breakfast, diners can order whatever they wish, whether it’s a croissant and espresso or a stack of raspberry pancakes, scrambled eggs and bacon. After thumbing through the newspaper, working on a puzzle or going for a walk, it’s time for lunch, which is always a barbecue on Saturdays. But we’re not talking weenies and burgers. This spread could be from a Fellini movie—a chef and multiple staff manning a fire-lit outdoor grill (weather permitting) holding a bevy of ceramic pots heaped with seasonal fare, like chunky beef chili, fried chicken, maple Brussels sprouts, truffle mac ’n’ cheese and Cajun-spiced shrimp. Nearby, cutting boards are loaded with juicy cuts of steak, pork tenderloin, grilled chicken breasts and sizzling sausages like wild boar and spicy pork. There are grilled vegetables, salads and baskets of focaccia or crisp onion rings. Just as you’re contemplating a nap, the staff comes marching up the hill bearing warm bread pudding, peanut butter cheesecake and chocolate-raspberry meringue tort.
Clearly, exercise is a needed antidote to executive chef Mark Levy’s cooking. Since Saranac Lake is considered the coldest spot in the mainland U.S., it’ll likely be frozen solid and groomed for an afternoon game of curling. While heaving leaden stones across ice may not be everyone’s idea of a good time, there’s nothing like a glass of Scotch or rum-spiked cider to jack up the fun factor. If you want to snowshoe, the Point’s warming hut has multiple sizes of men’s and women’s boots for snowshoes or cross-country skis. Try them around Fish Creek Pond, a short drive from the resort. Halfway around the snowy track, just when you’re ready to call it a day, you’ll spy a picnic basket set on a wooden table filled with hot spiced cider and creamy hot chocolate. Revived, you either forge on or head home to relax before dinner.
When a card is slipped under your door noting where to meet for cocktails, it’s hard not to feel you’re a guest at a grand house party. The requested dress for dinner is coat and tie for men, except Saturday and Wednesday, which, in the spirit of Great Camp dining, are black tie. After cocktails, everyone heads to the Great Hall for dinner, a multicourse extravaganza. Various wines accompany chef Levy’s French-style plates, which feature local produce, fish and game, along with treats like caviar and foie gras. Should some intrepid soul suggest a post-prandial visit to the bonfire, don’t miss out. After tromping up the hill, you’ll be rewarded with a warm blanket and a fireside spot in a circle of Adirondack chairs. Before you know it, the staff will arrive with truffled popcorn and an offer of drinks from the nearby bar. And, as you sit under the stars, listening to the snap of the fire, conversation of dinner mates and wind through the trees, you realize that it truly doesn’t get any better than this.
– For a romantic lunch, reserve Camp David, a small cabin where you can enjoy a gourmet picnic, wine and hot drinks.
– Don’t miss the gift boutique and gallery, offering crafts, jewelry and oddities like carved wooden pens.
Saranac Lake, N.Y. | 800-255-3530 | thepointresort.com