Adirondack Style: Great Camps and Rustic Lodges


Developed in Cooperation with Adirondack Architectural Heritage

The Adirondacks in upstate New York have always attracted those who seek a simpler life and a connection to nature. This is a land of spectacular beauty, with iconic elements such as the sugar maple and white birch; bobcat, beaver, and moose; and beautiful mountains, lakes, and waterfalls. It should come as no surprise that the robber barons and business tycoons of the 1900s turned to this leafy haven to escape the urban jungle. They constructed compounds of luxury in and around Raquette Lake as rustic getaways, and these grand structures became known as the Great Camps of the Adirondacks.

While these structures made brilliant use of the rustic materials readily available in the area, they were anything but primitive. The rough-hewn log exteriors contrasted with the lavish and elegant interiors, which included complex stonework and hand-carved furniture. Natural elements such as tree roots, twigs, and bark often played an integral part in the decor, and the simple yet elegant Adirondack chair has become an international symbol  of leisure. Recreation was a priority- many camps had boathouses, teahouses, game rooms, and even bowling alleys. Several of the camps were designed by top architects of the era and incorporated their international influences: Pine Knot resembled a Swiss chalet; the architectural flourishes of Santanoni were Japanese-inspired; and the Hedges had Dutch doors.

Today, approximately forty of these extravagant camps survive, including ten that are National Historic Landmarks. Some are open to the public for either lodging or tours, while others remain in private hands. Adirondack Style includes more than thirty-five of these camps, including Pine Knot, Uncas, and Sagamore, all of which were built for William West Durant, a pioneer of the Great Camp style; Wonundra, which was built for William Avery Rockefeller, and his family; White Pine, which President Calvin Coolidge once used as his Summer White House and many others with equally fascinating histories. These grand structures echo the greatness of their past and enhance the natural beauty of the region. With informative text by two Adirondack experts and breathtaking photography of the Great Camps and their surroundings, Adirondack Style  is a celebration of these regional treasures.

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