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The Illusion of Roughing It: The Vanderbilts' Great Camp Sagamore

Program Number: 14875RJ
Start and End Dates:
9/15/2013 - 9/18/2013; 10/14/2014 - 10/17/2014;
Duration: 3 nights
Location: Raquette Lake, New York
Price starting at: $399.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: History & Culture Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 8; 3 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 3 Dinners    

Get a taste of the Gilded Age version of “roughing it” as you stay in the Adirondack wilderness estate once owned by the Vanderbilts. Camp Sagamore is situated on pristine Sagamore Lake, and its rustic architecture and main lodge with stone fireplace and spectacular views recalls the opulent era of the “Robber Barons.” Learn about the heyday of the Adirondack Great Camps and the fascinating work being done to preserve this historical era. Of course, there’s plenty of time to canoe the lake, explore the wilderness on the camp’s 20 miles of trails, play croquet or just relax.




Highlights

• With experts, uncover the heritage of Camp Sagamore, and examine the lifestyles of the Vanderbilts, the "First Family" of the Gilded Age.
• Visit the guest houses and imagine servants catering to you during summer trips to the Adirondack Mountains.
• A regionally known musician and storyteller gives insights into local folklore.



Activity Particulars

Programs at Sagamore require at least some walking/standing, even just getting around camp. The tour of the facility requires standing or walking for perhaps 90 minutes to 2 hours.



Coordinated by Sagamore Institute of the Adirondacks.




Raquette Lake

Raquette Lake’s pristine water and wooded lakeshores are located in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains. Great Camp Sagamore, founded by the Vanderbilt family in 1897 and now a National Historic Landmark, shares this wilderness area.



Accommodations
National Historic Landmark-designated buildings.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Jeffrey Flagg

Dr. Jeff Flagg is the assistant director of the Sagamore Institute, and has been at Sagamore since completing a doctoral internship in 1997. A scholar of the Adirondack region, he received his Ph.D. in American culture studies from Bowling Green University in 1999, and also has degrees in business and literature. He is deeply invested in the history of the camp, the region and the park, and has taught at several colleges in the area, as well as innumerable Road Scholar programs.
 
Nancy Foltz

Nancy Sue Foltz is an artist and certified art teacher who has been directing the crafts program at Great Camp Sagamore for almost a decade. A former high school teacher, she focuses on offering a wide variety of age-appropriate crafts. From pots to plant pressing, from pine cone art to painting tee shirts, from papier mache to paper hats and so many things in between, her ideas are always fresh. Grandkids will end up with some great, outdoorsy craft projects to bring home. Among her other duties at Sagamore, Nancy Sue is also the group leader for many Road Scholar programs.
 
Bill Smith

Bill Smith is renowned for possessing all the skills associated with the Adirondack guides of lore. He is a performance-minded storyteller, a musician and songwriter, an educator deeply knowledgeable on the area’s flora and fauna, and a maker of twig mosaic furniture and wooden baskets hewn from logs. Road Scholar participants find their time with Bill to always be enjoyable, educational and entertaining.
 
Mary Shartle

Mary Sanders Shartle is an award-winning poet and fiction writer. She is a member of “The Three Poets” who twice won the Adirondack Center for Writing Literary Award, and her poems have appeared in BlueLine and Sow’s Ear Poetry Review. Annually, she facilitates a literary book group in Galway, N.Y. for the New York Council on the Humanities. Mary teaches numerous writing workshops for adults and children, and is the author of “The Hermit: The Truth and Legend of Lily Martindale.”
 
Meals and Lodgings
   Sagamore
  Raquette Lake, NY 3 nights
 Sagamore
Type: Lodge
  Description: Sagamore’s authentic buildings dating from 1897 are situated on a peninsula jutting into pristine and picturesque Sagamore Lake. The Adirondack Forest Preserve surrounds the entire 27-building Sagamore estate owned by the Alfred Vanderbilt family from 1901-1954. Its wood and stone buildings are the vernacular rustic architecture on which our National Park lodges were modeled. Sagamore’s remote location removed from the normal hubbub will allow your full concentration on learning, the camaraderie of the people at hand, and the history that envelops you. As a guest at Sagamore, you will be accommodated in our historic buildings in (mostly) double occupancy rooms with twin beds and bathrooms, many with footed tubs, in the hallways. Most of our guests are housed in one of our three lodges each sleeping 20. In summer you may be assigned to a cottage sleeping up to seven. There are no telephones in rooms, no cell service, and no TV so your relaxation is assured. Our chef will carefully prepare buffet meals from which you will make your selections. The buffet is served in our paneled dining room with splendid views of Sagamore Lake. Everyone is called to meals by the bell. One of the highlights of our dining experience is our excellent water. Please do not bring bottled water with you. You may purchase beer and wine to accompany your meal. The dining hall seats 99. During free time many of our guests enjoy our hiking trails and canoeing. All guests are given a free pass to our award-winning guided tour. We also recommend a cruise aboard the W.W. Durant on Raquette Lake and a trip to the “Smithsonian of the Adirondacks,” the Adirondack Museum. Sagamore has four meeting rooms varying in size from 20 to 150. Two of them have fireplaces. There is also a lean-to where you can sleep or enjoy a campfire. Nothing at Sagamore is paved. Sagamore has 20 miles of hiking trails.
  Contact info: Sagamore Road
PO Box 40
Raquette Lake, NY 13436 USA
phone: 315-354-5311 x21
web: www.sagamore.org
  Facility amenities: Sagamore is located on a pristine wilderness lake. Canoes are available for guest use. Sagamore is also surrounded by 20 miles of hiking trails. The popular lake trail is an easy 3-1/2 mile walk.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Bathroom: Most baths at Sagamore are shared between two or three rooms, much like a bed and breakfast. A limited number of private baths are available at extra cost for some programs, and when space allows.. Some baths have a shower only. Some have a tub only.
  Additional nights prior: 99 Based on availability. We are happy to accommodate these requests whenever possible. The rate for additional nights is $99/person, which includes dinner and breakfast.
  Check in time: 4:00 PM
  Additional nights after: 99 Based on availability. We are happy to accommodate these requests whenever possible. The rate for additional nights is $99/person, which includes dinner and breakfast.
  Check out time: 10:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
4PM starts check in at Great Camp Sagamore You will be staying at Sagamore that night.
  End of Program:
10AM You will be staying at Sagamore the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. Health form.
  Parking availability:
There is a parking lot for Sagamore guests. It is free.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Raquette Lake, NY
  Nearest city or town:  Raquette Lake, NY
  Nearest highway: Rte.90 to the south, Rte.87 to the east
  Nearest airport:  Albany, NY
  From End of Program
  Location: Raquette Lake, NY
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

 

 
 

Service:

 

None - Car Required

   

Unfortunately there isn’t any public transportation to Sagamore. Amtrak serves Albany (Rensselaer), Saratoga Springs and Utica. A private train runs from Saratoga to North Creek, about 40 miles from Sagamore. The nearest airports are located in Syracuse and Albany. Bus service reaches only to Warrensburg. Limo service is expensive, but available from the airports in Syracuse and Albany. For more information on limo services, please contact your local AAA agent or visit www.yellowpages.com.

 
Driving Directions
  Albany, NY Drive time: Albany to Sagamore 2 ¾ hours. I-87 to x23 to Rte. 28 to Raquette Lake. Follow I-87 north to exit 23, Warrensburg. If you have time on the way, stop in Saratoga Springs. Exit 14 will take you quickly to the famous racetrack. Exit 15 is for shopping. If you would like to see Glens Falls, take exit 18 or 19 (shopping mall.) Lake George Outlet Stores are at exit 20. Continue north past the Great Escape amusement park. Take exit 23 and turn LEFT to Warrensburg. Follow concurrently Rte 9 and 28 through the town until Rte. 28 peels off to the LEFT. You will follow Rte. 28 for about an hour ½ to Raquette Lake. The scenery is lovely forested mountains and lakes. You will often be following the Hudson River and will pass Gore Mountain ski resort on your way up Blue Mountain. When you reach the small town of Blue Mountain Lake you will cross a continental divide separating waters that flow south to the Hudson River or north to the St. Lawrence River. At the “T” turn left and continue on Rte. 28 the last 12 miles to Raquette Lake, the largest natural lake in the Adirondacks. Look to your right to see Blue Mountain as you cross the second causeway. Sagamore Road is well marked just past the school. You will turn LEFT and follow the four-mile road to the “registered guest” gate. Do not look for other signs. You are driving through protected Forest Preserve lands and signage is not permitted. At Sagamore’s gate, let yourself in. You are welcome!
  GPS/Website Map Instructions • Garmon Handheld GPS: Search 'Great Camp Sagamore' as a point of interest OR type 1105 Sagamore Road; RAQUETTE LAKE (make sure you list Raquette Lake!) - either will give accurate directions to Great Camp Sagamore. • TomTom GPS: (currently the most popular GPS system): Search for SAGAMORE, NEW YORK - as a town, and it will give you accurate directions to Great Camp Sagamore. While Sagamore, NY does not actually exist, this seems to work while we wait for technology to catch up to the Adirondack region! • Google Maps or Mapquest users: Search for SAGAMORE, NEW YORK - as a town, and it will give you accurate directions to Great Camp Sagamore. While Sagamore, NY does not actually exist, this seems to work while we wait for technology to catch up to the Adirondack region!
  Plattsburgh, NY Drive time: Plattsburgh to Sagamore, 3 hours. I-87 to Rte 3 to Rte. 30 to Rte 28 to Raquette Lake. Take the Plattsburgh exit off I-87 and head southwest to Saranac Lake on Rte. 3. If you have extra time consider this alternative: continue south on I-87 to exit 30, the Lake Placid exit. Lake Placid was the site of both the 1932 and the 1980 winter Olympics and you can visit the venues and museums of the games. Continue from Lake Placid to Saranac Lake on Rte. 86. You are in the Adirondack Park, a six-million acre forest preserve with public and private lands. Saranac Lake was founded by Dr. Trudeau (the cartoonist Gary’s great grandfather) as a wilderness cure for tuberculosis. It is still a medical research center and charming 19th century town. Follow Rte. 3 from Saranac Lake to Tupper Lake. Tupper is the home to the newly opened natural history museum, the Wild Center. Continue on Rte. 30 from Tupper to Long Lake on a straight road known for its scenery and speed traps. Be cautious. Continue on Rte. 30 to Blue Mountain Lake, home of the famous 27-building Adirondack Museum. At the bottom of the hill you will follow Rte.28 the last 12 miles to Raquette Lake, the largest natural lake in the Adirondacks. Look to your right to see Blue Mountain as you cross the second causeway. Sagamore Road is well marked just past the school. You will turn LEFT and follow the four-mile road to the “registered guest” gate. Do not look for other signs. You are driving through protected Forest Preserve lands and signage is not permitted. At Sagamore’s gate, let yourself in. You are welcome!
  Utica, NY Drive time: Utica to Sagamore, 1 ½ hours. Rte.12 north to Rte. 28 to Raquette Lake. Follow Rte. 12 north to Rte. 28. Utica, an industrial town, is located in the Mohawk River valley. On Rte. 12 you will climb out of the valley through rolling hills. Rte. 28 peels off to the right. Along it you will see the deep forests and lovely lakes of the six-million acre Adirondack Park. The Adirondacks are a patchwork of public and private lands. Follow Rte.28 to the town of Old Forge with its famous landmark, Old Forge Hardware. Old Forge is also the home of New York’s largest water park, Water Safari. Old Forge is the beginning of the Fulton Chain of lakes (yes, Fulton as in steamship) and the starting point of the Adirondack Canoe Classic (also called the “90-miler”) the weekend after Labor Day every year. The Classic is a three-day race for no-octane boats from Old Forge to Saranac Lake. Continue on Rte. 28 another 25 miles to Raquette Lake, the largest natural lake in the Adirondacks. Sagamore Road is well marked just before the school. You will turn RIGHT and follow the four-mile road to the “registered guest” gate. Do not look for other signs. You are driving through protected Forest Preserve lands and signage is not permitted. At Sagamore’s gate, let yourself in. You are welcome!
Elevation Note: Sagamore is at 1900 feet.

The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrival & Check-in, Registration, Welcome Dinner, Orientation, Introduction to Sagamore
(Sunday, September 15)
   
 Arrive To: Arrive at Sagamore between 4PM and 6PM for check in.
 Dinner: The chef will carefully prepare buffet meals provided in our paneled dining room with splendid views of Sagamore Lake. Dinners typically include selections such as: a hot entry, like creamed chicken over biscuits, veggie lasagna, pot roast, spaghetti/meat balls, roasted turkey, stuffed pork loin, or ham; salads, along with several dressing choices; potatoes, rice or pasta; a vegetable choice; bread or rolls; milk or juice. Coffee & tea are always available Note: Sagamore's buffet line is bountiful and varied. If you do not think that you can choose the foods you need for your special diet from the buffet, please supplement with your own that may be stored for your convenience in our walk-in cooler and/or cooked in an available microwave. Beer and wine are available for purchase. Sagamore's water is pure and delicious. Please do not bring bottled water.
 Evening: ORIENTATION: After dinner, you'll have an informative overview of the program plus an opportunity to meet the program staff and your fellow participants during an introductory get-acquainted session. We’ll review the updated schedule, cover responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

PRESENTATION: Great Camp Sagamore's history, programs, and preservation.

Sagamore Institute of the Adirondacks is the steward of Great Camp Sagamore and is dedicated to its use for education and interpretation. Our mission is to foster understanding, care, and respect for nature, people, and their critical interdependence. Great Camp Sagamore strives to be a place where broad and diverse audiences gather to use these unique buildings and natural setting to explore and understand Adirondack culture, the region's natural environment, and our relationship to both.

   
Accommodations: Sagamore
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Durant and the Vanderbilts. In-depth examination of the prototypical Great Camp Sagamore.
(Monday, September 16)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfasts at Sagamore, all in the Lakeside Dining Hall, typically include selections such as: one hot entry, like blueberry pancakes, egg strata, french toast, or scrambled eggs; hot & cold cereal & milk; a variety of donuts, bagels & pastries; and several juices. Coffee, tea, and very pure Sagamore water are always available to guests.
 Morning: LECTURE: After breakfast we will meet for an overview of Vanderbilt and the Gilded Age era which gave birth to the great camps of the Adirondacks. We will learn the building functions and envision the lifestyle they contained a century ago. We will meet Cornelius Vanderbilt, the first American to amass personal wealth. FIELD TRIP: After a short break, we'll meet in the camp's Upper Complex, to examine the lives of workers at Sagamore. Situated in the middle of a remote wilderness, Sagamore was staffed by a dozen year-round workers, and as many as 50 when the camp was in summer operation. We'll see the hierarchy that existed among the camp's workers, ranging from the Collins family who lived year-round at Sagamore and raised their five children there, to the skilled crafstmen who built and maintained the camp, to the unskilled workers who attended to the 40-building property.
 Lunch: Lunches in the Dining Hall typically include selections such as: sandwich meats, cheeses, breads and condiments: a hot entree like macaroni & cheese or soup; various salads, like cole slaw or potato salad; cookies or granola bars; a variety of fresh fruits; milk and a variety of juices or lemonade. Coffee, tea, & Sagamore water are always available
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: After lunch we will take a coser look at the owners/guest complex at Sagamore. We'll visit Wigwam, where a young Alfred Vanderbilt entertained his close friends, as well as the Playhouse, where more social activities went on. We'll also examine Sagamore's iconic Main Lodge, whose rustic architecture defines classic Adirondack rustic style. After the tour, there will be free time to enjoy the lake and trails or to view the permanent exhibit and virtual tour or to shop. You might also try your skill at croquet, Mrs. Vanderbilt's favorite game.
 Dinner: Dinners typically include selections such as: a hot entry, like creamed chicken over biscuits, veggie lasagna, pot roast, spaghetti/meat balls, roasted turkey, stuffed pork loin, or ham; salads, along with several dressing choices; potatoes, rice or pasta; a vegetable choice; bread or rolls; milk or juice. Coffee & tea are always available.
 Evening: ENTERTAINMENT: After dinner, our third buffet meal of the day in the dining hall, we will see a video produced by the A&E network called "Adirondack Camps" a segment of the America's Castles series. After that you may be beckoned by a jigsaw puzzle or board game with your fellow participants. Remember, Sagamore has no TV so your relaxation is assured.
   
Accommodations: Sagamore
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Field Trip to Camp Uncas; Entertainment from authentic Adirondack storyteller
(Tuesday, September 17)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfasts typically include selections such as: one hot entry, like blueberry pancakes, egg strata, french toast, or scrambled eggs; hot & cold cereal & milk; a variety of donuts, bagels & pastries; and several juices. Coffee, tea, and very pure Sagamore water are always available to guests.
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: We'll travel (either on foot or by shuttle) to nearby Camp Uncas. Now a privately-owned property with very limited access by the public, Uncas was Durant's second "great camp" and the property that most closely retains Durant's original vision. Sold to J.P. Morgan by Durant at a loss, the camp was used only sporadically by the Morgan family, and underwent only minor renovations prior to its donation to the Damon Runyan Cancer Research Institute. After passing through several private hands, the camp was purchased by it current owners in 1977, and have preserved and restored many of the exteriors of the camp according to Durant's original architectural vision, while modernizing most of the interior spaces. After walking the grounds, we'll take a look inside a few of these renovated spaces.
 Lunch: At Uncas, we'll eat lunches that we packed in in the morning at Sagamore, consisting of cold cut sandwiches, chips, cookies and fresh or dried fruit, granola bars, along with juice or water.
 Afternoon: LECTURE: After our return to Sagamore (either by shuttle or on foot), we'll examine some of the Adirondack memorabilia that the Sagamore Institute has collected over the year, including (via the magic of digital photography) several of the Sagamore scrapbooks that remain in the Vanderbilt family.
 Dinner: Dinners typically include selections such as: a hot entry, like creamed chicken over biscuits, veggie lasagna, pot roast, spaghetti/meat balls, roasted turkey, stuffed pork loin, or ham; salads, along with several dressing choices; potatoes, rice or pasta; a vegetable choice; bread or rolls; milk or juice. Coffee & tea are always available.
 Evening: ENTERTAINMENT: Tonight we are in for a real treat. Our performer is all-Adirondack with stories and songs from a true raconteur. Crowd-pleaser doesn't begin to cover it!
   
Accommodations: Sagamore
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Lecture/Discussion
(Wednesday, September 18)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfasts typically include selections such as: one hot entry, like blueberry pancakes, egg strata, french toast, or scrambled eggs; hot & cold cereal & milk; a variety of donuts, bagels & pastries; and several juices. Coffee, tea, and very pure Sagamore water are always available to guests.
 Morning: LECTURE: We will learn about the Adirondack Park itself, a 6 million-acre experiment in a recovering wilderness. Now 50%-50% state and public land, we will discuss the kinds of issues that arise when people live in a park.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
 
  Raquette Lake, NY Adirondack Museum
Often described as the "Smithsonian of the Adirondacks" the Adirondack Museum is a multi-building facility on lovely grounds with views of the Eckford Chain of Lakes. 518 352-7311 For additional information, visit www.adirondackmuseum.org
  The W.W. Durant
The Durant is a dine and cruise boat on Raquette Lake, the largest natural lake in the Adirondacks. Their educational narration will contribute to your understanding of the Gilded Age in the Adirondacks. 315-354-5532 For additional information, visit www.raquettelakenav.com
  The Wild Center
Built in 2006, the Wild Center is the pre-eminent natural history museum of the Adirondack Region. 518-359-7800 For additional information, visit www.wildcenter.org
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


Contested Terrain: A New History of Nature and People in the Adirondacks


Author: Philip G. Terrie


Great Camp Sagamore: The Vanderbilts' Adirondack Retreat


Author: Beverly Bridger


Description: Beverly Bridger has been Sagamore's Executive Director for more than 20 years.





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