Breakfast in Sagamore dining hall.
FIELD TRIP: After breakfast, we'll take a short trip to the nearby hamlet of Raquette Lake, where we'll board the W.W. Durant cruise boat, that will transport us to Camp Pine Knot. Completed by Durant around 1889, Pine Knot was described by scholar Alfred Donaldson as the "first of the artistic and luxurious camps" in his 1921 history of the Adirondack region. Today, the camp is owned and operated by the State University of New York -- Cortland, and used for a variety of education programs. Yet the camp retains many of its original design elements, including whole log slab siding, decorative twig railings and ornamental rustic decoration. Among the buildings we see: the Chalet at Pine Knot, about which Donaldson wrote: before it was built, there was nothing else like it . . . since then, despite infinite variations, there has been nothing essentially different from it;" the Recreation Center, with its scissor truss beams and whimsical rustic decor; the Barque of Pine Knot, a floating houseboat of sorts, which Durant's wife escaped to, in order to avoid the biting insects of spring. Finally, we'll take a short walk over to St. William's, the Catholic church that Durant built for his workers and which has been restored by volunteers from the town and is now operated as a non-denominational retreat center.
After the tour of Pine Knot, we'll re-board the W.W. Durant for a delicious and delightful lunch cruise around Raquette Lake.
FIELD TRIP: While eating lunch, we'll enjoy a narrated cruise past several other great camps of the Gilded Age, including those belonging to important characters of the period, folks with names like Huntington, Stott, Carnegie, and Collier. Built during the winters of 1990-91, the “W. W. Durant” captures the opulence of a by-gone era with wainscoting, stained and etched glass, gleaming brass, rich carpeting, and polished oak, while at the same time offering the convenience and comfort of modern amenities.
Dinner in Sagamore dining hall.
We'll broaden our examination of the Great Camp phenomenon with an analysis and discussion of the Adirondack Park itself, including its establishment, enlargement, protection, land use, and ongoing importance in American cultural and natural history. Then, we’ll head out for a night under the stars at Sagamore's historic Adirondack lean-to, nestled in the woods along the outlet stream to Sagamore Lake. Based on an ancient design, the Adirondack lean-to is common to hikers in the region, who frequently sleep in lean-tos rather than camping in tents. Of course, the Vanderbilts lean-to was not too rustic! It came equipped with an intercom system to the kitchen, so that staff could be easily summoned to bring refreshments. Tonight, we'll make do with marshmallows and the makings of 'Smores, and maybe some campfire singing. Bring your voice, bring your old campfire songs, and if you play, bring an instrument, too.