New York
America's Treasures: Three Adirondack Great Camps of the Gilded Age
Hear the story of the Adirondack’s Gilded Age from experts as you visit the Great Camps, learning about three lavish properties, their architecture and the people who lived there.
Rating (4.8)
Program No. 20944RJ
6 days
Starts at
Special Offer
Getting There
See travel details and required documents

At a Glance

Few have ever experienced “roughing it” like the wealthy businessmen of the Gilded Age, who turned the quiet wilderness of the Adirondacks into a haven for the rich and famous. Today, the Great Camps of the Gilded Age remain icons of the early Adirondack lifestyle, and Great Camp Sagamore is the perfect location to study this opulent era. Join historians for a look into the lives of these famous camp owners, their well-known guests and the workers who maintained their lavish properties. Then, gain an appreciation for the region’s natural treasures as naturalists share their insight on the ecology of the Adirondack Park, the largest park in the contiguous United States.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking over uneven terrain, some stairs. Visit to Camp Uncas includes participant option to hike the two miles to camp, on unpaved road over hilly terrain. Trip to Camp Pine Knot includes a mandatory 1/2-mile walk through a wooded area to reach another part of the facility. Program also includes short hike around or canoe paddle.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Learn about the Vanderbilts' Sagamore and its neighbors, such as J.P. Morgan’s Camp Uncas and Collis Huntington's Camp Pine Knot — each a National Historic Landmark designed by William West Durant.
  • Get a fresh perspective of the great camp properties during a study luncheon cruise along Raquette Lake.
  • Canoe or hike around Sagamore Lake and discover the biodiversity of the Adirondack Forest Preserve.

General Notes

Included are special visits to two additional camps: Pine Knot, the first "great camp" built by William West Durant and in many ways the very prototype of what has come to be referred to as "Adirondack rustic" architecture, and Uncas, sold by Durant in 1895 to J.P. Morgan. Both of these camps are privately-owned today and generally off-limits to the public, but have been available to Road Scholar participants though this special program.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Michael S. Wilson
Dr. Michael Wilson created the Adirondack Studies Program at the State University of New York, Potsdam. As the associate director of Sagamore, he trains the historic interpreters annually and has received kudos from the Michelin Guide, the Upstate History Alliance, and the New York State Arts and Business Partnership Association. A scholar and teacher, his love of his subject is immediately evident.
Profile Image
Jack Berkley
Profile Image
Dan Berggren
Profile Image
Michael S. Wilson
Suggested Reading List
View 1 books

Click here to provide website feedback
Website Feedback