The Adirondacks and Saratoga Springs
At more than six million acres—easily the largest park in the continental United States—the Adirondack Park seems a bit underrated. But the beauty of its lakes, ponds, rivers and peaks is most remarkable for how well those elements meld with the park's towns and resorts.
Saratoga Springs, just south of the park, combines the relaxed demeanor of a resort town with the status-consciousness of a mostly affluent clientele, all in an architectural environment that seems frozen in time. The scene is at its most vibrant in August, during the annual confabs at Saratoga Race Course (see left), which does for thoroughbred racing what Wrigley Field does for baseball. Albany International is the closest major airport to both areas.
Where to Play
The Sagamore Golf Club
Of the four-hundred-plus courses credited to Donald Ross, this design on Lake George is one of the finest. With its hog-backed greens, cross bunkering, seamless green-to-tee tie-ins and smooth playability, it's a classic example of golden-age architecture. And its first hole—which features a drive against the backdrop of the lake followed by a severely climbing approach—proves that Ross didn't always believe the opener should be a friendly handshake.
110 Sagamore Road, Bolton Landing. Architect: Donald Ross, 1928. Yardage: 6,890. Par: 70. Slope: 137. Greens Fees: $110–$135. Contact: 518-743-6380, thesagamore.com.
Saranac Inn Golf and Country Club
This course on the banks of Upper Saranac Lake is the work of the prolific Seymour Dunn, originally from North Berwick in Scotland. Many of Dunn's features are still intact, including horse-collar bunkers surrounding long stands of fescue grasses.
125 Route 46, Saranac Lake. Architect: Seymour Dunn, 1901. Yardage: 6,557. Par: 72. Slope: 128. Greens Fee: $65. Contact: 518-891-1402, saranacinn.com.
Saratoga National Golf Club
Saratoga National is a distinctly modern course set on a sprawling 450-acre site that was once a horse farm. It features five tee boxes, numerous forced carries, twenty-four bridges and an island green.
458 Union Avenue, Saratoga Springs. Architect: Roger Rulewich, 2001. Yardage: 7,265. Par: 72. Slope: 147. Greens Fees: $110–$175. Contact: 518-583-4653, golfsaratoga.com.
Best of the Rest
In Lake Placid, Whiteface Club & Resort (whitefaceclubresort.com) dates to 1898 and offers dazzling lake and mountain views. If you're on your way to or from Montreal, try Malone Golf Club (malonegolfclub.com). Just this side of the Canadian border, it's a thirty-six-hole complex with two Robert Trent Jones designs.
Where to Stay
Mirror Lake Inn Resort and Spa A nicely restored 1920s inn within easy walking distance of Lake Placid's town center.
77 Mirror Lake Drive, Lake Placid. Rooms: from $290. Contact: 518-523-2544, mirror lakeinn.com.
The Sagamore A National Historic Landmark, this grand hotel, originally built in 1883, is perfect for a lakefront getaway.
110 Sagamore Road, Bolton Landing. Rooms: from $299. Contact: 866-385-6221, thesagamore.com.
The Saratoga Arms This hotel has been a fixture of the town's social scene almost since it opened in 1870. With thirty-one individually decorated rooms, it's cozy but full-service.
497 Broadway, Saratoga Springs. Rooms: from $175. Contact: 518-584-1775, saratogaarms.com.
Where to Eat
Hattie's (Cajun) Saratoga has its formal restaurants, but we liked this casual Cajun place for its fried chicken and unusual beers.
45 Phila Street, Saratoga Springs; hattiesrestaurant.com. $$
Trillium (New American) For a fine-dining experience, the Sagamore's restaurant easily surpasses resort standards.
The Sagamore, Bolton Landing; thesagamore.com. $$$$