If it weren’t actually life-sized, you would think you were approaching one of Charlie Wood’s fairytale buildings at Storytown. The Stone Manor Restaurant at the Blue Water Manor on Lakeshore Drive in Bolton is one of those “must see” taverns in the Adirondacks. Like a fairytale castle of Arthurian legend, the stone structure appears much older than it really is. As you make your way to the tavern and restaurant on Lake George, you’ll find yourself surrounded by cabins for rent and a variety of low-hanging trees that obscure and enhance the view of the building. The slate roof is visible here and there among the trees, but you can’t miss the medieval, arched doorway that lies at the end of the tree-strewn path.
In a Cinderella manner, the hostess awaits your entrance; though, unlike Storytown dwellings, you won’t have to duck your head as you enter. To the left, a massive fireplace occupies an entire wall, large enough to accommodate musicians who often take advantage of the acoustics within. Directly in front, a welcoming pine slab bar nearly spans the length of the room, with windows overlooking the deck, Lake George’s Basin Bay, and the mountains beyond. Originally built in 1923 from locally quarried stone, very little has changed in this reproduction medieval castle hall. The masonry is rustic and solid. Monoliths of granite protrude at irregular intervals. Slate floors lead through stone archways which frame sturdy oak hobbit doors, rounded on top. A miniature suit of armor stands guard on a portico overhead; flags of conquered lands float from the two-story high cathedral ceiling.
Owned and operated by Dan and Vallen Nichols for the past 11 years, the resort prides itself on providing fun for the whole family. Restaurant expansion includes the outer deck, a lower deck and an interior room off the deck. An old piano beckons on one level, a transition between the kitchen, the tavern, and the deck. With food prices ranging from $10 to $30, there appeared to be something for everyone on the menu, including daily seafood specials to tempt most customers. The bar is naturally cool and comfortable, with seating for at least a dozen, and tables in the immediate vicinity.
Blue Water Manor is open mid-May through Columbus Day, easing into the season by being open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday until late June, when they expand to seven days a week. Cabin rentals are available throughout the season. Musical entertainment is featured on Friday and Saturday night in the pre-season, with Caribbean Night on Monday and Campfire Night on Wednesday throughout the summer.
Though offering no formal Happy Hour, the Stone Manor Restaurant lists plenty of coffee based drinks and a minimum of ten festive, summery drink specialties. Five draft beers and more than 30 bottled beers are available. Drink prices were moderately low for beer; higher than average for cocktails. The bartender, Liz, recently returned to work at the Stone Manor after several years away. She was hesitant to divulge misinformation in case things had changed and, instead, introduced us to Tim, a regular and local resident whose knowledge of Blue Water Manor Liz obviously held in high esteem. Tim provided us with a tale of ghostly experiences surrounding a scandalous affair, a brief history of the lodge, and some other taverns long since forgotten.
With several seating options, great views inside and out, an extensive dining menu, and a well-staffed restaurant and bar, this is one place not to be missed. Their season is brief, but, like a childhood visit to Storytown, you’ll always remember your first visit to the Blue Water Manor’s Stone Manor Restaurant.