One of the more venerable establishments in the Adirondacks, Friends Lake Inn was built in the early 1860’s as a boarding house for workers in the local tannery. Originally known as Murphy’s Friends Lake Inn, by the time of prohibition it was a summer retreat easily reached by horse-drawn carriage from the Glen Station on the Saratoga to North Creek rail line.
Like many local hotels and motels in the area Friends Lake Inn fell on hard times with the construction of the Northway (Interstate I-87) nearby and closed in 1969. After 15 years Greg and Sharon Taylor purchased the building and transformed it into in the luxury country inn it remains today, with a focus on fine food and an exceptional wine cellar of more than 2,000 bottles from around the world. Recently the Inn was purchased by John and Tammy Breymaier of Fredericksburg, Virginia who plan to modernize the guest rooms, and have already added local craft beers and new wines.
The inn offers options for formal dining room or the more casual bistro. Intrigued by dining room’s library, we started the evening with an appetizer and salad at the closest table. Our server Joyce was knowledgeable helped us choose among wine pairing options. The menu was creative, with selections of fresh seafood, wild game and plenty of local ingredients.
I had the scallop and lobster stuffed corn crepe with a vanilla white bean beurre-blanc, hazelnut praline and garnish with fresh scallions. I tried the Mixed Green Salad with its fresh greens, sun-dried cranberries, pecan and pistachio praline, crumbled blue cheese and a house made balsamic vinaigrette. The food was outstanding, and the ambiance excellent, but I wanted to check out the bistro, so we moved.
The bistro offers a more rustic Adirondack theme with its own menu and a well-stocked bar. I had the Wild Boar slider on a Hawaiian roll with a tri-color slaw and the duck wings tossed in a sweet chili sauce with an Asian slaw. I highly recommend both. I finished the evening with a gluten-free dark chocolate tort with fresh wild berries, a great accompaniment for the one of the Inn’s specity coffees. I had the the Northwood’s Coffee with Grand Marnier and Bailey’s Irish Cream – tasty!
With winter approaching, the Friends Lake Inn offers more than spectacular food. The Inn has 17 spacious guest rooms with turn-of the century décor and built-in modern hot tubs that you’ll want to soak in after hitting their more than 15 miles of cross country ski trails and easy access to the North Warren Trailblazers snowmobile trail network. The also offer lake front access, a meeting room in the wine cellar, and a sauna.
Recently Executive Chef Mathew Bolton has passed the torch and taken a position teaching at SUNY Adirondack as Head Culinary Chef. The new Executive Chef Scott Dewar, has a long history with the Inn as these two chefs have worked together for over a decade, a Culinary “Dream Team” that marked the inn’s food as some of the best in the northeast. Chef Dewar says he’s looking forward to keeping up the Inn’s renowned standards.