Adirondack Nonprofit Makes the Most of Unusual Summer
Great Camp Sagamore, an educational nonprofit and tourist destination in the central Adirondacks, is making the most of a summer without guests by undertaking long-awaited renovations.
Great Camp Sagamore is an Adirondack Great Camp and was a summer retreat for the Vanderbilt family. Today it is the most accessible of the Great Camps, offering daily tours and stays for the public.
Typically, Great Camp Sagamore welcomes guests May through October, but the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic led to the decision to cancel all programing and visits for the 2020 season. While disappointed not to host guests in 2020, leadership at the camp quickly pivoted to focus on projects that will enhance future guest visits and uphold preservation standards at this National Historic Site.
“One challenge we face in maintaining our century-old buildings is that the best time for construction projects in the Adirondacks is the summer, but that’s of course when we usually have hundreds of guests coming through every week,” said Great Camp Sagamore Director Emily Martz. “We’re taking advantage of this unusually quiet summer to complete projects that have long been on our to-do list.”
One priority project, using mostly North Country contractors, is restoring the 360° porch on the camp’s iconic Main Lodge. The restoration includes replacing staircases and cedar railings removed over the years, repairing the foundation, and replacing the decking to match the original 1897 design. The changes will make it possible for guests to utilize the second floor balcony, which had previously been unsafe. These projects are funded by ongoing donations to the camp and grants, including from National Trust for Historic Preservation through the National Trust Preservation Fund.
Once the project is complete, guests will be able to enjoy concerts on the porch as well as receptions, workshops and leisure activities. “Restoring the Main Lodge porch means restoring its original role as a central gathering place at Great Camp Sagamore,” said Martz. “We’re excited to share this special new space with our guests when they return in 2021.”