Open House Events Offer Rare Access into Historic Camp Buildings
Three Winter Weekend events are being held in 2023 at the historic Camp Santanoni in the town of Newcomb in the Adirondacks. Hosted by DEC and the Friends of Camp Santanoni, the Winter Weekends invite visitors to enjoy winter recreation and exclusive winter access to the preserved buildings of the former camp. This is the first time these popular winter events are being held since the COVID-19 pandemic and are made possible through DEC’s partnership with the Friends of Camp Santanoni, which includes Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH), State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY ESF) Adirondack Interpretive Center (AIC), the town of Newcomb, and thousands of supporters who believe in the importance of preserving this historic Great Camp for use as public education, recreation, and inspiration.
The 2023 Winter Weekend events will take place during the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend, Jan. 14-16; President’s Day holiday weekend, Feb. 18-20; and the weekend of March 11 and 12.
The Camp Santanoni Winter Weekends are an excellent opportunity for visitors to take in the natural beauty of the Adirondacks while learning more about the area’s cultural heritage. A 9.8-mile round trip cross-country ski or snowshoe excursion begins at Camp Santanoni’s Gate Lodge Complex and extends to the remote lakeside Main Lodge Complex. The trip requires moderate physical activity and visitors should come prepared to be exposed to the elements for long stretches of time. Snowshoes provided by the AIC will be available at the Gate Lodge for visitors without their own.
During the three Winter Weekend events, the Gate Lodge and Main Lodge will be open for visitors to view interpretive displays about the Great Camp’s history. AARCH volunteers will be onsite to provide guided tours and answer questions. The Artist’s Studio, a log and stone building next to the Main Lodge on the shores of Newcomb Lake, will be open as a warming hut with a fire in the wood stove. While the grounds of Camp Santanoni are open to visitors year-round, the buildings are not typically open to the public during winter months, making the Winter Weekends a unique opportunity to experience the camp in the snowy season.
“The Town of Newcomb is excited for the return of the Camp Santanoni Winter Weekends,” said Supervisor Robin DeLoria. “The Winter events compliment a suite of year-round activities our Town sponsors through financial support as well as in-kind services. Camp Santanoni is a treasured jewel which provides opportunities for education, recreation and interpretation. Many thanks to our partners who bolster these events and help our local economy.”
“AARCH is so pleased to partner with DEC and the Friends of Camp Santanoni to bring back the much-loved Winter Weekends,” said Erin Tobin, Executive Director of Adirondack Architectural Heritage. “There is nothing like coming down the path to the Main Camp complex on a snowy winter day to find warmth and light in the Artist Studio, gathering by the wood stove and experiencing the peace of Newcomb Lake in the winter.”
“These weekends are among our favorite events each year,” said Paul Hai, Associate Director at the SUNY ESF Adirondack Ecological Center. “They are a fun, exciting and educational way for us to showcase Newcomb, Santanoni, and the AIC, and the great partnership we have between the Town, the DEC and ESF.”
In addition to the popular 9.8-mile round trip trail from the Gate Lodge to the Main Lodge, cross-country skiers and snowshoers are encouraged to take the half-mile trail that connects Camp Santanoni to the SUNY ESF Adirondack Interpretive Center’s (AIC) 3.6-mile trail system. The AIC buildings will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. during all three Winter Weekends.
Robert and Anna Pruyn, the original owners of Camp Santanoni, commissioned construction of the Great Camp in 1892. Spanning 12,900 acres, the camp consisted of three groupings of buildings-the Gatehouse Complex, the Farm Complex, and the Main Camp. Pruyn heirs sold the camp to the Melvin family of Syracuse in 1953, and the camp remained in private ownership until 1972, when the property was sold to the state of New York and incorporated into the State Forest Preserve. Over the last several decades of state ownership, the camp has gradually been restored through a partnership between DEC, AARCH and the town of Newcomb. Santanoni is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a National Historic Landmark.
Camp Santanoni Winter Weekends are open to all visitors at no cost. Reservations are not required. Contact AARCH at 518-834-9328 for more information on upcoming Winter Weekends. Additional information about Camp Santanoni, the AIC, and the Newcomb area may be found at:
- DEC Camp Santanoni website
- Adirondack Architectural Heritage
- Adirondack Interpretive Center
- Town of Newcomb
Photo at top: Camp Santanoni’s rustic architecture is open for touring on three winter weekends. Photo by Brandon Loomis