Increased opportunities for outdoor recreation in the Adirondacks would be available under two proposed plans released today for public review and comment, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced. Comments will be accepted on the Essex Chain Lakes Management Complex Draft Unit Management Plan (Draft UMP) and a Draft Community Connector Multiple-Use Trail Plan (Draft Trail Plan) through July 18.
The Essex Chain Lakes Management Complex includes the 6,956-acre Essex Chain Primitive Area, the 2,788-acre Pine Lake Primitive Area and a portion of the 42,537-acre Blue Mountain Wild Forest. These lands are located in the Town of Indian Lake in Hamilton County, and towns of Newcomb and Minerva in Essex County. » Continue Reading.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH), the Town of Newcomb, and the Adirondack Ecological Center have announced that historic Camp Santanoni, located off Route 28N in Newcomb, will be open for three special weekends this winter. » Continue Reading.
New Yorkers have recently come into ownership of nine more miles of the Upper Hudson River and adjoining lakes and tributaries to the west amounting to about 20,000 acres. In addition to the incredible ecological variety and richness, the public has also gained new, strategic points from which canoeists and rafters can exit the river before the truly big rapids begin at Cedar Ledges below the confluence with the Indian River.
In early July I went to see one of those exit points and the new canoe carry at the former outer Gooley Club north of Indian Lake, once leased by Finch, Pruyn. I then walked further down the Chain Lakes Road to see what the Gooley Club structure looks like. It is apparently eligible for listing on the State or National Register. Then, I walked further north on the former logging road to see what I could see. » Continue Reading.
Great Camp Santanoni in Newcomb was built for Robert and Anna Pruyn of Albany beginning in 1892. The estate eventually included 12,900 acres and nearly four-dozen buildings. Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) director Steven Engelhart and 2012 intern Charlotte Barrett will lead a tour of the site on Friday, June 28, 2013 that will feature the launch of a new guide to Santanoni, authored by Barrett.
The day will include stops at the Gate Lodge, the 200-acre farm, and the Main Camp on Newcomb Lake where well see ongoing restoration and learn about the conservation planning and restoration work. The Santanoni Preserve is owned by New York State, on the National Register of Historic Places, and is a National Historic Landmark. AARCH has long been associated with the protection, interpretation and restoration of this Adirondack treasure. » Continue Reading.
Arthur V. Savage of Elizabethtown, Keene, and points south died on December 26 and belongs in my pantheon of Adirondack conservation champions. Judging from the flow of email following his death, that also holds true for many others. He was a man of varied interests, commitments, and for all seasons. I am hoping this short post will stimulate others who knew Arthur better than I to share their thoughts.
Arthur’s obituary was in many regional papers as well as The New York Times. His importance as an early leader in environmental law circles can’t be overstated. I knew Arthur principally for his work on the boards of the not for profit Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks (AFPA) and NYS Adirondack Park Agency. When Arthur joined these boards, the former through the recruitment of AFPA’s long-time chairman Arthur Crocker in the 1960s, and the latter thanks to his nomination to the APA by Governor Hugh Carey in 1979, he gave a complete effort. » Continue Reading.
There will be a tour of Adirondack Great Camp Santanoni in Newcomb (Essex County), NY this Thursday, June 28, 2012. Santanoni was built for Robert and Anna Pruyn of Albany beginning in 1892. The estate eventually included 12,900 acres and nearly four-dozen buildings.
Led by AARCH staff, the tour will include stops at the Gate Lodge, Santanoni’s 200 -acre farm, and the Main Camp on Newcomb Lake where we’ll see the ongoing restoration of the camp complex and learn first hand about the conservation planning and restoration work.
A weekend open house to the New York State owned Camp Santanoni is a great reason to get us to strap on our cross-country skis and hit the backcountry for a family outing. The other reason is there is snow and plenty of it in Newcomb. We leave Saranac Lake and the sky is blue and clear. The conditions are more spring skiing than what we have come to expect at the end of February. It is a perfect day.
I make my family visit the stone gatehouse at the entrance to Camp Santanoni in Newcomb but no one wants to linger. They are impatient to hit the trail. It is a busy day due to the Adirondack Architectural Heritage Open House weekend. Normally the Great Camp buildings are closed but today, tours will be given so we get a property history, explore the buildings and a great easy ski. After registering we take off. The trail in is actually the 4.7-mile carriage road leading past the original farm to the Great Camp. It was described to me as relatively flat but I found it to be more aptly defined as gently rolling. There are definite uphill climbs but everything still falls under the category of an easy beginner ski.
Since I’m the slowest skier in the family, my kids wait for me at various intersections and landmarks. I come to the farm at one mile and they are already playing around the stone dairy and over to the remains of the burned barn. (A couple passing by mourn the loss of the barn, which burned in 2004. They had not been back since and are shocked to not see it still standing.) We continue our ski and make it to the Great Camp in less than two hours.
Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) Executive Director Steven Engelhart starts flipping through old photographs documenting much of the history of this New York State owned Great Camp while my family enjoys lunch at one of the picnic tables provided on the connecting porches. We learn an abbreviated history of the Albany banker Robert Pruyn’s (Prīne) vision to be a gentleman farmer and his wife Anna’s quest for a rustic retreat, which combined to form Great Camp Santanoni in the 1890s.
My children are more interested in Pruyn’s interest in Japanese architecture based on his two-year stay in Japan as secretary to his father, an ambassador appointed under President Lincoln. During the talking points we gather it is believed that the Main Camp architecture of Santanoni was designed to resemble a bird in flight, with its Great Room and single roof forming the bird’s body and the connecting porches forming the wings.
My family leaves the tour when Engelhart mentioned hot chocolate is available at the nearby Artist’s Studio. I continue on the tour and it is easy to image a family being comfortable and enjoying the same outdoor activities we still do today.
There are no plans or need to make Great Camp Santanoni anything more than what it already is, a beautiful year-round destination to Newcomb Lake and a glimpse into a piece of Adirondack history.
Camp Santanoni is open year-round to non-motorized use. It has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 2000. Since AARCH’s intervention in 1991 the boathouse has been completely renovated and the many connecting porches were replaced as well as other structural improvements. The trail is accessible in summer by horse and wagon as well used by hikers and mountain bikers.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH), the Town of Newcomb, and the Adirondack Ecological Center have announced that historic Camp Santanoni in Newcomb will be open for three special long “open house” weekends this winter. Over these weekends, cross-country skiers and snowshoers will be able to visit the Gatelodge and Main Lodge, get short interpretive tours with AARCH staff, and warm up at the Artist’s Studio before the return trip. These weekends will be January 14-16, February 18-20, and March 17-18. Camp Santanoni was built beginning in 1892 by Robert and Anna Pruyn and eventually consisted of more than four dozen buildings on 12,900 acres including a working farm, Gatelodge complex, and a huge rustic Main Lodge and other camp buildings situated on Newcomb Lake. Santanoni was in private ownership until 1972 and over the last several decades, in state ownership, it has gradually been restored by a partnership between NYSDEC, AARCH, and the Town of Newcomb. Santanoni is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a National Historic Landmark.
Camp Santanoni is one of the most popular cross-country ski destinations in the Adirondacks, and for good reason. The snow conditions are usually excellent, the trip itself is of only moderate intensity, and the camp on its remote lakeside setting makes for an interesting and most beautiful destination. The round-trip cross-country ski and showshoe trip is 9.8 miles on a gently sloping carriage road. People may visit Santanoni 365 days a year but these weekends are rare opportunities to visit the camp in winter, have a brief tour, and have a place to warm up.
As snow conditions so far in 2012 have been light, it is best to check in advance to make sure the road is suitable for skiing.
I got back from a long holiday weekend Sunday night to find a few inches of snow in my driveway in Saranac Lake. It won’t be long before the cross-country-ski season begins in earnest.
So far, I have been out only once—on the Whiteface highway, the traditional first ski of the season in the Adirondacks. The highway needs only a few inches of snow to be skiable.
A few years ago, the Adirondack Explorer published an article by Tony Goodwin—the author of Ski and Snowshoe Trails in the Adirondacks — on other places to ski that don’t require a lot of snow. He came up with ten early – season suggestions in addition to the Whiteface road. Click here to read Tony’s story. You’ll find some other old favorites, such as the road to Camp Santanoni, as well as lesser-known destinations, such as Bum Pond in the Whitney Wilderness.
If you have other ideas for early-season ski trips, let us know.
And if you’re planning ahead for trips later in the season, bookmark this site. I’ll be adding links to more ski trips as they become available.
Photo by Phil Brown: A skier on Whiteface Memorial Highway.
Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) will kick-off their 2011 educational series with an interpretive cross-country ski into the 19th-century, Adirondack Great Camp, Camp Santanoni. Participants will learn about the camp’s history and the architectural significance that makes it a National Historic Landmark. The 10-mile round trip ski, along the preserve’s gently sloping historic carriage road, leads us into the majestic wilderness estate. Participants will visit the camp’s three complexes; the Gate Lodge, the Farm, and the Main Camp, the design of architect Robert Robertson.
The tour will be led by AARCH staff and John Friauf, former AARCH Board Member. The group will depart Santanoni Preserve parking area, off Route 28N in the hamlet of Newcomb at 10AM, returning around 3 PM. This is a remote site so participants are encouraged to bring a trail lunch and plenty of hydration. The fee is $20 for members and $30 for non-members. Advance registration is required by calling AARCH at (518) 834-9328. Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) is the private, non-profit, historic preservation organization for the Adirondack Park region. AARCH works in partnership with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Town of Newcomb to preserve and interpret Camp Santanoni.
This tour is one of over fifty events in our annual series highlighting the region’s architectural legacy. For more information on AARCH including membership and a complete 2011 program schedule contact AARCH at (518) 834-9328 or visit their website.
Photo: Recent repairs on part of the extensive covered porches at main camp, Camp Santanoni during winter. Photo courtesy AARCH.
Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) is presenting a free lecture Monday, August 17, 2009 at 7 p.m. at the Essex Community Church, in Essex. “From Great Camps to Skyscrapers: Rediscovering the Remarkable Architecture of Robert H. Robertson,” will be presented by Daniel Snydacker, Ph.D., executive director, Pequot Library, Southport, CT, and architectural historian.
Robert H. Robertson, the architect of Camp Santanoni, and Shelburne Farms in Vermont, was born in Philadelphia in 1849 and did his training with other, well-known American architects. He did not go to Europe to study at schools such as Les Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris as did his contemporaries Richard Morris Hunt and others. This non-academic training is clearly evident in much of his work which is profoundly American in so many ways. Robertson led the way in the development of several important categories of American architecture. He competed successfully with the greatest architects of the late 19th century and, in some of his work, anticipated the greatest architects of the 20th century. Ironically, Robertson has dropped out of sight among those who study American architectural history. Unfortunately, his papers and drawings apparently have been lost and this may account for the lack of interest among scholars. Many of his buildings survive, however, and they bear eloquent testimony to the skill and creativity of their designer.
Robertson worked in a broad swath down the East Coast from the Adirondacks, to Tuxedo Park, through the Berkshires, into both Southport and Newport, and then, with a flourish, he designed a string of handsome, groundbreaking tall office buildings and churches right down the middle of Manhattan. His commissions reached as far West as Ohio and included several lovely homes in New Jersey and on Long Island.
Robertson’s architecture is human in scale. His had an unerring, firm control of massing. His roof lines are breathtakingly strong and powerful. He demonstrates a mastery of detail which he exercises with an often playful eclecticism that reflects the influence of William Morris, John Ruskin, and others in the arts and craft movement. The more one sees of his work, the more one recognizes his genius. The lecture will help put his local buildings into a broader context by circling out past the rest of his work and coming back again to understand the true importance of Santanoni and Shelburne Farms.
Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) will kick-off their 2009 educational series Sunday, February 8th with an interpretive cross-country ski into the 19th-century, Adirondack Great Camp, Camp Santanoni. Participants will learn about the history and architectural significance of the camp that make it a National Historic Landmark. The 10-mile round trip ski, along the preserve’s gently sloping historic carriage road, leads us into the majestic wilderness estate. Those taking part will visit the camp’s three complexes (the Gate Lodge, the Farm, and the Main Camp), and view the massive log retreat at the Main Camp, the work of architect Robert Robertson. Skiers will also see first hand, authentic Adirondack rustic interiors and learn about the restoration of the camp. Steven Engelhart, AARCH Executive Director and John Friauf, former AARCH Board Member, will lead the tour. The group will depart Santanoni Preserve parking area, off Route 28N in the hamlet of Newcomb at 10AM, returning around 3 PM. This is a remote site. All participants are encouraged to bring a trail lunch and plenty of hydration. The fee is $10 for members and $15 for non-members. Advance registration is required by calling AARCH at (518) 834-9328.
Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) is the private, non-profit, historic preservation organization for the Adirondack Park region. AARCH works in partnership with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Town of Newcomb to preserve and interpret Camp Santanoni. This tour is one of over fifty events in our annual series highlighting the region’s vast architectural legacy. For more information on AARCH including membership and a complete 2009 program schedule contact AARCH at (518) 834-9328 or visit their website at www.aarch.org.
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