Another weekend, another lakeside adventure! Two weeks ago I escaped – well, sort of – for a weekend all by myself on Lake George. It wasn’t a complete escape; I was there to attend a legal conference with a group of my colleagues. My firm sends folks to the conference, which is held at The Sagamore Resort, every year, but I’d never attended before. Last year, I was on maternity leave, and the year before, I had a prior commitment and was unable to go – so this year I was determined to attend, do some networking, learn a lot and squeeze in a bit of fun. The conference is on a very interesting topic and isn’t a heavy lift time-wise – in fact, workshops are only scheduled for half days, and conference attendees are free to enjoy themselves in their ample downtime. And enjoy myself I did.
I arrived on Friday afternoon, after dropping Peanut off for a weekend with her grandparents, who happened to be on my way (sort of) – Nugget was enjoying a boys’ weekend with Daddy at home in Buffalo. I missed Steve and the kids but was determined to make the most of a weekend in a beautiful place, so I grabbed lunch and lemonade and did a little exploring before making my way to conference registration and the first sessions.
The Sagamore was incredible. I’ve always wanted to stay there but it was never something I could justify. My parents’ lakeside cabin isn’t far away, and I usually go there for lake fun. And even when we did take a day trip to Lake George when I was growing up, it was close enough to home that we simply slept in our own beds. There was never a reason to stay in a hotel – until now! A conference in my field gave me the perfect opportunity to check off a bucket list item and stay at this incredible historic property.
During a break in conference activities on Friday afternoon, I wandered down to the main dock, stretched out on a lounge chair, and spent about an hour staring at this view. As business travel goes, this is really not too shabby. Not too shabby at all.
On Saturday morning I found a lounge chair on the other side of the dock and enjoyed a different view with my to-go cup of coffee from the conference breakfast buffet. A good way to start the day, indeed, and I went into morning meetings fortified with beautiful views.
I also snapped a picture of these ducklings – so sweet! – and sent it to my mom to share with Peanut. I’m going to go on record and say that all business travel should involve ducks.
After the morning sessions concluded, the conference attendees were set free to enjoy our beautiful surroundings. (Literally – the afternoon conference agenda said “Golf or tennis.”) The week prior to the conference, I texted my college friend Seth, who has a house on the lake, to see if he was planning to be in town and was free to hang that afternoon. Lucky for me, he was in town and up for a friend date! First stop: the deli, for sandwiches, which we ate on a dock with our feet dangling over the water.
Next stop – hiking! I wanted to hike Prospect Mountain, which is billed as the quintessential hike to do in Lake George. But Seth had insider info – there was a new trail, just recently opened, with an even better view than the summit of Prospect could boast. I placed my afternoon in Seth’s capable hands and told him to lead the way.
Seth signed us into the trail register – important Adirondack pre-hike ritual, guys!
The trail was lovely – not too rocky or boulder-y, and a much easier climb than our last Adirondack adventure up Cascade and Porter. Such are the benefits of a little-known (new!) trail.
We hiked up slowly, chatting away about life and families and politics and books and everything else under the sun, and before I knew it, we were nearing the summit and spotting our first water views through the trees.
Not. Too. Shabby.
Good call, Seth! The view was incredible – we could see a massive expanse of the lake. Seth grew up on Lake George, in the same way that I grew up on the Sacandaga, and he knows his Lake George geography. He pointed out Lake George Village, the Sagamore’s private island, the narrows, the other islands, and all of the other sights of importance.
We stayed on the mountaintop drinking in the views for about half an hour, then reluctantly turned our backs to the gorgeous vista once we had finally had our fill. We had planned to head from the Pinnacle to Prospect, but as we looked over the sparkling lake, Seth remarked, “You know… that water looks awfully inviting.” I was thinking the same thing, and a new afternoon plan was formed…
Kayaking! We ran back to the Sagamore so I could quickly grab a change of clothes, then headed for Seth’s place and his small fleet of kayaks. Those who know me “in real life” know that I am an avid kayaker – it’s my favorite way to get out on the water. So how could I say no when Seth suggested a spin around the lake? He assigned me the red kayak, in honor of our alma mater.
We spent about four hours paddling the kayaks over a large loop that included Lake George Village and Tea Island. (I approved of the name.)
I’ve spent a fair amount of time in Lake George Village, but I’ve never seen it from this perspective! What fun.
As we were paddling back to Seth’s camp, the Minne-Ha-Ha, the most famous of Lake George’s tourist boats, approached us. I’ve been on the Minne-Ha-Ha, but never had such a great view from another craft! What a cool experience to see her up close. We waved to the tourists, who gave us friendly salutes back – a perfect way to end the kayaking excursion.
Is there anything better than spending hours out on the water with an old friend? I think not… well, the one improvement I could imagine would have been to have my family along for the ride as well. Next time, for sure! After wrapping up an active afternoon of climbing mountains and paddling for hours, Seth and I were famished. We decided to eat out instead of grilling; I requested something casual but with a view of the lake, and Seth suggested the Algonquin. That sounded good to me, and the crab legs I got were perfect. We finished our evening sipping wine on the gracious veranda back at The Sagamore, laughing about old times and quoting Friends episodes to each other. Aside from missing Steve (who would have had a blast) and the kids, it was as darn near perfect as a day gets, and pretty much the best “business travel” ever. Is it too early to sign up for next year’s conference?
Have you ever been to Lake George?