Sagamore Resort — An Eighth Wonder

It’s a wonderfully strange experience one has returning to The Sagamore Resort in Bolton Landing on Lake George each year. You return and you’re instantly transported to every time you’ve been fortunate to visit in the past — you relive moments and milestones in real time while simultaneously experiencing new memories. It’s quite a trip literally and figuratively. The combined feelings of past and present create such a euphoric sensation — especially if you have small kids like I do — forcing you to live in the moment and reminisce about the past all at once. I’ll explain…

Late last month, my family and I stayed at The Sagamore for our eighth summer, and memories flowed like the lake that surrounds it. Everywhere we walked was a reminder of something that had happened while a new, poignant moment was taking place. Case in point: we played in the pool, and realized the particular corner we were at with our now three-year-old daughter was the very spot my wife and I agreed on a name for her — just three months before she was born.

We told my daughter this and she smiled widely. Another day, we passed by the lobby and we snapped a picture of our children with three stuffed polar bears that stand on display there. My older son, now 10 (just three on our first trip here) recalled that two years prior, those bears had masks on them, reminding patrons to mask up during the pandemic. Masks are no longer required, but immediately it brought us back to the Summer of 2020 where things were very different then they are now. I could go on with examples, but one last one is my middle child, now seven, rocking on one of the Adirondack chairs in our room. I chatted with him one morning about how when he was just six months old, we took him here and I had to take him back to the room in a spot not unlike where we were, and rocked him to sleep in his car seat.

The Sagamore, for my family and as evidenced by others staying there, isn’t simply a high-end resort that people stay at for street cred to brag about to their friends. It’s a tradition with so many stories that tell the story of your family. And, hey look, you don’t have to have a family to come here. This is just my story. This is a dream for couples sans kids, too. But, this is my story and I’m sticking with it.

I’ve written previously about how The Sagamore trip we take each summer, next to Christmas and the holiday season, is the biggest thing my family and I look forward to each year. It remains true. We still get proverbial goosebumps after we cross the bridge leading into the 70-acre island that the resort sits on for the first time. Even though we stay in a similar suite each year, my family can’t wait to check out the room, rock on those Adirondack chairs on the deck, and, for me anyway, I can’t wait to make that first cup of coffee and sit out there and look out at the lake and decompress.

Life comes at us fast. Things slow down here. The Sagamore, an official landmark and AAA For-Diamond Award resort not surprisingly just was named among Travel and Leisure’s World Best in the 10 Best Resorts in New York category, is an oasis. If you want to golf, go for it. There’s an 18-hole course here. For me, I take refuge at the pool with panoramic views of the lake and swimming and jumping in the lake itself is a highlight. Each year, I plunge right into the lake cold turkey and immediately I feel free of all worry. That’s saying something, right? My family, in particular, loves a particular area of the lake with tubes where you can just float the day away. On a related note, the poolside bar has delicious food and drink concoctions to take the load off.

The restaurants here are, as the kids in the 1980s used to say, “dope.” The Pavilion remains a favorite and breakfast at La Bella Vita, the buffet in particular, is a standout and is a great bang for your buck. Other perks of The Sagamore? S’mores at the fire pit each night with live music — a real communal experience — and The Rec where kids and adults can do everything from shoot pool to take part in a home-run derby. Oh and there’s also movies shown there each day in a screening room!

Look, I could go on but it’d sound like a lot of smoke. But, it’s hard to criticize a place that takes such pride in consistently raising the bar and living up to the high standards it’s notoriously known for. How do I end this long stream of consciousness about a place that has meant so much to my family and I? I guess I just say what a wonderful, strange experience it’s been to have found a place that makes so many memories flow and somehow makes the outside noise fade — even if it’s just for the duration of our stay.

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Jon Chattman

He once enjoyed a Reuben sandwich with Randy “Macho Man” Savage, has written eight books, hosts his own music series, and is a proud dad. He can’t ride a bike.