Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas Eve at The Sagamore

Pete and I journeyed north to Bolton Landing on the west shore of Lake George through snow, ice and fog to spend Christmas Eve at The Sagamore. The hotel was named for a character in James Fenimore Cooper's 1826 novel, Last of the Mohicans -- Chingachgook, the last Mohican chief and often called "The Great Sagamore," or respected chief. The first hotel opened in 1883 and quickly became the center of social activity for wealthy Green Island residents and the owners of "cottages" along Lake George's Millionaires Row.

The less photographed entry facade of The Sagamore; personal collection
Valet desk; valet service is complimentary; personal collection

The first hotel was built in the shingled Queen Anne style of architecture, was constructed in the shape of an "H" and was three and a half stories. Lake steamers made regular stops at the docks of the hotel bringing new guests and their arrival was a highly anticipated event.

After the first fire in 1893 which left nothing more than the chimneys, there was no summer season. However, the surrounding cottages did not burn and owners needed a place to dine and socialize. So the Sagamore bowling alley was converted to a dining hall for the 1893 season.

The new Sagamore opened for business on 26 June 1894. Its architecture was picturesque; "its varied porticoes, balconies, and gables admirably displayed in colors that harmonized richly with their native surroundings."[1]

The second fire occurred on Easter Sunday in 1914 and totally destroyed the resort. Though rumors abounded about a new hotel in the years following, only cottages were built on Green Island. In 1923 the Sagamore Club opened. From historic photographs of the club, one can begin to discern the beginnings of the current hotel, which opened on 1 July 1930.

The hotel was added to the National Historic Register of Places in 1983 and became a member of Historic Hotels of American in 1991. The property was purchased by Ocean Properties, LTD in 2008, who have invested an additional $50 million.

The world famous lake facade, which was built in 1930; personal collection

View of Lake George and Dome Island; personal collection

The Christmas decorations were beautiful throughout the hotel, including banks of poinsettias...

Poinsettias in the lobby; personal collection

...Christmas trees throughout the property...

Christmas tree in the lobby bar; personal collection

...beautifully decorated mantles (yes, I lusted after that bark canoe)...

Cabin style Christmas decorations; personal collection

...and one life-sized gingerbread house in the lobby.

Life-sized gingerbread house in the lobby; personal

Merry Christmas to all my family and friends.

[1] Brown, M. O. The Sagamore, Lake George. Bolton Landing, New York, 1889. (Pamphlet)

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