Lake George is without comparison, the most beautiful water I ever saw,” wrote Thomas Jefferson to his daughter in 1791. It had been less than a decade since the lake’s remarkable run as venue to battles in the French and Indian and Revolutionary wars, but the young secretary of state had come to northeast New York to enjoy some R&R on the crystal-clear waters. Fed by pristine subterranean springs, the lake remains so clean 200 years later that many locals still use it for drinking water—even as they make use of its recreational opportunities.
And if elegant living with a dose of superb golf is your pleasure, The Sagamore Resort, in Bolton Landing, is the destination of choice. By the end of the nineteenth century, when Lake George rivaled Newport and the Hamptons as a summer enclave for such gilded-age families as the Rockfellers, Vanderbilts and Whitneys, this sprawling Victorian hotel was by far its most elegant retreat. Built in 1883, The Sagamore is today an homage to a bygone era, with its grand porticos, buffed wood floors, Oriental rugs, mahogany bars and elaborate crystal chandeliers. The individually decorated guest rooms feature impeccable period details, with sturdy antiques and marble bathrooms, plus such modern-day amenities as flat-screen TVs and even a bedside dock for your iPod.
Be sure to reserve a tee time at The Sagamore Golf Club, whose 18-hole, par-70 course was designed in 1928 by Donald Ross. Straddling a ridge overlooking the lake, the course is famous for its signature Ross bunkers and naturally undulating hogback greens that rise and fall with the Adirondack terrain.
You’ll want to spend quality time with a good book or a cocktail on the grand, multi-tiered lakeside patio overlooking the manicured lawn that slopes down to the water. And indulgence doesn’t end there. You can enjoy an Adirondack hot-stone massage at the spa, take a dip in the outdoor or indoor pool, or explore the lake in a kayak or sailboat.
A perfect day ends at a table with a lake view at La Bella Vita, the resort’s elegant ristorante. Refined Italian dishes made from fresh ingredients are specialties. The menu changes with market availability, and might feature a delicate mushroom risotto, lobster ravioli, grilled lamb chops with gorgonzola polenta or a delectable salmon Florentine. The wine list hops between the Old and New worlds, ranging from Cabernet Sauvignon from California’s Rodney Strong to a nice selection of dessert wines, including several vintage Port wines from Fonseca. Be sure to save room for the melt-in-your-mouth rum tiramisu or a slice of lemoncello ricotta cheesecake. Should you overindulge, you can always walk it off in the morning on those rolling golf greens.
Visit thesagamore.com or call 866-385-6221.