Memories are Made Here: The Sagamore and Living Up to the Hype on the Lake

By Jon Chattma

My three-and-a-half-year-old son looks at me as we prepare to leave our hotel room, and says very simply with innocent eyes, “can you tell the next people to watch it so we will come back.” Essentially, what he was telling me after our six-day stay at The Sagamore Resort on Lake George was he wanted the new people coming in the room we just stayed at to take care of it so we could come back. Thinking of next summer this summer is per the course when staying at this crown jewel of Bolton Landing – a resort as majestic as the lake it’s surrounded by. It has been for four straight summers for my family and I, and we can’t hardly wait for the fifth.

Growing up, I had so many friends who told me they went to Lake George for the summers. I never went. We were a Cape Cod family. We played it out like a U2 cassette tape in the 1980s. Nothing against the New England standby, it didn’t have much to do for families beyond beaches and places to eat. I could be remembering it wrong, but that’s besides the point. Let’s jump back into the lake. More specifically, The Sagamore.

I had my doubts that a fourth straight summer would hold up to the love I had in previous years. Like I said with The Cape, when you go somewhere so many times, things begin to tire a bit. But, the second I drove by the lake, turned up and saw The Sagamore sign, and entered my room, I felt home again. All the stress and baggage I came in with checked out as I checked in.

Everything about this place screams elegance, luxury and relaxation. But, it comes without pretension. With the backdrop of the mighty lake, you’re greeted with friendly staff everywhere and patrons who are so happy to be there. There are so many families there you don’t feel terrible when one of your kid bumps into someone or, say, splashes a stranger with water. “I’m in the pool, I expect to be splashed,” said one kind soul who lounged around the water near my two active boys.
Let’s talk about the pool – all 95,000 gallons of it at the perfect temperature – which sits with panoramic views of the lake. In some spots, it looks like the water from the pool goes on forever.

Other perks of the pool? A Splash Pool Bar with wait staff. Lunch and drinks at poolside? Yes, please. Moving from the pool, let me just paint a picture of the facility. Afterall, the pool is housed within a structure that’s been around for over 100 years.

When you drive up you hit the Historic Hotel right off the bat and are struck by its classic Victorian architecture. Along with the pool, this hotel, which features 137 guest rooms including 54 suites, also includes award-winning restaurants (the outside Pavilion is a favorite) and lovely deck to order drinks at. But, every hour is happy hour here. Literally. We stayed at the lodge suite, which featured a terrace overlooking the lake and trees (we spotted two deer one morning), and a room filled with Adirondack-inspired decor. A canvas print of three moose crossing a street remain a favorite of my kids. (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve Googled to find that print to bring it to my home.) The room comes with a modern kitchen, fire place, and a spacious bathroom.

Lastly, I want to emphasize the term “kid-friendly.” There is so much for children to do whether it’s signing them up for the Kid’s Club or simply bringing them along for S’mores nights which sometime include singalongs by the fire. And, there’s also the indoor “Rec” – a huge spot that has basketball courts, mini-golf, a rock-climbing wall, and a wiffle ball field. There are also video game stations, movies, and bingo.

This may sound like a puff piece, but it really isn’t. Time moves by so fast so when you have moments such as these with your kids, you have to gush. Google Sagamore, and believe the hype. There’s a reason everyone knows about this place when you mention it, and are in awe when they find out you’re staying here. It’s a living, breathing postcard.

Jumping back to where this piece all began, let me talk a bit about the baggage we all bring with us wherever we go. Speaking from experience, I walk around with my cellphone essentially glued to my hand. I’m always plugged in and it’s hard to tune out all the outside noise. But, I found at this place, more so than other spots I’ve been to, I was able to solely use my devices to take photos to capture moments and memories but also live in the moment.

Downstairs from the pool is a special sanded area for kids like mine to dig and play as well as use tubes in the lake. There’s also a spot I return to each year for swimming and jumping into the lake. The water is usually ice cold. I’m usually a wimp when it comes to jumping into cold water of any kind. You won’t find me doing any bucket challenges or diving into pools without first slowly taking steps and getting used to the temperature first. But here, just like with my phone, I make the exception. I gather my family around me, and I hand my wife my phone. I tell her to snap away, and I leap into the water without feeling the temperature first. I can tell you it’s right out of a movie. In the moment, no matter how cold the water is (and oh my goodness it’s cold), I feel everything. I’m rejuvenated. I’m free. I’m grateful. When I get out of the water, all that baggage I speak of is gone, and I can look at The Sagamore and only be at The Sagamore in that moment with my family…what matters most. And that feeling lasts for the entire trip and all the while, I think to myself, “I want to come back.” Watch that room for us please.