As the autumn foliage turns in the Northeast, families can hike in the crisp weather and start a new family tradition, at a rustic camp such as The Hedges at Blue Mountain Lake.
Originally established as a “General’s Camp,” and now on the National Register of Historic Places, (Circa 1880) The Hedges, offers a relaxing and beautiful setting on Blue Mountain Lake in New York’s Adirondack Mountains, in the form of a rustic camp for the family.
Camp literature says it’s “located in the heart of six million acres of pristine lakes, old growth forests and dense Evergreen stands,” and true to the description, there’s nature and beauty both on the property, and throughout the Adirondacks. The rustic feel includes plenty of historic artifacts, an occasional moose head, and some kitchy – yet seemingly appropriate artwork.
Whether spring, summer or fall, there are plenty of activities to choose from. In the warmer months, those who love the water can swim in the cool, spring-fed waters of the lake, also known as “Big Blue.” Canoes, kayaks and life preservers are provided to paddle throughout the lake and explore multiple islands and inlets. If you’re looking for even more adventure (and a good workout), it’s possible to paddle through the waterways to Eagle Lake or Utowana Lake. And with a total of seven miles of waterways, you’re bound to work off your breakfast! Those wanting to fish can do so off the dock or canoe, or rent a motorboat from the Blue Mountain Lake Boat Livery. They also do historic tours and charters.
Also on the property: bikes, tennis (the clay court needs a little work), a game room for the kids (with pool, ping pong, air hockey and foosball), a game room for the adults (with puzzles, cards and board games), libraries and fireplaces ready for stoking as the weather cools down.
Family Dining at Blue Mountain Lake
Breakfasts and dinners are included in the price of the rooms. For lunch, you can choose to get your own, or for a small fee, a boxed lunch can be prepared. Served in a dining room, family-style, the breakfasts include fresh steel cut oatmeal, pancakes in the shapes of teddy bears for the little ones, eggs done as you like, and much more. Dinners are chosen from a menu provided during the morning, and afternoon/evening snacks may include homemade chocolate chip cookies, lemonade or hot chocolate or freshly popped popcorn.
B-I-N-G-O and Other Kid-Friendly Games
Ring toss competitions and horseshoes are found just outside the Main Lodge. But one activity that was a big hit with our family was the weekly Bingo Game held in the Dining Lodge. For children (or adults) who’ve never played the game before, current owner Pat Benton is there to call the game, and make sure there are plenty of winners. Winners get to choose from plenty of prizes imported from the camp’s gift shop. Playing the game with everyone around us, it’s as if we were transported back into another era. When winners came up to claim their prizes, the only catch was they had to introduce themselves, say where they were from, and how many years they’ve
been coming to The Hedges.
I was surprised to hear so many adults say they’ve been coming since they were young children, and children who have been coming since they were infants. It’s clear they’ve chosen this special spot as a family tradition, and after spending some time there, it’s easy to see why. Pat Benton, and the rest of the staff clearly want to make sure the property is there for generations to enjoy.