Even though I love the beach, the sand, the waves…I know that deep down, I am at heart a lake girl. I grew up visiting Lake Winnipesaukee every summer, but am only now discovering the allure of a wintertime lake vacation.
Nicknamed the “Queen of the American Lakes,” all 32 miles of Lake George’s pristine waters are surrounded by lush Adirondack mountains, and forests of fir and pine trees. While you should bookmark this destination as a return trip to enjoy boating, kayaking, mini-golf, and hiking -- an off season winter family weekend at the Sagamore Resort provides a quieter low-key luxury experience of a traditionally summer resort.
Even with summer in the rear-view mirror, that feeling of “summer camp living" is alive and well come December. The thick scent of pine needles hangs in the cool mountain air. The exterior of the lodges are reminiscent of camp bunkhouses (but instead fitted with down-quilted beds, clean carpets, high-end complimentary toiletries, and indoor fireplaces). When you emerge from your cozy cottage, the onsite activities have that “everyone gather ‘round the campfire” vibe. If you’re planning a family winter weekend to the Sagamore Resort, this guide will detail everything you need to know about the hotel property and on-site activities.
For your Planning Purposes
Getting there: The Sagamore Resort is 4 hours north of NYC. If you’re planning to fly, the closest airport is Albany International, which is one hour south of Lake George.
Getting around: You'll need a car to get around the Lake George area.
When to visit: Summer is the high season, with thousands of people showing up to enjoy the warm weather activities. Visitors also come in the fall months, as Lake George has stunning autumn foliage. Winter is the low season, as many lake activities and shops close, but hotels can offer excellent deals on room rates.
The Sagamore Resort is located in the Adirondack region of Upstate New York. The hotel is perched on a private island in Bolton Landing, and there is a quaint little bridge connecting the island to the mainland.
The town of Bolton Landing is so small, that if you blink you'll miss it! While it does have a small grocery store to stock up on provisions, you’ll find more restaurant and shopping options in the town of Lake George, located 20 minutes south.
If your plan is to sit and enjoy the lake activities all day long, then you’ve found the perfect hotel. It’s easy to reserve your room at the Sagamore and then never leave the property – there is so much to see and do right on site.
Hotel Highlights If You're In A Hurry
This lodge is an excellent choice if traveling with family and young kids. Here were my 3 favorite hotel amenities that families will appreciate:
- Suite/apartment style rooms: Sagamore offers various styles of lodging – ranging from regular hotel rooms to whole private condos. We chose the premium lower level lodge, which had 2 bathrooms, 2 bedrooms (one had a king bed, one had 2 queen beds), living area, kitchen, and small porch. This gave us plenty of room to spread out.
- Indoor and outdoor pool: During winter months the outdoor pool is closed, but there is a large heated indoor pool open year round.
- Indoor rec room: The massive complex has a 9 hole mini golf course, wiffle ball field, basketball court, small play gym for toddlers, video games, movie theater, and rock climbing wall.
You can read more details about these various features in the next section.
Sagamore Resort Amenities
Summer at the Sagamore includes amenities like a complimentary boat tour, kayaking, outdoor pool / hot tub, and tennis facilities. I'm already excited to return and experience these all first hand! However, this winter family weekend instead highlighted some of the off-season amenities, which were plenty to keep everyone busy.
Check In / Welcome
As you enter into the main historic lodge - a large, white Victorian building -- you'll be instantly hit with that Christmas cozy feel. Two life-size nutcrackers greet you at the door, festive Christmas lights sparkle all around, and poinsettias decorate the halls. There's a large crackling wood-burning fireplace for guests to enjoy -- every time we walked through this area we found someone curled up by the fire nursing a warm drink. This common area is the place to be for a leisurely start to the day; or, if you're traveling with younger kids, our little ones liked hanging with the “Goldilocks” bears, and participating in crawling races across the lobby floor.
Hanging by the windy lake was my favorite part of the Sagamore Resort! Even though all the summer amenities like boats and kayaks were sleeping for the season, we loved having the normally people-filled dock all to ourselves. There was plenty of space to dance, play tag, and have jumping competitions.
Indoor Pool / Hot Tub
The outdoor pool at the Sagamore Resort looks stunning – I’m inspired to return in the warmer months just to swim next to the lake! However, it’s not open year round, so if you’re visiting in the offseason, you can instead warm up in the indoor pool and hot tub.
Let’s be honest…indoor pools…are a bit of a gamble. Luckily, as far as indoor pools go, this one will make you feel like you hit the jackpot. It’s spacious, very clean, and there’s plenty of lounge chairs. As an added plus, it is surrounded on three sides by large windows, providing direct views to the lake below.
Another popular wintertime activity is “The Rec” – a massive indoor activity center for kids. While it’s also a magnet of activity in the summer, it's even more popular in the winter months as an escape from the colder temperatures outside.
They offer a 9 hole mini-golf course, basketball courts, a wiffle ball field, rock climbing wall, small toddler play area, video game arena equipped with comfy chairs, and a movie room. We have now learned that Maverick has a fondness for sports, as it was impossible to distract him from sitting in the outfield.
As an added bonus, The Rec is open from 8am-8pm, so there’s plenty of time to enjoy it whether you have little ones up early in the day, or older kids who want to hang out later in the night.
Oh! -- if only this had been a girls getaway, or weekend with the hubby! I wasn’t able to fit a treatment in this time, but the spa looked lovely. They had a nice selection of products for sale in their small store as well.
The gym is quite large and even has a Peloton available. It’s located on a lower level of the historic main lodge with partial views of the lake.
S'mores By The Fire
In the winter, the hotel hosts a s’mores by the firepit event, from 7-10pm.
Guests can enjoy WIFI as part of the one-time resort fee (which grants access to all the above services too). Service can sometimes be spotty.
The grounds do feature quite a lot of stairs, but there are paved/handicap accessible paths that are available too. Sometimes it required walking slightly out of the way, but I was able to use the stroller on most of the property.
Sagamore Resort Accomodations
One of the most attractive aspects of the hotel is the vast menu of lodging options that are available for guests. There are over 350 rooms to choose from! Each category has Adorindack style interiors that reflect the forest surroundings outside. For your winter family weekend at the Sagamore Resort, you’ll want to keep the following in mind when selecting a room:
- Historic main hotel: The main hotel has both regular rooms and suites available, some of which have been recently renovated. It is possible to connect a suite to a regular room, thus creating a 2 bedroom suite. I didn’t know this ahead of time, or would’ve booked this option (just to be closer to the action).
- Hermitage building: The Hermitage rooms are located in what was once a carriage house. They feature mostly 1 bedroom bi-level suites, equipped with a kitchen and living area. They are a great option for families, although given the open stair case, it may not be the most toddler/baby friendly.
- The First House: This renovated 4 bedroom private home is a perfect option for those traveling with a larger group. There is a large dining area, private kitchen, and front porch with lake views and private fireplace. Inside there are 2 separate rooms with master king beds, a room with1 queen bed, and a bunk bed configuration of queen/twin.
- The Lodges: The rooms at the lodge are another option for families searching for more space. We chose a lower level premium lodge, which has a fully equipped kitchen, king bedroom/en-suite bath, second bedroom with 2 queen beds, larger bathroom with shower/bathtub, living area with sofa and small dining table, gas fireplace, and private small porch with lake views. The beds are the best part of these rooms – the crisp, white sheets were great to crawl into every night
- If you're staying in a lodge, request lodge 1 or 2, as you'll be closer to the main hotel and pool.
- All premium lodges are located on the bottom floor, with no elevator access. Bring a lightweight stroller.
- In the lower level lodges, there is a small step down between the kitchen and living area. Do you have a little one just learning to walk, or someone with mobility issues? This may be something to consider.
Sagamore Resort Restaurant & Food Options
During the winter months there are 3 restaurants available for your family weekend at the Sagamore Resort. Just as the energy all around the property is reminiscent of youthful camp days, the food felt like a nod to those camp menus -- not my regular choice, but somehow old-school Kraft syrup tastes just perfect on french toast after a cold afternoon in the snow. Read on to learn a little bit about each restaurant.
- La Bella Vita: We had our favorite food memories at La Bella Vita. Claire loved eating in an igloo and Maverick discovered his love for buttered penne pasta (welcome to the club kid). La Bella Vita is the most formal of the winter dining options, but still welcoming of families with young kids. Service was friendly and attentive.
- Caldwell’s: This relaxing fire-side lounge is the spot to warm up and fill your belly with quick bites like burrata dip, fried calamari, and salty french fries. They also offer a full service menu with pizza and pasta dishes.
- Mr. Brown’s Pub: While I preferred the food at the other two restaurants, Mr. Brown's Pub is great for families. The environment is fun and cozy – there are built in benches for the tables and a roaring fireplace.
- Summer options: During the high season, guests can also enjoy The Lake House and Splash Bar Pool, which are more casual options located down by the water. The Pavilion is a highly acclaimed restaurant in the area, with fresh dishes and beautiful views of the lake. Near the hotel lobby is Veranda Terrace, which serves lighter fare on the porch. There is also Club Grill Steakhouse, which overlooks the Sagamore’s golf course (must drive to this).
It’s always nice to feel like someone at the front desk is looking out for you. Laura was helpful in making sure the room category was a good fit for a toddler and baby.
Off-Site Winter Experiences
During our quick weekend away, we stuck close to home and explored only the Sagamore Resort. However, if our kids had been slightly older, I would’ve liked to try these winter experiences:
- Snow Tubing at West Mountain Ski Resort - Located 30 minutes south of The Sagamore Resort, West Mountain has 31 skiing trails and a tubing park for kids. Note: kids must be at least 4 years old to ride the tubes.
- Skiing at Gore Mountain - Located 40 minutes west of the Sagamore, Gore Mountain has over 100 skiable trails for all levels.
- Lake George Winter Carnival - This month-long winter celebration is a must-do if you’re visiting in February. The festival is held every weekend of the month, with people participating in polar bear plunges, and chowder/chili/bbq cook offs. There's also horse drawn sleighs, petting zoo, and s'mores on the beach.
That's a Wrap
Our winter family weekend at the Sagamore Resort was a fun and festive way to ring in the New Year! Even though we visited in the off-season, we enjoyed all the on-site activities. We are already booking our return summer trip so that we can explore more of Lake George and the Adirondacks.
I hope this article has inspired your own family getaway to the Sagamore Resort on Lake George. If you have any questions, or your own travel tips, please leave them in the comments below. Also, don't forget to sign up for the monthly newsletter, packed with travel tips, upcoming news, and access to FREE destination itineraries.
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