It’s hard to imagine the Adirondacks could fly under the radar—this vast wilderness region in northern New York is the birthplace of the American vacation, after all. Yet despite its sprawling glacier-carved mountains, towering conifer forests, and over 3,000 sparkling lakes and ponds, the ‘ADKs’ retain an undiscovered quality that their trendy Catskills neighbor to the south has arguably lost. The park (also the largest protected area in the continental U.S.) was established in 1892 and at six million acres is larger than Yellowstone, Everglades, Glacier, and Grand Canyon national parks—combined. Within this natural splendor lies a network of sleepy towns linked by scenic byways with outdoor activities, farm-to-table provisions, and architectural masterpieces.

For history lovers, the ‘forever wild’ Adirondacks preserve is a bastion of Gilded Age travel, best exemplified by the Great Camps. These grand log mansions, designed to blend in with their wild surroundings, embodied the American naturalism movement and were the brainchild of iconic magnates of the time. “The Great Camps were built when cities were expanding and notable families of the era (e.g. Vanderbilts, Astors, Guggenheims, and Rockefellers) were all seeking a rustic escape to get out of the city,” Joe Maiurano, general manager at The Point Resort says. “Using native timber and Adirondack granite hauled by horses from the fields, these estates were built and to this day embody the romantic, 19th-century notion of ‘roughing it’ as a true Adirondack staple.”

Olympic trials at the Olympic Ski Jumping Complex in 2021.

Photo: Getty Images

Lastly, while shopping is admittedly not the main draw here, Dartbrook Rustic Goods is precisely the kind of shop you hope to stumble upon in the middle of a wilderness region such as the Adirondacks. They have a lodge and two store locations (a mere one-minute walk from each other on the same side of the highway). Inside you’ll discover a well-curated and expertly-styled assortment of handcrafted wood furniture in the Great Camp tradition alongside taxidermy, textiles, antiques, lighting fixtures, vintage-inspired decor, and other keepsakes that capture the essence of this picturesque pocket of the United States. 

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