West of Lake George lies Schroon Lake, a quiet resort community with a laid-back Main Street and good-size public beach. During the summer, one-hour narrated cruises of the lake are offered by Schroon Lake Boat Tours (518/532-7675).
The area is also home to the Seagle Music Colony (Charley Hill Rd., 518/532-7875, www.seaglecolony.com), a music retreat founded by concert baritone Oscar Seagle in 1915. The colony stages opera concerts and musical theater July–early August.
At the lake’s southern end lies Pottersville and the Natural Stone Bridge and Caves (535 Stone Bridge Rd., off Rte. 9, 518/494-2283, 9 a.m.–7 p.m. daily June–Oct., adults $10, children 6–12 $5). Formed by the Ausable River, this geological park holds odd-shaped rock formations, waterfalls, and potholes large enough to park a truck in.
Hiking Pharaoh Mountain
To the east of Schroon Lake rises Pharaoh Mountain, surrounded by the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness Area. The splendid views from the mountaintop—covered with open rock—take in nearby ponds and craggy hills, as well as the more distant High Peaks. The nine-mile round-trip hike is of moderate difficulty and takes 4–5 hours.
To reach the trailhead, head north of Schroon Lake on Route 9 about two miles. Turn right onto Alder Meadow Road and continue 2.2 miles to a fork. Bear left on Crane Pond Road and travel 1.4 miles to a parking lot. Continue on the road on foot 1.9 miles to Crane Pond, where the trailhead begins at the end of another parking lot (parking is not permitted here).
Detour to North Hudson
On the edge of the High Peaks region about seven miles north of Schroon Lake village lies North Hudson, a tiny mountain hamlet surrounded by ponds and wilderness; year-round population is under 200. The place is well worth a detour for the magnificent views along the way.
Blue Ridge Road (Route 2) heads west out of North Hudson to skirt the southern edge of the High Peaks. The route runs alongside the Branch, which flows between Elk Lake and Schroon River; about three miles from the village cascade the lovely Blue Ridge waterfalls.
Accommodations and Food
Situated on a grassy knoll, the friendly Schroon Lake Bed and Breakfast (Rte. 9, 518/532-7042, www.schroonbb.com, $115–150) offers five comfortable guest rooms furnished with antiques, along with a breezy front porch providing good views of the lake and Adirondacks.
Tucked into the mountains north of North Hudson is the ultra-secluded
Elk Lake Lodge (Elk Lake Rd., off Blue Ridge Rd., 518/532-7616, www.elklakelodge.com, $120–190 d per person, includes all meals). One of the finest rustic lodges in the Adirondacks, the hostelry is situated on its own private lake surrounded by a 12,000-acre preserve. The 1904 main lodge offers six rooms with private baths, as does the more modern Emerson Lodge. On the lakefront are eight cottages.
One of the finest restaurants in the area, specializing in innovative American dishes, is the rambling Civil War–era Friend’s Lake Inn (Friends Lake Rd., 518/494-4751, www.friendslake.com, $23), about seven miles south of Schroon Lake in historic Chestertown. The wine list alone runs about 25 pages long. A full menu is offered at dinner only, though in summer, a bar and light lunch menu are also available. Upstairs and out back are 17 lovely guest rooms ($325–365 d, including breakfast and dinner; $265–315 breakfast only), all equipped with queen-size beds and private baths. Many of the rooms also have Jacuzzis and two have fireplaces.
© Avalon Travel and Sascha Zuger from Moon New York State, 5th Edition