You know that feeling when you arrive somewhere, and you just know… know with every ounce of your being… you belong there?
At least in this moment.
Maybe it was because our last stop at Hearthstone Point along Lake George was a bit lackluster? Maybe it was because we were craving something with that elusive ‘it’ factor before the chaos of Escapade?
From the very moment we pulled into Scaroon Manor Campground (our review pending), our hearts were filled with elation, joy and magic.
It was love at first camp-sight.
And we stay at some pretty darn awesome spots.
Now I’m tasked with trying to do justice in sharing the experience with you.
Scaroon Manor – Odd Name for a Campground?
Our initial reason for booking here was simple. There was no availability at Hearthstone Point over the weekend, and this was the closest campground with openings.
Reserve America described it as:
Prior to acquisition by New York State in 1967, the site had a long illustrious history as a privately operated resort and recreation facility. The facility was a destination resort of the wealthy and offered a broad range of facilities and activities which included golf, swimming, canoeing, boating, sailing, water skiing, bowling, handball, baseball, basketball, tennis, hiking, hunting, fishing, horseback riding and roller skating. The amphitheater hosted many famous entertainers during its heyday. In 1957 the movie Marjorie Morningstar starring Gene Kelly and Natalie Wood was filmed on the grounds of Scaroon Manor.
So that explained the rather odd sounding campground name. Our curiosity was piqued.
We figured we’d book through the weekend and then park-hop on up further into the Adirondacks. We could then catch a ferry across Lake Champlain for our arrival to Essex Junction.
We made the short drive, checked in and headed to our site.
Now, I’m pretty darn good at selecting sites by cross comparing campground maps to satellite view. But I have to be honest, even I was shocked when we arrived to Site 12.
Full open sun for solar, huge yard and facing a line of trees creating tons of privacy. And delightfully flat.
Even with the campground almost entirely full for the weekend, our site offered amazing peace and tranquility. Our hearts were swooning.
It could only be better with a water view, but let’s not push it, ok?
Yup, this’ll do. This’ll do.
The campground itself is immaculate, as if it were a golf course.
Oh wait, it WAS formerly the resort’s golf course… ah hah!
Within the facility there’s a private swimming beach, ample hiking & biking trails and the ruins of the old amphitheater. The rest of the resort buildings were long ago sold or destroyed leaving not much of a trace.
The whole location took us back in time with every step.
I could hear echoes of highfalutin laughter in the wind as it whooshed through the trees.
We imagined retracing the elegant strolls of upper class vacationers along these now dilapidated trails that once served as roads between cabins, gardens, club houses and restaurants.
As the full moon rose over the lake one evening, I couldn’t help but think of the many who drove up from the big city to enjoy the same view.
I just love the gradual restoration of the natural lakeside beauty while preserving the history. What was once a lavish and exclusive resort is now a state park accessible for all to enjoy.
And the present day location isn’t too shabby either.
Next door? Paradox Brewery.
Just up the road? The city of Schroon Lake, with quaint stores & restaurants and a generally non-touristy feel.
I looked at Reserve America to see if our site was available into the week.. and it was. Right up until Escapade.
And not just our site, but the entire fricken loop.
Some checks with our boosters and antennas to ensure we could get ample connectivity to conduct our live video casts and advising sessions…
.. and you might guess what we did next.
You’re darn tootin right – we marched right on up to check-in booth and happily plunked down $30/day to extend our dry camping site.
Scaroon Manor had flirted with our hearts and we were content with bailing on exploring the rest of the Adirondacks to continue the romance.
It’s not often all of the elements we love align so nicely.
Can we say.. Serendipity?
The rest of the week was simply magical, restful and full of surprises.
Just as soon as we extended our stay, with receipt in hand, we took the trail back to the campground. Along the way, we heard what sounded like a play.
We wandered towards the voices (hoping they weren’t just in our heads), to discover the Adirondack Shakespeare Company was performing Much Ado About Nothing in the ruins of the old amphitheater. And it had just begun.
We love when awesome falls in our laps!
Later that evening, we found Marjorie Morningstar available for streaming.
The film was a charming classic towards the end of Gene Kelley’s career.
But imagine our surprise when a late 1950s GM 4104 (the predecessor to our 1961 4106) delivered the starlet’s uncle to ‘Southwind Resort’ aka.. Scaroon Manor!!
It took our breath away to see a bus so very similar to ours, rolling past just feet from where we happened to be parked – 60 years later!!
Maybe you had to be there to really appreciate this virtual time machine, but I still have shivers down my spine just typing it.
And as if we needed another sign we were in the right spot at the right time??
As the weekend campers pulled out, we were left in relative indulgent solitude for the entire week.
We explored the trails. We swam. We went on a boat tour. We explored the town (and yes, we went Pokemon Go hunting).
And we got a bunch of work done, including covering the surprise Verizon unlimited data plan fiasco. Thankful we had a chill spot and frame of mind to handle it.
Suffice it to say, when Saturday morning rolled around and it was time to catch a ferry over to Essex Junction, we were truly sad to leave. We actually contemplated skipping Escapade and extending our stay even longer.
Scaroon Manor will forever be in our hearts as one of the many magical places that have touched us so thoroughly.
I think it’s a safe bet that it will make our Top 12 List for 2016 (our past Top Campground Lists).
What’s Up Next?
The Escapade was fantastic, we’re glad we pulled ourselves away from our little slice of paradise to attend. We’ll give a wrap up of the event in an upcoming post.
We’re now hidden away in another magical location (thank you, you know who you are) for some much needed re-charge time.
It’ll be a perfect place to celebrate my birthday this week!
We’re exploring some options for our next move as we continue exploring the region making our way towards Maine.
Suffice it to say, the northeast has been nothing like we thought it would be. We’re completely smitten.