The Adirondacks: Appointment Television
It's not very often that we recommend a television program in this forum, but I'm a big fan of a travelogue that's airing nationally starting tonight on PBS. It's called "The Adirondacks," a rather nondescript title for a landscape and vacation spot that is anything but. Gorgeously shot (I've never wanted a high-definition TV more), the documentary explores every nook and cranny of what is the largest park in the continental United States, a six-million-acre experiment in public lands and private development that deserves all the attention the filmmakers give it.
The Adirondacks, in the far upper corner of New York state, also deserve more attention by tourists in search of a different vacation spot this summer. Of course, tourism in the Adirondacks, as elsewhere, is a mixed blessing, but the combination of whitewater rafting and other opportunities for outdoor adventure have landed this area on my must-see list. After tonight, it may well land on yours too.
Watch especially for the section of the film devoted to the Great Camps of the Adirondacks, a.k.a. summer camps of the rich and famous, circa 1890. Sagamore, owned by the Vanderbilt family for much of the 20th century, is a wonderfully lavish collection of 27 buildings, one of which contains such amenities as a bowling alley with an ingeniously designed ball return system. The alley is just one of the camp's attempts to marry sophistication and rusticity, and Sagamore is just one of the camps you can actually stay the night at while visiting the region. Another one, the Rockefeller retreat on Saranac Lake called The Point, it offers 11 guest quarters and features a well-regarded restaurant.
There's much more to see in "The Adirondacks," and it makes for a pleasant, non-frenetic evening of TV viewing. Enjoy.
But enough of television. Anyone out there have personal experiences with the Adirondacks that might help us understand this special place?
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