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The Point Resort in a Nutshell
It's so exclusive that you won’t get the exact address with directions until your pre-payment is received. But once you’re through the gates of The Point, you’ll be encouraged to feel at home in this log mansion.
First, some history: The Point was built for William Avery Rockefeller, a nephew of the tycoon. Located on a bluff above Saranac Lake, it’s in the style of a private Adirondack Great Camp and much of the upper-class, upcountry character has been maintained.
Certain customs –- a no-tipping policy, doors without keys, dinner at eight (and cocktails the hour beforehand) -- foster a Gatsbyesque atmosphere. On most nights, men are required to don a jacket and tie for dinner. On Wednesday and Saturday nights, regardless of the season, formal attire is de rigueur.
A window into how the privileged lived, circa 1933, and how they continue to live today in rustic elegance when they visit, The Point -- thanks to its history, its spectacularly scenic setting on a peninsula jutting into Saranac Lake, and how it preserves a graceful, long-ago lifestyle -- is incomparable. There's simply no other place like it.
The rate is steep but everything –- food, top-drawer liquor, land and water activities, and service –- is included.Continue to 2 of 10 below.
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Guest Rooms at The Point Resort
Eleven guest rooms accommodate visitors, and each is decorated much as the family must have enjoyed it, with country antiques and artifacts. We lodged in the intimate Algonquin room, just off the Great Hall.
As the lodge’s former library, Algonquin is a cozy sitting room with a down-plumped easy chair and pillow-bedecked sofa perfect for curling up with a good book. Take your choice of fiction or non-fiction: bookshelves line one wall.
A working fireplace covers another wall, and windows overlooking the lake account for the third. Against the fourth wall is an upholstered paisley headboard and a full-size mattress topped by a feather bed and downy pillows.
The bathroom has a small and deceptively retro stall shower topped by a wide rainshower spout that emits a torrent. Amenities are Kiehl’s pure products including a sample size of the incomparable Crème de Corps, our favorite thick, soothing body lotion.
Just as in Rockefeller’s day, there is no wi-fi, no cell reception, and no in-room TV. You may, however, have an ancient dial phone by your bed. (I had the sneaking suspicion that if I called a number, Alexander Graham Bell would pick up on the other end.)Continue to 3 of 10 below.
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Dining at The Point Resort
The major social event of the day, dinner is a congenial affair, starting with drinks and canapés on the stone terrace overlooking the lake. Moving inside at 8 pm, guests take seats in The Point’s Great Hall. It contains two round tables, each of which holds ten people. Couples can opt to dine in their room, but you ought to meet fellow guests at least once.
The chef determines the menu each night, hors d’oeuvres to petit fours. Everyone is served the same fare unless they put in a special request. Prior to your arrival, you’ll receive a form where you can spell out any allergies, dislikes, and menu requirements. On your tour of the kitchen, you’ll find the evening’s menu posted on a blackboard.
Over the course of the meal, fellow guests’ personalities and interests emerge, By the time dessert arrives, you have morphed from strangers to friendly companions here on a great adventure.Continue to 4 of 10 below.
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Destination Weddings at The Point Resort
One of the best-known former residents of Saranac Lake, Clara Barton ceded her property to the Park with the proviso that it would be used for non-denominational worship. Known as Chapel Island and only reachable by boat, it has been the site of several weddings for guests of The Point. Even in winter: One couple reached it by dogsled over the frozen lake; the bride wore white fur (presumably not of the canine variety).
Any time of year, couples may be able to reserve The Point's own property for a destination wedding party. A buyout of the entire 11 rooms is required (and that's the only time the place lifts its no-children policy).
Surrounded by select friends and family members, you can celebrate your nuptials with a formal dinner reception and cookouts, games, even canoe races. And imagine the fun of gathering everyone for charades before the roaring fireplace or a sunset cocktail cruise aboard The Point's glass-windowed boat.
Even if your last name isn't Rockefeller, The Point can feel like home when you say your vows here.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
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Honeymoons and Romance at The Point
Romantic, upscale, and intimate to start with, The Point caters to individual desires. So don’t expect standard honeymoon offerings here. Express your wishes, and the staff will do its best to accommodate them. For example, if you want to go hiking or boating, The Point can put together a delicious, multi-course picnic lunch and send you off with backpacks full of goodies.
Throughout the property, there are lounge chairs where less ambitious couples can simply relax together after their wedding, take in the view, and continue planning the rest of their life together.
After dinner, couples can repair to the pub for a drink and further companionship or wander over to the firepit, where fixings for s’mores await.
An inducement to a hand-in-hand stroll, one of the most romantic sights we witnessed was the moon emerging from behind clouds and illuminating calm Saranac Lake and the tall Adirondack peaks beyond.
The ultimate in romantic accommodations is The Boathouse, a dream of a second-story room with a big bed in the center. One side of the bed faces a large fireplace; the other overlooks Saranac Lake. A full bar and indulgent bathroom with an oversize tub are included. A private deck spans the width of the boathouse, and on each side, there’s a bed on a swing.Continue to 6 of 10 below.
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Sailing on Saranac Lake
The Point encompasses 75 woodland and waterfront acres. Its centerpiece is Saranac Lake, a nine-mile-long and two-mile-wide sparkling body of water surrounded by tall evergreen trees and dotted with boathouses and a few remaining camps. Views of it are available from most rooms, and the terrace of the main house affords an unobstructed overlook.
But you'll want to do more than look at the lake. The Boathouse (complete with a full bar and bathroom) holds a 32-foot Elco electric launch for waterskiing, an antique glass boat, and a classic 33’ mahogany Hacker-Craft speedboat.
Sexy black-leather banquettes clad the Hacker-Craft interior. The boat must be piloted by a member of the staff. If general manager Megan Torrance is behind the wheel, not only will you get a narrated tour of the lake, you'll zoom across the water in the company of Buddy, her golden retriever and a first-rate first mate, at your side.
For couples who want to go out on their own, canoes and kayaks are available. Especially romantic are battery-operated covered boats for two.Continue to 7 of 10 below.
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Activities at The Point
To make sure your energy doesn't flag when exploring by foot or bicycle, ask the kitchen to prepare lunch to-go. One friend got a pack filled with crispy fried chicken and other mouth-watering comestibles.
If you're not in the mood for a hike, there's always the front lawn, where a game of croquet awaits. Other options include tennis, volleyball, badminton, horseshoes, and swimming in the lake. Offsite there's a nearby golf course and horseback riding stables. In winter, a full complement of snow sports, including ice skating on the lake and cross-country skiing, tempt.
All around the property you’ll find loungers and chairs set up for viewing and relaxing. Don’t be surprised if a staffer appears bearing a bowl of freshly popped truffled popcorn and ready to take your drink order.
Later, repair to the pub, where a full bar (unlimited drinks), antique pool table, and Wurlitzer jukebox await. There are also lots of games, challenging jigsaw puzzles, good conversation, and the resort's single big flatscreen TV.
At night, head for the fire pit. Surrounded by Adirondack chairs (natch) and a lean-to stocked with spirits, it's a fantastic place to cuddle up and star-gaze.Continue to 8 of 10 below.
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Drawbacks at The Point
There was a culinary snafu during our visit. Recall page 3's: “Prior to your arrival, you’ll receive a form to fill out where you can specify any food allergies or menu requirements”?
The first item on my husband’s list of dietary dislikes: duck. What was for dinner? Roast breast of duck. With duck-fat potatoes. So it was perplexing that the staff made the effort to solicit our preferences — and they were then ignored.
In the kitchen’s defense, we were offered an alternative, and we chose sturgeon. It was prepared one way for him, another for me, and neither of us liked it very much. I sent it back and asked for a vegetarian plate. That was delicious.
And dessert was delectable: passion-fruit sorbet for me and a sugarless cheesecake for him, as noted on his form. That they read. Bottom line: Even if you fill out the food form, check the menu on the kitchen blackboard before dinner. If there’s something listed that you can't eat or don’t care for, inform the chef and discuss alternatives.
Another thing we didn't love at The Point: the small bed in the Algonquin room. We prefer a king-size bed (some other rooms do have one). Also, call us Philistines but we like TV and wi-fi and cell service and a bathtub for two. So it’s a good thing we were born in the 20th century and don't go glamping regularly. For a night, though, it was charming.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
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Vibe at The Point
Because of the high cost of an all-inclusive stay, couples who are drawn to The Point tend to be wealthy, worldly, and well-traveled. They make for interesting dinner companions and fellow travelers.
In some cases, genuine friendships form. One couple we sat with at dinner first visited The Point in November. They made friends with a few other couples, and they all agreed to return in July to meet up again.
Adding to its exclusivity, The Point is childfree; no one under the age of 18 is allowed. (The only exception is when they property is bought out by a single group; they may bring whatever guests they like.)
As a result, couples can truly relax. Some visit on their honeymoon. Others return every few years to celebrate an anniversary. The rest, even if they are parents, come to appreciate their stay as a romantic interlude they couldn’t savor at home.
Text of note from The Point's guest book (above):
Thank you all for making these days -- and nights -- unimaginably memorable! What a remarkable inn/resort/gem you run and manage to sublime perfection."Continue to 10 of 10 below.
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