Camp Waldheim

It is just dawn with the morning’s light just beginning to steal through the window shades. Warm and comfortable under your down comforter your eyes crack open just slightly. The fresh smell of the fire coming from the living room let you know that the fire boy has been there, quiet as a whisper, getting your cabin warm to start the morning.

There is nothing quite as nice as a toasty cabin on a cool summer morning. The children wake almost as slowly as you. No chores this week. You’re at The Waldheim. One of the “Great Camps” of the Adirondacks.monroe_waldheim-sign

The other families are moving down the pathway to the dining hall where breakfast is served, much the same way as it has been since the Waldheim opened in 1904. Bacon, eggs, waffles, sausage, and the treat of the morning, created by the Waldheim’s pastry chef. You never know exactly what it will be, but it’s always a tasty delight.

monroe_waldheim-viewToday we take a hike up to Brown’s Rock, a spectacular lookout well up the mountain. It’s about an hour and a half of climbing – not exhausting but definitely a workout. When you finally reach the lookout on the rock it’s time to break out the trail mix, take a pull from the canteens and then get out the camera. THIS is a place worthy of remembering.

Tomorrow it’s swimming, water skiing or maybe a shopping excursion to nearby Eagle Bay for mementos or to collect S’More stuff…

The Adirondack Museum in the village of Blue Mountain Lake is an easy drive and will entertain both you and the kids with guide boats, race boats, history of the “Great Camps” and a steam engine that you can climb on to and explore.

Then it’s back to the Waldheim where another fabulous meal awaits.

Operated by the same family for the last 112 years, the Waldheim is true to its roots offering families a true getaway from the world. No cutting wood, no cooking, no cleaning but warm welcomes and many new friends. And no telephone, no cell service, no Internet (except in the library).  The idea is to “Disconnect to Reconnect”, so important in today’s world where the kids can’t keep their noses out of their smartphones and many of us have forgotten what a real conversation is.

The Waldheim serves three meals a day (included), offers excursions, has canoes and kayaks and hiking trails for the beginners to the advanced mountaineer, all on or adjoining its 300 acre property on Big Moose Lake in New York’s Adirondack Mountains.monroe_waldheim-dawn

“So this is what those wealthy New Yorkers were treated to back in the day.” Your thoughts turn to the history you were told about this place from the past, where ice was cut from the lake in the winter, packed in sawdust from the sawmill and stored in the icehouse to keep both the food and your drinks cool during the summer months. The old sawmill is still there – the one that cut the lumber to construct your cabin so many years ago.

The luxury is unobtrusive. It exists in a rustic setting in the woods on the edge of Big Moose. Seventeen cabins, all with their history and back woods charm make up the accommodations. The cabins range in size from one to five bedrooms, and all have a wood burning fireplace and a porch overlooking the lake.

Early in the morning, the fire boy sets the fire and has the cabin warm. The pastry chef prepares your morning’s treat, and you meet and become friends with the other families there. Families have been coming to the Waldheim for generations to experience the woods in a totally secure environment. That doesn’t mean things are locked down – actually, the keys to the cabins were lost long, long ago, and they have never been needed since. In the dining hall, your table is, well, your table for however long you’re there, and you will have the same server. They become like family before long.

It is not inexpensive – for a family of five it is over $3,000 for the week, not including tax and gratuities. Prepare, however, to get every penny’s worth and more

The Waldheim begins taking requests – note I didn’t say reservations – in late January. Visit their web site at www.thewaldheim.com for all of the information and especially the history of this Waldheim – this “Home in the Woods”. At a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Lansing, it is very well within reach.

Also, look up and visit The Adirondack Museum at http://www.adirondackmuseum.org

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