A weekend at The Point is like no other experience I have ever had. From the moment you arrive, your every need is taken care of- it’s a weekend of ultimate relaxation. The Point is an intimate, all-inclusive, private Adirondack estate on the edge of a shining mountain lake. A Great Camp of the Great North Woods, this upstate New York retreat was built by William Avery Rockefeller in the early 1930s as his family’s private getaway. Known collectively as “The Adirondack Great Camps”, these are grand and romantic log mansions built by Gilded Age magnates along the rugged lakeshores of upstate New York. It was a time when cities were growing and nature seemed too far away. The foremost families of the era – Vanderbilts and Astors, Guggenheims and Rockefellers – wanted an escape from the crowded urban environments and developed an affinity for wooded retreats of grand, rustic comfort.
Our stay began with a glass of champagne on arrival and then being shown to our room- a 2nd floor cabin above the “pub” and overlooking the lake. The Point offers eleven distinctive guest rooms spread among its four original log buildings. Each features a broad lake view as well as a big hand-built bed, ready-to-light hearth fireplace, and a sumptuous private bath- often with the camp’s original brass or chrome fixtures. We quickly changed for cocktails, which were hosted in the “pub” below our room. This intimate space has a bar (there seem to be formal and “pop-up” bars everywhere at the Point!), pool table, dart board, a selection puzzles/games, and a TV. (It’s no wonder we later returned after dinner for a nightcap and late night game of pool). Friday night dinner at The Point calls for cocktail attire, and all of our fellow guests were appropriately decked out and convivial. As an appropriate “special occasion” destination, a good portion of the crowd was celebrating an anniversary (ourselves and the great couple we traveled with) or a special birthday (a party of 8).
The sumptuous, four-course dinner- prepared by Chef Loic Leperlier and his talented team- followed in the Great Hall. Dinner at The Point is a communal affair, with guests seated at 2 well-appointed round tables. Each course was presented and explained by the kitchen staff and paired with well-matched wine selections. The service was impeccable, food sublime, and conversation light-hearted. A bit tired by the 6-hour drive from Manhattan, the ever attentive staff took our coffee order for morning and we headed to the Pub for a quick stay. We climbed the stairs to our room, lit a blazing fire, and fell easily to sleep in the comforts of the king-size bed.
On Saturday morning, with a quick turn of the traditional rotary phone, our pre-arranged coffee order arrived in under five minutes. We pulled back the curtains to see the magnificent view, with the early morning sun slowly reaching it’s fingers over the lake. Breakfast is served in the Great Hall. While the menu boasts hearty classics (try the French Toast!), the kitchen will make whatever it is you most desire. Properly awake and fueled up, we drove a short distance from the resort and set off on the popular Ampersand Trail for a rigorous, three-hour hike in the Adirondack mountains. It was quite a trek! At turns wooded, steep, and narrow, we were rewarded at the 3352-foot summit was amazing 360 views of peak foliage and the many small lakes and peaks in the area. The Point also entices many guests to stay “on-campus” for a short hike, game of croquet or horseshoes, boat tour of the lake, or relaxation with a book and a drink in a variety of great outdoor settings.
Exhausted- and famished- upon our return from Ampersand, we found we had missed the “not-to-be-missed” barbecue lunch! But not to worry at The Point. The ever-accommodating staff sat us on the patio outside the Great Hall, and within a few minutes a European Style buffet was set up before us with all the fixings of the just-missed barbecue: savory grilled langoustines, bbq chicken and ribs, grilled vegetables, chili, and a “hit-the spot” root-puree soup. We eagerly set upon the feast and were soon fully sated. SO GOOD! Next we somehow summoned the energy to explore the rustic, classy boat house. Several magnificent wooden boats gently rocked inside covered slips where guests had recently returned from a captained tour of the lake. One group we spoke with went on a three-hour wine “cruise” in a glassed-in boat. Atop the boat house sits a grand guest suite, the property’s largest. Check out the pictures online- this room looks spectacular. From here we walked up to the actual “point”, where we found well-appointed Adirondack chairs with blankets surrounding a fire pit, and yes- another bar. We partook in a mid afternoon drink and enjoyed a relaxing chat around the fire with our friends. Being here in October with the fall foliage near peak, an autumnal crispness to the temperature, and a roaring wood fire burning to me made this the perfect time to enjoy a true “Point” experience.
After some down time in our room (ok, a nap!) in front of the fire place, the Great Hall beckoned for pre-dinner cocktails and conversation. Wednesday and Saturday night dinners are The Point are Black Tie affairs, so my husband and the other men were in tuxedos and the ladies in our evening finest. We mingled with our fellow guests and made new friends. Now for the 7 course dinner! It was another fun-filled evening of amazing food, wine, and conversation with the other guests. We also we fortunate to be joined at dinner by Jacob, one of The Point’s General Managers, who effortlessly kept the conversation flowing with stories and trivia from the resort’s history and many colorful past guests. Dining together is often the aspect guests love most about their visit, and we certainly felt it to be very special. The cuisine reflects the changing seasons and is inspired both by upstate New York’s finest produce or rarities flown in from afar. We had many laughs at dinner, as we decided to play a game of “murder” where one guest is the designated ‘assassin’ who winks at other guests thereby ‘murdering’ them-whereupon the “murdered” guest is compelled to fake their death. You then have to guess who is the actual assassin. The room erupted as our friend threw himself on the floor in a very dramatic fake death. Again with bellies full and spirits light, the meal evening winds down with the option of port and cheese at the pub, or s’mores around a campfire at the point, or a short walk back to individual rooms. We choose one more visit to the pub for a cocktail, a game of darts, and the opening 15 minutes of Saturday Night Live.
Sunday morning- after another scrumptious breakfast- the 2 couples set out on a short on-property hike. The fall foliage and cool weather made it a beautiful hike which had us wandering by the lake and up the surrounding hillside. As a pet-friendly setting, our friends brought their awesome Visla named Crosby who lead the way that day. (NB- children under 18 are not allowed at The Point unless you rent out the entire resort.) The hike we took offers a quintessential “Point” rest spot at “Camp David”, an inviting log cabin with a fireplace, parlor chairs, blankets, and light refreshments- basically another beautiful place to hang out, sit back, and socialize.
As we had a long journey ahead of us, we packed up and retrieved our car shortly before noon. A gourmet boxed lunch was prepared for us (with requests we put in earlier), another in a long list of hospitality high-notes on which The Point delivers. With our full tank of gas (another perk- they top off your gas!) we slowly- and most reluctantly- edged off the property. Our weekend at the Point was truly like no other, and we are already longing to return.
Same time next year?!
Thanks to The Point staff for a wonderful, relaxing, and memorable weekend. – FO40