Autumn Adirondack Getaway

Great Pines
Enjoy leaf peeping season in Upstate New York at Great Pines Resort and the surrounding area.

by Katie DeTar

October is a glorious month in New York State, and a newly refurbished Adirondack hotel invites you to stay for a weekend of leaf peeping. Great Pines reopened this summer as a rustic luxury lodge in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains. The resort is a relaxing base for exploring and enjoying the pleasant fall weather and beautiful scenery. So grab your fuzzy sweater, and head north!

The Region

A patchwork of public and private lands composes the six million-acre Adirondack Park. Here, you’ll find some of the wildest and most rugged scenery east of the Mississippi River, with miles of hiking trails, primitive camping areas, backpacking options, and countless lakes and river routes to explore. Those looking for modern comforts will enjoy the region’s charming small towns, offering myriad dining options and a full spectrum of overnight lodging, from motels to luxury resorts.

Great Pines

The newest lodging option is Great Pines, formerly and affectionately known as the North Woods Inn. Located halfway between the popular vacation towns of Old Forge and Inlet, N.Y., this destination is under new ownership and now stands out as a more upscale option for travellers seeking rustic elegance.

Great PinesGreat Pines Main Lodge

The main lodge’s sitting room hearkens back to the days of grand Adirondack Great Camps. A moose head adorns the stone fireplace, while deer-antler chandeliers and custom tiffany-style lamps bounce light off the knotty pine walls. Leather couches and woven wool blankets invite guests to snuggle in. The feel is warm, rustic comfort. Upstairs, lodge rooms open to a shared porch with stunning views of Fourth Lake. This is a great place to sip your morning coffee while listening to loons on the misty water. Lodge room and bathroom size vary, but all have comfortable king beds with elegant bedding.

Simpler (and lower priced) room options are found in adjacent buildings in the motel-style lodging. Freshly updated and decorated, these rooms feature double beds and a shared platform deck. For more privacy, consider one of three mountain-view cabins on property featuring separate living/dining space.

Great Pines ResortGreat Pines

Following your day of scenic exploration, visit one of two dining options on property for a taste of Adirondack hospitality. The appropriately named Lean-To tavern evokes a camping atmosphere, with the interior designed to mimic the three-walled rustic log structures found dotting the area’s campsites. The Lodge is the fine dining option on site, with a rustic and elegant interior, white linens, and views of the lake. Both restaurants feature an eclectic mix of southern-influenced dishes and northern favorites. Hush puppies, jambalaya, and fish tacos share menu space with maple chicken wings, craft cocktails, and mussels sautéed in Adirondack lager.

And if you’re feeling brave, the lakeside dock is perched over a shallow sandy stretch of lake, perfect for a morning polar bear swim. You’ll be joined by tiny schools of fish, kissed by the morning sun, and refreshed in the balsam infused air.

Great Pines brings an upscale option to the southwestern Adirondacks. While not a full service hotel, it is a comfortable and beautiful place to relax for an autumn weekend.

Area Recreation

Great Pines is centrally located in an area chock full of outdoor recreation, arts and cultural pursuits, and gorgeous scenery to enjoy. Numerous and easy-to-reach day hikes lead to small lakes, waterfalls, and mountaintop views. In the wintertime, snowmobiles run on hundreds of miles of trails, with a main trail leading right to Great Pines.

A short drive from the hotel north on Route 28 leads to Raquette Lake, home to two must-do experiences: a tour of Great Camp Sagamore and a boat cruise with Raquette Lake Navigation.

Great PinesRaquette Lake - navigation

Great Camp Sagamore, the Vanderbilt’s summer retreat home from 1901-1954, is one of a few dozen quintessential “great camps” built in the Adirondacks in the early 20th century. Used by the rich for rustic-yet-elegant entertaining and recreating, these camps set the model for regional architecture and rustic elegance, including the aesthetic found at Great Pines. Tours offer a look inside this complex of lodging, dining halls, and staff quarters. Today, Sagamore continues to welcome guests and visiting artists, and has become a home base for continuing education. Sagamore also offers intriguing overnight learning programs in disciplines such as photography, kayaking, and architecture. Two tours daily, in season, offer a chance to explore the grounds, meet a visiting artist, and learn about the lavish-yet-rustic ambiance enjoyed by the Vanderbilt family.

In the fall, Raquette Lake Navigation offers scenic cruises, lunch cruises, and Sunday champagne brunch onboard their family-built and operated two-story vessel that accommodates 75 people. The staff is friendly, the bar is fully stocked, and the scenery on Raquette Lake is incredible! The season wraps up with a “Snowflake Cruise.” And while the team can’t promise snow, they can promise a good time onboard to close out the boating season.

  • Located within 15-minute driving distance of both Inlet, NY and Old Forge, NY, nearby villages that offer dining, shopping, and recreation options
  • 30 rooms, split between main lodge, cabins, and motel-style rooms
  • 13-acre property with 600 feet of private waterfront
  • Canoes, kayaks and paddleboards available for rent
  • Wireless internet service throughout the hotel
  • Full-service dining available daily at the Lean-To; The Lodge open weekends
  • Continental breakfast in main sitting room available for guests
  • Boat docks available nearby
  • Odds of Encountering Children: Medium to Low, especially in the main lodge and during the fall season.
More Information…

Great PinesGreat Pines
4920 State Route 28
Old Forge, NY 13420
(315) 369-6777

– Photos by David Lalley

Featured products, services and/or travel arrangements may have been complimentary in part or in full; this affords the research opportunity but does not sway opinion.

Katie DeTarKatie DeTar is the host and producer of “Fringe Benefits,” a Public Television travel series that highlights destinations in and around featured American cities. The show also delves into nearby and lesser-known villages, scenic highlights, unique shopping, local flavor, and relaxing getaways found just on the fringe of the featured city. Learn more about Katie and “Fringe Benefits” here. Follow her on Instagram @katiedetar.

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