Santanoni Great Camp buildings open three weekends for winter visitors

Published Jan 9, 2017 at 4:00pm

NEWCOMB — Three winter weekend open houses at Camp Santanoni are offered Jan. 14-16 (Martin Luther King holiday weekend), Feb. 18-20 (President’s Day holiday weekend) and March 18-19.

Officials announced this as “a unique opportunity to see the inside of the Great Camp buildings in the winter,” noting that the event grows in popularity each year.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is holding the open house
events with Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH), the town of Newcomb and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry’s Adirondack Interpretive Center.

Cross-country skiers and snowshoers will have access to the historic camp properties located in the town of Newcomb in Essex County to rest and view interpretative displays, including panels installed in 2014.

“The public is invited to enjoy winter outdoor recreation with their family and friends while immersed in the beautiful wilderness setting and the rich cultural heritage of the Adirondacks during any of the three weekends,” Commissioner Basil Seggos said. “The increasing popularity of the Winter Weekends demonstrates our efforts are effective in bringing visitors to the North Country.”

Amenities can be found in the nearby community of Newcomb, where the WinterFest in the Heart of the Park is being celebrated on Jan, 14, coinciding with the first Santanoni Winter Weekend.

“Great Camp Santanoni is as beautiful covered in winter snows as it is in mid-summer,” said Newcomb Town Supervisor Wes Miga. “Please join us for our WinterFest in the Heart of the Park celebration on Saturday, Jan. 14, or any time this winter - Newcomb is festive winter-long.”

Winter Weekend attendees can ski or snowshoe the 9.8-mile round trip from Camp Santanoni’s Gate Lodge Complex and pass the Farm Complex to the remote lakeside Main Lodge Complex. The trip provides a moderate physical activity. The Adirondack Interpretive Center will provide free snowshoes at the Gate Lodge for visitors needing them.

“Newcomb is a fantastic town, rich with history, recreation and educational opportunities,” said Paul Hai of SUNY ESF’s Northern Forest Institute, which manages the Adirondack Interpretive Center.

During the weekends visitors can visit both the Gate Lodge and Main Lodge of Camp Santanoni where they can view displays about the great camp and take interpretive tours with Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) staff. While visitors are welcome at Camp Santanoni all year, the buildings are not typically open to the public during the winter months.

Steven Engelhart, Executive Director of AARCH, said, “We thoroughly enjoyed providing a place to warm up and interpreting the camp’s rich history and architecture to them.”

Visitors can also warm up in the Artist’s Studio, a stone building near the main lodge on the shores of Newcomb Lake. Coffee, tea and hot chocolate will be available, although visitors are asked to bring their own cups.

In addition to the popular 9.8-mile round trip from the Gate Lodge to the Main Lodge, cross-country skiers and snowshoers can traverse the half mile-trail from Camp Santanoni to the nearby Adirondack Interpretive Center and ski or snowshoe its 3.6-mile trail system. The Center’s buildings will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on all three days of the Winter Weekends in January and February, and on the Saturday and Sunday of the March Winter Weekend.

Robert and Anna Pruyn began work on Camp Santanoni in 1892 eventually constructing more than four dozen buildings on 12,900 acres including a working farm, the Gate Lodge complex, a huge rustic Main Lodge and other buildings situated on Newcomb Lake. Camp Santanoni remained in private ownership until 1972.

During the last several decades of state ownership, the camp has gradually been restored through a partnership between DEC, AARCH and the town of Newcomb. Camp Santanoni is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a National Historic Landmark and is considered by many to be the classic Adirondack Great Camp.

Reservations are not required. Contact AARCH at 518-834-9328 for more information on the winter weekends.

On the net:

DEC Camp Santanoni Historic Area

Town of Newcomb and the WinterFest in the Heart of the Park

Adirondack Interpretive Center