Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Vanishing Adirondack Children's Camps

There is something paricularly special about having a children's summer camp in your town. In the summer, you see the canoe convoys pass by the dock, and hear the distant shouts and laughter of kids enjoying the Adirondacks.  You see the ski boat drive by, circling with the latest kid trying to get up for the first time.  We used to see these things and more when Camp Eagle Cove was operating in Inlet.  My mother worked as a lifeguard there many years ago and I once thought of attending camp there for a summer. After Eagle Cove closed, it became a camp for sick children, then an Adirondack campus of the Florida college, Lynn University.  After Lynn University closed the Adirondack Center, the property was sold to Dawn Timm and her husband, local realtors, for development.  Years later, not a single home has been built. The little cabins are rotting away and the massive dining hall is sagging; the whole place looks sad and depressed.  I wish that property could become a haven for artists, writers, musicians, students, like Yaddo, who need a place to work and to be inspired.  I wish we still had those kids sitting around the campfires telling stories and waterskiing by the dock.  In addition to the vanishing summer camps, I see over and over again the dreamers who come with their dream of owning a little Adirondack shop, their own business, and making it work.  It could be a good life and it is for some. But in Old Forge, I see these places open with all the excitement and optimistic verve in the world only to appear on the real estate website a year later -- for sale, motivated seller.  It is so difficult to run a business in the Adirondack Park, whether a summer camp or a gift shop, and I don't know what the right equation is to make a business succeed there. Few people seem to have figured it out.


  1. Thanks for the post. Every day I read about another summer camp that doesn't operate anymore for one reason or another. It's sad.

  2. Thanks, Eric. It's said, yes, but seems to be inevitable.


  3. My family used to say at a place owned by Rose and Tom Kane on the north shore of the lake -- called Torokan, and used the same access road off 28 as The Kenmore. I'm pretty sure it was the summer of 1976 when I worked about a week (after finding an ad in the old Echo), serving food family style at this camp. Three shifts a day for about 5 days and I made the princely sum of 90.00 total. Thought I was loaded -- and it turned out my father ran low on cash that year and the 90.00 helped pay our way home to NJ! I'm not sure dad ever did pay me back . . . Thanks for the memories.

    Now I take my own family every year and we stay at The Fulton House, owned by the Bailey family, just about across 28 from Rondaxe Road and very close to the lighthouse. I hope they develop the same love of that area that I have.

    Glad to see you guys have returned.