By Donna Pohl
Raquette Lake Navigation
It’s fascinating to visit a place where history has happened, and the rapid growth of Cultural Heritage Tourism is testament to that. New York’s Adirondack region has a distinctively rich history, and there are countless stories to tell about the people who lived, worked and played in this six million-acre wilderness area. That time is the Gilded Age; the turn of the 19th Century when New York City Captains of Industry built the first of their “Great Camps” in Raquette Lake. To access these rambling wilderness estates, they forged a personal transportation system of railroads, steamboats and carriages. However, it was the Adirondack guides that ultimately taught them to understand and embrace this unique wilderness area.
Today, the Gilded Age Tour captures that era and gives visitors a special sense of time and place in history. They will be able to visualize themselves walking in the footsteps of these historic travelers. They’ll encounter the wide-open grandeur of Raquette Lake as W.W. Durant did when he envisioned the first Great Camp. They’ll stroll through the rooms and grounds of Great Camp Sagamore as Alfred Vanderbilt did, hearing the cry of a loon on a silent lake. They’ll enter a private railroad car and savor the luxury and craftsmanship afforded few on their visit to the Adirondack Museum. At the end of the journey, the visitor will have a greater appreciation for the Adirondack environment that created a generation of wilderness lovers, and will be inspired to continue on that journey.
The Gilded Age Tour was selected by the New York State Council on the Arts and the Arts & Business Council, along with nine other recipients, to receive the Millennium Award for outstanding partnerships between arts service organizations and businesses.