We recently visited Scaroon Manor Campground, located at Taylor’s Point on Schroon Lake in the Adirondacks of NYS, a few exits north of Lake George. Last year, in 2011, 60 campsites were added to a previously designated day-use only area. However, it’s not just a campground – there is some significant history here.
The land – which became an Adirondack resort for the wealthy, was originally bought and built up by a man named Charles Taylor in 1880, and known as Taylor’s on Schroon. At a time when transportation was becoming more widespread, it was a hot spot and provided easier beach access than having to travel to the ocean.
When Taylor died, it was bought and rebuilt in the 1920’s by Joseph Frieber, and became known as Scaroon Manor. The amenities included a grand hotel with a large ballroom, guest cottages, a golf course, tennis and handball courts, shuffle boards, horseback riding, gardens, and an amphitheater, which when walking by or through it in its current state, one feels chills, as if haunted! It‘s easy to picture the life that used to exist here.
Scaroon Manor reached its heyday from the 1930’s to the 1950’s as one of the grandest Adirondack resorts, during which time its amphitheatre was alive with shows and singers . Apparently it was known as a stairway to the stars. Perhaps most notably, in 1957, the Manor became the backdrop for the film, “Marjorie Morningstar”, featuring some names that might ring a bell: Natalie Wood and Gene Kelly. It is for this film that the Morningstar Bistro in town and a campground loop are named. You’ll find information panels boasting the history throughout the campground. The comedian, Red Skelton, also performed there.
The Manor’s hotel business declined until it was sold in 1960, and finally, it was acquired by New York State in 1967. A decision was made to tear and burn down the main building and cottages. In recent years, after residents complained that Adirondack areas lacked access for the disabled, the DEC stepped up and designed an accessible campground. It has been described as possibly the most ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant campground in the country.
While originally it boasted 8,000 feet of lakefront, it now has 1200 feet of shoreline featuring a 120-foot long beach with a 10,000 square-foot swimming area that can accommodate hundreds of bathers and swimmers. Most importantly for my family, sensitive to heat, the beach also includes shade from nearby trees. There is a bathhouse en route from the parking lot to the beach. Speaking of which, whether using the area as a campground or for day-use, keep in mind the unusual (for the Adirondacks) newness of all the facilities! Unbelievably, even the fire pits were a new black –painted metal vs. rusted out- as most are. The campground also touts a boat dock and fishing pier.
One can still use the area for day use, however on some days, lifeguards are not available. The picnic area contains 20 picnic tables and there are 38 additional picnic sites located in three areas close to the beach. Half of the picnic sites in each area are also accessible to people with disabilities. If you’re looking for other nearby activities, the Adirondack wilderness provides plenty of hiking trails and about a mile and a half south on route 9, you can find the entrance to Natural Stone Bridge and Caves. For camping reservations, you can check the New York State Camping website here.
More Things to Do in the Adirondacks
- Lake Placid Winter Olympic Museum and the Olympic Center: Where Miracles Happen (Lake Placid)
- High Falls Gorge, Stunning Adirondacks Waterfall (Lake Placid)
- Cloudsplitter Gondola: Whiteface Without the White (Lake Placid)
- Dig This! Rockhounding in New York
- Go On a Birding Family Adventure in the Adirondacks (Paul Smith’s College Visitor Interpretive Center near Saranac Lake)
- Day Trip to the Adirondack Museum (Blue Mountain Lake)