Downton Abbey made famous the luxurious lifestyle of England’s aristocrats in pre-WWI Britain. In the U.S., the real-life wealthy elite lived in equal luxury during the Gilded Age at the turn of the last century. Though in typical American fashion, tycoons like Alfred Vanderbilt and J.P. Morgan combined comfort with a grand scale in their wilderness Great Camp retreats in New York’s Adirondack mountains.

Relaxing with a view of Lake Sagamore

Relaxing with a view of Lake Sagamore

The Vanderbilt family’s Great Camp Sagamore is one of the last remaining intact camps from the Great Camp era and is now listed as a National Historic Landmark. Camp Sagamore can be toured, but the best way to really experience its idyllic setting is to stay for a few days and participate in one of the many offered programs (including intergenerational weekend programs).

Camp Sagamore is located in one of the most remote regions of New York’s Adirondack Mountains, and the land around it is designated as wilderness.

This means no motorised boats on the lake, no motorised vehicles on the trails and very little connection to the outside world.

Canoeing on the pristine waters of Lake Sagamore

Canoeing on the pristine waters of Lake Sagamore

Staying there provides a different type of luxury – the luxury of a peaceful, natural and unspoiled environment, all of which can be experienced much like the Vanderbilt family did 100 years ago. Accommodations are very comfortable and all meals are included, as are activities like kayaking, canoeing, swimming, and hiking.

Lodge and dining hall at Great Camp Sagamore

Lodge and dining hall at Great Camp Sagamore

There are not many opportunities to experience living history, especially when it comes to living like the rich and famous of days gone by. Great Camp Sagamore is a unique experience that offers a glimpse into the lives of America’s wealthy elite as they tried to escape the daily pressures of their society at the turn of the nineteenth century.

What’s appealing to the over-50 luxury traveler?

  • In an age where it can be difficult to escape from modern technology, an experience at Great Camp Sagamore offers the opportunity to completely disconnect for a few days and live much as the Vanderbilt family did one hundred years ago, surrounded by a quiet, natural setting.

Take note

  • Accommodations offer rooms with private baths or shared baths.
  • You can participate in special event programs or you can book two night weekend stays that include lodging, all meals, historic tour, water sports on secluded Sagamore Lake, lawn games, bowling, and miles of hiking & biking trails.

All photo credits (except lead photo): Rose Palmer



Be sure to get the whole scoop on Great Camp Sagamore on Quiltripping.

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