Though the village of Saranac Lake is almost twice the size of its neighbor, Lake Placid, it doesn’t receive nearly the amount of tourist attention. If you’re looking for a place to get away and not be bothered by mobs of tourists, this is the place for you.
Despite the name the village of Saranac Lake does not sit on any of the three lakes bearing the name Saranac. It actually sits on Lake Flower. The village sits near the center of the Adirondack Park, making it an excellent base for any of the outdoor activities that the Tri-Lakes region has to offer.
The area was first settled for logging in the 1820s. However in 1848, William F. Martin built a hotel – one of the first in the Adirondacks – that quickly became a popular place for socialites to vacation, as well as for woodsmen and huntsmen to stay. This was the beginning of the area’s popularity was a vacation destination.
In 1876, Dr. Edward Livingston Trudeau came to Saranac Lake to treat his tuberculosis. He returned in 1884 to establish the Adirondack Cottage Sanitarium. This “cure cottage” grew in fame and eventually grew so large that it required its own post office, just for patients’ mail.
Many famous people came to cure their TB including author Robert Louis Stevenson. Saranac Lake became world renowned for Trudeau’s sanitarium, and the many other cure cottages which sprung up throughout the village. They continued to treat patients even into the 1950s, despite the development of a more effective treatment in 1944.
In 1901 the village enjoyed a visit from Mark Twain, at the height of his fame. During the 1920s bootlegging was common in the village and notorious gangster Legs Diamond even came to town to visit his brother while he stayed in a cure cottage.
In the 1930s and 40s, Albert Einstein maintained a summer home in Saranac Lake which he rented from architect William L. Distin. He liked to go sailing on Lake Flower with his wife.
Today, Saranac Lake is an excellent place to visit. Much of the original architecture has been preserved and restored, making it beautiful and charming. In summers, it’s an excellent place to go enjoy the water, hike in the forest, go rock climbing, or simply stroll through the streets and take in the local shops.
Getting there is no problem. Commercial flights fly into Albany, and Burlington, and Lake Clear. It’s also possible to charter flights to Lake Placid or nearby Adirondack Regional Airport.