Old-style re­treat of­fers a place to un­plug, un­wind

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - LIFE+TIMES - By Amanda Loudin

“Is it like ‘Dirty Danc­ing’?”

That’s the ques­tion I’m in­evitably asked when I tell peo­ple where I’m headed for sum­mer va­ca­tion. Tim­ber­lock is an old-fash­ioned camp in the Adiron­dack Moun­tains of New York, so re­mote that there is no con­nec­tiv­ity. There’s also no elec­tric­ity in the 23 sim­ple, com­fort­able cab­ins that dot the shore­line of 11-mile-long In­dian Lake. That’s what at­tracted my fam­ily for the first time back in 2007. This year marked our ninth re­turn.

We let our kids binge on tech­nol­ogy on the drive, know­ing they will be de­void of it for the fol­low­ing week. At about 15 miles out - just when we spy the fa­mil­iar, painted “pig rock” the sig­nal drops and the an­tic­i­pa­tion rises. We all wel­come the right turn onto the gravel drive­way with the pre­cip­i­tous drop. This is home away from home for us.

When we pull up in front of the main lodge, we are greeted by our hosts, Bruce and Holly Catlin, a cou­ple of friendly dogs, and staff mem­bers in green John Deere “ga­tors.” We de­posit our be­long­ings into one and the staff totes it off to our cabin for the week. By this stage, my kids have al­ready scat­tered: my 12-yearold daugh­ter to the nearby rope swing and my 16-yearold son to the wooden dock over the lake. He’s a de­voted bass fish­er­man, and spend­ing a week on fresh­wa­ter is pretty close to nir­vana for him.

It’s hard to pin­point ex­actly what makes Tim­ber­lock so spe­cial to my fam­ily be­cause the rea­sons are as var­ied as the ac­tiv­i­ties at hand. For me, it’s a sim­ple, care­free week, spent in a com­bi­na­tion of fam­ily and solo time. We each find our niche there, some­times side-by-side, some­times alone, of­ten with new­found friends.

The Catlins, who have owned the re­sort since 1963, see to it that fam­i­lies don’t have to think much be­yond which wa­ter­craft they want to try on a given day. They em­ploy two chefs, who pre­pare plen­ti­ful, healthy, mouth­wa­ter­ing meals three times a day. Young guests line up to ring the bell to sig­nal that sig­nals break­fast, lunch or din­ner is but 15 min­utes away. We gather on a din­ing porch with views of the lake, mix­ing and min­gling with the guests from other cab­ins.

Those three meal­times are as sched­uled as things get around camp, which an­swers that ques­tion: No, it isn’t like “Dirty Danc­ing.”

Ev­ery­thing at Tim­ber­lock is “take it as you like.” There’s a water tram­po­line, as well as a wide ar­ray of kayaks, ca­noes, pad­dle­boards and sailboats avail­able with a quick staff check­out. Swim­ming in the cool, deep wa­ters is a treat for pool-weary dwellers of the cities and sub­urbs. I make a point of swim­ming across the lake and back, about a 1,200-yard swim, sev­eral times each week with my hus­band guid­ing the way in a kayak.

For land lovers, there are ten­nis courts, archery, a wood shop, and horse­back rid­ing. A horse wran­gler comes around at break­fast sign­ing guests up for rides vary­ing from be­gin­ning ring lessons to a ride up a nearby moun­tain with lunch at the top. My daugh­ter rides ev­ery day we’re in camp and knows each of the six horses by name and per­son­al­ity.

Sit­u­ated in the south­west­ern cor­ner of the 6-mil­lion-acre Adiron­dack State Park, Tim­ber­lock is an easy drive or walk to seem­ingly end­less choices for hikes. My fam­ily’s tra­di­tion on Mon­day each year - weekly rentals run Satur­day to Satur­day - is to climb nearby Snowy Moun­tain. At 3,988 feet high, it just misses “high peak” des­ig­na­tion; at eight miles round-trip, the hike serves as a per­fect bond­ing time for us.

This year, the weather wasn’t our friend for a hike up Snowy - it was rain­ing buck­ets - so we had to find an­other op­tion. We’d vis­ited the nearby Adiron­dack Mu­seum be­fore, so we de­cided in­stead on the nearly twohour drive over to Lake Placid for the day. We took in the sights and re­turned in time for din­ner.

The weather can be un­pre­dictable in the Adirondacks, and this year, we had sev­eral nights where the tem­per­a­ture dipped into the up­per 40s or low 50s. Each cabin at Tim­ber­lock has a wood-burn­ing stove, and we were ex­cited to fire ours up for the first time in a few years. The cabin beds are lay­ered with warm blan­kets and with the scent of the fire, it can be tempt­ing to sleep right through break­fast.

We made up for our lost Snowy hike the fol­low­ing day, with one of three choices for group treks ar­ranged by Tim­ber­lock. This year, we joined two other fam­i­lies for a climb up Owl’s Head Moun­tain, a new op­tion for us that of­fered spec­tac­u­lar views from the top.

Like all va­ca­tions, our week at Tim­ber­lock flew by. We all dreaded the re­turn to the hur­ried world of jobs, sched­ules and com­mit­ments - prob­a­bly more so than af­ter any other trip be­cause be­ing wholly un­teth­ered from mod­ern-day trap­pings brings with it a height­ened state of re­lax­ation.

I guess if I had to pick one as­pect of our time on In­dian Lake that makes it most spe­cial, it is that step back in time. Life is sim­ple at Tim­ber­lock, and that’s some­thing my tech­nol­o­gy­de­pen­dent chil­dren ap­pre­ci­ate, per­haps even more so than I. There is nowhere else that the would rather be and so we re­turn, year af­ter year.

Early Fri­day evening, as I walked the dirt path from our cabin to the din­ing porch for the week’s fi­nal din­ner, I slipped into a state of melan­choly. It would be a full year be­fore my fam­ily could once again in­habit this qui­eter, eas­ier world. A world where loons cry out at dawn, chil­dren glee­fully dive into chilly wa­ters and peo­ple get to know one an­other around an evening fire. Life’s sim­plest of sim­ple plea­sures. in­cludes three meals per day and all re­sort ac­tiv­i­ties ex­cept horse­back rid­ing and water ski­ing, for which there are ad­di­tional fees. Cab­ins with baths: $222 per day, $1,332 per week. Cab­ins with­out baths: $166 per day, $996 per week. Three-night min­i­mum stay. The re­sort’s sum­mer sea­son runs from late June to early Septem­ber; reser­va­tions for the 2019 sea­son open in Fe­bru­ary.

PHOTOS BY NANCIE BATTAGLIA -- FOR THE WASHINGTON POST

A fire burns in a stone fire­place in Tim­ber­lock’s li­brary build­ing; each cabin also has a wood-burn­ing stove.

Horse­back riders ex­plore the wood­land trails at Tim­ber­lock, which is in the south­west­ern cor­ner of the 6-mil­lion-acre Adiron­dack State Park.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.