June 01, 2016
Looking to get together with your dearest friends? I strongly suggest planning a trip for a friends weekend getaway to the Adirondacks’ coolest place!
You'll need ideas on what to do while you’re here, but that's not a problem. With a surplus of places to see and things to do, Saranac Lake can promise you a fun, relaxing weekend away. Just check out the Saranac Lake art and bar scenes and begin making plans.
Immerse yourself in the arts
Let’s start with the Art Crawl! A self-proclaimed version of a bar crawl, the Art Crawl involves hopping from art gallery to art gallery instead of from bar to bar.
With several art galleries in Saranac Lake, you'll be able to fully experience — and maybe even purchase — a beautiful piece from our talented regional artists. Every third Thursday throughout the summer local art galleries, businesses, and nonprofit organizations host a self-guided tour, appropriately named Third Thursday Art Walks, through downtown Saranac Lake’s participating venues from 5-7:30 p.m. You can grab a map and a schedule of art venues to guide you through the walk. The art walks are a great way to immerse yourself in the abilities of local artists throughout the Adirondack region.
I suggest starting the day off at Art at the Pink House on Woodruff Street. Gallery owner Cris Winters uses mixed media arts to express her creativity. She often hosts different classes throughout the week, most recently helping participants make colorful silk scarves using Sharpies. Although the hours of operation for Art at the Pink House vary, Winters boasts, “If the pink flag is out, we’re open!” You can also call her at (518) 524-0533. She is more than happy to show you around!
A few doors down from Art at the Pink House is a personal favorite, NorthWind Fine Arts Gallery, a nine-member cooperative art gallery. With monthly featured exhibits ranging in media style, NorthWind Fine Arts Gallery is sure to please your inner artist.
May’s featured exhibit is “Fragrance of Spring,: which features photography from guest artist Ed Williams. June’s featured exhibit is “The Art of D.J. Woodward.” Woodward is a founding member of NorthWind Fine Arts Gallery who uses ornamental blacksmithing to make intricate pieces such as handrails and coat racks.
Throughout the summer, NorthWind Fine Arts Gallery is open from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sundays and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. every other day except Tuesdays, when they are closed. I strongly suggest visiting on the first Friday of every month, when they host an opening reception for the current month’s featured exhibit from 5-7 p.m.
After visiting NorthWind Fine Arts Gallery, take a left up the hill past Berkeley Green and stop by Tim Fortune’s gallery, The Small Fortune Studio. Specializing in watercolor and oil paintings, Mr. Fortune’s pieces are simply fascinating. Oftentimes, while walking around downtown, you will see the artist painting away in his quaint yet amazing gallery, which doubles as his studio. I am fortunate enough (pun intended) to be surrounded by Tim’s paintings in my office.
The Small Fortune Studio is open Tuesday-Saturday from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. He's also open for Thursday ArtWalks throughout the summer.
Down the street a little ways is the Adirondack Artists’ Guild, one of your final stops on the Art Crawl. The Guild operates as a cooperative gallery, with members sharing costs and responsibilities. The gallery got a facelift in March and April of this year, which included a fresh coat of paint and new flooring!
The Adirondack Artists’ Guild has a different featured exhibit every month, with opening receptions typically falling on the first Friday of every month from 5-7 p.m. The gallery is open Tuesday-Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. The Guild is a host site for the Third Thursday ArtWalks, the Adirondack Plein Air Festival, and the Artist at Work Studio Tour.
If you have time during your friends weekend getaway, you could set up a Paint and Sip event at The Brushery! Here, you can create your own masterpiece while enjoying adult beverages with your friends!
After visiting one of our many art galleries, I hope you’ll go home with a sense of how essential local artistry is to the area — and hopefully you'll get the chance to purchase a unique Adirondack treasure!
From art crawl to bar crawl
After completing your self-guided Art Crawl, I’m sure you and your friends will have worked up quite a thirst! While perusing our many art galleries, you will notice that Saranac Lake is not lacking in establishments that sell adult beverages. Now it is time to satisfy your tastebuds with the ever-popular bar crawl! And believe me, I strongly suggest pacing yourself to hit up all of the late night spots!
As a typical bar crawl goes, I suggest working your way from one end of town to the other, but wherever the night may take you, you are sure to have a great time. Trust me!
In the mood for some bowling and karaoke? Head to Romano’s Saranac Lanes to belt your heart out while bowling in Saranac Lake’s only bowling alley! Romano’s has karaoke every Saturday night form 10 p.m-2 a.m.
Around the corner from Romano’s you’ll find the Rusty Nail. If your friends weekend getaway happens to roll over into Tuesday, which we all know very well could happen (can anyone say “unused sick days?”), don’t miss open mic night at the Nail and its ever-so-brave musicians! The Rusty Nail hosts open mic night every Tuesday beginning at 8 p.m. The Nail is a one-of-a-kind Saranac Lake jewel!
On your way back to the other end of town, after Romano’s and the Rusty Nail, be sure to stop in to one of Saranac Lake’s newest installations, Bitters & Bones. While some repeat visitors may recognize the building, Bitters & Bones was officially established in 2015. With a kitchen open as long as the drinks are flowing, you can satiate those late night cravings with their unique take on bar food. Be sure to grab a Bitters & Bones signature cocktail while hanging out, either inside listening to live music or out on the patio enjoying a warm summer night!
At the other end of town, don’t miss Grizle T’s for one of the best craft beer selections on tap in town. They offer weeknight drink specials, and who knows? Maybe you’ll feel inclined to purchase a mug to hang up there as part of their Mug Club! I would recommend extending your bar crawl into Sunday to hit up Grizle T’s self-serve Bloody Mary bar to help get the recovery going. It starts at noon!
At last, you’ve reached the infamous Waterhole! After a brief hiatus, the Waterhole opened under a new management team briefly this past February for our Winter Carnival celebration weekend. That same team officially reopened the Waterhole full time on April 1. They have continued the Party on Patio music series every Thursday with a free show from 6-10 p.m. They also host live music on most Friday and Saturday nights, usually with a small cover charge, although sometimes the shows are free.
Now that you’ve crawled your way around Saranac Lake with your friends, be sure to spread the word once you finally reach home about how cool our area truly is! And don't forget, Saranac Lake also has plenty of stores, restaurants, and lodging options to complete your visit.