There is an old lady in Saranac Lake loved by everyone. She is famous, infamous, and in spiffy shape for her age; she's seen a lot of activity in her 92 years. She's the Hotel Saranac — known as Hot Sara to many locals — and she is the perfect base for your fall vacation in Saranac Lake.
Hotel Saranac was built in 1927, full of modern conveniences and unusual architectural details; the Great Hall was modeled after an Italian palazzo, for example. It has seen a few owners over the years, plus some highs, and a few lows, too. A recent, painstaking, and thorough renovation has restored the hotel, bringing fresh new life and fun to Saranac's favorite lady. Old friends love returning and new visitors delight in exploring the hotel. The terrace and guest rooms provide excellent views of downtown and the foliage on Mount Pisgah.
Things are great when you're downtown
From its central location downtown, Hotel Saranac is an excellent jumping-off point for activities within walking distance, including shops, art galleries, and historic sites.
Just around the corner from the hotel is one of the village's oldest and most interesting buildings: the laboratory of Dr. Edward Livingston Trudeau, a pioneer in the treatment of tuberculosis. The lab is now a museum that celebrates Trudeau's work, the impact of his work on the development of the village as a health resort, and special exhibits relating to local history. Peek at tuberculosis through a microscope, listen to audio exhibits on famous patients, and take the time to chat with the knowledgable staff.
Fall is a good time to think about upcoming holidays, and if you're like me, you can't resist shopping for a few uniqe gifts. Stroll Main Street and Broadway to explore a variety of unique shops and galleries. Stop at the Adirondack Artists Guild Gallery to see an ever-changing array of high quality, dynamic pieces by talented local artists, browse the shelves at the independently-owned The Book Nook, and shop for souvenirs and learn about iconic wildlife at the Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation. Instead of a rubber duck, take home a rubber loon and your purchase will help support conservation efforts!
Don't forget to stop in at Academy & Main, Hotel Saranac's gift shop, which features a mix of locally produced products and Adirondack-themed luxury items, such as that log pillow you never know you needed but now can't live without.
You don't have to hit the High Peaks to get great views and enjoy a classic Adirondack hike. All you have to do is walk a few blocks from downtown to the Baker Mountain trailhead, adjacent to pretty Moody Pond. The hike is short and sweet, although it does have some steep sections. Fortunately, at less than one mile, the trail is still relatively do-able for hikers of all levels. From rocky ledges and the summit you'll enjoy views of the surrounding lakes and mountains, with all the fire of fall colors at your feet.
Baker Mountain stats
- Distance: 0.9 mile to the summit
- Elevation: 2,452 feet
- Ascent: 884 feet
Baker is also a great way to get started on becoming a Saranac Lake 6er!
A toasty finish
You've spent your day shopping, exploring, hiking, and taking in the fall color everywhere you look. You've earned a relaxing dinner and, fortunately, we have plenty of options for you, all just a few steps from your hotel room.
Interested in craft brews? Walk up Broadway to Bitters & Bones, where the menu changes frequently with delicious results. Alternatively, stroll down Main Street to Blue Moon Cafe for some sinfully good Buffalo dip. Blue Moon is also a favorite spot for morning coffee and baked goods. That said, you also really can't go wrong with staying right in the hotel and enjoying a cozy dinner at Campfire Adirondack Grill & Bar, where hearty classics are given an upscale Adirondack twist.
Hotel Saranac has a very special place in our hearts, and we're sure that after you visit, you'll adore it too. When planning your special fall vacation in the Saranac Lake region, be sure to check our events page and our foliage reports!