Happy Friday everyone! Since it’s beautiful and summery here I thought that today would be a great day to introduce camping into the Friday Fantasies. I know what your thinking… “Tents aren’t really Fantasy Homes, Etta. Maybe excluding Bedouin tents, and Wizard’s tents in Harry Potter, but as far as camping goes, what is there really to fantasize about?” Well, my friends, today I give you Camp Topridge of the Adirondacks: (Photo from AARCH)
Before I give you some background on Topridge, I should first introduce you to the history of the Adirondack Lodges. Topridge is hardly an isolated gem, but is in fact part of a larger collection of “Great Camps” that are a product of ultra-wealthy 19th century socialites wanting to “rough it” and enjoy a retreat in nature. What better way to do that than to build a gigantic log and stone compound in the middle of the mountains?
The construction of the Great Camps first started shortly after the Civil War, with the construction of W.W. Durant’s Pine Knot on Raquette Lake. It was intended to blend in with its surrounds by being constructed of local lumber and stones, and incorporating decorative branches and natural elements to reflect the beauty of the natural landscape and enhance the rustic feel, rather than relying on the elaborately carved details popular with high-style architecture during that period. In addition, when more space was required, it was decided that rather than adding another wing to the Main Lodge, smaller ancillary buildings should be added a short distance away (so they would be easy to get to in bad weather), creating a compound rather than just one huge log home. This had the added benefit of fire protection and a community feel, that also offered privacy.
Now that you know a bit about the ideas behind the “Great Camp” style, we will move on to a bit of history on Topridge, which exists as it is today thanks to the daughter of C.W. Post (yes, that C.W. Post, the creator of Grape Nuts), Marjorie Merriweather Post. Marjorie bought the property in 1923 and worked with architect Theodore Blake and local builder Ben Muncil to enlarge it and turn it into what it is today. Originally, the house could only be reached by water (though Post later built a road) and once you reached land, you had to take a funicular (or incline railway) to get to the Main Lodge at the top of a ridge.
Because Funiculars are so cool (and the word is awesome) here is a picture of one I found on google:
And while the main lodge at Topridge is amazing, I’m quite fond of some of its smaller buildings, such as its boathouses and guest houses, like those seen below: (Also from Wikipedia)
Sadly for us, Topridge is privately-owned by a Real Estate mogul from Texas. But there is a bright side! There are many Great Camps in the Adirondacks that are open to the public. In fact, Adirondacks Architectural Heritage (AARCH) has preserved the Great Camp, Santinoni, and offers a number of great tours that you should check out the next time you are in the Adirondacks! Check out AARCH’s website.
Well that’s it for today. Have a great weekend everyone!