A Storied Past
Some say nothing can match the initial spell cast on those brave enough to first explore the Adirondacks. It was a borderless, mysterious, primeval forest that yielded its secrets. The first recorded ascent of the highest peak in the region occurred nearly 20 years after Pikes Peak in Colorado had been climbed.
Grand Dame of Main St.
If the first public lodgings in Lake Placid could best be described as “quaint” then The Northwoods Inn, which opened in 1897, took a form better categorized as a “boarding house”. Not that the sportsmen, artists, and adventurers passing through minded. Simple necessities like electricity and a clean bed seemed luxurious after a full day outdoors, hiking the High Peaks or out wading the waters of Mirror Lake.
As The Northwoods Inn prospered in this humble state, Lake Placid and the Adirondack region became an increasingly popular salve for the worries of urban life. New York’s aesthetes and avant garde began “summering” up North, whiling away entire summer seasons at the Great Camps they constructed.
These sprawling compounds were expansive vessels into which people poured duplicates of their entire metropolitan lives. And everyone was invited – family, friends, acquaintances (the interesting ones), chefs, tutors, even the dogs.
Nature is an evergreen source of inspiration and tranquility, but perhaps the proprietors also believed it to be a blank canvas on which to exhibit their lifestyle, travels, and accomplishments.
Cabins played homespun, using local timber and rustic materials, but every surface and space was so layered with rich textiles, exotic artifacts, expensive artworks, and academic literature that the spaces, though new, were practically geological.
The simple charm of The Northwoods Inn began to pale in comparison, and it changed hands and name, and a new building was constructed in its place. If the opening night of The Lake Placid–Marcy wasn’t the hotel’s most memorable event, it was surely its most effervescent.
The entire community was invited to the celebration, and the tone of the hotel’s second life was set to the tune of a live orchestra playing to a 325-person ballroom at full capacity.
Having grown vertically, been clad in brick, and boasting a soaring lobby that created a true sense of arrival, it became a Grand Hotel on par with the storied mountain resorts of Europe. Perfectly timed, as Lake Placid’s most well known and influential chapter began shortly after, when it was selected to host the 1932 Winter Olympics.
In anticipation of the event, German immigrants moved into town and began developing the architecture of the Village as it’s known today, which is to say reminiscent of a Bavarian fairytale.
The next major influence on the property’s facade and spirit was ushered in the era of postwar optimism and technological exploration during the 1950s. The Marcy was modernized in every way one could think of. A television reception tower was erected, package deals were formed, a pool was carved into the ground out back, and the brick was covered for the sake of extra guest room space.
Newly envisioned, the Grand Adirondack Hotel will look to its past to metamorphose through a modern lens.
Looking to historic examples from Hotel Marcy and international Grand Hotels, our name is inspired by their elegant lettering, sophisticated graphics, and atmosphere of allure. The identity of these properties was proudly interwoven with their region, and our hotel is lucky to be nestled amongst the Adirondacks: one of the most storied mountain ranges in the States. Its name is synonymous with exploration, adventure, and the serenity that goes hand in hand with nature.