Hello, Lake George! We have arrived.
When we left our humble abode in New York City, all we knew was where we'd stay. The rest was up in the air. Will we find enough fun things to do to occupy us? What if reservations are necessary? We left our laptops and iPad at home. We had no pieces of paper with confirmation numbers or directions: All we had was an iPhone to get us around. I must admit, we were a little nervous.
Where Did We Stay?
We checked in at the Lodges at Cresthaven, where we were greeted by a warm staff. We adored our lodge -- it was rustic, practical, warm, romantic -- very Lake George. We had a nice patio, a kitchen, a jacuzzi tub (that could fit two comfortably) in our master bath, even a fireplace.
We had a great view of the resort and the vegetation. It was definitely more calming than our New York City apartment where we have a view of a brick building next door.
We couldn't wait to see what else was in store.
One "Divorce Kayak," Please?
Upon our arrival, we used the only tool at our disposal: the Lake George On The Go! App to figure out which activities and restaurants we'd tackle. First stop: kayaking. We went to Lake George Kayak where we were not only schooled in kayaking basics, but also received a brief history of the land by Ike, the owner of the shop and kayak/paddleboard/canoe rental service. My boyfriend said under his breath, "oh my God, he's sooo nice." (We're jaded New Yorkers after all.)
We chose to do a kayak for two. We wanted to see how well we'd work together as a team. Ike calls this "the divorce boat." Luckily, we survived -- no break-up abound, we didn't even argue as we paddled. Mission accomplished.
The Lake George On The Go! App then led us to Tubby Tubes on day two of our long weekend away from the city. We opted for the two-hour tubing excursion down the Hudson River with super-friendly "cattle herders" on kayaks. And by that, I mean, when some of us on these tubes would get caught on rocks or where the current doesn't flow, they'd come over and push us with their paddles so we stayed with the group. I mean, you can only let nature take you so far.
If you ever decide to try it, it's quite fun and relaxing -- just don't forget to bring your own water shoes because wearing other people's used, wet footwear is kind of gross. And if you have your own life vest, even better.
So far, so good. We also let the trusty app help us pick places to eat.
Dining at The Sagamore -- Maybe Our Expectations Were Too High?
One would think a fancy restaurant would mean a better experience, but we were proven wrong at The Sagamore Resort's Pavilion. The service started off a little strange (and I'm probably being too polite here), so we opted for foolproof dishes. How could you get lobster tail and drawn butter or raw oysters wrong? Sure, the food as good but the lousy service didn't make up for it.
We were rushed. As it turns out, there was another party coming -- and the hostess made sure to let us know -- so we'd eat fast, we suppose. We had been at the restaurant 30 minutes (about 20 minutes after we got our first dish) already eating our entrees. This was fast food at it's finest (and I'm saying that with a hint of sarcasm).
The server paced. The minute we finished, he asked us if we wanted dessert. "I'd love to see a dessert menu," I said. He replied, "I'll just tell you what we have." Before we knew it, we had the check, not having consumed half of our shared blueberry pie.
As for that large table that we had to make room for, they were nowhere to be found. I guess they were late.
If you're ever in the area, go to The Algonquin instead -- where the staff is friendly and warm, the food just as delicious and the view just as beautiful.
The Farmhouse Redeems Lake George
Single-handedly the best meal of our entire trip, we deem The Farmhouse at the Top of the World Resort a must if you're ever in the Lake George area.
The drive up was a little spooky at dusk (remember, we are city people now), but once we got there and realized the menu's theme, we were delighted -- every dish is farm-to-table. Our server told us the restaurant supports at least 14 of them.
We decided to do a five-course tasting with wine pairings. When it comes to food, we are the adventurous type. Unfortunately, after five glasses of delicious wine, we can't recall the ingredients in the dishes we consumed and loved. All we have are pictures to prove we ate them.
Trust us, the food was absolutely awesome. My boyfriend had said, it was probably one of the best meals we've had -- ever, not just in Lake George.
Eating Saratoga Springs By Storm
During the tail end of our long weekend, we decided to leave Lake George to check in at the Six Sisters Bed and Breakfast Inn -- a great find via the Saratoga On The Go! App. We initially decided to go to Saratoga Springs, a cute town half an hour south of Lake George, to check out the horse races. But, we were shocked and delighted to find really awesome food. Even the breakfast Stephen, Six Sisters' owner and operator, whipped up for us was divine! (And FYI, his property was lovely.)
Our first eatery stop in Saratoga was the Olde Bryan Inn. The clams were to die for. We're still thinking about them at this very moment, in fact. Pair that with two watermelon-y cocktails, and you have a heavenly lunch. We can't remember exactly what was in the alcoholic refreshment, but let's just say the drink went down so smoothly, we, again, forgot everything else about the meal. All we recall is how good it tasted and how great we felt.
For dinner, we went to the Mouzon House where the staff was just as charming as the atmosphere.
From the moment we stepped foot at this old, restored home, we felt the passion. When we learned that part of the staff was family, it all checked out. The bartender and three servers were siblings, the manager is their aunt and their mom was in the kitchen somewhere. Dad is the restauranteur that renovated parts of the venue with his own bare hands. It's a family affair and a "labor of love," said the manager.
The restauranteur's son took us for a quick tour around the restaurant -- we were curious -- to find that walls of the dining areas were graced by these beautiful murals painted by the girls of the family. They painted each other.
As for the food, everything was magnificent. From the crawfish beignets to the spicy sausage in the mixed grill entree, you can taste a little bit of creole, which might've been inspired by the woman they purchased the property from. There's even a mural of her painted in one of the dining areas in the house. Our tour guide told us that when they finished restoration, they invited her back to show her what they had done to the house. Upon seeing the changes, she cried because she and her home were celebrated within the walls of this lovely restaurant that's more than an eatery, it is love.
All in all, what a great trip away from the big bad city. Take pesky paper and annoying directions away, and you have yourself a worryfree getaway, thanks to the trusty iPhone and the apps it offers. Where should we go next via iPhone app? Mexico City? Europe? Thailand? The world is our oyster.
Follow Ysolt Usigan on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ysolt11