Welcome Back to Summer Arts and Culture

The Adirondacks are as rich in history as they are in stunning forested landscapes and splash-worthy lakes. In Hamilton County, the exceptional history of the Adirondacks, as well as the remarkable art created here, is celebrated and shared with visitors of all ages and interests. This is the kind of place where you can spend your morning paddling a quiet backcountry pond, enjoy an afternoon at a museum or historic site, and top off your day with an evening movie or live Shakespearean performance. While many sites were closed and events were canceled in summer of 2020, 2021 is on track to see some of the Adirondacks' most unique arts and culture destinations reopen. Let's explore what summer has in store!

Indian Lake Theater

The fun, retro lobby of the Indian Lake Theater.

The scent of fresh popcorn. The sensation of settling into a cushy seat as the lights go down. The joy as the opening credits roll. Can you tell we've missed the joy of going to the movies? In Indian Lake, the feel of a classic movie theater is alive and well, thanks to a community-driven theater! The Indian Lake Theater is a community-owned space for arts and culture events and new and classic movies.

To keep patrons safe in 2021, the lobby has been reconfigured and online ticketing and refreshment purchases are available. Capacity limits are in place, so be sure to get your tickets online to save disappointment! Extensive cleaning between shows is the rule, so that patrons may relax and enjoy a great movie worry-free. The theater may also be hosting special live theater performances this summer, so stay tuned for updates!

W.W. Durant - Raquette Lake Navigation

The replica steamboat W.W. Durant on Raquette Lake.

In summer 2021, the W.W. Durant, a replica steamboat owned and operated by the Pohl family, will celebrate its 30th season! The Durant is a wonderful way to explore the waters of Raquette Lake and dive in (pun completely intended) to the very special history of the Raquette Lake area. The Durant offers a variety of narrated history cruises, from evening dinner cruises to Sunday brunch to daily sightseeing tours.

As of April 2021, the Pohl family anticipates welcoming guests aboard the boat, which offers visitors the opportunity to see aspects of the lake, including historic Great Camps, that are not viewable by car. Some capacity limits may be in place, so as the summer approaches, please consider booking your visit ahead of time!

The Adirondack Experience, the Museum at Blue Mountain Lake

Two men laugh over a display at the annual ADKX Rustic Furniture Fair.

For anyone interested in the expansive history of the Adirondacks, from the Indigenous first residents to today's activities, The Adirondack Experience, the Museum on Blue Mountain Lake, is a must visit destination. Spread out over 120 acres overlooking Blue Mountain Lake itself, the museum has exhibits — many of them interactive — about many facets of Adirondack history, including mining, the Iroquois, Great Camps, early adventurers, and much more.

The museum will be open for members on weekends in June and open to the general public daily starting July 1, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Timed tickets will be available for purchase online, with a small number of walk-up tickets available each day. Some areas are being reconfigured to accommodate social distancing, including a new deck for enjoying lunch! In addition, some beloved special events will return, including the Artisan Fair, Rustic Furniture Fair, Mohawk Art Market, and Fall Fest. 

Great Camp Sagamore

Brightly-colored kayaks next to the Main Lodge at historic Great Camp Sagamore.

If you've ever wondered what it was like to live and vacation in the Adirondacks in the late 1800s and early 1900s, then Great Camp Sagamore is absolutely the place for you! Once the Adirondack summer home of tycoon Alfred Vanderbilt, Great Camp Sagamore is now a non-profit dedicated to education and recreation. The camp complex includes an expansive, rustic main lodge, dining building, boathouse, and worker's area, including the old schoolhouse used by staff children. Sagamore is well known for its daily history tours and unique overnight opportunities, including Women's Fly Fishing, Adirondack Music Traditions, and Grandparents & Grandchild Camp.

Great Camp Sagamore will be open for overnight stays again this summer, with smaller capacity to better ensure social distancing. New, self-guided tours of the camp will be available, as well as new tours of historic sites in the area. Some tours will be led by camp historian Richard Engel, a Vanderbilt descendant, and Ellen Butz, whose grandmother Ellen Collins was a year-round caretaker at the camp.

Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts

The exterior of the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts.

For more than 50 years the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts has been offering gallery shows, art workshops, education, and exceptional live performances from its home in Blue Mountain Lake and around the Adirondacks. 2020 wasn't a good year for that for anyone, but the ALCA created an abundance of exciting virtual content for everyone to enjoy at home, with everything from Adirondack gardening tips to recordings from memorable past concerts.

The ALCA plans to reopen in June with a hybrid season: a mix of virtual and in-person content. Online gallery exhibits will continue, plus in person concerts every Saturday evening, with the first concert of the season planned for Saturday, June 26. The summer theater festival — always a highlight of any Adirondack summer — will return with a variety of performances, including musical theatre, a play, and classic Shakespeare. To help keep everyone safe and comfortable, a new outdoor space with a stage and ample, spacious seating is planned. Be sure to keep up with the latest news from ALCA to help plan your summer cultural excursions!

Thinking ahead to days full of Adirondack fresh air and sunshine, historic sites and plentiful art? Start planning your trip today. Great lodging options abound, from Great Camp style to classic motels and lodges. And with gorgeous expanses of mountains, forests, lakes, and rivers, the outdoor adventures this summer are bound to be incredible.