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Saranac Lake is a village in the Adirondacks in New York state. It lies in the towns of Harrietstown, St. Armand, and North Elba, inside the boundaries of Adirondack State Park.


Lake Flower
Knollwood Club, an Adirondack Great Camp on Shingle Bay, Lower Saranac Lake

The area was first settled in 1819; a dam and sawmill were built in 1827, a school was built in 1838, and the first local hotel opened in 1849. Dr. Edward Livingston Trudeau arrived in 1876, believing the cold, clear mountain air to be helpful in the treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis; his Adirondack Cottage Sanitarium was established in 1884. The Trudeau Institute, an independent medical research organisation established in 1964, is a successor to Dr. Trudeau's 1884 Saranac Laboratory for the Study of Tuberculosis. Doonesbury cartoonist Garry Trudeau, the doctor's great-grandson, grew up in Saranac Lake and maintains connections there.

Hundreds of "cure cottages", private residences with large, glassed-in porches where patients could benefit from the clear mountain air, were constructed in this era. The 1944 introduction of antibiotic drug streptomycin largely supplanted prior treatments for tuberculosis by the 1950s; the buildings were re-purposed, with sixty-three of those still extant in Saranac Lake listed on the US National Register of Historic Places.

The "great camps of the Adirondack Mountains", elaborate summer homes for the wealthy, became common in the region near the end of the 19th century as rail travel placed upstate vacation areas such as the Adirondacks and the Thousand Islands within easy reach for New York City's well-heeled elites.

Five thousand people live in the village. North Country Community College, a two-year public college established in Saranac Lake in 1967, has 1500 students, 143 permanent and 300 adjunct faculty. Paul Smith's College, a private four-year college in the adjacent hamlet of Paul Smiths NY, was established in 1946 and now has a thousand students.

Get in[edit]

Map of Saranac Lake

By plane[edit]

By bus[edit]

By car[edit]

Saranac Lake is within the Adirondack park and relatively isolated; there are no Interstate highways in the immediate area.

  • From Lake Placid, take NY 86 seven miles (11km) northwest.
  • From Plattsburgh and I-87, take NY 3 (the highway through the park to I-81/Watertown) some fifty miles (80km) southwest.

Get around[edit]

One quality of Saranac Lake is lack of heavy vehicle traffic. Walking is the perfect way to explore the town.

There is local bus service twice daily to Lake Placid.


  • Robert Louis Stevenson Memorial Cottage, 11 Stevenson Ln, +1 518 891-1462. Robert Louis Stevenson, author of 'Treasure Island' and 'Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde', spent the winter of 1887-88 here writing 'The Master of Ballantrae.' The cottage has been carefully preserved. (July 1-Sept 15, open every day except Monday.)
  • Visitor Interpretive Center and Wildlife Sanctuary, 8023 State Route 30, Paul Smiths (at Paul Smiths College), +1 518 327-6241.
  • There is a small, but nice, museum in the basement of the Saranac Lake Free Library.
  • During the winter, there is a grand castle of ice located on Lake Flower.
  • Saranac Laboratory Museum, 89 Church St., +1 518 891-4606, . Tu-Sa 10AM-4PM, Th 10AM-7PM. The Saranac Laboratory, established by Dr. Edward Livingston Trudeau in 1894, was the first laboratory in the United States for the study of tuberculosis. It is now operated by Historic Saranac Lake as a museum describing the history of Dr. Trudeau's work on tuberculosis. Rotating exhibits, regular summer walking tours of historic sites. $5/adult.


  • Pendragon Theatre, 15 Brandy Brook Ave, +1 518 891-1854, fax: +1 518 891-7012. Live theatre.
  • Saranac Lake River Walk, 1 Main St, +1 518 891-1990. A 1.5-mile multi-use path follows the Saranac River from the police station and village hall through the downtown. Paul Smith's Electric Light and Power and Railroad Company Building, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, stands next to the dam that created Lake Flower and a small power house. Across Mail Street is River Park, which has a band stand, the Saranac Lake Bears and boats for a tour of the lake. The path then winds through downtown from 15 Broadway through Woodruff Street to a supermarket at 156 Church St.
  • Water Sports
  • Lake Colby has a nice beach and places to picnic in the grass near the water.
  • Adirondack Massage Therapy (massage cruises), 449 Lake St, +1 518 572-1881, . Seasonal boat tours and massage cruises are available on a 24-ft pontoon boat for up to 7 passengers. Year round massages are available in studio office or via house call. Boat tours are also available near the Farmer's Markets on Tuesdays and Saturdays.


  • Winter Carnival, +1 518 891-1990 (Chamber of Commerce). One of the nation's oldest winter carnivals, held annually since 1897. Ten days, starting first weekend in February.
  • First Night Saranac Lake, New Years Eve, fireworks and festival of the arts.
  • Daffest, spring daffodil festival, late April/early May (two weekends)
  • 4th of July Celebrations, a week of celebration with a July 4 kids' parade down Main Street, fireworks near Lake Flower.
  • Can-Am Rugby Tournament, end July/first week in August.
  • Plein Air Festival, landscape painting and art festival, mid-August.
  • Canoe Classic - 90 Miler, three-day race from Old Forge to Saranac Lake, weekend after Labour Day.
  • Artist at Work Studio Tour, tours of artists' studios on the last Saturday of July, August, September.
  • Cycle Adirondacks, the first fully supported road-bike tour of the Adirondack Park, late August.


Saranac Lake has several very pleasant Art Shops. It also has book stores (one new, one used) and a fine Army Surplus store. Next door, is a beautiful Native American shop. For healthy, organic food, herbs, and peaceful atmosphere, try Noris. There are some antique stores, but if you want a real adventure, search through The Gold Mine.


  • Fiddlehead Bistro, 33 Broadway, +1 518 891-2002. Farm-to-table dining



Bakery and desserts[edit]

  • Donnelly's Ice Cream, 1556 State Route 86, +1 518 891-1873. Open summers only.
  • Lake Flour Bakery, 23 River St, +1 518 891-7194.
  • Mountain Mist Custard, 260 Lake Flower Ave. On the edge of Lake Flower, with another location in Lake Placid. Seasonal.



Pizza and Italian[edit]





  • Ampersand Bay Resort, 31 Bayside Dr, +1 518 891-3001. Lakeside retreat and boat club, seasonal (May-Oct), 21 suites and cottages on 28 acres.
  • Gauthiers Saranac Lake Inn and Hotel, 488 Lake Flower Ave, +1 518 891-1950, toll-free: +1-888-891-1950. Established in 1923, lake-front rooms and suites, Wi-Fi, USB device chargers, some rooms have a microwave, refrigerator and DVD player. $80.
  • Hotel Saranac, 100 Main Street, toll-free: +1-800-937-0211. Established in the 1920s, this historic hotel has undergone a $30 million restoration. Hotel has a ballroom, and a Great Hall with a ceiling modeled after the Davanzati Palace of Florence Italy. There are 86 guest rooms. Hotel Saranac has two restaurants: The Campfire for moderately upscale dining and The Great Hall Bar for pub-like fare.
  • Lake Flower Inn, 234 Lake Flower Ave, +1 518 891-2310, toll-free: +1-888-628-8900. Inn with outdoor pool overlooking Lake Flower, wi-fi, private docks and a canoe; a quaint, clean, pretty hideaway. No restaurant on site. $80-160.
  • Mountain Lake Inn, 487 Lake Flower Ave, +1 518 891-1970, fax: +1 518 891-6195. Best Western lakeview hotel, free wi-fi, McKenzie's Grille restaurant, only indoor pool in town. $130.
  • The Point, 222 Beaverwood Rd, +1 518 891-5674, toll-free: +1-800-255-3530, fax: +1 518 891-1152. Resort with log mansions, pub, terrace, Great Hall dining room. Member of Relais and Chateaux.


B&B and guesthouses[edit]

  • Doctors Inn, 304 Trudeau Rd, +1 518 304-3763. Traditional guest house, coffee and tea, no meal service. Refrigerators in-room. A three-bedroom chalet at 700 Bartlett Carry Road, Upper Saranac Lake may be rented from the same proprietors in high season.
  • Porcupine Inn, 350 Park Ave, +1 518 891-5160. Full breakfast, outdoor hot tub.


Go next[edit]

Routes through Saranac Lake
WatertownTupper Lake ← Jct N  W  E  PlattsburghEND
END ← Jct N S  W  E  Lake PlacidJay

This city travel guide to Saranac Lake is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.