New York politician tangles with reporter at Sagamore Hotel upstate

You never know what you’re going to find when you’re on the road. I’ve spent seemingly countless nights in hotels and have run into some strange situations. One thing I haven’t seen, though, is a fight break out between politicians and the media. Well, this is exactly what happened at the Sagamore Hotel, on Lake George in upstate New York.

Last summer, I had the opportunity to head up to Lake George, New York and check out the newly renovated Sagamore Hotel, so I took a closer look at the local news this morning when I heard it mentioned. It turns out the upscale property was the site of a spat between controversial Republican New York gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino and NY Post reporter Fred Dicker.


According to Fox 5 New York, Dicker asked Paladino about “evidence he had that his rival, Andrew Cuomo, had cheated on his then-wife, Kerry Kennedy, years ago.” Meanwhile, Paladino “accused Dicker of sending a photographer to take pictures of his 10-year-old daughter, whom he fathered during an affair .”

Salacious stuff for Lake George! Check out our past coverage of the Sagamore Hotel.

Six Flags Great Escape to hold two-hour Sasquatch Ride-a-Thon

How strong is your stomach? That’s the question the folks at Six Flags The Great Escape seem to be asking with their special event this weekend, the Sasquatch “Beat the Beast” Ride-a-Thon.

The theme park in Lake George, New York, is promising a PlayStation 3 to the person who rides Sasquatch the most between 9 and 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 22.

You can register for the Sasquatch Ride-a-Thon on The Great Escape’s Facebook page or at the park’s main entrance on Saturday morning.

If more than a dozen people take the challenge, a lottery will determine the event’s 12 contestants.

The Great Escape says that those not chosen for the contest will still be granted early ride time on Sasquatch before the park opens for the day. And early risers will get a discount on admission Saturday, as well: Passes to the park will be sold for $19.99 until 9 a.m.

Sasquatch is a drop ride that shoots you up twin 19-story towers in 3 seconds, then drops you down the tower in a series of bounces. The ride debuted at The Great Escape in May 2009, after being relocated from the now-defunct Six Flags New Orleans.

Four Hotels for a Free Lobster Dinner for Two

Nothing goes with summer quite like the cracking of lobster shells (and wearing a bib, even if you’re a grown man). You can get a lobster anywhere, but if you’re within a few hours of the New England coast, the whole experiences changes dramatically. This summer, four hotels are willing to give you and your guest a free lobster dinner when you stay only one night. Of course, it isn’t a lobster dinner without corn on the cob, clam chowder and blueberry pie, all of which you should expect to find on your table, as well.

Rates vary, ranging from $179 to $299, depending on the hotel, but it comes out to a savings of around $150 at each of them. To take advantage of this deal, check out the properties below:

The Sagamore, Lake George, New York (code: LOBSTER)

The Wentworth, New Hampshire (code: LPR)

The Samoset, Maine (code: DATE)

The Harborside Hotel, Bar Harbor, Maine (code: DATE)


Adirondack escape updated, ready for guests

When summer arrives, New Yorkers tend to turn to the Hamptons or the Jersey shore – depending on tax bracket. Many forget that the Adirondacks are only a few hours away. When reminded of this, the usual response involves “family destination” … and maybe a sneer. It also involves a mistake. While this corner of “upstate” remains family-friendly, there are plenty of upscale accommodations and experiences, without the traffic and travel headaches that New Yorkers find to the east and south.

The Sagamore Hotel is in the midst of a $20 million renovation, a rarity in today’s constrained market. But, the benefits of this investment are evident upon arrival. Much of the property has been redesigned rebuilt to reinforce the luxury experience. The on-property spa has 13 treatment rooms, obviating the need to wait, and the indoor pool makes it possible to take a dip even in the meanest of northern New York winters.

While the regular guestrooms are perfectly serviceable, drop the extra cash, if possible, to upgrade to a suite. Spacious doesn’t begin to describe … the bathroom. The elbow room available in the living room and bedroom is even more profound. Even for an intimate getaway, you don’t want to be crammed together – that’s a choice you’d prefer to make on your own! The bed is the star of the guestroom experience. Again, the king-sized scale makes close quarters a choice rather than a necessity, and the mattress is soft without swallowing you. In fact, it’s probably the best “compromise” bed available. Both my wife and I were happy, and I prefer to sleep on a board, while she feels that beds should be comfortable.


As you wander The Sagamore Hotel, you get the feeling that something is somehow different. But, it’s hard to put your finger on it. The menu is carefully crafted, and the guestrooms are large and inviting. The lobby is spacious with natural pockets for larger groups to sit and have a sense of being separated from others. While this is all advantageous, it’s similar to what you’d find in any ex-urban resort. The Sagamore succeeds, however, in making it all hang together. It just fits. The mystery behind this connectedness can be traced to the general manager.

Tom Guay, who runs the Sagamore, was previously the property’s executive chef. It’s a strange route to GM – which I was unafraid to tell him. Usually, the top dog comes out of the sales department. Chefs are crazy people that you hide from the guests for most of the day, only occasionally letting them appear tableside for brief periods of time. Then, they return to the familiar insanity of a busy kitchen. Guay did get a chuckle out of my reaction (and handled it well). Apparently, the number of chefs rising to the top is increasing, and he credits the ability to multitask under hectic conditions as the driver. The attention to detail for which successful chefs are famous, I realized, is what brings the Sagamore together.

The sense of cohesion extends beyond the core property to the “lodges,” which physically constitute a property-within-a-property at the Sagamore. This part of the resort is more economical, ensuring that the traditional Adirondack constituency – families on a budget – can continue to enjoy the quiet natural surroundings. The large guestrooms in this corner of the Sagamore come with living rooms that have pullout beds in the couches and in-suite kitchenettes.

Jeopardizing the continuity of the Sagamore is the fact that there is still plenty of construction across the property: the $20 million is still being spent. The outdoor pools are being built, and guestrooms are in their final stages. A new rooftop deck is underway. While some guests may find these efforts to be a bit of an eyesore, consider the works in progress to be similar to the last multi-course meal you ate. Did the entrée suck because it was being cooked while you ate your soup? Of course not. The ongoing construction only impedes the guest experience if you choose to let it. I sat outside both nights I was on property and worked (wireless internet access is available in the rooms and in outside seating areas) and had no problems at all.

If you’re looking for a quick dash out from New York City or Boston, the Sagamore is a great alternative. It’s about the same distance from both cities, and you won’t have to deal with the crowds that plague the Hamptons and Cape Cod. Get in early, and stake your space while the renovations are being finished: the crowds are already starting to pour in!

Disclosure: The Sagamore Hotel picked up the tab for this jaunt, but the observations are all mine!

Foliage Dispatch from the Adirondacks

Greetings from the beautiful Lake George, NY!

Earlier this week, I was claiming that there is almost nothing better than riding a Harley through the winding roads of Sonoma Country, CA. Today, I am quite happy sitting on the porch, sipping coffee and watching the trees turn in the Adirondacks. My life sounds pretty good “on paper”, doesn’t it!

If you are headed this way in the next couple of weeks, make sure to check out the fall foliage reports. According to the reports, the Adirondacks region is near peak this weekend. The locals, however, will tell you they would still give it a week or two.