Appendix to Chapter Sixteen
During and after Carter & Myhre: Press Coverage, Photographs, Etc.
The Point in 2017
Press Coverage During and after Carter/Myhre
Who's Traveling where and... Why?
(Equivalent 35 pages in hard-copy)
The Point in 2017
From Chapter Sixteen:
“It is obvious that The Point has changed. There was a terrible wind-storm and there are hardly any big trees left - it looks naked and gentrified…
Press Coverage During and after Carter/Myhre
Edward (Ted) Carter’s The Point in upstate New York was “simply the most attractive private home in America whose owners welcome paying guests in the European tradition.” So said The New York Times.
Every day drew to its gentle close with the mingling of the guests over cocktails followed by a romantic dinner party of fine wine, food, and friends.
Starting with house parties of just a handful of Ted’s friends and neighbors, dinners at The Point soon attracted international attention through newspapers, magazines, and books.
The Point won The Hideaway Report’s awards year after year.
Conde Nast Traveller’s readers consistently put it at the top of the annual ratings, as does the Zagat Survey, and even years after Ted sold it, The Point is currently ranked at or near the top of most “best” lists in the world.
'As the creator of The Point, one of the most extraordinary small hotels in the world; former International Delegate of Relais et Châteaux for the United States, Bermuda, the Caribbean and Mexico; and the creator and author of his famous travel monthly, Dr. Carter is respected internationally as an arbiter of style and taste.' - First Class Hotel Selections Guide, British Airways
ROBERT CARRIER, INTERNATIONAL COOKBOOK AUTHOR, AND HOTELIER AND RESTAURANTEUR EXTRAORDINAIRE:
“As an old friend of Edward Carter, I happily answer the obvious question—Who is he? Known as “Ted,” American and fifty-something, he’s an international socialite and businessman who paused for a moment in his busy career and “retired” to The Point, his wilderness estate on Upper Saranac Lake, New York in the spring of ‘79.
"He invited me to a houseparty and I lightheartedly said, “Why don’t you take paying guests?” That was the beginning. Carter picked up on the idea and for the next seven years, he ran one continuous brilliantly choreographed houseparty 365 days a year, personally hosting every lunch and dinner.
"So from my off-hand suggestion, The Point became one of the most famous special hotels in the world, Ted was featured in nearly every major magazine including a Forbes cover story and was elected as International Delegate for the United States, Bermuda, Mexico, and the Caribbean for Relais et Châteaux! His responsibilities? to seek out and vet those establishments aspiring to belong to this august association of the world’s finest hotels and restaurants.
"Ted made his point with The Point, sold it and now his days are filled with new discoveries around the world....
"Ted’s spent most of his life traveling and as one of the most particular people I know, he sees just what makes a hotel extra special or a restaurant simply wonderful.”
BRITISH VOGUE: “Carter’s a suave, Europeanised American.”
FORBES: Featured in the cover story about three talented entrepreneurs, Carter was highlighted as being “wildly successful” with “guts, imagination and ability.”
THE 300 BEST HOTELS IN THE WORLD: ...(The Point) is not a hotel, heaven forbid, and not even a guest house since the only guests there are people whom the owner, Ted Carter, actually likes. It’s really like being invited to a houseparty by a man who insists on keeping Armagnac in his boathouse and Vuitton suitcases in the closets. The Point is absolutely, but absolutely, lovely, a place in which everything you see is total perfection of taste with priceless pieces scattered about in glorious extravagance...and the whole place sparkles with wit and charm.”
Press Coverage of The Point - 1980 – 2010
Adirondack Daily Enterprise – Exclusive resort opened
The Knickerbocker News - An Adirondack ‘hotel’
The Star-Ledger – ‘The Point’ in a class by itself
Adirondack Enterprise - “A Diamond in the Rough”
VOGUE – Ski the ‘eighties – The Point
Philadelphia Bulletin – Nearby Weekend – Living it up like the Rockefellers on one of their own N.Y. estates
Lake Placid News – Artists Condense Adirondack History – A model of The Point
(Book) VERY SPECIAL PLACES – THE POINT
The Hideaway Report – “The Point” (First Review)
Adirondack Daily Enterprise – A little piece of yesterday in the Adirondacks
Sunday Record – In Adirondacks, you should get to The Point
Harper’s & Queen – New York
Chicago Tribune – Camping in grand style in the Adirondacks
The Sunday Sun – Even the guests feel right at home at “The Point”
Boston Herald American – Luxury in wilds of Adirondacks
Town & Country – Travel Service – The newest discovery is The Point
The Hideaway Report – Annual Awards Issue – The 1981 Hideaways of the Year – The Point (Second Review)
Daily News – Travel – A DOZEN PLACES TO TAKE THE ONE YOU LOVE – THE POINT
THE SUNDAY BURLINGTON COUNTRY TIMES – Life at The Point
THE WASHINGTON POST – In the Adirondacks, They Call It ‘Camp’
AmericanWay – THE ADIRONDACKS: A REEL WINNER
New York – Weekend Adventures – Great Escapes – The Point
People, Place & Parties – The Point
Syracuse Herald American – NORTH COUNTRY – Designer’s dream survives at former Rockefeller ‘camp’
Forbes – The Point of it all
TOWN & COUNTRY TRAVEL DIRECTIONS – A POINT TO RETURN TO
Harper’s Bazaar – 10 WET & WONDERFUL GETAWAYS – THE POINT, SARANAC LAKE, NY
SIGNATURE – Roughing It With the Super Rich
New York Alive – GREAT ESCAPES – Hardly Roughing It
GQ – GENTLEMEN’S QUARTERLY - Fashion Now!
London Daily Telegraph – The hideaway hotel that aims to keep its guests up to the mark
Geo Magazine – NEW YORK’S BEST KEPT SECRET: THE ADIRONDACKS
Esquire - Man at His Best, Special Places, Irresistible Mountain Lodges – The Point, New York
The Hideaway Report, Second Annual Awards Issue, The World’s Most Enchanting Hideaways, 1982 Awards List, United States – The Point*
*Indicates the second consecutive year this resort has made our Awards List. (Third Review)
Travel Smart – Travel Notices – THE POINT
DREAM RESORTS: 25 EXCLUSIVE AND UNIQUE AMERICAN HOTELS, INNS, LODGES AND SPAS by Andrea Chambers
THE SUNDAY RECORD – Uncovering Hideaways
Forbes – Cover Story - “You can take this job and…”
VOGUE - TRAVEL NOW – HIGH CAMP
SKIING – Adirondacks Rockefeller -
THE PHYSICIAN AND SPORTSMEDICINE – getting away – Grand Old Ski Lodges of the East and West
Restaurants & Institutions – We’re very timely
HOUSE BEAUTIFUL – COUNTRY EASE – THE ADIRONDACKS RUSTIC CAMPS
Golden Passport Club – Life at The Point
Sunday Record – Experts pick their favorites
VOGUE - TRAVEL – The Point: the wilderness at its most luxurious
TRAVEL & LEISURE – The Point: Luxury in the Adirondacks
British Vogue - TRAVEL – BESIDE THE POINT, A weekend in the Adirondacks
The Robb Report – Mini VACATIONS
The Atlantic – A RUSTIC RETREAT
SPORTSTYLE - Class Conscious – The Point, Saranac Lake, New York
(Book) THE 300 BEST HOTELS IN THE WORLD – THE POINT
THE MAGAZINE – THE POINT, SARANAC LAKE
OAG/FREQUENT FLYER – WHAT’S THE POINT? – Snob appeal in the Adirondacks
The Hideaway Report – “James Myhre Seminar of Cooking” at The Point (Fourth Review)
The New York Times – Roughing it in Style – The Point
Cosmopolitan Traveler – Elegant opulence in Empire State’s wild
The Hideaway Report - Favorite Hideaways Revisited – The Point – Upper Saranac Lake, New York (“The Point has been consistently accorded one of our coveted “Hideaway of the Year” awards since its opening in 1981.”) (Fifth Review)
Lynch, Jones & Ryan TRAVEL DIVIDEND – BLUE CHIP HOTEL AWARD…. THE POINT, LAKE SARANAC, NEW YORK
Times-Union, Rochester, N.Y. – Great Camps of the Adirondacks fighting a battle for survival
Adirondack Daily Enterprise – Miniature Group Revived
NEWSDAY – WEEKENDERS: Mini-Trips for Motorists – Going Wild in the Adirondacks
The Buffalo News – Live like the Rockefellers in luxury Adirondacks lodge
TRAVEL & LEISURE – THE ADIRONDACKS
BOSTON SUNDAY GLOBE – Relais and Chateaux – an elegant way to go
ENTRÉE – The Point
Platinum Card Review (American Express newsletter) – The Awesome Beauty of The Point, an Adirondack Retreat
Zagat – Top 25 Hotels out of 1600 in America
Bon Appetite - BON APPETITE COOKING CLASS: TERRIFIC FALL RECIPES FROM A RUSTIC MOUNTAIN INN
New York, Cover Story – Traveling Single – Great Places to Go Solo – Hiking The Point
The Hideaway Report Special Tenth Anniversary Issue
Business Week – CAMPING THE ROCKEFELLER WAY
DEPARTURES – Getting the Point
The Hideaway Report – Survey Break Out: Best “Little Gems” – Top 20 U.S. Resort Hideaways (Less than 50 Rooms) – No. 1 – The Point (Sixth Review)
ADIRONDACK LIFE – The story goes that The Point was Distin’s dream for a place of his own
2004 Mobile Travel Guide – FIVE-STAR AWARD-WINNING HOTELS, RESORTS, AND INNS – The Point, Saranac Lake, NY (7 – Each number indicated is the total number of non-consecutive years a hotel or resort has won Mobil Five Stars)
Town & Country – The New Luxury
Haute Living – Haute Getaway
Press Coverage of The Carter Boatbuilding Company
Adirondack Daily Enterprise – Classic wood speedboats being built on upper lake
WATERTOWN DAILY TIMES – Adirondack Tycoon’s Firm Crafting Fine Wooden Boats
Some examples of Press Coverage since
Carter’s Sale of The Point
Town & Country - From the June 2005 issue
The New Luxury
There's an emerging generation of travelers. Michael Gross infiltrates the jet set and finds that in the hunt for exclusivity, money is no object.
By Michael Gross
Twenty minutes from the airport at Saranac Lake, New York, an unmarked road runs through a 75-acre wooded peninsula to a gate with a sign that says NO VISITORS.
Beyond is The Point, a small lakeside retreat on a 10-acre spit of land that is touted—justifiably—as the ultimate getaway. Ever since the 1980's, when it became a hotel, this last and most lavish of the Adirondack Great Camps, built in 1933 by a great-nephew of John D. Rockefeller, has been a haven for the wealthy, the savviest travel connoisseurs, and celebrities like John F. Kennedy Jr., who took Daryl Hannah here.
The reason? The Point is perfect—particularly if you enjoy the exclusive company of people who don't faint at a four-figure-a-night hotel bill. Its four lodges are constructed of native timber and stone, and its interiors are as palatial as they are rustic : there are mounted game watching over Hudson River school paintings; cavernous fireplaces and walk-in closets; deep soaking tubs; overstuffed antique furnishings; zebra-and bearskin rugs; and custom-made beds so plush some guests never want to leave them.
But leave them they do, after they're served coffee in bed since what's outside the huge picture windows is as awesome as what's within. Swimming, boating in a fleet of vintage wooden boats, and playing tennis in summer; cross-country skiing, skating, and snowshoeing in winter; and hiking through the majestic Adirondacks in any season are all included, along with the requisite equipment. So are drinks and meals, although meals hardly do them justice, for the resort's kitchen churns out three gourmet feasts a day, tailored to guests' dietary preferences and served house-party style, on twig placemats at communal tables. Guests dress for dinner and are even encouraged to don black tie on Wednesday and Saturday nights.
Sometimes, the revelry goes on all night in the Great Hall, or the Pub, with its tree trunk–legged pool table, or a carpeted and pillowed lean-to by a roaring bonfire on the lake. So does the incomparable service: the kitchen will cheerfully make you a pizza, or anything else within reason, at any hour. Room fires are kept roaring in winter by invisible elves. Even canine guests are pampered to the ultimate degree.
And did I mention that tipping and children are forbidden and that most cell phones, BlackBerries, and televisions don't work here?
So the question really isn't who stays in this most sophisticated retreat, but rather, who wouldn't, if they could?
Once, a destination like the Point was a rarity; there weren't many customers for hotels where rooms for two start at $1,565 a night. But times have changed, and the popularity of ultraluxe travel is booming. "Since 2002, we've had a fifty percent increase in people paying more than a thousand dollars a night," says Bob Boulogne, a vice president of Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, which charges that amount for top rooms at many of its properties, such as Jumby Bay on Antigua.
Many people, it seems, are trading up to more refined and expensive travel. "The general trend in the country is increasing affluence," says Madelyn Hochstein, president of DYG Inc., a luxury consumer research company. "Factor in credit and more and more people can pay. So it becomes harder [for the super-rich] to differentiate themselves, and they need to go to greater lengths to make the statement that they are successful. They need some form of exclusivity to remind themselves that they are not you and me. The 'massification' of luxury drives them to consume even more."
Spending like there's no tomorrow has become the ultimate status symbol defining this tribe of travelers. Not so much individualistic explorers as cohorts in a new form of sybaritic narcissism, they hop (alone, yet together) from $1,000-a-night lodge to $40,000-a-night island, celebrating life and the riches and freedoms it offers as an antidote, a rebuke, to uncertainty. "A private paradise—a place where you can do what you want when you want—is worth it, despite the cost," says John Steinle, owner of the Connecticut-based Sanctuare, which markets exclusive hotels, ranches, game reserves, and private islands such as Musha Cay in the Bahamas.
So, on Frégate Island in the Seychelles, you get meals and most drinks, along with a bed, for $2,807 a night. Compared with that, Dhoni Mighili, in the Maldives, and Turtle Island, in Fiji, are affordable: all-inclusive at about $2,000 a night. Then there are the game reserves of the African bush—Mombo Camp, in Botswana, and Royal Malewane and Sabi Sabi, in South Africa. At those natural yet lavish properties, wild-game excursions are part of the package, along with meals, drinks, and amenities, so aficionados consider the price—$1,000 to $2,000 per night—a bargain. And don't forget about Australia's Bedarra Island, on the Great Barrier Reef, or Longitude 131°, in the outback, or New Zealand's Lodge at Paratiho Farms: all three will take your breath away, as will their rates—more than $1,500 a night.
Who pays these prices? A few months ago, three Americans and a Brit were having dinner at Le Gaïac, one of the most expensive restaurants on St. Bart's and part of Le Toiny, a cliffside hotel where rooms (little villas, actually, with private pools and flat-screen TV's) start at $1,992 a night. Between nibbles of foie gras and amuse-bouches topped with truffles, the quartet cast glances around the room, trying to figure out who else was there and what they all had in common.
"They're rich," said an American.
"But it's not so simple anymore," replied Marc Arnall, a restaurateur recently relocated from England to St. Bart's. "If you're super-rich, you come here on your superyacht, or your Gulfstream V, and go straight to your private villa, where your staff has lunch laid out for you. If you're just really rich, skip the yacht, unless you're renting, but you'll still have a jet share and a villa and a chef."
"And if you're merely rich?" the American asked.
"You stay and eat here," said Arnall, gesturing at the new low end of the new high-end vacation. "Not bad!"
Ultraluxe is a state populated by all three strata of the rich (super, really, and merely, along with those extravagant souls who want to travel like them). Its denizens demand experiences filtered by inaccessibility and extraordinary expense, experiences defined by the fact that few can have them.
At the bottom of the top are hotels where room rates start around $1,000 a night: Little Palm Island, in the Florida Keys, and Vermont's Twin Farms; in Italy, the Point-like Grand Hotel Villa Feltrinelli on Lake Garda, the Splendido in Portofino (both starting at over $1,200), and the Hotel Cipriani in Venice (starting at $1,040); Amankora in Bhutan and, in the Caribbean, St. Bart's Hôtel Taiwana (at about $1,000). Some of these properties are all-inclusive, but others offer guests only coffee and croissants for their basic tariff. Some are lavish in every way; others provide lavish simplicity. Almost all seduce by promising getaways not just from where you live, but from other people. And that aspect of the ultraluxe phenomenon isn't limited to destinations. It has given birth to a whole new class of travel experience.
When the merely rich can rent one of five sprawling casitas on Cayo Espanto in Belize (starting at $1,095 a night) and play Robinson Crusoe on a semiprivate tropical island, then Someones with a capital S want the bar raised. So the new paradigm has expanded to include renting a yacht and going to Isla Guadalupe, off the Mexican coast, on a seven-day great-white safari with Shark Divers, for a minimum of $100,000—payable in advance. "That weeds out the lookiloos," says Divers owner Patric Douglas. "We never know who the guest is until they get on the boat. They have proxies approach you. Everything is mysterious. They don't want people to know what they're doing."
Renting a private island accessible only by private plane or boat, for yourself and a few friends, works, too. Great Mercury Island, off New Zealand's Pacific coast, has two villas that sleep 16 between them; it rents for $20,000 for three nights. Richard Branson's Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands, where Diana, Princess of Wales, used to escape the paparazzi, ranges from $20,000 to $42,000 per night, depending on the size of the party. And Musha Cay is $45,300 a night for groups of 26. These are the right places with only the right people—those you've handpicked.
The latest trend to take the industry by storm is members-only vacation ownership clubs. In exchange for refundable deposits in the low six figures, plus annual dues, Exclusive Resorts and Abercrombie & Kent Destination Clubs are giving members not just unlimited access to dozens of luxury vacation residences in desirable, if predictable, locations, but also a sense of inclusion in an elite group.
Ultraluxe destinations can be apples (the Point), oranges (Little Palm Island), or kiwis (Lodge at Paratiho Farms). Their customer base is just as diverse. For younger travelers, ultraluxe trips show how far in front of the pack they are. Sanctuare's Steinle says he is always surprised at how many people rent islands to celebrate 40th birthdays: "A good-sized minority of our bookings are for self-congratulation at a very early age."
For baby boomers, splurging on travel demonstrates that they are still intrepid pathfinders. Boomers "have already bought everything they want to own," says Rob McGrath, CEO of Abercrombie & Kent Destination Clubs. "They want experiences, not acquisitions. It's now about 'my life, not my assets.'" A DYG survey of status symbols bears that out. "Travel is the number one nonmaterialistic way to express success," Hochstein says. And for the older set, it is also a way to express continued youth and vitality.
Late-blooming boomers, as well as Gen Xers, are also increasingly heading to properties with large suites, or to four-or five-bedroom villas, that allow them to vacation with their families—and ensure that every member has a great room. "Today you want to take the kids, the nanny, your mother, and father," says elite travel agent Bill Fischer. Steinle agrees: "Cementing relations with loved ones is something to which a price can't be attached. What's important is having the experience of a lifetime with people close to you."
Whatever your generation, researchers say, one curious by-product of 9/11 has been a turn inward that manifests itself, ironically, by a turn outward into the world. The perception that life is short has raised the stakes for many of us. "People want to appreciate what they have and don't want to miss anything, so they go—at every opportunity," Fischer says. "They are so stressed and pressured, and they all want the best, the most expensive. But it's not about money. It's about getting what you want."
DYG's Hochstein has found that two trends, though contradictory on the surface, have dovetailed to drive this move toward ultraluxe travel. One is what she calls the what-the-hell phenomenon. The other is a need to minimize fears, including financial ones. "Post-9/11, post-bubble, post-Enron, post-everything," Hochstein says, "is a new era dictated by risk. The ultimate expression of affluence today is to be risk-free, but we all need to escape. And when you have more money, you are more inclined to believe it's okay to take risks, because you are in control. It's both an über-escape and a statement that you can do it up big. You don't have to feel at risk."
There are two clusters of customers for these top-drawer travel experiences, "and their motivations are very different," says James Chung, president of Reach Advisors, a high-end research firm that counsels developers such as Intrawest, known for its mountain resorts. One group has earned its wealth, the other has inherited it. The earners want to maximize their free time by working while traveling, even if it means only rubbing shoulders with "people who are good to know to keep the deal flow going." The inheritors tend to behave more like celebrities, who want to "seek isolation, be anonymous, and control their environment, including the people around them. That's a scary concept for the earner crowd."
Ultraluxe is not only about self-affirmation—it's also seeing your success mirrored in the envy of others. "It's bragging rights," says Ben Elliot, owner of Quintessentially, a concierge service that arranges travel for a wealthy clientele. "Our customers want to do it before anyone else, or in a grander way."
At the Mansion at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas ($5,000 a night), "it" means staying in a hotel that is normally open by invitation only, where grandeur is on offer alongside what the hotel's president, Gamal Aziz, calls "anticipatory service." This begins when the hotel's Maybach or Rolls-Royce picks you up at the airport and shuttles you to the private courtyard, and continues in your villa, where you'll be served by your own butler. At the Point, "it's being part of a club," says Philip Wood, president of the Garrett Hotel Group, which owns the resort. "It's preselection. You wouldn't be there if you weren't accomplished. You're worldly. You have confidence and a sense of adventure. That's what our customers have in common."
But bragging rights are taken only so far. One night at The Point, the guests included four fortysomething bond traders who'd flown in with their wives on a Learjet borrowed from a business associate. Over cocktails, they boasted of this good fortune to another guest. "Two hours door-to-door," said one. "Thirty-five minutes in the air!"
"Do your clients know where you are?" another guest asked.
"No way," one of the men replied. "I just tell them Lake Placid."
Bragging about your travels is falling out of fashion, Chung says: "It's a scary world. Do you want everyone to know what you're up to? American sentiment is no longer 'Ride 'em large.' It's 'Keep it quiet.' Which is why the private residential clubs are doing so well. That's an understated way to brag—signaling not to the world, but only to the people who matter to you."
So it is that a friend who works as an investment adviser, usually a jolly soul, turned serious when I asked if I could quote his rhapsodic review of the South African game camp Singita ("giraffes, leopards, lions, and zebras in verdant foliage...the most gorgeous rooms...the service is beyond...every amenity you can imagine...the food is incomparable...so many single malts...the cigars were free...I've already reserved for my 65th birthday..."). "I'm not rich," he answered. "I just live like I am. Life is precious. I work hard and I want to enjoy the fruits of my labor. But I don't want my name used. I don't want to come across as...jaded."
"People want whatever they can get to approximate what the rich have," says Barbara Caplan, a partner at the consumer research firm Yankelovich. "For everyone, there's a reach." Yet ultraluxe oversaturation is just around the bend. Some experts feel that only the best of the new $1,000-a-night hotels, lodges, and private-island resorts will survive. "Occupancy is not as high as you'd think," Elliot of Quintessentially notes. "It's an open question whether they'll be successful or not."
Others think the bar must now be set higher. "It never ends," Hochstein says. "The faux affluent show up and the real affluent flee [because] it doesn't differentiate them anymore. They will still travel, but they will have to go to the moon." Presumably leaving Necker Island and Musha Cay for the rest of us.
For those who have long gone to expensive extremes and feel proprietary about them, the arrival of newbies, however monied, has proved a bit unsettling. Some of the old guard disparage the recent arrivals as checklist travelers who work their way through best-hotel lists just so they can say they've been there and spend as much time studying the thread count of sheets as they do admiring the scenery—"sharing their thoughts about the wild while riding in a Land Rover," as one wag puts it.
So now the truly elite seek to escape too-popular escapes. One self-described travel connoisseur, a really, really rich person who has been going to places like Africa and New Zealand since she was nine, recently went to the Coral Sea and found the diving areas so crowded, she rented a helicopter (at a cost of $1,500) to fly to a deserted reef. "I was willing to make that compromise to enjoy it privately," she says. Willing, but not happy about it. What she really fears is that the new travel tribe doesn't want authenticity. "They want the best that money can buy, but also the familiar," she says. "They want the same things in Nepal that they want in Paris and London. I want Nepal."
Does the constant raising of the stakes mean that henceforth, top-end travelers are condemned to a high-end Holiday Inn experience with Frette, Floris, and Fortnum & Mason wherever they go? Clearly, that's what some want. Abercrombie & Kent's McGrath says that "standardizing the private home" to make it a repeatable and trustworthy vacation experience is his business goal.
That thought makes our connoisseur yelp. "I don't want the same experience set against different backgrounds!" she says. "I want a different experience." So, just as fashion caroms from haute couture to street chic, she's now looking anywhere but up, at places with nothing but two-star hotels—places where the ultraluxe crowd won't go.
Now that exclusive and expensive have become common, "affordable" is desirable again.
MICHAEL GROSS is a T+L contributing editor.
Address: Whitney Point, Upper Saranac Lake
Other names: Camp Cork; The Point
Year built: 1933
Architect: William Distin
The Main Lodge
Camp Wonundra was built by William A. Rockefeller II between 1930 and 1933 on Whitney Point, above Fish Creek Bay, on Upper Saranac Lake, on land he bought from Henry Blagden.
The camp was designed by William Distin.
The main lodge is a large one-story building with three wings and an octagonal vestibule. The structure contains eight large stone fireplaces. Other buildings include a guest house, boathouse, log lean-to, pump house, two-story garage with gardeners' quarters, a woodshed and a sugar house.
Rockefeller sold the camp in 1969 to Briggs, McCoy, and Gillespie, who called it Camp Cork. They sold the camp to Edward Carter of Onchiota in 1978. Carter renamed it The Point and, starting in 1980, allowing paying guests to stay, established it as one of the best resorts in the world.
The Great Hall in the Main Lodge
In 1986, Carter sold it to David and Christie Garrett.
Adirondack Daily Enterprise, October 30, 1986
The Point is sold
By SHAWN TOOLEY
SARANAC LAKE — A Vermont investor has paid more than $1 million for The Point, an exclusive private inn and resort on Upper Saranac Lake.
Papers closing the deal were signed this month, ending more than a year of negotiations for the 10-acre complex that once belonged to William Rockefeller.
Buyers David and Christie Garrett of Charlotte, Vt., plan to keep running The Point like former owner Edward G.L. "Ted" Carter.
"We like Ted's philosophy," Garrett said. He explained the resort will "be run in the same manner ... still like a private home — very exclusive and elegant."
Records on file in the Franklin County Clerk's office show Garrett paying $1,050,000 for the property itself, which includes some 3,000 feet of shorefront. Add the cost of the established resort business, and Garrett says the final purchase price was "quite a bit more than that," although he is reluctant to reveal exactly how much.
Carter transformed the former Rockefeller estate into an exclusive and pricey resort in just a few years. He took in his first paying guests during the 1980 Olympics, and by last year The Point was listed among only six American members of the Relais et Chateau, an elite group of about 300 international hostelries.
The new owners were frequent visitors in recent years, and ran it on a management contract with Carter this summer while moving ahead with the purchase talks. It was the Garretts who provided the pontoon boat to carry church-goers to Upper Saranac's Island Chapel when the regular chapel ferry had to be docked.
While planning to build on The Point's already established reputation, Garrett, who describes himself as being in the investment business, will soon shut down for a month to renovate some of the rooms. The plan is to add more fireplaces and the like to expand on the resort's rustic character.
The Garretts spend a great deal of time at The Point, but the host and hostess are Mr. and Mrs. Robert Carter (no relation to the former owner), a pair of New Zealanders who used to work at Camp Topridge.
The Point is not open to the general public like a regular restaurant or hotel. Small numbers of guests reserve spots well ahead of time to stay for periods of 2-3 days and longer.
Since 1986, it has been operated by David and Christie Garrett as The Point, an upscale resort; 2011 rates, including tax and gratuity, range from about $1700 to $3400 per night.
Photograph added by Larry Miller, Plattsburgh Daily Republican, June 20, 1933
ADIRONDACK CAMPS UNDER CONSTRUCTION
Involve Expenditure of Over Quarter Million
MANY AT LAKE PLACID
… On the Upper Saranac Lake a short motor trip-from Lake Placid, finishing touches are being applied to the magnificent new camp of William A. Rockefeller of New York, son of the late William G. Rockefeller, whose famous Bay Pond estate near Paul Smith's was for many years nationally .and even internationally known alike because of its size and appointments and because of stormy developments as the late Mr. Rockefeller sought to expand his Adirondack domain and small owners whose lands were affected fought with all means in their power to protect their rights.
Mr. William A. Rockefeller, who is a grand-nephew of Mr. John D. Rockefeller Sr., and his wife, who before their marriage in Detroit June 16, 1931, was Mrs. Mary Ball Boyer, daughter of Mr. William A. Ball of Buffalo, have arrived at Saranac Inn, where they have each summer since their marriage occupied The Cabin, leased annually by his mother, Mrs. William G. Rockefeller. They will shortly occupy their new camp which is located on Whitney Point on the shore of the Upper Saranac.
Erected at a cost of over $100,000 by the Blagden Construction Co. of New York City after plans, also prepared by Mr. William G. Distin of Saranac Lake, the-new Rockefeller camp is a notable addition to the imposing summer homes for which the Adirondack region is famous.
The camp is a log construction with rough stone foundations and comprises four units, the main building being devoted to a large living room with big stone fireplaces at either end. Among its conveniences are steam heat, running water, hardwood floors throughout and an intercommunicating telephone service…
William G. Distin, Sr.
Born: February 25, 1884
Died: March, 1970 2
Married: Ethel Brown Distin
Children: William G. Distin, Jr., Robert Grenville Distin
William George Distin, Sr., an architect of Saranac Lake, was the protege of Great Camp designer William L. Coulter and went on to design a number of Adirondack Great Camps.
Dr. Henry Leetch House
Born February 25, 1884, in Montreal, Canada, the son of photographer William L. Distin and Helen Gray Distin, he moved with his family first to Plattsburgh, then to Saranac Lake in 1898.
After graduating from Saranac Lake High School in 1901, he was hired by William Coulter as a draftsman; his apprenticeship lasted six or seven years. In 1907, the year that Coulter died, Distin entered Columbia University", graduating in 1910. After a short period in Chicago, working for S. S. Beman designing houses, he traveled for a time in Europe.
Returning to Saranac Lake about 1912, he joined the Coulter & Westhoff architectural firm, then run by Max Westhoff, Coulter's former partner.
Distin married Ethel Brown of Syracuse on September 1, 1915, and the couple had two sons, Robert Grenville Distin (Sr.) and William George Distin, Jr.
In 1917, Distin worked for the Army building hospitals in Washington, DC. After the war, he returned to Saranac Lake to take over the firm, and Westhoff moved to Springfield, Massachusetts.
After some smaller commissions for camps on Upper Saranac Lake, he designed Camp Wonundra for William Rockefeller in 1934. In 1937 he built "Eagle Nest" at Blue Mountain Lake for Walter Hochschild, and in 1948, Camp Minnowbrook, in the same area, for R.M. Hollingshead. There were also seven smaller great camps on Lake Placid, and work on the Lake Placid Club.
Distin also designed a number of notable churches, including rebuilding St. John's in the Wilderness Episcopal Church in Paul Smiths after the original log church was destroyed by fire; designing the second St. Bernard's Catholic Church in Saranac Lake with Max Westhoff; redesigning St. Eustace Episcopal Church in Lake Placid for its move to Main Street; and designing the Island Chapel, on Upper Saranac Lake.
He also designed the replacement of the original Adirondack Loj, which burned in a catastrophic fire that swept Essex County in 1903.
Adirondack Daily Enterprise, March 24, 1970
William G. Distin
The funeral service for William G. Distin, who died Saturday evening at his home in Glenwood Estates, Saranac Lake, will be held at 2 p. m. Thursday at the Fortune Funeral Home with the rector of St. Luke's Church, the Rev. Peter Hill, officiating. Cremation will take place in Troy.
Friends may call, beginning at 2 p. m. Wednesday at the funeral home.
Mr. Distin was born Feb. 25, 1884, in Montreal, a son of William L. and Helen Gray Distin. The family moved to Saranac Lake in 1898 and Mr. Distin later became an architect and designed many local structures. His wife, Ethel Brown Distin, died in 1959.
He was very active in the Saranac Lake Rotary Club and also was a member of the Moose Lodge.
Survivors are two sons, William Jr. of Saranac Lake and Robert of Washington, Conn., and two sisters, Mrs. Herbert R. Leggett, [Helen], and Mrs. Charles Roberson, [Rhoda], of Saranac Lake; four grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.
Distin Cottage on Kiwassa Road
Mr. Distin's family requests that friends wishing to remember him make contributions to the Saranac Lake General Hospital or to the Saranac Lake Free Library.
Adirondack Daily Enterprise, March 24,1970
William G. Distin, Sr.—it's almost difficult to write the full name since "Bill" Distin seems so much more natural—surely left his mark in the Adirondacks. In fact, hundreds of marks all over the landscape… in schools, and Summer "camps," and libraries and institutions.
Architecturally, in terms of the more recent years, we like to think of Bill Distin's legacy as two structures and an incident.
Perhaps the largest structure with which he was connected professionally over the past decade is the Trudeau Institute which must surely be the most beautifully located and designed medical research facility in the nation, looking over the softly majestic sweep of the Lower Lake. And what could be more appropriate than the Trudeau Institute as the architectural legacy of this quiet artist who was born in Canada but lived 72 of his 86 years in Saranac Lake!
The second recent work of Bill Distin we like to associate with him is the new library at the Will Rogers Hospital. Designed by Bill Distin, Sr. and built by Bill, Jr., this is one of the architectural gems of the area, combining, a sense of cathedral-like space and the spirit of the Adirondacks with all the technical advantages of AV, those modern mystical initials meaning audio-visual facilities.
* * *
And then there was the incident. It took place only a few weeks ago, in the Community Room of the Saranac Lake Free Library which was, itself, so close to Bill Distin's heart.
Benjamin Thompson, the North Country Community College architect, until recently head of the Graduate School of Design and Architecture at Harvard and generally recognized as one of the most innovative spirits of his profession, was scheduled to give a presentation of his views to the faculty and interested local citizens.
Just by chance, on display in the Community Room was the beautiful collection of drawings and water colors by Bill Distin and by members of his family. And just by chance, Bill Distin telephoned us several days previously on another matter. We called to his attention the Ben Thompson presentation and arranged to have him called for.
Frankly, we then began to worry about it. Ben Thompson gives a "presentation" with three slides simultaneously shown on three screens and a background of very modern folk music. The purpose is to suggest the relationship between environment and architecture. It is far more "mod" than it is traditional. We began to worry that perhaps Bill Distin, the traditionalist, would be unhappy about what he would see and hear.
Our worries were needless. At the conclusion of Ben Thompson's presentation, Bill Distin rose and asked to make a statement. He expressed, with the simple eloquence that was so characteristic of his speech, his appreciation of what he had seen, his commendation of the college for securing the architectural services of a man of Ben Thompson's imagination, and his complete confidence that the college campus-to-be would be a great asset to the area.
The incident is worth recounting only because it demonstrates that Bill Distin was an artist of his time and period, but also an artist of all times and periods.
* * *
Until the last couple of years, until the miserable fall on the slippery parking lot behind his office, Bill Distin never seemed to be slowing down for reasons of age. We shall always think of him over his drawing board in the little office in the basement of the Main Street building, always ready to give advice on the future of the Adirondacks, and especially of this Village of Saranac Lake.
This was, indeed, his village and he cared for it as, a father cares for his son, planning always for its future, expressing indignation when he felt mistakes were being made, joining in every effort to improve his image and the daily life of its people, rejoicing in its triumphs.
And here were most of his family. Until the last few years his wife, Ethel, shared his joys and sorrows, and his two sisters are here, Mrs. Herbert Leggett and Mrs. Charles Roberson, and Bill Distin, Jr. (who, as these lines are being written, is in Europe and unreachable to learn that his father is no more). Only Bob and his family have moved away and they have returned often to be with him.
Bill Distin lived actively and fully and fruitfully; he died peacefully. The entire community mourns him.
• Gilborn, Craig. Adirondack Camps: Homes Away from Home, 1850-1950. Blue Mountain Lake, NY: Adirondack Museum; Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2000.
Harvey Kaiser – Great Camps of the Adirondacks
Great Camps of the Adirondacks
Adolph Lewisohn, requiring a staff of forty to minister to his guests' comfort in the wilds of the Adirondacks, imported to his camp a major-domo, barber, caddy, chess-player, singing teacher, and two chauffeurs.
Majorie Merriweather Post made do with eighty-five servants for the sixty-five buildings of Topridge, which was approached by a private funicular railway and graced by a Russian dacha a token of affection for her third husband, a former ambassador to the Soviet Union.
Equally magnificent was J.P. Morgan's Camp Uncas, Julius Bache's Wenonah Lodge, and William Seward Webb's Nehasane.
These 'Great Camps' were to the beautiful and secluded Adirondack region what the 'Cottages' were to Newport: contradictions in terminology, but marvels of construction and architectural imagination.
Truly fabulous structures, built primarily of wood and stone and set deep among the great forests, they are at once relics of a bygone age and prototypes for the contemporary architect, amateur builder, and historian.
Harvey Kaiser traces the history of the Adirondacks from their first sighting by a European in 1535, through the eras of trapping, iron mining, and lumbering, to the development of railroad and steamboat lines that led to the influx of tourists and the building of the 'Great Camps.'
The sixty years from 1870 to 1930 were the heyday of these camps, the 'Gilded Age' of the Adirondacks, and Kaiser gives a fascinating account both of the personalities who engineered and financed these fabulous structures and of the buildings themselves...
More than forty years after the Depression put an end to this princely lifestyle, the camps themselves are threatened by the forces of politics and nature. In Great Camps of the Adirondacks, Harvey Kaiser makes a strong case for preservation: the obliteration of these remarkable structures would be an irreparable loss not only to our architectural heritage but to every individual to whom they are a resource and an inspiration.
2016 - A letter from Harvey...
So, here's what I am after. I want to describe you as in the vanguard of people who saw the potential for restoring historic great camps.
Can you start off with your exposure to the Adirondacks that led you to discover "Camp Cork?" Read the Introduction in The Amazing Life…. Also, read Who is Edward Carter? On the same website.
Had you ever visited the place before deciding to purchase? Never went to another lake in my life. With only a bit of tongue in cheek - we were always self-sufficient morally and materially.
Did the impending Olympics have anything to do with your decision to acquire the property? Not at all. While over the years my cousins and I used to ponder whether people would enjoy coming to visit a house party at one of our camps, I never dreamed of being an hotelier.
In your words, what condition was the place in 1978? It was tired out. It was shared by three couples who also shared their partners with one another, I was told. The young son of the Rockefeller’s caretaker was trying to take care but he had no supervision and no motivation. I gave him the motivation and I was there every weekend from 1978-1979 (I commuted from London to Montreal every week) to supervise. I wanted it ready for a Board Meeting on my birthday in August 1979.
Any evidence of the Rockefeller furnishings? Hard to tell what was original. Remember, Rockefeller himself had married his nurse who while nice was certainly not of the manor born. Nor was he! The best things about the house were the original architectural devices. It was Coulter’s and Distin’s work and was brilliant, hardy, not pretentious. It was built to be a year-round house – now that was unique.
How did you go about tackling the task of restoration: local builders, local architects, local interiors people? I determined all the work to be done and I did the interior with my own furnishings. Used all the local people I had known for years. Simple. Remember, my family had been employing all the people around since 1903. The Brick House was extraordinary, and my grandfather’s house was straight out of Cleveland, Ohio. They weren’t camps. My cousin’s, the Leonards, a mile down the road, built a simple camp with a main building and seven sleeping cabins. My mother stayed there in the summers around 1915. They had men who would light the wood stoves in each of the cabins every morning. The camp is called WaAwA. It’s still there at the foot of Rainbow. And we have an island in Rainbow as well. My cousins still own the camp, and use it mainly during the summer, but ski around it in the winter. One lives in Saranac Lake, her husband’s family had a grand house on Rainbow, he is now an elected official of the town.
What was your vision for marketing the place and raising it to a plateau unheard of for the Adirondacks? Just fixed it up to be my home to the standard I expect wherever I live. My guests were entertained as I entertain anyone anywhere – too bad that was unique for America let alone the Adirondacks. Remember, The Point, under my hosting, is the only hostelry in the world to be awarded Andrew Harper’s The Hideaway of the Year FOUR TIMES!
This could be an interview of several hours but I think you can condense it down to the "bones" of your story.
End of Appendix to Chapter Sixteen
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