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Five Adirondack Great Camps, Melding History and Nature

While these days, much of New York society decamps to the Hamptons or the Cape in the summers, there was once a time when the famously rich actually camped—or at least came close to it—in rustic cabins among the pine forests of Upstate New York's expansive Adirondack region. Owing to a Victorian-era fondness for exclusivity, these wealthy vacationers often formed clubs that would buy up large tracts of land, to ensure their bucolic paradise would never be interrupted by unwanted development—or the non-member peasantry. One such club, which still exists today, is the Adirondack League Club, formed in 1890, which today controls some 53,000 acres in and around Old Forge, N.Y. Peeking out from between the pines toward the lake are some expansive, yet modestly furnished, private homes known as "great camps," including the one-time summer homes of such luminaries as architect Stanford White. While White is not known to have completed any projects here, the rustic houses still command premium prices, despite the fact that all purchasers must also be club members. This 15-acre camp on the ALC property—with direct access to Little Moose Lake, historic detail galore, and eight bedrooms spread over 6,000 square feet—is listed for $2.45M. Not too shabby considering the near six-hour drive from NYC.

? Elsewhere on the Adirondack League Club, also fronting on Little Moose Lake, this 13-acre great camp known as Brackenrill, is listed for $2.499M. It has three primary buildings, the largest of which is the Augustus D. Shephard-designed "summer house." Completed in 1914 for the family that founded Westchester's Masters School, the 4,200-square-foot cabin has seven bedrooms, four bathrooms, and a fieldstone fireplace, a Shephard signature. The 1930s four-bedroom boathouse has been winterized, but has 1,600 square feet of outdoor space for summer enjoyment. A 440-square-foot cabin completes the property.

? Without the club cache, but with the seclusion and lake access, this Lake George retreat is asking $3.5M. That price includes four acres in the historic hamlet of Huletts Landing, a broad lakefront lawn, a two-slip boat house, six bedrooms, and two bathrooms. The green clay tennis court doesn't look terribly well kept, but it is shielded from the breeze by the forest. The well-preserved original interior woodwork, on the other hand, is breathtaking.

? Located near the very heart of the Adirondack Park, Tupper Lake is home to this rustic compound, a 7.42-acre plot with a series of camp buildings that date to 1917. The three-bed, one-bath main house is joined by a guest cabin. It's all very simply furnished, but also much cheaper than our previous options, at $800K. A nearby dock offers a launching point for boats.

? Also in Tupper Lake, this particular compound, known as Skanendowa Lodge, puts the "great" back in great camp, between the 150 acres of private land and the twenty bedrooms. There are six cottages, a "kitchen building" for communal gathering, a three-slip boathouse with waterfront deck, a barn, and several additional outbuildings. Given the acreage, which includes some 6,600-feet of lake frontage, the $2.4M price tag is none too surprising, even with the remote location, because that's the whole point right?

· 43 Little Moose Lake [Sotheby's International Realty]
· Brackenrill [Sotheby's International Realty]
· Lands End Road [Sotheby's International Realty]
· Tupper Lake [Gillis Real Estate]
· Skanendowa Lodge [Gillis Real Estate]