The lure of the Adirondack Mountains has long called out to explorers, artists, writers, outdoorsmen, and vacationers alike. The dramatic beauty of the region was first popularized in the middle of the nineteenth century by the emergence of the Hudson River School of painting. Inspired by contemporary transcendentalist efforts to define a new American identity, artists like Thomas Cole and Frederic E. Church painted vivid scenes of a uniquely American landscape. Rugged, mountainous, and untouched by industry, the Adirondacks offered a wealth of scenery that seemed to embody the adventurous American spirit.
William Henry Harrison Murray further popularized the region with a series of publications in the 1860s. “Adirondack Murray,” as he was known, was a Yale graduate and Connecticut clergyman who is widely considered to be “the father of the outdoor movement.” Adirondack Murray promoted the mountainous North Country as “health-giving” and “spirit-enhancing”. The books were immensely popular, and in a later edition, subtitled Tourist’s Edition, Murray included train schedules and maps of the area, making the scenes of Hudson River paintings seem accessible to hunters, hikers, fishermen, and families alike. The first Adirondack tourist boom, in the latter part of the nineteenth century, flooded the area with urban elite seeking to “recreate.”
The Hoffman Notch Wilderness:
Most of the area today known as the Hoffman Notch Wilderness was acquired by the state of New York before the turn of the century. Today the Hoffman Notch Wilderness area is used little. Named for the notch, or valley, between Blue Ridge and Washburn Ridge, the 38,000 acre Hoffman Notch Wilderness Area now encompasses 15 miles of marked trails along Bailey and Marion Ponds, and Hoffman and Severance Mountains that offer breathtaking views of the 180,000 acres of virtually untouched wilderness bordering it. The intensely rugged cliffs and valleys of Hoffman Mountain itself served as the inspiration for Thomas Cole’s famous 1838 painting, Schroon Mountain.
After the initial tourist boom, it became quickly apparent that the area’s urban guests needed help. Local entrepreneurs in the Schroon Lake area began to make some money off the tourist trade, first as woodsmen (guides), and inn keepers, and later in all areas of the travel and tourism industry.
Paschal “Pasco” Warren built the Bailey Pond Inn in the late 1800s as a simple boarding house on The Warren family farm. Eventually to be named The Warren Inn, or Warren’s in the Adirondacks, access to the Hoffman Notch Wilderness was the inn’s greatest selling point. An Adirondack woodsmen, hunter, and fisherman, Pasco Warren felt an intimate connection to nature—one that he tried to pass on to visitors at the inn. A tree planted and marked Pasco Warren himself (known as “The Warren Tree”) still stands on the property today, marked with a sign which reads,
To all lovers of nature, greetings. In this spot in the year 1845, this pine tree, a
sapling of twelve years, was transplanted by me at the age of twelve. For seventy
five years I have watched and protected it. In my advancing years it has given me
rest and comfort. Woodmen spare that tree. Touch not a single bough. In youth it sheltered me, and I’ll protect it now.
-Pascale P. Warren. June 1st, 1920; Age 87.
Pasco’s son, Arthur Warren, took over the family hotel business and changed the name from The Bailey Pond Inn to Warren’s in the Adirondacks. It went from a 50 person boarding house to an Adirondack wilderness resort able to accommodate up to 75 people. The inn boasted farm fresh food, pure mountain spring water, electric lights, on-site post office, telegraph and telephone services, and stagecoach (and later auto) service from the Delaware and Hudson Railroad’s northern terminus in North Creek. For the price of $4.00 a day, guests could hunt, fish, hike, climb, and ski. There were boats, croquet grounds, tennis courts, and breathtaking scenery. For the first half of the twentieth century, Warren’s was a booming success. Eventually though, business slowed and the inn closed. The Gadja family purchased the property (including the historic inn) in the 1940s. The current owners purchased the property and renovated the inn into the stunning five-bedroom guest house it is today. They also named the property Skye Notch and built an amazing 13,000 SF log home which graces the property along with the restored inn.