Thursday, February 23, 2017

Fort William Henry Hotel and Conference Center

As I mentioned on Tuesday, Sally and I took the kids on a quick family vacation over President's Day Weekend.  Our goal was just to get away and get outside, but we wound up skiing for two days at West Mountain Ski Area.  We stayed at the Fort William Henry Hotel and Conference Center, which proved to be an interesting and enjoyable experience.

Fort William Henry Hotel and Conference Center

I should start of by saying that Lake George is fundamentally a summer vacation area, so while our hotel was full over this particular weekend, most of the town around the lake was actually closed.  That was fine, and the scenery was gorgeous, but it gave the place a kind of sleepy middle-of-nowhere feel that I'm certain is absent during the peak summer season.

Fort William Henry is most famous for its part in James Fennimore Cooper's novel The Last of the Mohicans.  The French and British both settled parts of Northern New York and Canada during the 17th and 18th centuries, and when the Seven Years' War broke out in Europe, it also hit America, where it was called the French and Indian War.  Fort William Henry was a British outpost meant to control the fur trade in and around Lake George, and it gets famously sacked in Cooper's book and the resulting movie.  The fort itself is gone today, but there is a public park with a replica fort near the spot where the original stood.  Alas, it was closed during our winter get-away.

Sally sat at the Ice Bar Friday night.
Lake George as seen from our hotel.
Replica of Fort William Henry.  The original was actually out on the water.
Nevertheless, the area near the fort is breathtakingly beautiful, and the hotel which bears the fort's name offers perhaps the best views in the entire area.  We checked in, grabbed some beers, and settled in by the fire to stare out over the lake for what was perhaps my favorite part of our entire trip.

The hotel is near Adirondack brewery and is therefore amply stocked with local craft beers.  That's good.  It also offers a pool and a small hot tub, or you can book a room with a hot tub all its own.  However, the hotel has greatly expanded over the years, making it something like an upscale resort with a pair of roadside motels bolted onto either side.  When we were there, this put parking at an absolute premium and overtaxed the small amount of staff that the hotel had working that weekend.

By the fireplace at the hotel pub.
The Fort William Henry crest.
We got a good deal on our rooms, and we got excellent views, but the total experience was not on par with what I might have expected.  I might stay there again, but definitely only via some kind of sale through Groupon or something.  Take that for what it's worth.

Fort William Henry sits about fifty miles north of Albany, off I-87 at Exit 21.  It's not a bad drive, and it's a nice place to get away for the summer.  It's also beautiful in the winter, and it's close to a bunch of skiing.  Enjoy!

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