Hudson Valley Fall Getaways and Vacations 2011: The Lamplight Inn, Lake Luzerne Near Lake George, NY
Best fall vacations in the Hudson Valley: The Lamplight Inn in Lake Luzerne, NY (Warren County) near Lake George in the Adirondacks, Upstate NY
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New England may be the poster child for fall foliage, but the autumnal beauty of the Adirondacks is — no offense, Vermont — second to none. A great place to set up camp is an exquisite B&B in the tiny village of Lake Luzerne, just 10 miles south of Lake George. It’s called the Lamplight Inn; and as Steve, a 60-something tourist, said just before he climbed aboard his Harley and thundered off, “This is a gem, isn’t it?”
It is indeed. When owners Gene and Linda Merino bought the place in 1984, however, it was a gem in the rough. But then again, so were they. Both are from northern Jersey, and both worked in the textile business. He ran an engraving plant, she was a textile artist. That year, they decided to get married, quit their well-paying jobs, move far away from their families, and turn an abandoned home into a B&B. “Our parents thought we were crazy,” Linda says. “We really did it on a whim.”
With his construction skills, her sense of design, and the enlisted labor of family and friends, the couple turned the crumbling 1890 Victorian — built as the summer home of a wealthy lawyer and member of the New York State Assembly — into a charming three-bedroom getaway. “We opened our doors in 1985 — and nobody came,” says Gene. “We ran out of money in three months.”
The romantic ideal of running a quaint B&B quickly gave way to the hard economic reality. Undaunted, they knew they needed more space, so Gene spent the next couple of years adding more bedrooms and a new dining room onto the main house, renovating the Brookside Cottage on the grounds, and building a new Carriage House. Now, with 15 guest rooms, the place hums with activity year-round.
Gene and Linda are fully hands-on, running the place with their trusted lieutenant of 18 years, Sally Wintersteiner — “I call her my work wife,” Gene says. They pride themselves on two things: cleanliness and good food. And they deliver. More on the food later; the place is so immaculate it gave my wife guilt pangs about our dusty home.
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