At the Adirondacks Welcome Center, just off I-87 N in Queensbury, N.Y., I smiled to see the giant I LOVE NY Instagram-ready sign. Because I do! Born and raised in Long Island, I went to school in Albany, moved to Queens and then Manhattan before crossing the river to be closer to Northstar's New Jersey headquarters.
But my lifelong love of New York State is clearly missing a Northern chapter. The Adirondacks welcome station is the gateway to another New York, a wonderland of mountains, forests and lakes that feels as far from Manhattan as the Swiss Alps, but about four hours away by car, depending on your destination.
It is here that Ocean Properties, the country's largest privately held hotel company, has committed to growing its prized Opal Collection, now with 21 luxury resorts in New England and Florida, stretching from Bar Harbor, Maine, to the southernmost tip of Key West.
Among these gems is the Lake Placid Lodge, with just 30 rooms in an expansive and serene lakeside setting. A natural setting for corporate retreats, the Lodge transports groups to an enchanted forest setting with captivating décor. The stage scenery from Broadway's rendition of A Midsummer Night's Dream now sets the stage for the fairyland mystique of the Adirondack Room, the resort's largest indoor meeting space. This month a WiFi upgrade will be finished, along with new metro cells to strengthen cellular phone service in fairyland.
Ninety minutes south stands Opal's gem of the Northeast: The Sagamore Resort has presided over pristine Lake George for more than a decade. With 400 rooms and a dedicated conference center, groups of up to 1,000 can take over the property and its expansive facilities, including an 18-hole Donald Ross-designed golf course. A complete renovation is set to transform the guest rooms next year.