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An Eco-friendly, Affordable Adirondack Getaway: Gauthier’s Saranac Lake Inn, Review

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Saranac Lake Inn: Eco-Friendly, Affordable, Relaxing

Saranac Lake InnAs you drive down Route 86 (aka Lake Flower Avenue), just on the outskirts of downtown Saranac Lake, you’ll see a sign that reads Gauthier’s Saranac Lake Inn. It’s a quiet little place, right on Lake Flower, just about a mile from the center of town.

The Inn is charming and pleasantly simplistic in its décor. For the environmentally conscious, the added plus is that the inn maintains itself as a 4 Leaf Green Property as labeled by the Premier Waterfront Audubon Society (only a few hotels in the US have this type of green rating), so you can have a great vacation, while doing your part to help the environment.

Owned and operated by the incredibly friendly team of brothers, Dan and Doug Brownell, along with Doug’s wife Nicole, the three have made every effort to provide an eco-friendly environment. The Inn is also listed as part of New York State’s “Top 10 Greenest Destinations.” For anyone generally concerned about being green, some of the steps that have been taken by the owners are using non-toxic, plant derived cleaning agents for all rooms; an electronic registration system in an effort to reduce paper usage (they print only on recycled paper); low flow shower heads; landscaping with native plants that are watered directly with water from the lake; energy efficient air conditioning units and heat pumps; on site recycling (recycling bins are in each room as well as in their green room, which features detailed info on recycling); a solar-heated swimming pool; and double-paned windows and doors that save energy.

The Inn also offers other benefits, such as complimentary coffee and tea that’s brewed fresh daily and comes from local, Organic Fair Trade producers (the discarded grounds are used in their garden, and anything left over is donated to local gardeners).

Gauthier's Saranac Lake InnWhen we stayed at Gauthier’s Saranac Lake Inn this past June, we stayed in a Deluxe Lakefront Double room located steps from Lake Flower on a private waterfront. Spacious and clean, the room offered a quiet, peaceful respite from everyday life–for us, a perfect and much needed getaway. We’d also be selling the Inn short if we didn’t mention its absolutely terrific lake view. Our room, located on the ground floor, had a large window which peered out over Lake Flower; just outside of the room, lawn chairs were set against the shore (rooms on the 2nd floor have balconies), providing a great setting for us to sit back, relax and soak up some sun, while enjoying the stunning lake and mountain views.

The Inn also provides kayaks, canoes and a paddle boat to guests, to use on the lake free of charge. With a few hours to kill, we decided to take a couple kayaks out; finding the lake practically empty (Dan told us it’s often like that), we enjoyed a couple hours feeling like we had the whole lake to ourselves, without competing with motorboats and jetskis. Lake Flower also has some fun areas in it to explore; its various nooks and crannies bloom some pretty cool flowers–hence the name of the lake. If, however, power boating is more your thing, Gauthier’s Saranac Lake Inn is located right next door to a marina, so renting a boat is just a few steps away.

The Inn also has a basketball and tennis court and a solar-heated swimming pool, should you feel the urge, as well as a nearby high peaks hiking trail if you want to explore the woods. There are also plenty of board games in the lobby if you feel like staying indoors.

The rooms were fairly spacious and impeccably clean–all linens were organic cotton, with down comforters and certified organic bath accessories by Davies Gate. The bathroom was cozy, with a good-sized terra cotta tile shower. Other rooms vary in size and in terms of amenities; some are lakeside while others are poolside. A select few rooms are pet-friendly, and the Brownell’s do encourage guests to bring their kids.

Saranac Lake InnIn the winter, Saranac Lake Inn offers a complimentary use of snow shoes (in place of the boats), as well as access to Snowmobile trails with direct access from the ground; ice skating is also encouraged on the lake, so when it’s the winter season, be sure to bring your skates along. They can also arrange for an on-site massage in your room.

The Inn is conveniently nestled between Lake Placid and Saranac Lake, providing easy access to such attractions as Whiteface Mountain and the Wild Center in Tupper Lake. Both main towns are also only a short distance away–downtown Saranac Lake is only a few minutes drive, and it’s about 10 minutes until you reach the village of Lake Placid.

Another added bonus we found was that the Inn is also located within walking distance to some great restaurants. Right across the street is Casa del Sol, a yummy Mexican restaurant (try the shrimp crisp, it’s delicious), and McKenzies, which is open until about 2pm, serving mainly breakfast and lunch. A liquor store is also within walking distance, as is the supermarket. The rooms also come equipped with small refrigerators if you want to chill a bottle of wine or some cold snacks.

While in Saranac Lake, there’s a couple not to be missed things to do, including taking a walking tour, as the area has quite an interesting history (read about Saranac Lake’s history); another thing you’ll want to definitely do is take in a show at the Pendragon Theatre–the theatre offers top-notch productions; while in town, we were able to catch a performance of The Mystery of Irma Vep, and it was superbly funny.

The Saranac Lake Inn offers specials from May-August, where rooms range from $89-$119 a night, as well as other packages for romantic getaways, with dinner at the Lodge on Lake Clear. Check the inn’s Facebook Page for more details.

Gauthier’s Saranac Lake Inn is located at 488 Lake Flower Avenue in Saranac Lake. Call 518-891-1950 or visit for more information.

–Dave Bower and Monica Sirignano are Publishers of The Free George.

The Free George is the online magazine and visitors’ guide of Upstate NY, covering things from Albany to Lake Placid, including Saratoga, the Lake George region and the Adirondacks. Check out our City Blogs section for our extended coverage areas as well.

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