I hear the train goes there from the city, but not my city. I had to fly on a little two propeller plane into Albany then drive another hour north. Spring doesn’t hit upstate NY till sometime after it is summer everywhere else, so as I drove through woods and resort towns all I saw was boarded up windows and stacks of canoes with tarps pulled snugly over. Then after crossing a small bridge, winding along a manicured little path, I was at the Sagamore.
The hotel opened in 1883 as a place where robber baron types could vacation in each other’s company. I’m no robber baron but after three days at the Sagamore I considered becoming one.
Mine were not the fanciest of furnishings but the staff treated me as if I was in fact somebody. They were a little like those crazy people who work at Trader Joe’s. They work at a grocery store yet appear to like their jobs, which in turn makes me like to shop there. I liked staying at the Sagamore, even if it did snow in April.
I was there with an organization that puts potential science students in contact with science schools. I represent a science school. This means I eat at fancy dinners with youngsters and while looking down my nose say “So, young chap, what do yoooooou want to do with your liiiife?” To which the say “IDK maybe like, research and stuff? What-evs.”
At one point I found myself at a black tie ball listening to a live band, sitting at a table with five students, all of which were looking at their phones, one wearing headphones.
Yet this was not cause to begin a rant on the loss of hope for tomorrow but rather a lesson to the adult in the room to relax a little. These aren’t bums from the street, crooks and hoods from the corner, but straight A students. These were kids who know a thing or two about working in a lab and smart stuff like neuroscience and microbiology. But they are still kids.
The Sagamore sits right on Lake George. Back in 1920 they hosted boat races and according to the old photos lining the walls, all sorts of festive occasions to which one would wear a skimmer hat and knickerbocker pants.
I wore neither of those things but simply sat in the Adirondack chairs and asked the staff to keep me well supplied with pitchers of hot water so I could sip mate while doing important work. Like blogging.