4. Saranac Lake

Saranac Lake in New York's North Country

The village of Saranac Lake, located about 15 minutes west of Lake Placid, is split between Essex and Franklin Counties and is home to a bit over 5,000 residents. The village name is perhaps misleading, though, since no parts of the village touch the shores of Saranac Lake; instead, the main commercial center of the village is located on Lake Flower. The village, previously inhabited by Iroquoian-speaking peoples, was first inhabited by white Americans in 1819, developing as a hub for hunters and woodsmen.

In 1876, Dr. Edward Livingston Trudeau settled in the village to treat his tuberculosis, discovering that the fresh air improved his health. He founded the Adirondack Cottage Sanitarium, and shortly after, the village became one of the premier spots for TB treatment, even attracting people like Robert Louis Stevenson. The President of the Philippines Manuel Luis Quezon even sought TB treatment in Saranac Lake, where he later died.

Saranac Lake in New York's North Country

Many buildings in the downtown date back to the time of TB treatments, many including outdoor porches for patients. A few dozen properties are included on the National Register of Historic Places, including Knollwood Club where Albert Einstein often stayed, cure cottages including Little Red, the Dr. Henry Leetch House, and Pomeroy, and the Berkeley Square Historic District.

The village features many art galleries, the only year-round professional theater in the Adirondacks, the Adirondack Carousel, and the Saranac Laboratory Museum. Since 1897, the village has put on a 10-day winter carnival often considered one of the largest in the world. Popular restaurants include Bitters & Bones, The Left Bank Cafe, Fiddlehead Bistro, and Blue Line Brewery.