A Hidden Adirondacks Gem: Escape To Friends Lake Inn This Winter

The transition from fall to winter is a great time to head north, especially getaways upstate and to the Adirondacks. One particular resort, Friends Lake Inn, is gaining tremendous popularity as the place to get away from all the hustle and bustle of the city. It is nestled atop a hillside, approximately 90 minutes north of Albany in the Adirondacks.

“It’s a very Adirondack experience, being surrounded by peace and love,” Alim Maharali, co-owner of Friends Lake Inn said. “It’s a great escape from the city.”

The idea is FLI is the only place in the Adirondacks where you have upscale accommodations, elegant dining and a private nature experience.

“The drive up to Friends Lake Inn is incredible too,” Maharali said.

The owning partners purchased the resort in 2019 and have made tremendous progress massaging the experience into a posh place to spend a weekend or extended getaway. It combines upscale accommodations, amazing food and access to nature.

“We bought the property, thinking it was a hidden gem,” Maharali said. “The last few owners didn’t give it a lot of attention; this place really just needed some TLC.”

Friends Lake Inn has 17 guest rooms and a cabin, hosting approximately 38 people. Some of the guest rooms have wood burning fireplaces, some have gas burning fireplaces.

Maharali said, “It’s cozy; it’s a nice place to escape.”

Maharali and his team have invested a lot of time and effort into the resort.

“We upgraded a lot, the linens, bed sheets, amenities, the WiFi and we have added a custom mural in the dining room, custom coffee mugs by a local artist and added a farm-to-table menu.”

One of the biggest draws to Friends Lake Inn is that it has 17 miles of private trails on the property, great for hiking and snowshoeing.

“A lot of guests arrive Friday night, have a casual dinner, soak in the Jacuzzi and slip into a cozy FLI robe before bed. The next morning, they enjoy a beautiful made-to-order breakfast before grabbing a picnic basket lunch and a bottle of wine for a romantic walk through the woods,” Maharali said. “After hiking, guests usually take a rest before having an upscale dining experience with a tasty filet mignon or something more exotic like rabbit or bison. On Sunday, it’s typical for guests to explore the region, take in whitewater rafting, horseback riding, retail therapy in Lake George, spa treatments or skiing at Gore Mountain.”

Friends Lake Inn hosts many weddings and some of guests’ biggest life occasions.

“We do a lot of wedding takeovers,” Maharali said. “You can rent out the property for your entire family. Everyone has their own room; everyone is onsite. Everyone is centrally located for breakfast, lunch and dinner.”

Friends Lake Inn also hosts other large gatherings like corporate retreats and family reunions. It is not unusual for bike touring groups or skiing clubs to stay regularly also.

DINING AT FRIENDS LAKE INN
Friends Lake Inn provides both casual and elegant dining experiences for the public and guests staying at the Inn.

The Adirondack Dining Room provides an ideal spot for intimate dining with a focus on farm-to-fork dining without any formal dress requirements. The murals were painted by a local artist that brings the outdoors into the dining room. The resort’s priority is to ensure you have a great dining experience.

If you are looking for a more casual dining environment, then the Birch Bistro is the perfect location. Enjoy a beverage with some light fair while watching the game or dine and share a meal with friends and family in a casual setting.

Every guest who stays at the Inn is treated to a made-to-order breakfast in the Birch Bistro. The bright dining area and fresh coffee and tea are sure to start your day with a smile.

“Our in-house s’mores and coffee are to die for,” Maharali said. “Our culinary team strives to use local ingredients to create a farm to fork experience and our menus change seasonally, and the Chef’s daily creations keep your dining experience fresh and new.”

Friends Lake Inn staff take center stage here.
“My front line staff, the people that some people think are the least important, are really the most important in this business,” Maharali said. “We have a family culture and are here to provide a lovely guest experience.”

Jeff Stokholm, general manager at Friends Lake Inn, provides exceptional guest service.

“You are sure to receive the best attention to detail from Jeff and his team,” Maharali said. “Everyone here is happy to greet and help our guests.”

The resort has a rich history. In the 1800s, Friends Lake Inn served as a home to families of regional loggers.

“It still has the original roof from the 1800s and it has the original beams and fireplace in the dining room,” Maharali said.

There were rumors of Friends Lake Inn serving as a convalescent home for returning war veterans, though that information has not been confirmed.

Friends Lake Inn is centrally located in the Adirondacks. It is 20 minutes from Lake George and 20 minutes from Gore Mountain.

“It’s not too touristy,” Maharali said. “Friends Lake Inn is a perfect place to come and unwind.”

“While we were closed for the pandemic for a couple of months, we weren’t shy, we invested in a lot of upgrades (repainted the murals, rebranded the restaurants),” Maharali said. “We took a look at a lot of our features and functionality and made them better, so when we opened we came out stronger and we had a wonderful year.”

The weather is crisp. The summer crowds have dispersed. And Friends Lake Inn has a post-pandemic facelift and upgraded amenities that you are sure to fall in love with.

Friends Lake Inn is located in Chestertown, NY. It is located approximately 240 miles from Long Island. Visit www.friendslake.com for more information.

Christy Hinko
Christy Hinko is the editor of Glen Cove Record Pilot.

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