I certainly don’t mind getting my hands dirty and “roughing it” when the occasion calls for it, but when looking to take some time off this summer, I knew I wanted to spend it outdoors but still be a bit pampered.
I had looked at Camp Orenda for years but never had the ability to book a stay.While I still debated doing it this year, I went for it and LOVED IT. I can’t recommend Camp Orenda enough for those looking for an Adirondacks experience.
The site has various canvas tents that are set up like hotel rooms. The plush Eddie Bauer comforters and fleece blankets were heavenly! There are also ceiling fans and electric heaters.
Base camp contains the gear tent, creekside pavilion, backcountry kitchen and fire pit. The gear shack has everything you may need: hiking trail information; life vests, paddles and dry bags; water bottles; mountain bikes and helmets, and more! There are also lots of goodies that you can purchase to take a piece of Orenda home with you. The creekside pavilion has a cooler to store beverages, lemonade, ice tea and trail mix to enjoy anytime. There are picnic tables, rocking chairs and stools overlooking the creek. A cabinet holds board games, cards and blankets. This was my on-site office because it was closest to the wifi router in the gear shack. The backcountry kitchen is another pavilion with an outdoor kitchen where the staff provides all the meals. Coffee, hot water (with tea and cocoa) and water is available, and the meals served are UNREAL - more on the food later. The fire pit almost always has a fire crackling and is surrounded by Adirondack chairs. It’s the perfect spot to relax with a good book during the day or a s’more at night. There is also another pavilion with hammocks if you need yet another perfect spot to unwind. This area sits right on the creek. At the top of the camp is an area for ax throwing and archery; I didn’t check this space out, but I think it’s pretty cool they have it.
I took advantage of the nearby access to Garnet Lake and took a Kayak out on my second day. It was very quiet and serene. Orenda provides kayaks and canoes right at the water that you can take out whenever. I kayaked south on the lake away from any houses. There wasn’t another soul on the water. I had some mellow music playing softly, a drink in my hand and the sun on my face and just coasted for a bit. I can’t explain how peaceful it was. At one point a loon was calling and that, apart from my music and the smallest of waves, was the only sound I could hear.
There is a bathhouse up the hill from base camp that has two bathroom stalls and a central sink. The toilet seats are heated, which was nicer than I could imagine when I was up early on chilly mornings. There are little cubbies for each cabin if visitors want to store items there. The shower is further up the hill on the other side and has a very large changing area and shower space, complete with a rain head spout and tons of hooks for items. Shampoo, conditioner, body wash and lotion are all provided. They are an eco-friendly line and smell amazing!
Every meal at Orenda is provided. And let me tell you, you aren’t getting dinners this good anywhere else. Some of the best food! It is farm-to-table food and pretty much all locally sourced. The breakfast spread included two types of cereal, yogurt, fruit, granola, hard-boiled eggs, coffee cake, muffins, pastries and these egg and scallion creations that were really good. For lunch, you fill out a form at breakfast and then they have your lunch waiting for you when you want to grab it. If you leave late, you can pack it with you. I was an early hiker, so I grabbed it whenever I got done hiking and back to camp. You choose between a few types of wraps, Boar’s Head meat and cheeses, vegetables and condiments. There are a bunch of bags of chips to grab, fruit and cold candy bars in the fridge (I couldn’t resist those!).
And for dinner, I will repeat, there were the most delicious meals! The first night they served up hamburgers with greens, bacon, blue cheese, fried egg and homemade brioche rolls and homemade french fries. They also had some sort of veggie dish on the side and you could help yourself to condiments like ketchup, mustard and a garlic aioli. On night number two we were served the best pork chop I’ve ever had with an apple mint chutney, turmeric quinoa with veggies, asparagus, garden salad with homemade dressing, homemade sourdough bread and a maple butter to go with it. I was spoiled with the best meal the final night because I was the lone camper. It started with a caesar salad (with homemade dressing and sourdough croutons, of course) then I had steak cooked PERFECTLY with a chimichurri sauce, which I didn’t know what that was but oh my goodness was it amazing and now I need to know how to make it! I had green beans and rice with some seasoning (that I can’t remember) with peppers on the side. I had no problem clearing my plate. Dessert every night was s’mores by the campfire.
Everyone at Camp Orenda was incredibly nice and helpful. Being a solo traveler, I always felt safe, cared for and special. I can’t say enough about the staff at Orenda. The other two groups that were there for part of my stay were the nicest, great people, too.
I am no doubt going back to Orenda next year. I wanted to push myself with hiking, which I did, but next year will be more about relaxing. Maybe just two hikes instead of four and definitely more time spent on the water. Don’t hesitate to book a stay at Camp Orenda. It is worth every penny and more.
Feel free to reach out if you have any questions about my stay!
"To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe." --Anatole France