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A Tale of Two Carrys: Bartlett Carry Club & Indian Carry

August 31, 2022

Two of the Adirondacks’ most storied canoe carries sit in the Upper Saranac Lake watershed and both exhibit distinct historical legacies. In 1854, Virgil Bartlett established an inn for 50 guests and a horse-drawn wagon service for transporting boats along the portage between Upper Saranac and Middle Saranac Lakes. Legendary for its trout fishing and hospitality, this historic crossroads was known for the next 35 years as “Bartlett’s Carry.” The property was then organized by wealthy patrons into The Saranac Club and additional lodges and private cottages were built. In 1968, Fran and Jay Yardley purchased this thousand-acre stretch and 37 buildings and restored the complex as the Bartlett Carry Club over the next several years with private, cooperative ownership. During the first half of the day, get an insider’s view of this special place of historical value and private beauty.

In the afternoon, travel to the nearby Indian Carry, a historic portage trail between Upper Saranac Lake and Stony Creek Ponds. Both Abenaki and Haudenosaunee travelers, traders, trappers, and hunters used the carry prior to a more permanent Euro-American presence, while some Indigenous peoples continued living here. In 1850, Jesse Corey settled here and arranged for the construction of the Rustic Lodge at the north end of the carry. Its main lodge was removed in 1913 by the Swenson family, who hired the New York City firm Godwin, Thompson, and Patterson to design the present camp in 1930. A short, guided walk of the carry’s north end will feature an exterior look at the Rustic Lodge’s original guide house and main Swenson Camp building, as well as a visit to a divided section-turned residence of the historic Swenson Camp. We will end the day visiting the storied Indian Carry Chapel, an iconic building now being carefully rehabilitated and preserved.

The Bartlett Carry Club tour is led by actor, storyteller, historian and author, Fran Yardley. There will be opportunity to buy, and have signed, Fran’s book Finding True North: A History of One Small Corner of the Adirondacks. Long-time Indian Carry resident and historian, Dan Jenkins and a few generous property owners will lead the afternoon tour of the Indian Carry. The tour begins at 10 AM and ends at 3:30 PM.

The fee is $60 for AARCH members and $70 for non-members.

There will be some walking over mildly uneven terrain.



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