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Victorian-era Sagamore Resort is now a mecca for health and fitness buffs


LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. -- The 350-room Sagamore Resort completed a $250,000 renovation two years ago that turned the 110-year-old Victorian landmark into an Adirondack mecca for health and fitness buffs.

What used to be the downstairs disco is a gleaming, glassed-in fitness center overlooking Lake George, boasting a 10-stop Keiser weight-training circuit, three Stairmasters, treadmills and a wooden dance floor where 40 exercise classes a week take place. Should the waters of Lake George prove too chilly, it's unlikely you'll get the shivers waiting for a swim in the beautiful indoor pool.

The tennis complex contains two indoor courts, and an indoor racquetball court complements the outdoor facilities and a game room with video pursuits, a Ping-Pong table and foosball. The 18-hole golf course opens this month with all-you-can-golf packages. There's also a miniature golf course.

The gourmet restaurant at the Sag, the Trillium, offers a low-cal, fat-sparing spa menu that documents every milligram of sodium and cholesterol, every gram of fat, protein and carbohydrate, of every item. Most people, however, opt to cancel out exercising's results and pig out on the regular menu, which thoughtfully ignores all such data.

I was met at the Albany train station by Url, who was waiting in one of the resort's 12 vans to take me to Bolton's Landing. Url had retired from the Air Force at age 38, and after a spell as a pastor of a community church in Southern California, had moved to nearby Warrensburg to open an active-wear store with his wife.

Url said he loved working for the Sagamore because the new manager promoted a "Power of One" philosophy, which means that each employee is authorized to solve any problem a guest has without having to consult a superior.

The spa facilities have also been enhanced. Visitors can get wrapped up in Austrian mud ($70 for the full body treatment if they're not on a spa package), have their skin scrubbed with salt and peppermint soap ($30, and reportedly great for banishing old tans and dead cells). A massage administered athletically or Swedishly costs $60 and $55, respectively.

The Sagamore is a four-hour drive from New York, and a one-hour, 40-minute drive from the Albany train station.

Rates range from $270 a night for a family lodge suite with pullout couch. Lower-level lodge rooms go for $149. Rooms and suites in the main lodge rent for $169 and $199, respectively. Breakfast and dinner are included in the above charges, but the rates go up after Memorial Day. Less expensive packages without meals are available as well. Unless travelers book a spa package, there is an extra $15 charge per day to use the spa, where the sauna, steam room and whirlpools are located. (The fitness center is complimentary.)

I= For more information call the Sagamore at (518) 644-9400.

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