Sep 9, 2014

Tailwater Lodge in Altmar, New York

John and I loved many things about Tailwater Lodge.  I love old buildings that have found new life as something entirely different.  Such is the case of the Altmar Elementary School. This is the third school turned hotel we have stayed at but the only one that is not even remotely recognizable as a former school. School-to-hotel is not a quantum leap. They have a lot in common: halls, rooms, and a kitchen making the adaption easier.  I read a little about Tailwater Lodge before our visit but it still caught me off guard. I never expected to find one of the finest hotels in Oswego County in Altmar. I was impressed – very impressed.  

Every aspect of the property has the stamp of quality. My first impression was of the well landscaped lawns with the tree-lined tailwater as a backdrop.  Tail water refers to the water immediately downstream from a hydraulic structure such as a dam, bridge or culvert.  In this case it is down river from Bennetts Bridge Hydroplant. Through the trees I could see the sun sparkling on the water so I took the short trail to the water’s edge. The scenery along the tree-lined water is bucolic. My husband thought he might like to go fishing again someday. This would be the place to do it.  The hotel rents everything one needs for a day of
fishing at a reasonable rate except for the license but they are easily obtainable locally. New York State had a license-free weekend at the end of June. Anglers staying at Tailwater Lodge have private access to 2000 feet of the best stretch of the Salmon River and, to sweeten the deal, it is only a short walk from the accommodations, restaurant, and bar. When I went into the hotel and saw how posh it was I tried to imagine fishermen trodding in with wet, muddy waders.  Not to worry, there is a wader washing station. 

Tailwater Lodge has its own guide who can arrange everything and it doesn’t have to be fishing. Tailwater is a destination resort and while the area is a mecca for anglers during fishing season and a hotspot for snowmobilers during the winter months there is much more to experience.  Bird lovers and hikers have plenty of trails to explore. White water rafting is nearby.  Not to miss in the area is the beautiful Salmon River Falls and the Salmon River Hatchery.  The Lodge hosts interesting events including the recent Uncorked Canvas that paired wine and painters,and recently a musical group performed under a tent on the expansive lawn.

It is not necessary to be an angler, hiker, bird watcher, or any other nature lover because when I was there people came for the bucolic atmosphere and diner.  The restaurant in the former gym is beautiful with a great bar and the one-time stage is now home to a unique,
specially made pool table.  The meals, as one might expect, are excellent, which is only one reason to visit.  The accommodations are comfy and luxuriously appointed with rustic touches creating a relaxing getaway for a night or more.  John and I can’t wait to go back.  I am imaging a beautiful fall evening, or maybe a wintery evening with gentle falling snow, sitting around their fire pit eating s’mores. Tailwater Lodge would make a great fall driving trip. For more information check