“It is not every day we get to visit the summer White House,” I inform my children. We park our car at the main gate and walk the ¼-mile on the Main Entrance Road of White Pine Camp toward the tennis court where our tour will begin. The kids have already started in with the “arewethereyets.” We are here and this is it. We are taking a turn back in time.
White Pine Camp, originally built in 1907, became the Summer White House in 1926 for President Calvin Coolidge. Situated among 35 acres of land, White Pine Camp houses 18 buildings and an interesting architectural history. We walk past the single story guest cottages with asymmetrical rooflines and marvel over the trees growing through the covered decks. My children run outside and then back in to confirm that the trees are indeed alive. They are not as interested in the brainstorm siding (rough-hewed clapboards) as in the bowling alley, boathouse and footbridge to the Japanese teahouse.
Stuffed animals have a different connotation at White Pine Camp than at our house. Our guide urges us to the Great Room. My daughter wonders about a “great room” full of toys. She names all her stuffed animals and every evening we are subject to roll call. If any of the 20 or so friends are missing then it is a search to restore order in the ranks. We reach the Great Room to discover the animals at White Pine are truly stuffed and mounted.
My son tests his navigational skills by returning to the tennis court unattended while I stay at the New Boathouse and review the historical exhibit. Soon after we reunite and start the return trek, passing the newly dedicated Fred Huette Alpine Rock Garden. I linger a bit and enjoy a moment of peace but I’m soon retrieved. I hold the keys to the car and it has started to rain.
Guided tours are available during late spring to late fall. For more information please call the Adirondack Architectural Heritage at 518-834-9328. For more information on cottage rentals or the Nature Walk (reservation only), call White Pine Camp directly at 518-327-3030.
To get to White Pine Camp take Rt. 30 north to the Rt. 86 junction at Paul Smith’s. Turn NE onto Rt. 86 for ½ mile. White Pine Rd will be on the left.