North River Hobby Farm offers ‘haycations’ in restored camp

— Visitors will stay in an authentic Adirondack camp known as “Bird Camp” which was built in 1908 after Leslie’s great-aunt was sent from Port Washington, Long Island to North River where it was hoped that the young woman would recover from tuberculosis by breathing the fresh mountain air. (She did, in fact, recover and lived into her late 80s). Delighted with their daughter’s recovery, the Bird family built a small “shingle style” camp using leaded glass windows from a demolished Guggenheim estate on Long Island, bringing these and other building materials all the way up by train. Traditionally, the women stayed all summer while the men traveled back and forth. Life was leisurely. Visiting, and having visitors, was an important part of life. Cooking was done with a hand pump and wood cook stove. There are still a dozen 100-year-old apple trees planted by her great-grandfather.

Bird Camp will delight anyone with an interest in architectural history. It retains the original leaded windows, porcelain kitchen sink, stone fireplace and wide pine floors, but for the first time in a hundred years there is reliable water, new electrical and plumbing. Leslie converted one of the three bedrooms to a bathroom, adding a glass vessel sink atop a beautiful hand-painted ladies dressing table, and during construction was delighted to find the words “Bird Camp” chalked on the back, verifying it to be original to the camp. The kitchen received hand-made painted cabinets from a wrecking yard in Massachusetts which were removed them from Bob Villa’s own home, new appliances and the original sink.

In the living room, Wilshire oriental rugs original to the camp have been cleaned and repaired, beams added to strengthen for the weight of the new bathroom above and a glass front fireplace insert installed into the stone fireplace.

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