After 43 summers, family’s sad farewell to LG’s Canoe Island Lodge

To the Editor:

In August of 1980 a young married couple were looking for a place to vacation with their daughters. As luck would have it they stumbled across a family-run resort on beautiful Lake George and decided to stay the week.

Taken by the hospitality of Jane and Bill Busch, the history of the property, the beauty of the lake, the simplicity of the lodge, and all of the people they met, my parents decided to return the next summer, the same week — “week 7” — and they continued to that every single summer for the next 43 years.

Canoe Island Lodge was more than a vacation destination to our family. It actually became part of our family. My parents watched their girls grow, each summer, coming back together with our family and eventually the families who became like family, our summer cousins. Our lives changed, we went to college, got married, and had kids who grew up loving CIL just as much as we all do.

Our extended summer family saw each other through marriages, divorces, births of our babies, and deaths of some of our parents. We celebrated together, laughed together, cried together, always anchored by the long-standing tradition of Canoe Island Lodge. What started out as a whimsical summer trip so many years ago transformed into something so much bigger and more amazing than any of us could have imagined.

Bill and his friends built the buildings, he and his wife built the culture and his family kept this alive for over 70 years. CIL transcends the brick-and-mortar (and logs) that actually make up the resort.

Last summer, “week 7” celebrated decades of memories with one of the most incredible weeks. Hoping it would not be our last, yet willing to recognize that all things change, we left with the anticipation of finding a new joy in the change.

With an open mind, we waited through the winter, uncertain of what CIL would look like but excited about the prospect of enhancements to our favorite place. Routine deadlines for reservations and deposits came and went and we started to wonder what was going on. The lodge no longer had a phone number once easily accessible information was unavailable.

Eventually, my family was presented with rates for the summer of 2023. To say we were shocked is a gross understatement. Our extended family of 15 collectively paid $22,000 last summer for our 4 different accommodations. The new price is 48K — along with an elimination of the 2 meals traditionally included. What an insult! So insulting in fact that we are willing to walk away from a 43-year legacy of family memories just on principle. We are not alone. The vast majority of families who share stories similar to this are choosing not to return.

It is clear that despite claims to the contrary, the new owners will never understand the true value of Canoe Island Lodge, what it meant, and the legacy that Jane and Bill built. My only wish is that long time guests/customers like my family would have been afforded the courtesy of transparency and proactive communication. It is appalling to string along hundreds of families under the guise of preserving what was. It is perplexing to hear that the new ownership is “preserving” CIL and the Busch Family Legacy when it is being dismantled.

— Janice Conte
A Broken Hearted Guest

Copyright © 2023 Lone Oak Publishing Co., Inc. All Rights Reserved

Check Also

Glens Falls again giving parking tickets; hospital friction

By Cathy DeDe, Chronicle Managing Editor The City of Glens Falls has hired a new …