AMC continues to grow its service to the greater New York City region with a planned destination just 3 miles southwest of the Stephen & Betsy Corman AMC Harriman Outdoor Center (CHOC). The site, Baker Camp, has hugged the hilly northern inlet of Lake Sebago in Harriman State Park for 92 years. Originally used as a getaway for city executives in the 1930s and more recently as an overnight destination for city dwellers looking for an escape, it last hosted overnight guests in 2017.
Now, with a 40-year lease from the Palisades Interstate Park Commission, AMC plans to renovate the camp, once again welcoming visitors and providing ways for both day and overnight guests to get outdoors during Harriman State Park’s season, from May to October.
“The goal [at Baker Camp] is to honor the tradition of New York and the look and feel of camps in that area, but with modern amenities,” says Vinnie Spiotti, AMC’s director of lodging operations. “We have a huge opportunity here to preserve the experience of getting people out of the city and outdoors at their own pace.”
That’s no small job. AMC has a lot of work ahead before the camp’s estimated completion date of 2025. Tentative plans include renovating the 36 existing cabins, plus the recreation and dining halls, the nearby swimming beach, the boat launch, plus a day-use beach and hike-in campsites 1.5 miles north of Baker Camp. When completed, the camp will be the largest AMC facility, with the capacity to hold 160 overnight guests. Here’s what we know so far.
1. Baker Camp is home to 36 existing cabins, 30 of which are built into the hillside overlooking Lake Sebago. These lakeside cabins house two bedrooms and up to four beds each, plus a common area and a large porch, with shared bathrooms nearby.
2. AMC is working with Cambridge, Mass.-based LDa Architects to renovate Baker Camp. LDa previously consulted on facilities at CHOC, Medawisla in Maine, and the Highland Center in New Hampshire.
3. Due to a designation from the New York State Parks Department of Historic Preservation, AMC will preserve the look and feel of the rustic cabins. While some exteriors will remain intact, the more-damaged cabins will be rebuilt in the style of their predecessors.
4. Six larger cabins have four bedrooms, capable of housing up to four beds each, plus common areas with stone fireplaces and bathrooms.
5. AMC plans to offer Americans with Disabilities Act–compliant cabins, likely near the dining hall.
6. Like CHOC, Baker Camp is accessible by public transit and the AMC shuttle.
7. AMC plans to renovate the Baker Camp boat dock, with canoes and kayaks available to guests. Part of the lease also includes AMC managing the Lake Sebago beachfront, which can accommodate up to 5,000 or more day-use guests on summer weekends.
8. Overnight guests will be able to swim from Baker Camp’s private beachfront.