Per tradition, Thomas Lee journeyed every summer to his family’s Lake Champlain retreat in Westport, New York along the Adirondack Mountains. Prompted by a shortage of outdoor seats for their 22-member get-togethers, he crafted a slanted-back chair made of boards with amply-spaced armrests in 1903. The design made fast fans of the family — and of local carpenter Harry Bunnell, who helped craft the clan’s seats, then secured a patent for the “Westport Chair” in 1905.
“Adirondacks are perfect for almost everything — porches or around a fire pit, watching the water or adding a punch of color,” says Ashleigh Cosin of Bell Tower Outdoor Living Company, which offers an array of durable options.
Maintaining the familiar slats and angles, Seaside Casual’s diverse line at the Cosins’ Richland-based store includes Coastline Harborview rockers, a Portsmouth Bar Set and inviting Shellback Balcony seats. Contoured for comfort, all are made of a no-chip, non-peel high-density polymer and come in myriad colors.
Cottage-goers on the state’s east side will find a range of all-weather Adirondacks in rainbow hues, too, at Casual Concepts in Rochester, which carries Poly-Wood, Inc.’s sturdy patio line. Crafted of UV-protected, recycled HDPE plastic, splinter-proof POLYWOOD seats — available in Classic and Long Island styles — are built to last for generations.
In lower southwest Michigan, Hearthwoods Custom Furnishings in Lakeside offers Adirondacks made of reclaimed wood as well recycled milk jugs. “We first used rescued wood from old wine vats,” shares Mary Brown, who co-owns Hearthwoods with her artisan husband, Andrew, “and the chairs actually carried a wine aroma. When that ran out, we used salvaged cedar.”
Both silvering over time, durable Western Red Cedar and Treated Pine seats come rustic, stained or painted in top cottage colors; Hearthwoods also makes no-two-are-alike “Skirondacks” featuring antique water skis.
Based in Grand Rapids, the Michigan Fly Company puts another spin on classic Adirondack comfort with its “Michirondack.” Crafted of high-quality cedar, the distinctive seat with Great Lakes State-cut backboard holds its own against the weather, says Jason Nagher, the company’s owner and chair’s creator, adding that the chair’s been a hit both in state and out. “Most of our customers have a Michigan connection,” he notes, “or buy the chair for someone who does.”