Comfort food and cozy cabins at a Mountain View getaway
Photographs by Nancie Battaglia
That daydream of leaving it all behind and starting a cabin colony deep in the woods? Bowen and Julie Morris have made it their reality. They have deep roots in Ohio; Bowen owned a machine shop near Cleveland, where he and Julie crafted industrial diamond tools. But the couple pulled up stakes in 2015, after finding an expired ad for an 83-acre property in Mountain View, a tiny Adirondack community on the way to nowhere. It wasn’t easy—they had trouble tracking down the owner, then paperwork woes hobbled the project for months. Still, they were sure it’d be worth the wait. “We knew, coming up the driveway, that this was it,” says Julie.
The Sugarloaf Mountain spread included four hand-built cabins—sleeping two to four—and a lodge that the Morrises have turned into a 27-seat restaurant featuring melt-in-your-mouth smoked meat. They came to the table knowing nothing about the restaurant business and knowing no one in the area. Now they’re serving up as much as 200 pounds of meat every weekend, barely slowing down even after the pandemic forced the shift to takeout. Bowen’s smoker, housed in a lean-to, runs day and night from Thursday to Saturday (it puffed along through Mondays before COVID hit). Julie makes the hot sauce—the recipe is her mother’s—as well as the bread, pizza dough and her signature cheesecakes. “Everything we do here is from scratch,” she says.
Those bunking in the cabins come for the food, but also for the playground—the property abuts the 5,500-acre Sugarloaf Public Use Area. And there isn’t a slowdown in winter; Sugarloaf is a favorite of snowmobilers and brings in skiers from Titus Mountain, in nearby Malone. The cabins have a simple, authentic feel—no over-the-top glam rustic here—and their logbooks are stuffed with superlatives: “wonderful,” “perfect,” “amazing,” “too good to be true.”
In years past, music festivals and full-moon snowshoe parties have brought in hundreds of revelers, and Bowen and Julie hope to revive them when the time is right. Meanwhile, the couple cycles through busy weekends and catch-up weekdays, breaking only during shoulder seasons. It’s been hectic and unpredictable, but they’re happy with the ride. “We didn’t have a plan. We didn’t have a direction. We just took it where it led us,” says Bowen. “So far, so good,” Julie adds.
Find Sugarloaf Mountain Inn and Cabins (518-483-1144, www.sugarloafcabins.net) at 152 Bryant Siding Road, in Mountain View.