Wintery Wonderland – Lake Placid New York

Genie Davis December 13, 2011 No Comments

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Welcome to Lake Placid!

Welcome to Lake Placid!

Listening to a little Irving Berlin in the holiday season may put you in the mood for some snowy scenery. Maybe something that’s a bit of a throwback, when Currier and Ives prints were not historic views of the past, but rather realistic depictions of the present. Skaters on lakes, snowy fields, no real reason to go on ski run. Some place in other words, where the kids can toss a few snowballs and you can still find an unpretentious accommodation that’s still affordable. Wondering where that winter wonderland might be? Lake Placid, New York.

About Lake Placid

Lake Placid is a secluded, charming town with not one lake, but two. Lake Placid itself is a few miles out of town; Mirror Lake adjoins it. While locals ice skate on both bodies of water at times, the safest and sanest option for kids of the skating age is a lovely rink in town that dates from the Olympic Games held here back in 1932. With a fire pit to warm fingers over, the outdoor rink is bucolic; but there’s an inside rink too if it’s a little too cold for your babies outside.

Activities we Experienced

Speaking of the Olympics, a must-see in town is the Olympic Games, featuring all things Olympic from hockey jerseys to ice skates, and Olympic torches. My kids liked best the theater featuring first person views of ski jumps and bobsledding. The seats offer a 4D experience: mechanized, they give you the sensation of sailing down a ski slope or careening around in a bobsled. There’s also a hockey rink, that will please Olympic memorabilia lovers and hockey fans.

We were still in an Olympic state of mind – and Lake Placid encourages that – and so we went to the Olympic Jumping Complex. No, you don’t actually have to jump. Instead, ride a glass elevator to the top of the center for an amazing view of the surrounding snowy Adirondacks. Great picture taking aside, it’s truly inspiring to see the view, particularly when sunset colors the hills peach and gold.

Nearby is a tube park, older kids will delight in its seven hundred foot tube available to enjoy at a nominal cost. None of us were age appropriate for this attraction, especially not me.

Our Dining Choices

I was instead more than ready to dine. We had a local gastropub recommended to us, Liquids and Solids. Plain on the outside, the menu was lovely, with some unique vegetarian options as well as burgers and sandwiches. My favorite was a side dish of maple infused baked beans. Friendly service and funky atmosphere made this a winner.

Our Accomodations

At last we checked into our hotel – the room wasn’t ready when we arrived early in the day and we packed in a lot of sightseeing and dinner before returning. What a welcoming sight was the warm Mirror Lake Inn Resort and Spa. I learned in their promotional material that my idea to visit Lake Placid was hardly unique, apparently it’s considered “America’s first winter vacation destination.”

Mirror Lake in winter - a great place for a sleigh ride.

The hotel is friendly and homey, and offers that perfect holiday winter feel. Covered with streaming holiday lights, with snow covered mountains as a back drop, it’s a beautiful place to experience your own Irving Berlin style memory.

The inn has its own cross country ski and snowshoe trails, but best of all they offer a horse drawn or dog-led sleigh or sled ride. Can you say pretty much perfect? Well we could, hot chocolate in the lobby and a snowy, exhilarating ride in a sleigh, plaid blanket on our laps. We loved the fireplace in the lobby, the free cookies and tea in the afternoon, and the delicious toasty indoor pool and jacuzzi for warming up after a trip to the snowy outdoors. The rooms were not huge but well appointed and quiet. Ours had a view of the lake.

For the holidays the inn also offers children’s activities like ornament making – we have a wonderful little clothespin based reindeer to show for this class.

We could walk – albeit regretting that we Californian’s did not bring heavier socks – to Main Street, and browse shop windows. At breakfast time we walked to a cafe called Saranac Sourdough for sourdough pancakes in a log cabin setting. Filling and delicious.

Warmed from the meal we went outdoors again for a dog sled ride across Mirror Lake. It’s a short ride but an exciting and reasonably priced one, and afterwards my kids got to pet the Alaskan huskies that did the hard work, and that might have been the best iconic Americana holiday moment of all: kids and dogs, just doing what they do best, enjoying each other’s company in a snowy landscape.

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Genie Davis is a multi-published fiction author, screen and TV writer, and travel writer. If it was possible, she'd like to spend every day traveling. www.geniedavis.com

Tags: , Reviews, Travel Excursions

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