Our good friends Dean and Laura recently marked their 30th wedding anniversary, and asked us if we’d like to come along for a weekend in Lake Placid to celebrate. Didn’t take long to say yes to that! Despite growing up in New York, and spending lots of time in Burlington, VT, I had never been to the NY side of Lake Champlain, the Adirondacks, etc. and I have to say that this trip was a major revelation to me. It is absolutely gorgeous up there!
We drove about five hours from Rhode Island, heading west into Massachusetts and then taking a sharp northern turn at Albany, past Saratoga, Glens Falls and Lake George, before arriving in the lovely little town of Lake Placid. It’s hard to imagine that this was the site of two Olympic Games (1932 and 1980) as I have no idea where they put everyone. The town itself basically consists of one main street overlooking Mirror Lake, and then a series of gorgeous homes (and a couple of lodges) built around the edges of Lake Placid.
We stayed at the High Peaks Resort, which has an ideal location in the center of town, walkable to everything. Our rooms were spacious, the lake view was fantastic, and the onsite restaurant/bar was very welcoming after a long drive. There was a major wrestling tournament going on in town while we were there, and our hotel was hosting both a wedding and a military retreat of some kind, but it never felt crowded or busy. In fact, the common theme for the whole weekend was “it’s so quiet and peaceful up here!”
On Saturday, we started with a two-mile walk around the lake, and then indulged in a decadent breakfast at the Breakfast Club. We were lucky enough to be there the day that the boat tours at Lake Placid Marina started up for the summer, so we were the very first passengers of the season. The tour was about a 90-minute ride around the lake in a pontoon boat, with commentary about the “Camps” along the shore (kind of like calling the Newport Mansions “Cottages”) and the history of the area.
Afterwards, we visited the Lake Placid Olympic Ski Jumping Complex, and rode the elevator 25 stories up to the top of the jump to take in the view.
After a lunch overlooking the lake, we window-shopped down Main Street and then hopped back in the car to go check out the nearby Whiteface Lodge (definitely worth a return visit, to stay in one of their luxurious suites, or just dine at KANU). Our evening started with some fabulous cocktails and charcuterie at the Lake Placid Lodge, where we lingered for a while, watching the boats on the lake, and then we had a late dinner at The Cottage, a cozy little lakeside restaurant that’s part of the Mirror Lake Inn. I really could not imagine a more perfect day!
Sunday morning we took another walk around the lake (trying to work off all those decadent meals) and then checked out and headed back towards Rhode Island. Along the way, we made a detour to Fort Ticonderoga, and a scenic drive around Lake George. Despite some serious traffic in Massachusetts, we were home by dinner time.
If you go:
– You can do it in a weekend, like we did, but one extra day would really have been better.
– May is the “shoulder season” and we lucked out with very nice weather, and the opening of the boat tours, but there probably would have been more to do if we came later into the summer. Or in the winter, when we could have tried the toboggan chute onto frozen Mirror Lake!
– If you’re really into the Olympic experience, take a look at the “Olympic Passport”, which gets you discounted admission to a whole host of exhibits and activities.
– There are a range of accommodations right in town, from mom and pop motels, to branded chain hotels, and more luxurious resorts/inns. The High Peaks was perfect for us, but the Mirror Lake Inn about a block away would be great for a romantic getaway and the two five-star lodges on Lake Placid (Whiteface and Lake Placid) are now firmly on my bucket list.