Oh, how we love Lake Placid. Last time we ventured out there was in June, when we stayed at Whiteface Lodge, and I believe my husband and I decided we were going to leave city life forever and move to a room there.
Well, real life has this way of sucking you back in and making you forget the dreams you have set for yourself, which is why we thought it a perfect time to go back to this favorite family destination. Only a 5-hour drive from the city it is the perfect escape with the kids.
The views of the Adirondacks are breathtaking from the first site of them. Their tips covered in snow is picturesque. I started snapping my camera, over and over, wanting so badly to capture the beauty, but eventually gave up having realized no picture was going to do it justice. And it hit me, “I could leave it all behind for this.” Well, maybe some of it for sure.
On this trip we were invited to stay at The Pines Inn, an inn owned and operated by Frank Segger and Jill Cardinale Segger. It as a great history and strong sense of nostalgia of old Lake Placid. I immediately fell in love with how historic the place felt, with its creaking steps, and antique furnishings and lamps. The beds were the coziest we have slept in in awhile and the overall feeling was comfort. I give tremendous credit to Jill, our hostess. She has a friendly personality and welcomed us warmly as we spilled in from the cold.
We stayed in a two-bedroom suite, with a jacuzzi bathroom. Two televisions and a fridge provided home comforts. Though we saw other guests around, we never heard them. Nothing but the soft snow falling outside our windows.
This is where we laid out our plans of what to do during our weekend at Lake Placid, and where we would cuddle at night to watch t.v. as a family. It was very sweet.
The Pines Inn also has an in-house restaurant and bar. Duncan’s Grill serves dinner Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturday nights, and on the night we were invited to try it they were having Burger Night. It’s a nice option for when you just want to stay in and enjoy a casual meal in a comfortable environment.
We have a couple of favorite places to eat in Lake Placid. We never fail going to The Great Adirondack Steak and Seafood. It’s kind of a tradition for us now and we love the food. The owner is super conservative – once, my husband ordered a beer and it was Sunday at 11:55. We had to wait 6 minutes before they would serve him the beer, as owner would not serve alcohol before 12PM – but everyone is really nice, and we just can’t get enough. Pricey for a larger family like ours, but for an occasion it’s worth it.
We also enjoy the Big Mountain Deli andCrêperie for breakfast or light lunch. Their crepes and sandwiches are fresh, unique, and really, really good. The prices are also reasonable, and their lattes are made to perfection.
Our newest discovery in eating around Lake Placid, however, was a great one. Desperados is easy to miss if you don’t know what you are looking for. Located next to a gas station can be a little confusing, because you don’t know what to expect. But for locals, this is a favorite stop and when we got there, on a Friday night, the wait was 30 minutes or more long, with more people coming in.
Even though it’s a Mexican restaurant, the decor was very much set up for the upcoming Irish celebrations. Owner Andrew Quinn, was decked up in green, and St. Patrick’s was a good week and a half away. He decided one day he wanted to open up a Mexican restaurant, and when the opportunity presented itself he did. He brought with him an incredible talent in hot sauce making.
When you sit at the table, displayed before you is an array of homemade sauces to try. If you love any of them, and you will, you can buy three of your favorite, bottled on the spot, freshly made, for $28.00.
The chips, homemade too, are addicting. The food is plentiful, and always hot to the touch, as they seem to place orders to bake in plate before serving. I ordered the shrimp quesadilla and the nachos. My son order the ribs, and I admit I have no idea what my husband ordered because I was too busy devouring my meal.
So, as a Latina, I had to ask Quinn, “How is it that an Irishman has so successfully mastered the art of hot sauce-making and Mexican food beyond the standard gringo flair?”
Responded Quinn, “You see Mexicans in kitchens all the time making all sorts of good food; Chinese, Italian – so why can’t a group of Irish cooks make good Mexican?”
Touché, amigo. Touché.
My favorite of Quinn’s sauces are the Rasberry Chipolte, the Pinapple Habanero, the Lebrechaun, and the Fresno. Sadly, you can’t purchase them online. So if you want to try them, you’ll have to stop by Desperados. Order a margarita too while you’re at it, there are also very good.
We had planned some skiing at Whiteface Mountain. In fact, that’s where most people spend their time when visiting. But our youngest were under the weather, and we had to miss out. My 13-year-old did not. He snowboarded to his heart’s content. After a few hours of instruction he didn’t care that we weren’t around. He enjoyed the conditions of the slopes at the time, which due to rain/snow/rain, were the perfect balance of ice/snow he loved. He spoke highly of his instructor J.C. who took the time, not only to improve his technique, but take him to the ramps and show him some new tricks.
Our little ones missed taking part in their kids program. The Kids Kampus is dividing into age levels to accommodate the interests and needs of the kids and teens who visit. It’s a pretty well-run program, and one of the largest I have seen. When I went to check it out most kids were out in the mountain doing activities. I was impressed with the fact that they can have up to 80 kids in the age group that would fit my 4 and 5-year-old, without a problem and have so much to offer them in terms of care, instructions, and activities.
I also found it a huge convenience that they have rental access for the entire family on location, so the hassle to go back and forth for child drop off and equipment pick up is non-existent. They don’t currently offer Summer programs and you can find out more about seasonal pricing and hours on their website here.
Of course, this Olympic mountain isn’t just for skiing and snowboarding. You can bobsled, go cross-country skiing, snow shoeing, snow tubing, ice skating, or ride the Gandola and enjoy the scenes.
The next six weekends is the official season for maple sugaring in the area. We headed over to the Cornell/Uilein Maple Research Center, where our host, and Manager of the site, Michael Farrell, welcomed us to join in on a tour of the grounds as he also explained the process of maple sugaring, and how his center is making a difference to not only protect the environment but also improve the ways in which we produce maple syrup.
Some of the more technical details during the tour were completely lost on my youngest, but walking around the site, checking out the machines, and tasting the maple syrup -then determining if they liked dark or light best- was fun for them. I was mostly fascinated with what the program is doing to not make waste of the maple wood once the tree is cut down, and their interest and work in educating others about the business. But yes, getting to taste the maple syrup and having the option to purchase it on the spot, was a highlight for me as well. You can call to schedule a tour and tasting at 518-523-9337 or visit their website here for more information.
High Falls Gorge
We saved this for last during our visit and I am so happy we did because the absolute magnificence of this experience was a perfect send off for us. It was early in the morning and kids were feeling a lot better. The snow continued to fall lightly and there was a bit more chill in the air.
After we checked in and got our clips over our shoes so as to not slip on the icy steps, we headed out. The longest walk around the falls is about half a mile and takes no less than 45 minutes, if you’re in a hurry. We saw huge ice formations over the cliffs and beautiful, strong waterfalls powerfully splashing through.
Afterwards the family and I gathered around a warm campfire and roasted marshmallows before we had to set out. In an instant, High Gorge Falls became one of our favorite places to visit in Lake Placid. It was completely safe to walk, even with the snow, even with the little ones, and we enjoyed the experience tremendously. A true must. For information about admission and seasonal hours, please visit their site here.
We did a lot more on this trip than we ever had before when visiting Lake Placid, and with the kids not really in the mood for skiing it was nice to find so many other fun things to do.
I invite you to check out the Lake Placid Tourism website. They have done a great job at developing a site that can help you plan your perfect Lake Placid vacation. There’s a lot more fun in store for us there in the warmer months, and I can’t wait to go back. Plus, I’m needing to stock up on some Desperados hot sauce again.
Thanks to Lake Placid Tourism and their partners for this wonderful experience!