There are a lot of promises we make to ourselves about how we want the new year to evolve. What can we add, take away, improve on.
For some of us, one of these promises is to be a better friend. It’s something I always strive for too and like to compliment with either nights out for dinner together or, even better, with little retreats somewhere fun.
If you’ve read this blog long enough then you know that I absolutely love the Adirondacks. I enjoy escaping to the mountains and being outdoors, especially with family and friends. So it’s easy to imagine why I would think a trip to Lake Placid would be a perfect escape for my girlfriends and I and though on this most recent trip I didn’t know anyone upon arrival, our little group of aventureras had a great time bonding and exploring all that Lake Placid has to offer.
The drive to Lake Placid from NYC is a little over 4.5 hours. But if you don’t want to drive, you can take the scenic, albeit a bit longer ride on Amtrak from New York, Albany and Montreal to Westport. You rail tickets a shuttle ride to Lake Placid direct from the Westport Station, about an extra hour ride.
The Westport station is your connecting stop to and from Lake Placid. This small station was built in 1876 and is also home to the Depot Theatre.
The Amtrak train ride to Lake Placid is a longer commute than driving yourself, but it is comfortable and offers tons of gorgeous views like this one of Lake Champlain.
You can also take the bus with Adirondack Trailways from New York City’s Port Authority Terminal which drops you off Lake Placid and Saranac Lake. It’s important to note that though it’s easy to walk to downtown Lake Placid from most of the hotels and there is shuttle service to Whiteface Mountain to ski, without a car your access to everything else the area has to offer is a bit more planning. Another fun and inexpensive way to get there is car sharing. Read this article where skiers and snowboarders have shared their experience in traveling to Lake Place this way.
Where we stayed
I’ve tried several lodging options in Lake Placid and they have all been great though very different from each other (check out my stay at The Pines Inn and the Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort). But I was happy to return to the Whiteface Lodge because not only is it the ultimate luxury experience in the area, it also has all the amenities required to make a girl’s getaway the best that it can be.
Last time I was here was several years ago when I visited with my family, but much of what I enjoyed has remained with a few extras added, such as the free movie theatre which was great for a night of popcorn and a chick flick.
There are plenty of activities within the resort and they are all included. Except for the spa (which is not a free amenity, but we still made sure to book) we found plenty of ways to entertain ourselves on site, from bowling and other games, to nights over the fireplace making s’mores and conversing. There’s the heated pool that is so warm you can swim outside, even on a chilly, winter night. There’s ice skating and an outdoor sitting area where you can drink some scotch by the warmth of the fire while admiring the evening sky.
The resort offers a free shuttle into town but we found that it’s also a nice and easy walk, weather permitting.
The food at Kanu is delicious and make sure to take advantage of the services offered by the sommelier, while the nearby bar offers plenty of lounge space bear massive fireplaces for relaxing while the mixologist serves up a variety of creative and traditional drinks.
Sunsets at the lodge are best enjoyed by the fire with cocktail in hand.
Enjoying nature and the outdoors is what the Adirondacks are all about, like skating in the Olympic Oval to snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in Mt. Van Hoevenberg.
Some of us took on cross-country skiing at Mt. Van Hoevenberg.
A few others ventured deeper into the woods with our snowshoes.
Skiing the historic Olympic Oval. Like a boss.
Of course, there’s skiing in Whiteface Mountain.
I have never been a fan of the registration process at ski destinations. It’s hot and busy and a bit overwhelming. I was impressed with Whiteface’s newest check in system. If you’ve been to the mountain before, it has all your information already handy and ready to print for equipment pick up. So nice!
Check in process quick and easy, helping to get these ladies on the slopes in no time!
Cute ski instructor sighting!
Even this non-skier found plenty to do to entertain herself on Whiteface, starting with a ride up to the summit on the gondola. From a lookout point at the top I was able to see almost the entire valley. Though the temps were really cold and the wind unforgiving, the sun glistened on the icicles hanging from the branches making the entire scene feel magical, like a painting. There is snowshoeing, tube riding, cross-country skiing and more. Plenty of ways to stay busy even if you never get on the skis. And of course, if you want to ski, I found the instructors to be extremely friendly and knowledgeable.
Not a skier? No problem! I was in heaven surrounded by these views while my girlfriends hit the slopes!
And at the base is J. Lohr Vineyards and Wines Cafe and Wine Bar, for a delicious farm-to-table experience right on the mountain. The lunch here really impressed me as it broke away from the standard junk food options that one tends to regularly find at these kinds of destinations. There are places to grab a pizza or burger, but this felt like an added bonus to the mountain experience.
The elk and pork sausages with cheese board.
The homemade pretzels…they were still warm!!
Melting chocolate. Need I say more?
In addition to the pampering and games at Whiteface Lodge, taking in a show at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts, visiting the many art galleries in and around town, and learning about Olympic history at the Olympic Center, there are local pub tours celebrating local brewers and flavors. We started at the Lake Placid Pub and Brewery where we got to check out their extensive operation (expanding soon) and do a tasting.
Lake Placid Pub Brewmaster Kevin Litchfield guides a fun and detailed tour of the brewery.After the tour, the tasting begins!
We then finished the night at one of my favorites, the Great Adirondack Steak and Seafood, where I was able to taste more than the French onion soup, which I religiously order every time I visit, and move on to other incredible dishes while paring it with the breweries tops selections. Needless to say, it was more than a girl could ask for but not too much to not want to do it again! The Lake Placid Pub and Brewery also hosts special events throughout the year where they do tastings and beer and food pairing.
More of where to eat
In addition to the mouth-watering food served up at the above mentioned restaurants and breweries, I was left pleasantly surprise by the lunch at had at the vegetarian eatery, The Good Bite. Although, I am not a vegetarian, I do like to indulge in a meatless dish every so often and finding a place that can play with flavors and blend good ingredients so well that you don’t even miss the meat is a bonus for me! The menu changes often and the place is small (most people tend to order take out), but it’s a really cute little spot and totally worth checking out. Try their vegetarian risotto ragu with mushrooms, and tomatoes. Yum!
Of course there are also sandwich shops, chocolate stores (all made in-house), bakeries, artisanal ice cream shops, all in town. Just walk around and check them out. I haven’t been disappointed yet.Glazed croissants from local bakery Cake Placid. A must!
By the end of our little getaway, the ladies and I had become friends. We joked with each other, shared creative ideas with each other, and really had a lot of fun together. I actually felt a little sad to say goodbye.
The train back home didn’t feel long – the views and comfortable train seats helped too – and was a lot more relaxed than when I arrived.
It had been a while since I visited Lake Placid and I couldn’t remember for the life of me why that was, especially considering how much I enjoy every single time I go there.
So, whether you are a lover of the snow or prefer the warmer months (the Adirondacks during the warmer months are my favorite time too!), I recommend getting this wonderful destination on your list with your friends, and if you have time, travel around other local towns around Lake Placid too.
Many thanks to the Lake Placid CVB and their partners for this experience. All opinions are my own. Photography may not be used without direct consent of the publisher.