Lake Placid, NY - Jim Flynn's BestWeekends

Lake Placid, NY

Lake Placid, NY Overview

Hard to believe the “Miracle on Ice” was 40 years ago or that this tiny hamlet of 3,000 has hosted two Winter Olympics, 1980 and 1932. Lake Placid today, is a wonderful year-round resort community and is home to the U.S. Winter Olympic team training.

Oddly, the town of Lake Placid sits on Mirror Lake, with Lake Placid being just a short distance away, but it is a charming little hamlet with wonderful shops and restaurants and delightful places to stay.

Adirondack State Park is the largest in the nation, bigger than the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and Yosemite combined. The area was home to the “Great Camps”, luxurious, rustic mountain retreats built by America’s wealthy in the 20’s and 30’s.

Crystal clear lakes amid the tall pines of the Adirondack Mountains provide great recreational opportunities for all seasons and Whiteface Mountain offers some of the best skiing in the East. The town itself, overlooking Mirror Lake has wonderful shops and restaurants and maintains its small town charm.


When To Go

One of the great things about Lake Placid is that there are no limitations to when you can go. Every season offers plenty to do. Warm and cold weather outdoor activities abound and the delightful mountain atmosphere creates such a sense of serenity that just relaxing and reading a book is activity enough.

Getting There

Lake Placid is a 5 hour drive from either New York or Boston. Should you wish to fly, Burlington, Vermont is two hours away, Albany 2 ½. You can also fly into nearby Saranac Lake, but the total trip from New York is 3 ½ hours (if the flights are on-time!) and costs @$354.

Getting Around

In Lake Placid itself, everything is within walking distance, but there is so much to see and do in the surrounding areas that a car is a necessity. Public transportation is available, but limited.

Things To Do

Winter offers a full range of outdoor sports including downhill and cross country skiing, snowmobiling, ice skating, snowshoeing and sleigh rides. Warmer months bring lake swimming, boating, water skiing, fishing, trail riding, hiking and rafting. There are cultural events throughout the year, museums to visit, amazing geological attractions and wonderful shopping.

Downhill Skiing

Whiteface Mountain is Ski Magazine’s #1 ski resort in the east with a 3430 ft. vertical drop, the largest in the east.

Cross Country Skiing

Mount van Hoevenberg Cross Country Center is the start of 31 miles of terrain that have hosted the Olympics and World Cup events. It is linked to the Jackrabbit Trail system as well.

Sleigh Rides

Country Dream Farms offers ½ hour sleigh rides on Mirror Lake from January-mid March

Snowmobiling

Lake Placid Snowmobiling (the oldest) and Snow Tours are the choices for one hour or longer adventures into the forest.

Bobsledding

Take a half mile ride with a professional driver down the 1980 Olympic bobsled track. $40 at the Verizon Sports Complex

Ice Skating

You can skate on Mirror Lake, but you’ll also want to skate on the same oval as Eric Heiden did in winning 5 gold medals in the 1980 Olympics. Sheffield Speed Skating Oval, Main Street. Rentals available.

Dog Sled Rides

December thru April on Mirror Lake by Thunder Mountain Dog Sled Tours.

Walking/Running/Biking

Walk around Mirror Lake or The Peninsula Nature Trails. Biking is good on the Peninsula as well. High Peaks Cyclery, 331 Main Street is the place to rent bikes. The Peninsula Nature Trails starts on Saranac Ave (Rt.86) between the Comfort Inn and the Howard Johnson’s. Maps are available in town and there are a number of routes of varying lengths.

Swimming

Pools are available at two of our Featured Properties, The Mirror Lake Inn and The Whiteface Lodge and swimming can also be enjoyed in Mirror Lake and Lake Placid

Horseback Riding

Scenic trail rides through the woods, meadows and back country roads.

Golf

There are a number of courses in the area, but the most enjoyable is the scenic links course at Saranac Inn Golf & Country Club. Rated one of Top 13 public courses in NY by Golf Digest 4 ½ stars. $60

Tennis

There are public tennis courts, just off Main Street, next to the toboggan launch

Adventure/Equipment

High Peaks, 331 Main has it all. In winter they can take you ice climbing, ski touring, back country skiing and snowshoeing. In summer it’s biking, rock climbing, canoeing, kayaking and hiking.

Boat Rides

Out of the Lake Placid Marina, a turn of the century, enclosed boat travels the waters of the Lake regaling visitors of the area’s history, wildlife, Olympics and the Great Camps in an hour long, 16 mile trip. $7.95, in season.

Rafting

The Adirondack Rafting Company in Lake Placid offers exciting whitewater rafting through the Hudson River Gorge. $75pp includes guide and lunch. April/May is when the rapids are at their strongest.

Fishing

Bass, trout, landlocked salmon, pike and panfish are abundant in countless lakes, ponds, rivers and streams. The 34 mile Ausable River is the perfect spot for trout and Lake Champlain is one of the best bass fisheries in the east. Click here.

Sights/Tours

The Lake Placid Winter Olympic Museum recounts the history of the two Olympics held here. At the Olympic Ski Jump you’ll get to see jumpers up close. Can’t really appreciate this sport on TV.

Ausable Chasm is the Grand Canyon of the Adirondacks. Come visit Ausable Chasm for an assortment of adventures you will not find at any other single location in the Adirondacks. Hike, float and/or climb as you go back in time as you experience one of the oldest natural attractions in the United States (Est. 1870)

High Falls Gorge is a 22 acre, privately owned nature park, providing trail access for all ages to an otherwise inaccessible area, with four splendid Adirondack waterfalls cascading over rocks into a deep crevice carved a billion years ago.

Antiques

Lots of little antique shops in the region. I like Summer Antiques, 2517 Main Street, partly because you can go on-line and see what they have available. Some others in town; The Antique Center, 2513 Main Street, Suite 2, Alan Pereske, 2158 Saranac Avenue, Twigs, 5730 Cascade Road, and Log Cabin Antiques, 86 Main Street

Shopping

The Adirondack Artists’ Guild located on Main Street in Saranac Lake features a host of local artists and their work in watercolors, photography, oils, tapestries and more. For wonderful Adirondack furnishings, we love the Adirondack Store.  

Events/Festivals

No shortage of cultural events in the area. The Arts Council for the Northern Adirondacks puts out an Arts Directory which has everything from concerts to farm markets to crafts shows. You can pick up a copy in town. Another source is the Lake Placid Center for the Arts.

Dont Miss

  • Scones or croissants at Bluesberry Bakery.
  • Lunch at the Cottage Cafe.
  • High Peaks Gorge.
  • Something on the Lake; sleigh ride, dog sled or boating.
  • Cocktails at Kanu Lounge
  • Olympic Museum
  • Dinner at the View

The Best Of...

Food & Drink

Breakfast

All of our lodging recommendations serve breakfast (see The View at Mirror Lake), but these are some other options: The Cabin Grill at the North Woods Hotel is a classic Adirondack setting with a delicious breakfast. The Breakfast Club Etc is another good choice on Main Street. Head to the Bluesberry Bakery for fantastic pastries, muffins croissants etc.

Lunch

Our favorite lunch spot is the Cottage Café. Mirror Lake Inn. On the Lake with great views. Outdoor patio with fireplace, open year round. Homemade chili and soups are delicious. Adirondack Brewing Co.  Main Street. In house brewery. Great burgers. Sit at the bar. Great place to talk to the locals. Outdoor patio in nice weather. Peak 47 at Whiteface Lodge has a delicious lunch menu and a comfortable room with a big stone fireplace. Maggie’s Pub at the Lake Placid Lodge has amazing mountain and lake views, delicious food and pub games. Delta Blue bring a little Southern charm to Lake Placid. Good beer selection. Live music.

Burger

Another tough one, but the Black Angus burger on pretzel roll at the Interlaken Pub gets our vote. Get a side order of the Cayenne onion rings. Burger at the Cottage is pretty good too.

Picnic Fixins

Saranac Sourdough, on Saranac Ave. makes great sandwiches on their own in- house made sourdough breads. Delicious. Try the rosemary olive oil bread.

Cocktails

Best views of the lake and mountains are from the Great Room bar at the Crown Plaza, at the top of the hill overlooking the town. Also with great views; Top of the Park.  Outside deck in nice weather. Taste Bistro, Mirror Lake Inn. Cozy lounge overlooking Mirror Lake. Great cheese selection for a snack. Had my first Tito’s vodka here. Cottage Café, Mirror Lake Inn. On the Lake. Outdoor seating year round. Fireplaces inside and out. Peak 47 Whiteface Lodge. Beautiful surroundings. Stone fireplace. Very comfortable. Liquids and Solids offers craft cocktails, whiskey, great beer selection and fantastic apps. Friday nights they do a 4 course dinner with beer pairings.

Activities/Shopping

Early Morning Coffee & Paper

Soulshine Bagels on Main Street opens at 6:30am and serves my favorite Green Mountain coffee. Right across the street Newman’s Newspapers opens at 7am. Most papers are in by 7:45am. Bluesberry Bakery, also on Main at 2624 makes incredible croissants, scones and pastries and opens at 8am.

While Away a Rainy Day

The Cottage. Lake and mountain views. Fireplaces inside and on outside deck.

After Dinner Fun

Lake Placid isn’t exactly known for its nightlife, but if you are so inclined, here’s where to go; dancing and DJ or live music; Roomers, Main Street, Dancing Bear Lounge, at the Hilton, Wiseguys, School Street, Pool table, darts; Zig Zag’s,  Quiet drink; Cottage, Mirror Lake Inn, Kanu Lounge, Whiteface Lodge. There’s also the Palace movie theater for first run movies and bowling at Bowl Winkles (love that name)

Wine Shop

Terry Robards, 243 Main Street.  Former NY Times Wine columnist. Good chance he knows what he’s doing!

Sweet Tooth

Adirondack Chocolates. Home Made Adirondack Chocolates. 61 Main Street. Lots of one of a kind stuff. All natural, always fresh. Delicious.

Special Things

An Amazing 24 Hour Adventure

The Point
Upper Saranac Lake, NY

Imagine having a wealthy friend who purchases one of the great camps in the Adirondacks, decorates it exquisitely, hires a world class chef, outfits it with every possible recreational amenity and then invites you and some other interesting people for the weekend. That only begins to describe the experience that is The Point.

The Arrival
Once the retreat of William Avery Rockefeller, The Point was constructed on a 10 acre peninsula on the Upper Saranac Lake. Its remote location is reached via special directions which arrive upon payment of your stay. Instructions suggest you arrive in time for lunch at 1pm. Adding to the mystique of The Point, there are no signs, so you must follow the directions carefully to reach your destination (like set your odometer to 11.6 miles from the blinking light) when you must punch in a special code to open the gate and drive down the main road to reception.

As you arrive staffers appear to welcome you and to take your car and luggage. Champagne is offered, lunch plans are announced and you are introduced to other guests who have gathered around the huge stone fireplace in the Great Hall for a cocktail before lunch.

Lunch
Guests are seated “en famille” or family style at two large circular tables surrounding another fireplace. Lively conversation ensues as a delicious beef tenderloin and shrimp lunch with a light horseradish sauce is served and complimented with a wonderful red Bordeaux. Guests linger over coffee and a decadent apple crumb crisp.

You can also opt for the kitchen to make you a box lunch to take on a hike or out onto the lake in one of the boats. We heard a great story about a guest request for homemade lemonade for a lake picnic. She was dismayed when she opened the picnic hamper to find no lemonade. Suddenly a staffer arrives in another boat holding the lemonade, and declares, “we didn’t want the ice to melt.”

The Tour
After lunch our host, John, offered to show us around the property. We began with the kitchen, where we were introduced to each staff member, shown where the daily menus were posted and told we could come into the kitchen at any time to get a snack, request something different from the menu or even don kitchen whites and help cook! Amazing.

As we left the main building, John showed us a complete pantry bar, just off the entrance, and told us we could help ourselves at any time. We then visited the Pub, steps from the main building where there is another full bar, a pool table, board games, darts, puzzles and a plasma screen for watching movies from their vast selection of DVD’s.

Next up was the Boathouse, along the lake, that housed a collection of electric and outboard boats available for guest use, a magnificently restored launch used for cocktail cruises and an antique Hack Craft used for staff operated tours of the lake. Oh, yes, another full bar was available in the Boathouse.

The last stop was at “the point” the highest elevation overlooking the lake. Here is where barbeques are staged for lunch and where there is a wonderful lean-to the likes of which you have never seen before. Set next to a large fire pit and outfitted with pillows and blankets, this is a favorite after dinner spot. Did I mention there was a full bar here as well?

Dinner
Dinner at The Point is an event whether you enjoy it with the other guests or in the privacy of your room. It begins with a note slipped under your door inviting you to 7pm cocktails and hors d’ouevres at a specified location on the property; on the launch on the lake, in the Pub or in the dining room. Black tie is requested for Wednesdays and Saturdays. It all just seems so civilized.

At lunch we enjoyed the company of a couple who were making their 17th annual visit (he develops shopping centers) and a “Sir” and “Lady” from London. Our dinner companions included a TV personality and her new husband (son of a famed attorney) who had just been married at The Point that day, a young writer who was honeymooning with her European husband and a delightful couple from Connecticut celebrating a milestone anniversary.

Dinner was a marvelous 7-course affair paired with wonderful wines. It began with a shitake and egg custard and a 1998 Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin followed by a lump crab salad in a citrus sauce. A delicate fillet of turbot with a sauce Noilly Prat was paired with a 2003 Kitstler “Les Noisetiers.”  A watermelon sorbet cleansed the palette and prepared us for the roast rack and loin of lamb, served with  2001 Paradigm Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon. A wonderful Crème Vanille and a selection of cheeses was joined with a 1999 Chateau Rieussec sauternes.

Breakfast
Breakfast begins with a soft knock on your door and the arrival of coffee at a time you pre-determine. You may enjoy a full breakfast in bed, on the patio or in the Great Hall. The choices are limitless, from Eggs Benedict, to the poached eggs and homemade hash we enjoyed to smoked salmon to kippers. One guest told us of requesting shrimp grits on a previous stay. The kitchen apologized that they had no grits, but it was on the menu the next day and remains there today.

The Rooms
There are 11 rooms at The Point, all individually decorated in a rustic, but very elegant, Adirondack style. Our room, the Adirondack, was Rockefeller’s library. The walls are lined with bookshelves, there’s a plump reading chair and ottoman next to a massive stone fireplace, a couch with a fur throw under the iron paned picture window, a walk-in closet and a featherbed you never want to leave. The two room bathroom suite has a rainforest shower that belongs in our “Shower Hall of Fame”, a wonderfully powerful and invigorating soak.

Activities
On property you can hike, snowshoe, boat, swim, ice skate, cross country ski, play croquet, horseshoes, volleyball or mountain bike. Off-site you can play golf (complimentary) at the Saranac Inn, downhill ski at Whiteface Mountain or enjoy some of the other local attractions of the area.

I must admit to some trepidation before my arrival. I had read so much about The Point, I feared it could never live up to the hype. And, I wondered, could any place be worth this nightly tariff? Well, it did live up to the hype and it was worth every penny. Staying here is an experience not to be missed…at least once, but one stay will have you hooked.

RATES: $1375-$2500 per night per couple. Includes lunch upon arrival, dinner, breakfast and either lunch in the dining room or a box lunch for your trip on the day of departure. All liquor, wine and snacks are included. Boats, fishing equipment, ice skates, snow shoes, hiking boots and golf are all included.

WHAT OTHERS SAY…
AAA Five Diamond
Forbes Five Star

It’s “one of the musts before you die” sigh sojourners of the “once-in-a-lifetime experience” to be had at this Relais & Chateau “escape from daily stress” on Saranac Lake in the Adirondacks; “play robber baron” and indulge in the “fabulous service”, “top notch” dining and “amazing rooms” featuring lake views, custom made beds and eclectic antiques; it’ll “cost a fortune”, but it’s “pure class” ZAGAT

Where To Stay

High Peaks Resort

OVERVIEW of High Peaks Resort For many, many years the Hilton occupied the corner of Main Street and Saranac Avenue and in 2008 the property passed hands and became the High Peaks Resort. The owners took advantage of an ideal location with mountain and lake views and “kicked it up a notch” as Emeril would...…

View Property Details

Lake Placid Lodge

OVERVIEW of The Lake Placid Lodge The Lake Placid Lodge is a spectacular property on the banks of Lake Placid that offers a main lodge and a collection of lakeside cabins. Rooms are extraordinarily decorated, the food is outstanding and the views breathtaking. In December 2005, just two months after our first visit, a devastating...…

View Property Details

Mirror Lake Inn

OVERVIEW of Mirror Lake Inn Some places are just so comfortable and welcoming, you know from the start that you will keep coming back. Mirror Lake is one of those places. It is a delightful place to stay in any season, but it becomes truly magical when all lit up with tiny lights and surrounded...…

View Property Details

The Point, Upper Saranac Lake NY

OVERVIEW of The Point Imagine having a wealthy friend who purchases one of the Great Camps in the Adirondacks, decorates it exquisitely, hires a world class chef, outfits it with every possible recreational amenity and then invites you and some other interesting people for the weekend….that my friends, is The Point. I must admit to...…

View Property Details

Whiteface Lodge

OVERVIEW of Whiteface Lodge Developer Joe Barile set out to recreate the grandeur of the great Adirondack camps, but with a modern touch to it and he has certainly succeeded. The Whiteface Lodge is a magnificent facility destined to take its place along with other great US resorts. Established as a private residence club, its...…

View Property Details

Where To Eat

Artisans at the Lake Placid Lodge

The '05 fire that claimed the main building, its restaurant, bar, wine cellar and wine collection was a blow to all who had enjoyed this magnificent restaurant on the banks of Lake Placid. My wife and I got engaged here just two months before the fire, so it had special meaning to us. How do…

View Restaurant Details >

Kanu at The Whiteface Lodge

Soaring ceilings and huge hand cut timber beams, massive iron chandeliers decorated with antlers, enormous stone fireplaces and floor to ceiling windows overlooking the wooded area beyond create a dramatic, luxurious and rustic setting for a meal at Kanu that you won't soon forget. Twig style Adirondack tables and chairs sit atop beautiful Oriental carpets…

View Restaurant Details >

Taste Bistro

For a more casual, less "fancy" dinner, Taste Bistro & Bar at Mirror Lake Inn is a favorite. It's a cozy, dark little nook, located off the bar area with a wonderful fireplace and great views of the lake and mountains. The basic menu is comfort food personified. Try the Lobster Risotto Fritters. Maine lobster,…

View Restaurant Details >

The View at The Mirror Lake Inn

It's not called The View for nothing. The Inn is set on a hillside overlooking Mirror Lake and the Adirondack Mountains. The view from the dining room in any season is nothing short of spectacular. The restaurant is the only AAA Four Diamond award winner in Lake Placid. The main dining room (the one with…

View Restaurant Details >

Advance Search

Use our handy tool to search for the perfect weekend with all the features you prefer. Search by accomodation type, recognition, geography, amenity and more. Search now!

The Wow Factor

Join BestWeekends.com and get FREE access to The Wow Factor - 25 of the Most Spectacular Ins in America Click here to Sign Up. Aready a member? View the Book by clicking here.

Notes From the Road

Hear about our latest discoveries
before anyone else!

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP!