What a delightful surprise to discover the breathtaking High Peaks region of the Adirondack Mountains and the luxe yet relaxed all-suite Whiteface Lodge! I often enjoy hiking, biking, snowshoeing, and other four-season sports in New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont— but during a recent visit to Lake Placid I experienced the singular beauty and myriad recreational offerings of this area of New York State. The combination of a super comfy, all-suite property reflecting authentic regional design and a living legacy from two Lake Placid Olympic Games offers mulitgenerational families a perfect four-season Adirondack retreat.
Built in 2005 with stone and timber architecture and hand crafted Adirondack-style interior furnishings and details, the 94-suite Whiteface Lodge fits perfectly in its woodland surroundings, about a 10-minute drive from the charming town of Lake Placid. All of the guest rooms are one, two, or three bedroom suites, ranging in size from 700 to 2,300 square feet. They reflect the same rustic sense of place as the Lodge’s public spaces, yet are outfitted with modern conveniences ranging from high-definition flat screen televisions to radiant floor heating and from cast iron gas fireplaces to big, jetted bathtubs. They also have full kitchens, washers and dryers, and homemade cookies at turndown—among the property’s many enticements for multi-gen getaways. Having your own private bathroom and sleeping room—as compared to sharing a standard guest room room with twin beds or a sofa bed—is huge plus for a modern family vacation. Staying in a Whiteface Lodge suite feels like you’re staying in a fabulous multi-room apartment with plenty of privacy, and you also have a comfy living room, dining area, and kitchen for hanging out with your traveling companions.
There’s plenty to do year round at the resort, from enjoying a relaxing massage at the top notch spa to taking a leisurely swim in the heated indoor/outdoor pool. I especially liked playing table tennis in the old-fashioned game room, and catching a movie at the 54-seat, state-of-the-art theater—with a bag of the free popcorn, of course. Seasonal amenities include an ice cream parlor; access to the resort’s private Canoe Club on the shores of Lake Placid, with a variety of water sports; and a three-season ice skating rink. There’s also a nightly family campfire with s’mores and cigars & cognac served up in outdoor lean-to’s.
One of the nicest surprises at Whiteface Lodge was the tasty, locally-sourced cuisine at the resort’s Kanu dining room. Innovative but not fussy, the food was excellent and a cut above what I expected from a hotel restaurant tucked away in the mountains. Each menu selection features North American native fish and game, and fresh regional ingredients—and can be paired with specific wines selected by the house Sommelier. Being a seafood lover, I tried the Hook and Line Caught Beaufort Swordfish with Tellicherry Black Peppercorn, Red Lentils, and Carrot-Cardamom Sauce and the delectable fish melted in my mouth. Another entree enjoyed by my group was the North Fork Ranch Bison Ribeye, with Maldon Sea Salt, Black Peppercorn, Hasselback Potato and Mapleview Farm Corn Succotash.
FOR THE ATHLETES
Home to both the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics, Lake Placid does not have enough housing inventory to host a modern-day Game but it boasts a fascinating infrastructure recycled for modern use. At the edge of town, the Olympic Center at Lake Placid is connected to two vintage skating rinks: where 16-year-old figure skater Sonja Henie won an Olympic gold medal in 1932, and where, in 1980, the US men’s hockey team toppled the Soviet Union on its way to winning the gold medal. It’s also home to the small but fascinating Lake Placid Olympic Museum, where you can see Olympic memorabilia and view rare historical footage of the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” game.
Outside of town in the mountains, you’ll find all manner of wilderness expeditions and activities that range from ice climbing to sleigh rides to world-class cross-country and downhill skiing—spectacular Whiteface Mountain has some of the highest skiable terrain in the the east, topping off at 4,650 feet. As well, I recommend visiting the Olympic Jumping Complex and taking the chair lift ride to see the breathtaking views; braving the Lake Placid Bobsled Experience at the Olympic Sports Complex (or cheering your pals on if your back isn’t up to the pounding); and touring the Olympic Training Center, where some of the world’s most elite athletes are in residence year-round, preparing for the next Winter Games. There are many extreme sports options at the Olympic venues, ranging from rocketing down an icy chute 30 miles per hour on a Skeleton (your childhood sled in overdrive), to hardcore mountain biking; along with mellower workouts such as Yoga on the Mountain. Whatever tours or activities you choose to experience, it feels magical and uplifting to be among the world’s most elite athletes.
IF YOU GO
What enables Lake Placid to retain its singular beauty and sense of place also makes it a bit time consuming to get there. The area is a two-hour drive from airports in Albany, New York; Burlington, Vermont; and Montreal, Canada—and it’s a five-and-a-half hour drive from Boston or New York City. But the journey can be part of the fun. The drive I took from Southern New Hampshire, much of it along the banks of Lake Champlain in both Vermont and New York State, was breathtakingly beautiful. Check out the Whiteface Lake Placid website for information about the area and about discounted seasonal passports.