As much of the country settles into another autumn, and the ability to enjoy the outdoors for activities becomes slimmer (unless of course you’re willing to fly south), travelers look for places that embrace the cooler temperatures. So with that in mind, let me introduce you to a spectacular place situated in the northern part of New York State known as the charming and history-filled village of Lake Placid. This jewel of a town is the perfect location for a weekend getaway or a longer vacation destination.
Regardless the season, Lake Placid has something for just about everyone. A visit to the Lake Placid shopping district is a must. This mile long strip in the quaint little town offers great restaurants, unique gift shops, and even outlet stores like the Gap, Bass, and Izod. I have found that starting my shopping days with my wife, Rachel; always seems easier by visiting the Goose Watch & Swedish Hill wineries first. A sample here and there pleasantly takes the chill off of the winter air and the price tags seem a little less damaging.
If skiing is for you, Lake Placid is perhaps the place to be east of the Rockies. Just a few minutes from town sits the world-famous Whiteface Mountain. Complete with dozens of trails, Whiteface has trails to fit every level of skier. For those looking for something different, maybe a visit to the Olympic Ice Stadium, where the USA hockey team made history in the 1980 Olympics with the “Miracle on Ice”, or a stop at the U.S. National Ski Jump and Bobsled courses can be added to your itinerary.
Throughout the holiday months of November, December and January a wide variety of fairs and sporting events, as well as visual & performing arts dot the weekly calendar in Lake Placid. November begins with the Shakespeare classic ‘Othello’ at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts (LPCA). During the first week of November the village takes on an international flair when it hosts the Four Nations Women’s Hockey Tournament, with the American team welcoming teams from Sweden, Finland, and Canada. During Thanksgiving Week, The Big Little Art Show kicks off in Lake Placid at the Center for the Arts. The last weekend of November has former Saturday Night Live regular Julia Sweeney and Jill Sobules starring in the highly acclaimed ‘Jill & Julia Show’, filled with hilarious monologues and skits, while the National Theater of Great Britain also brings its ‘National Theater Live: 50 years’ presentation to the LPCA as well.
In December, the Mt. Van Hoevenberg Olympic combined bobsled, luge and skeleton track plays host to the North American Cup Championship for bobsled and skeleton racing during the first week of the month. For first-time visitors to the sport, the 21 high-speed curves of the world class layout will surely thrill and mesmerize. Rounding out the first week of December is the annual Holiday Village Stroll. This year running from December 6-8th, the ‘Holiday Stroll’ consists of the Jingle Bell run/walk around Lake Placid’s Mirror Lake, free holiday movies at the LPCA, ‘Main Street Tastings’ food fest from the area’s favorite restaurants, the Nutcracker Ballet performance, visits from Santa Claus throughout the weekend, all capped off with the Christmas tree and yule log lighting on Saturday evening. A free matinee showing of The Polar Express at the historic Palace Theater and the always-popular Christmas candy-house making activity at the Generations Restaurant round out the weekend on Sunday afternoon. Throughout the holiday season, carolers will be heard up and down Main Street, while public skating will be available at the Olympic Center’s 1932 rink. During the middle of the month adults will get enjoy the ‘Santaland Diaries’ which promises to spread holiday cheer at the LPCA.
To round out the holidays Lake Placid rings in the New Year beginning on New Year’s Eve with the annual family-friendly event ‘Skating in the New Year’ at the Olympic Oval. Dinner specials and a variety of parties are also held at various resorts and restaurants in and around Lake Placid and Whiteface Mountain. Of course perhaps a trip to the Lake Placid region wouldn’t be complete without a stop at Santa’s Workshop located at the base of Whiteface Mountain.
From the immaculate Whiteface Lodge to the Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort, Lake Placid’s accommodations are as varied as the December weather can be. When I stay in Lake Placid it is usually at The Whiteface Lodge. At first The Whiteface Lodge’s idea of elegance and rustic charm seem to be contradictory, but within minutes of checking in it’s easy to realize that The Whiteface Lodge is truly a unique experience. From its superb restaurant, to its indoor/outdoor heated pool, The Whiteface Lodge seems to have every detail covered. This log-cabin style resort has many comfortable sitting areas and bars situated throughout its main area. The resort’s fun is seemingly limitless, with its own movie theatre and ice cream parlor operating three-times daily, a two-lane bowling alley, and a beautiful game room, that includes shuffle board, billiards, and darts. Outside, the year-round ice skating rink is breath-taking, as it sits in the shadow of Whiteface Mountain. Cross-country skiing is also available upon request.
Regardless of where or how long you decide to stay, a getaway to Lake Placid is truly a Winter Wonderland experience during the holidays. From tasty cuisine and beverages to warm your insides, to the seemingly limitless winter activities of the area, the region of Lake Placid and Whiteface Mountain will definitely become one of your favorite winter getaways for years to come.