We spent New Years 2016 visiting the snowy little town of Lake Placid. Before you start thinking Whiteface, I have to come clean and admit that I did not actually get on the mountain to ski or snowboard. I have never skied, but I did have one failed attempt at snowboarding a few years ago at Stowe in Vermont. I would really like to learn eventually, but I need a solid bunny hill and introductory lesson to get me over the hump.
Lake Placid is a really cute village, with great shopping and restaurants all within walking distance of most inns and rentals. Some of the places that we stopped for lunch didn’t have the greatest food, but they all came with great views of Mirror Lake and friendly local service. We especially enjoyed Lisa G’s down at the bottom of the village, which had delicious food and a comfortable atmosphere.
I much prefer to spend New Years quietly with family and close friends. I had a few wild new years back in the day, but I honestly find the thought of going out anywhere on Dec 31st just exhausting. Writing this makes me feel much older than 24, and I have to laugh at how much of a homebody I have become in the past couple of years. Anyway, the condo that we rented in Lake Placid was the perfect place to stay for a quiet New Years. It came equipped with a game-filled basement, with everything from shuffleboard to Playstation, and a cozy living room with a warm fireplace. It was also freezing cold and snowing, which makes a nice view out the window when you are warm and relaxed inside.
Mirror Lake is a beautiful centerpiece for the town. We had great views of the water from many of the restaurants, and we were able to drive and walk completely around the lake to get the full picture. At one point we tried to find the village’s namesake, Lake Placid. According to Google Maps, we were pretty much right on the shore, but there was too much snow to actually get close enough to see it. I would like to experience Lake Placid in the warmer weather, as the Adirondacks are absolutely beautiful all year round and it seems like there would be much to do.
We also visited the site of the 1980 Miracle hockey game against the USSR. The Herb Brooks ice rink and olympic center is definitely worth the visit, and it was cute to see the elementary-age hockey teams playing on the Olympic ice. We also walked by the Olympic speed skating rink on our trips into town, although we did not take advantage of the free public skating sessions. We caught a great view of the Olympic ski jumps on our way into town, which tower beside the road in a terrifying way to us non-Olympic skiers. It is unbelievable to imagine athletes flying down them when I haven’t even made it on a bunny hill yet!
On our final day in town, we drove to the bottom of Whiteface so that I could see the mountain before we left. Since I hadn’t been skiing or snowboarding, I only saw it from afar during our trip. Pulling into the parking lot there is remarkable, with Whiteface looming over you. It takes a minute to absorb how steep each of the trails are and how large the mountain really is. One of the many reasons that I love the ocean so much is the feeling of immense smallness that it inspires in you. Large mountains give you a similar sensation, though without the vast openness you get from the sea.
Overall, we had a really good time in Lake Placid and it was a great place to ring in the New Year. I hope that next time I will actually get on the mountain to try some skiing, but not being able to do so really didn’t hurt the trip for me. It was another great long weekend away, relatively close to home, and we probably won’t get another one of those until NY warms up again.