Fall Weekend Getaway: Lake Placid Lodge in Lake Placid, New York
There is a sense of limitless immensity in the nights on Lake Placid — a mix of ceaseless breezes, a star-speckled sky, and a heavy quiet (well, save for the wail of a loon). Even as dawn reveals the edges of the misty lake and the crooked-timber rusticity of your lakeside suite, the spell holds.
Proof to me, at least, that you don’t need to sweat up a crinkly nylon tent to be at one with nature.
The area surrounding the lake, located in the six-million-acre Adirondack Park, is an outdoor pleasure ground made famous as the site of two Winter Olympics. But for those of us not inclined to ply the slopes or become 46ers (the moniker bestowed on brave souls who have conquered every high peak in the park), the grounds of Lake Placid Lodge encourage the same tranquility at a fraction of the energy expenditure.
To begin with, apart from a few designated periods each year, children under 12 aren’t permitted — a conspiracy of calm my wife and I gladly joined. The lodge’s accommodations include five rooms in the main building — book the Whiteface suite if you fancy sleeping in a swing bed on a private balcony — and 19 luxury cabins. In our room in the six-suite Lakeside Building, there was no TV, just a bookcase and a dual-sided fireplace facing the curl-up couch in the living room and a plush king in the bedroom.
As happily slugabed as I was, it seemed to be a moral point with my wife that we actually move around a bit. Fortunately, about a third of a mile from the front door, the Brewster Peninsula Trails offer pick-your-own-path ambles among birches and pines. Alas, what I considered the culmination of a day’s effort she took as a warm-up, so I soon found myself out on the lake in one of the lodge’s kayaks. (The electric boat for two was a non-starter with her.)
As a reward for my pretense of paddling, I earned myself a real boat ride with Ernie Rice, the resort’s maintenance chief, who doubles as the captain of its 35-foot mahogany touring craft. (When he asks you whether you mind if he “opens up the throttle a little,” grab your hat and prepare for the spray.)
Hungry from the day’s activity, we ate at the lodge’s main restaurant, Artisans, which has a constantly evolving farm-to-table menu that, during our stay, included octopus carpaccio, scallop with oxtail, and beef tenderloin with fiddlehead ferns and foraged mushrooms.
If the weather had cooperated — showers can be quite sudden here — we might have chosen to cap our night with bonfire s’mores, but in the end we were content to head back to our balcony to find our place in the immensity all over again.
Field Guide: Lake Placid Weekend Itinerary
Stay: Lake Placid Lodge, 144 Lodge Way, Lake Placid, New York; rates start at $699 a night.
Play: Pick up an Olympic Sites Passport ($35), which gets you admission to four Winter Olympic venues, a gondola trip up Whiteface Mountain, and a discount on a bobsled (!) ride.
Eat: Maggie’s Pub, one of the lodge’s restaurants, offers down-home fare, a billiards table and a well-stocked bar — get one of mixologist Lori Kudelski’s Upstate Old-Fashioneds (bourbon, apples and maple syrup, all from New York).
This article first appeared in Philadelphia magazine’s September 2016 issue.