America's Most Romantic Hotels
Those Rockefellers, Carnegies, and Vanderbilts really knew how to live. Around the turn of the last century, the American aristocracy began to stake out the Adirondacks as their personal paradise—the primeval forest and billion-year-old rock formations made the perfect setting for their splendid vacation homes, known as the Great Camps. Lake Placid Lodge, built three years ago in the Arts and Crafts tradition, is a Great Camp for the new century, supplying a similar experience for those of us not of the ruling classes. The whole place is like a fantastic treehouse. Beds have fanciful wood carvings, and the dining tables and chairs are assembled from logs and branches—no nails. Every room and cabin gets a lake view and a fireplace laid by local masons stone-by-stone.
When winter comes to these parts, it stays—you can throw boiling water in the air, and it will freeze before it hits the ground—so it’s tempting to huddle indoors, perusing one of the largest collections of Hudson River School paintings outside of a museum. There are billiards and backgammon (and the property’s only TV) in Maggie’s Pub, a casual restaurant named for the resident golden retriever. Dine on the enclosed terrace, warmed by heating lamps and lap blankets. If you do skate on the frozen lake, you’re rewarded at the nightly bonfire with hot chocolate or more serious liquids. Or take a spin on the skating oval in the village—Lake Placid has hosted the Winter Olympics twice, and this is where Eric Heiden won a record five gold medals in the 1980 games. Almost any sport done on snow or ice is available, from a dogsled through the woods pulled by huskies to a bobsled around the Olympic track through the Labyrinth, the Heart, and the Zigzag turns. Back at the lodge, a soaking tub awaits, along with a brown bag of cookies on the turned-down bed. Rockefellers, eat your hearts out.
Price Tag: From $500, including breakfast and activities.
—Aimee Lee Ball