How to take a World’s Best trip to Lake Placid, New York.

July 29, 2011

The Trip

The alpine village of Lake Placid, New York, may still inspire those who remember its Winter Olympics past, but it has always been an all-seasons playground. Nestled among the peaks of 6 million-acre Adirondack Park, the quaint 19th-century town has a two-lane Main Street that includes the Palace Theater, a restored 1926 movie house. Get your bearings in the warmer months with a three-mile walk or bike ride around Mirror Lake (two-wheelers are available for rent at High Peaks Cyclery) with a stop at the Cottage at Mirror Lake Inn, where locals congregate for house-made chili. In winter, take the high-speed chairlift to the top of Whiteface Mountain and ski the highest vertical drop east of the Rockies (3,166 feet). No matter the season, unpack at the Arts and Crafts–style Lake Placid Lodge, in one of the 30 polished wood-and-stone rooms and cottages. After a fire decimated the 127-year-old landmark in 2005, it was rebuilt to surpass its original glory. Now the hotel’s romantic Artisans restaurant offers a fresh spin on the area’s warm-your-bones cuisine thanks to new chef Nathan Rich, who pairs lamb loin with fava beans, English peas, and mint. What to drink? Perhaps a 2007 Châteauneuf-du-Pape from the property’s 8,000-bottle wine cellar.

Lake Placid Active Tip: Lake Placid’s Olympic Sports Complex is open to athletes interested in cross-country ski lessons on groomed Adirondack trails. To watch the experts, check with the Lake Placid Convention & Visitor’s Bureau for information on freestyle and ski-jumping events, year-round bobsled competitions, and more. 800/447-5224.

Lake Placid Family Tip: Travelers with children should opt for the four-story Whiteface Lodge Resort & Spa, which has 94 suites as well as an indoor movie theater, a bowling alley, and a kids’ program that includes tent-building, plus nightly s’mores around a bonfire and stargazing. Four-person suites from $395, including breakfast.

Lake Placid, New York: World’s Best Scorecard

Hotel

Lake Placid Lodge 91.56

Cottage at Mirror Lake Inn 77 Mirror Lake Dr.; 518/523-9845; mirrorlakeinn.com; lunch for two $40.

High Peaks Cyclery 2733 Main St.; 518/523-3764; highpeakscyclery.com; half-day rentals from $25.

Lake Placid Lodge 144 Lodge Way; 518/523-2700; lakeplacidlodge.com; doubles from $550; dinner for two $320, prix fixe, includes wine pairing.

Palace Theater 2430 Main St.; 518/523-9271.

Whiteface Mountain Rte. 86, Wilmington; 518/946-2223; whiteface.com; one-day lift tickets from $77 per person.

Lake Placid Lodge

After a devastating fire in 2005 damaged the original 1882 main house, the hotel reopened a new five-suite 30,000-square-foot main building in August of 2008. The new lodge's style is updated Arts and Crafts with antique local furniture. But the property's best feature is still down by the private shore: 17 luxe log cabins built in the 1920's and 1930's. The service is impeccable and out of sight. Return from dinner and a fire has miraculously been lit in the stone fireplace, and wood replenished in a neatly stacked pile beside the hearth. Breakfast (a plate of raspberry pancakes, tiny jars of house-made preserves) arrives magically in a wicker basket and is whisked away when you're not looking. Blanket-strewn Adirondack chairs from a circle around the fire pit at dusk, with the makings of s'mores (fresh marshmallows, artisanal chocolate) on a tiday table nearby. The hotel's romantic Artisans restaurant offers a fresh spin on the area's warm-your-bones cuisine thanks to chef Mark Hannon, who pairs lamb loin with fava beans, English peas, and mint. What to drink? Perhaps a 2007 Châteauneuf-du-Pape from the property’s 6,000-bottle wine cellar.

Olympic Sports Complex

Try a bobsled run. It’s the only bobsled, luge, and skeleton track east of the Rockies. There’s also a network of cross-country ski trails.

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