As a family living in NYC, we know that city life is exciting; but sometimes we need a little respite. For a weekend trip, we try to find places, where we can bond in nature as a family, and also have all the comforts to get some relaxation. With 6 million acres of wilderness, the Adirondacks is a great choice. With our familiarity of Whiteface from skiing in the winter, and the many fun activities nearby, we decide to stay at the High Peaks Resorts on Lake Placid.
Leaving NYC early on a Friday was an added bonus. We arrived at Lake Placid in the afternoon, and had the advantage of plenty of light still out. There are three resorts to choose from at the High Peaks Resorts, The Resort, where we stayed, The Lake House and the Waterfront Collection. They all have a slightly different theme. For instance at the Lake House, upon arrival the parents can have a complimentary beverage of a local beer, while the kids can play foosball and at The Resort they serve champagne and the kids can have a try at chess next to the big Adirondack stone fireplace. While staying at any of the three lodges, you can take advantage of all the amenities.
It doesn’t take us long to dis-lodge. We check into our rooms, overlooking the lake. With our kids ages 9 and 14, getting a suite with two adjoining rooms was a good choice. Shortly after settling in, we take advantage of the boats and paddle boards at the High Peaks Resorts’ Waterfront Collection. As the sun starts to set, we take a short walk down Main Street. Since our spring visit, when we skied Whiteface our daughter had begged for a stuffed animal from Critters on Main. There are so many to choose from, but it was a little Australian Shepherd, that she decided on. This certainly made her happy, and as you might have imagined, she carried it around the rest of the trip everywhere.
With it getting late, we take advantage of the Dancing Bears Restaurant located downstairs from our room. It was fun going there for the first time, being that we had seen the “Dancing Bears” off the summit chair in the spring. It did not disappoint, with gluten intolerances and a vegetarian, there were options for all of us.
With only two days, our Saturday morning started with a hefty breakfast back at the Dancing Bears Restaurant. Again, they were able to accommodate. Our daughter had gluten-free French toast with locally harvested maple syrup. After fueling up, we headed over to the ORDA store to pick up our Olympic Passports, which would allow us to see the Olympic Sites in the area.
Being in the middle of the wilderness, a hike was a must on our list. We head down to Keene, where we met up with our ski friends, Saratoga Skier and family. You may have seen them in some of our ski videos and our Spring Whiteface edit, Nature’s Bounty. Both the Mom and Dad are 46ers (having hiked all 46 High Peaks) and are very knowledgeable of the hiking trails in the area. They suggested Big Crow, which for a short hike, offers great views of the High Peaks. From the summit we were able to get clear views of Mount Marcy, the highest peak in the Adirondacks, Giant and the Dix Range It really inspired the kids to do more hiking in the future, and especially in the High Peaks Region. Our friends continued on the Nun-da-ga-o Ridge trail, which is a 6 mile loop. With so many things to do and not enough time, we had to leave our friends.
Our next stop was Whiteface’s Veterans’ Memorial Highway. The tolI road allows you to drive 2300 vertical feet in five miles. Once up at the castle, you park your car and hike another 27 stories along a rocky ridgeline. If you have time, there is a café in the castle and a small gift shop. Having skied Whiteface in the spring, and just missing The Slides being open by a couple of days, it was very special for us to make it to Whiteface’s peak and the 360 degree views were spectacular.
After taking in the views, we head back to Lake Placid. Being in the the sun, my husband and daughter took advantage of the pool being right downstairs from our room, before heading to a fun community event called the Dam Duck Race. This annual event, in its 15th year takes place back behind Lisa G’s. We had eaten there in the spring, and it offers a good variety of food for all palettes including those with gluten intolerances. At the event you will find an outdoor BBQ, a mechanical bull and the main event the Dam Duck Race, where 1500 ducks race from a barge down a waterfall to the finish line. Earlier in the day we purchased three ducks. Being that the ducks were 3 for $25, we decided to get one for each of our kids, one each for our daughter and son and the third in memory of our son Rocky, who passed away 11 years ago. We were shocked that our son Rocky’s Duck got 3rd place.
For dinner we were all in the mood for pasta and delighted to find out Jimmy’s 21 had gluten-free. It was a nice to way to finish out our day, on their garden patio as the sunset reflected back on us from Mirror Lake.
With Sunday, being our last day, before our drive back home we got out early. Our first stop was the Ski Jumping Complex. We were lucky to see freestyle skiers from the Killington Mountain School, practicing their moves, landing in a refreshing pool. We even got to see two lone skiers, climbing up the 90 meter ski jump and making their way down. Once we had our fill, we drove up to the 120 meter ramp, where you take a glass elevator to the top. Even for us hardcore skiers, it is still impressive to see.
Shifting gears we headed to the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge. The refuge owned by Steve and Wendy Hall, are very passionate about their work. Steve gave us a very informative talk about wolves and coyotes and their importance in maintaining harmony with nature and Wendy was nursing a baby skunk back to health. While most of their animals cannot be released back in the wild due to various permanent injuries, they do receive animals that they rehabilitate and release back into the wild when they can. We highly recommend a trip to the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge, to families with kids of all ages, we all thoroughly enjoyed our visit.
You can’t go to the Adirondacks and not see at least part of the Ausable River that spans 94 miles, and is known for its huge gorge formed millions of years ago. Close by, in the shadow of Little Whiteface, nature trails with suspended bridges at the High Falls Gorge allow you to get a close look at part of this natural wonder and its 700 foot cascading waterfalls.
After a fun-filled day, we head back to Mirror Lake, for one last dip. We surely hope we can make a trip back to Lake Placid soon, as there are so many fun activities in all seasons.
A summer trip to Lake Placid, was inspired by our spring ski trip to Whiteface this past April, where we filmed Nature’s Bounty.
We would like to thank High Peaks Resorts and its friendly staff for making this trip a memorable experience. The High Peaks resorts has amenities for all seasons on and off the property, making it an easy accessible destination for families.
High Peaks Resorts
There is so much hiking for families in the Lake Placid area. The Saratoga Skier and family were our guides on the Big Crow hike, which for a short hike gives great views of Giant Mountain, Dix Range and Mount Marcy the tallest mountain in the High Peaks. The Saratoga Skier and family continued on the Nun-da-ga-o Ridge trail, which is a 6 mile loop for those wishing a longer hike. For more information on Big Crow and hiking in the area check out:
The Saratoga Skier’s Blog features first hand experiences of family adventures in the Adirondacks and beyond. Being a family of hardcore skiers, our families always have a great time on the slopes; they have also appeared in many Alba Adventures. We hope for more summer activities with our families in the near future. Thank you Saratoga Skier and family for introducing us to hiking in the High Peaks .
Saratoga Skier’s Blog
ORDA the Olympic Regional Development Authority of New York has an Olympic Passport, which gives you entry to the Olympic Sites in Lake Placid.
We chose Whiteface’s Veterans’ Memorial Highway, being that it is only accessible in the summer. We have skied Whiteface in the winter, and with The Slides rarely open, it gave us a rare opportunity to take in views from the summit. There is an elevator from the Castle, but check to see it is running beforehand. Otherwise the summit trail is difficult for some.
Whiteface Veteran’s Memorial Highway
We also chose the Olympic Jumping Complex. It is very unique because, there are not many of them and it is one of the longest in the US. Check out the training schedule to see when the athletes are practicing. When you take the glass elevator up the tallest tower, you can imagine the adrenaline rush, athletes have during a competition.
Olympic Jumping Complex
The Dam Duck Race is an annual community event organized by Lake Placid Rotary Club. We are still shocked that our duck came in 3rd out of 1500 ducks.
The Adirondack Wildlife Refuge, appropriate for all ages. Entrance is by donation.
Adirondack Wildlife Refuge
The High Falls Gorge on the Ausable River has nature trails, built along jagged cliffs. It offers families with children of all ages safe access to up close views of the waterfalls.
High Falls Gorge
Our daughter with an affinity for stuffed animals and almost every trip we take, has to get a furry pet. The Australian Shepherd named “Oz” is from Critters in Lake Placid.