Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Lake Placid, NY

Lake Placid Lodge
Olympic Museum

Trials on the Sliding Track

View from our room at Golden Arrow
The ski jumps
Santa's House at the North Pole

The arena where the US hockey team created the miracle of the 80 Olympics
Our suite at Whiteface Lodge
Kanu dining room
Picking out ice skates
Roasting marshmallows at the campfire on the edge of the rink
W!ld Center in Tupper Lake

Lake Placid is the perfect destination in any season and for any reason. But it is the winter season that puts Lake Placid on the map. Lake Placid, in the High Peaks area of the Adirondack, is considered the birthplace of winter sports in America and hosted the 1932 and 1980 Olympics.
Regardless of the reason or the season, visitors can create the perfect getaway. Ecology-minded travelers will approve of Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort, which is rated Four Leaves by Audubon International for their sustainable programs that includes a Green Roof that bursts into color during the summer. Drivers of hybrid vehicles get preferred parking and once at Golden Arrow there is little need to drive. The hotel is in the middle of Lake Placid village, with ski-in rooms, and a beach on Mirror Lake. Ironically, the village of Lake Placid is on Mirror Lake Across the street from the Golden Arrow is the Olympic Center, home of the Miracle on Ice. On February 22, 1980 the US hockey team, made up of amateur and collegiate players, defeated the Soviet Union team, which was considered the best international hockey team in the world. The U.S went on to win the gold medal by beating Finland. A tour of the complex visits the three indoor ice rinks where recreational skaters and Olympic hopefuls practice and includes a short video of the Miracle on Ice. While in the Olympic Center, experience the thrill of bobsledding from the drivers point-of-view, alpine skiing, ice hockey as the goalie, and ski jumping from the 120m tower in the Center’s all-in-one virtual reality simulated experience.

The 1932 & 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympic Museum explores the legacy of the Lake Placid Winter Games in many exhibits including video highlights, athletes' uniforms and equipment, and historical information about all of the area's Olympic sites. Along with the display on the 1980 hockey team relive the glory of Olympic favorites Sonja Henie, Dorothy Hamill, Peggy Fleming, and Erik Heiden along with other Olympic champions.

A free shuttle makes many stops within the village including the Olympic Ski Jumps, which are daunting from any angle. The 120-meter tower’s Sky Deck looks like a shoebox from the ground but can accommodate 100 people.

The Mt. Van Hoevenberg Olympic Sports Complex, a short way out of the village, is a Mecca for world class athletes but it is also the perfect place for recreational athletes to enjoy an Olympic outdoor adventure including an exhilarating bobsled ride with a professional driver and brakeman. The cross country ski area offers over 32 miles of meticulously groomed world class ski trails along with two dedicated snowshoe trails.

A free shuttle from the village takes skiers, and leaf-peepers in the fall, to Whiteface Mountain, the fifth-highest mountain in New York State with the greatest vertical drop in the east at 3,430 feet. Take the gondola to the summit for a 360-degree view of the area.

Before the Olympics and the popularity of winter sports the Adirondacks were home to the Great Camps, those rustic but luxurious family compounds of the wealthy. For those looking for Great Camp solitude it is still possible to slip into the mode of the Gilded Age at Lake Placid Lodge. Even though the main lodge is new due to a disastrous 2005 fire it has been rebuilt on the same footprint as the original lodge and has all the ambiance and trademarks of a Great Camp. Guests can enjoy luxurious accommodations with rustic natural furnishings. There are cozy cabins in a deep woods setting. All accommodations have a fireplace with spectacular views of Whiteface Mountain and Lake Placid. Lake Placid Lodge is the only hotel on Lake Placid. During the summer there are boats, kayaks, and swimming but during the colder season there are 17 blazing fireplaces in the public areas including some on the sprawling porches where guests will find snuggly shawls to fend off the chill.

Guests can step out of their accommodations and explore wonders of the Adirondack Forest Preserve on the Jackrabbit Trail, one of the most popular ski/snowshoe trails in the North Country. The 25-mile long trail links the Village of Keene at its western end to Saranac Lake and passes right by the Lodge. In the late afternoon lodge guests can warm themselves and enjoy hot tea and pastries in front of a fireplace before heading to the dining room for a gourmet dinner.

Located between Lake Placid Lodge and Golden Arrow Resort is Whiteface Lodge where guests can participate in a myriad of activities and never leave the lodge. Built in 2005 in the Great Camp-style Whiteface is much like the early compounds of the wealthy. The all-suite accommodations have a state-of-the-art kitchen, washer/drier, sitting room with a fireplace, and a porch or balcony. Similar to some of the Gilded Age compounds Whiteface Lodge has a bowling alley, game room, and an ice rink with a fireplace for toasting s’mores around the evening fire. Unlike the camps of yesteryear, Whiteface lodge has an indoor/outdoor pool with several hot tubs, a workout room, a movie theater that shows three movies a day, an ice cream parlor, and full-service spa for rejuvenation and relaxation. There is no need to leave. Guests can enjoy gourmet dining by one of the four massive fireplaces under a soaring 20-foot ceiling with mounted wildlife looking down and a view of Whiteface Mountain.

Lake Placid is a beehive of activity all year-round and has been since the Games put the Adirondacks on America's recreation map. Besides all the winter fun activities there visitors enjoy shopping, great dining, and wine tastings at outlets for CNY’s Goose Watch and Swedish Hill Wineries. Summer brings hikers, bikers, and paddlers, while wintertime beckons skiers and snowboarders to the state's best mountains. The Lake Placid region offers visitors a rich variety of historic, artistic, sport, and cultural attractions making it the perfect destination for any season and any reason.

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