New York's Lake Placid Lodge Offers
Pure Adirondacks, Pure Bliss
By Barbara Barton Sloane
The intoxicating fragrance of cedar and balsam pine enveloped me as I entered the lobby Lake Placid Lodge. A beloved nineteenth century mountain camp transformed into a lodge of rustic splendor, it is located in the Tri-Lakes region of the Adirondack Mountains in Upstate New York.
Lake Placid Lodge is the jewel of the Adirondacks – clear and cold in winter, strewn with leafy islands waiting to be explored in summer. This majestic hotel was built by hand in the Arts & Crafts tradition, perfectly at home in its lakeside setting. There are thirteen sumptuous rooms and seventeen luxury cabins at the water’s edge. The woods and water engulf the lodge as the sun warms its wide stone porches. Each room has a fireplace at its heart, and the wilderness is visible through diamond-paned windows. Above all, I found comfort and welcome wherever I went.
Beneath a blanket of fresh snow at this Relais & Chateaux property, I experienced winter at its purest. This season is a most special time as the silent, snowy forest and the frozen lake make a magical landscape to explore or to leisurely gaze at from a chair next to a warm fireplace.
It doesn’t hurt that the pub is well-stocked for inclement weather pursuits: billiards, backgammon, chess and cards, as well as tempting food and drink. Chef Nathan Rich, recently of the Mandarin Oriental, works his masterful culinary skills with locally-grown products and his farm-to-table philosophy. During my three crisp, silvery days, I did a bit of snowshoeing and hiking but I must confess I spent an inordinate amount of time curled in front of a crackling bonfire, my enchanted nights warmed by its glow and sipping hot cocoa, before sinking into a cocoon of fairytale bedding.
Family Need a Getaway?
The Lodge is inviting guests of all ages to join in the winter fun for a special 2-night stay package between March 11-March 26. Activities include ice skating in the Olympic Rink, an interactive experience with birds of prey, snowshoeing, sledding, S’mores, and cross-country and downhill skiing. Ski packages start at $1,300 and include your stay in a mountain view cabin or lakeside suite, lift tickets for the whole family each day, gourmet goodies to eat on the mountain, and made-to-order breakfasts daily.
A large, charming Golden Retriever, Maggie, is the mistress of this gilded manor and, in fact, the Pub bears her name. Each evening at dinner, Maggie visited our table, standing at a respectful distance and staring solemnly at our food with soulful eyes. Ever the lady, after a few minutes she would either lie quietly at our feet or wander off to visit another table and repeat the performance. Maggie was also a lively companion on our walks as she’d bound ahead and out of sight, only to reappear suddenly out of the brambles, wet, bedraggled and truly worse for wear but panting with unbridled joy.
Fire on the Mountain
Five years ago, Lake Placid Lodge belied its name when, on December 15, 2005, disaster struck. An electrical fire started in an unused downstairs kitchen in the Main Lodge and swept through the historic wooden structure dating from 1882. The staff acted quickly to evacuate the building and no one was hurt –not even Steamboat, the cat. With the Main Lodge all but destroyed and the adjacent Cedar Lodge heavily damaged, there was nothing left to do but carry on and rebuild. That’s just what they did, and, amazingly, the rebuilding and renovation took less than three years.
In September, 2008, the Lodge reopened. Very similar to the original buildings in structure and style, the new lodge is blessed with a number of "corrections" including modern electrical and technological updates, so despite this devastating blow, the Lake Placid Lodge has been re-created – now even better than ever!
Flights: Private jets can fly directly into the Lake Placid airport
Commercial flights: fly into Adirondack Regional Airport (ADK) located 4 miles NW of Saranac Lake in the town of Harrietstown.
Rates: Main lodge from $575; Lakeside building from $675; private cabins from $650.
Barbara Barton Sloane lives in New York and is a regular contributor to BAFT.
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