So…picking up where we left off, David and I had just spent three amazing days in NYC, celebrating the Christmas holiday and my birthday. On the 27th, we woke up way too early (considering I celebrated my birthday the night before), and hit the road. You’ll probably remember from the last post that the whole reason for the trip was that I was desperately seeking snow. In NYC, I got flurries, which turned into flakes, which turned into accumulated slush. It was snow though, and I was thrilled. David, on the other hand, insisted that we see real snow – real, up to your knees, winter wonderland snow. And with that, we rented a car and drove to Lake Placid in upstate New York.
About an hour and a half into the trip, the ground was snow covered and the trees were glistening white. After living in Florida for over a decade, I almost forgot how beautiful everything looks covered in snow. I couldn’t help but start humming the song “Snow” from the movie, White Christmas. After a quick download from iTunes, David and I were singing along with Bing Crosby and the gang, “It won’t be long before we’ll all be there with snow. I want to wash my hands, my face, my hair with snow!”
David spent part of his early years growing up in Lake Placid. It was a magical place for him, and he was hoping it would be for me as well. He was like a little boy talking about his favorite memories of playing in the snow. He seemed to get more excited every time I loaded up “Snow” to replay on my iPhone.
After seven long hours in the car, we arrived in Lake Placid. It was everything David said it would be – quaint, magical, beautiful, and snowy, and I mean snowy. We had finally arrived in our winter wonderland. We were in heaven.
What To Do in Lake Placid ~
… Learn About Olympic History
Lake Placid is loaded with fun history. It’s the two-time site of the Winter Olympics – 1932 and 1980. It’s where the Americans beat the Russians in hockey in 1980. It’s where we had our very own “Miracle on Ice.” The Olympic Training Facility is in the center of town. And to this day, athletes come from all over the world to train for skiing, bobsledding, luging, ice skating, and hockey. The locals are proud of what they’ve contributed to Olympic history. You can’t help but feel proud too, as an American, when the locals tell you all the amazing stories of victory in the clutches of defeat.
… Enjoy Main Street
Main Street in downtown Lake Placid is filled with cute shops, great restaurants, and historic buildings. The snow covered street was so beautiful, I didn’t care how cold it was. As dusk settled, big snow flakes stuck to my eyelashes. Time has stood still in in Lake Placid. It’s that old fashioned, Americana that makes you wish things could magically once again be that simple.
… Karouse With the Locals
After a comfort food filled dinner, we found a lively tavern where the locals belly up to the bar. It didn’t take long before David befriended a guy who happened to know some of David’s childhood friends from the area. Over the next few days, I realized that Lake Placid is just one of those special places where everyone knows you even if you’ve never been there in your life. It’s sort of like one big Cheers. (“Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came.”)
Even if they’ve never laid eyes on you in their life, they act as though they’ve known you since you cross country skied in their backyard when you were five years old. It’s a welcoming feeling that warms you up inside. Do not discount this warming you up inside idea. When the temperature is in the single digits, you’ll take whatever you can get.
… Go On a Bobsled Ride
The bobsled track was built in 1930, and was used in the 1932 and 1980 Olympics. To borrow a friend’s description of the bobsled experience, I can tell you that it is a “light your hair on fire ride.” When we bought our tickets, the cashier told us that only the last half mile of the bobsled track is open to the public because most people cannot handle the G-force associated with the entire track ride. When the regular folk began passing out during the long, fast ride, visitors were limited to the last half mile of the track.
David and I sat between a professional driver, who sat in the front, and a brake man, who gave us a push and hopped on behind us. On the winter, ice covered track, the bobsled can get up to about 80 mph.
There is no harness or seat belt. You are instructed to cross your arms and hold on to two lines that run the length of the bobsled. You are also instructed to keep every part of your body inside the sled. I didn’t understand how we were going to stay inside the bobsled, but being the adventurer that I am, I just nodded my head and waited for the push. Once we got up to speed and rounded the bend, I caught on that centrifugal force was my new best friend.
… Go to a Ski Jump Competition
Lake Placid is also well known for it’s ski jump training facility. You may have seen this event on television, but there’s nothing like seeing it in person.
On the second night we were there, we heard about the local ski jump competition that was scheduled. We got there a little early, bought a cowbell (a MUST have at a ski jump competition), and waited for the jumps. The energy was electric. The jumps were spectacular. And these were just local kids, who had been practicing. Well, practicing for the Olympics, so they were amazingly good.
… Ski Whiteface Mountain
We didn’t ski Whiteface Mountain, but Jimmy Fallon did. I recently saw his post on Facebook that he had a great time in Lake Placid. He also gave a shout out to Maui North, the superb ski shop in town.
What to Wear in Lake Placid ~
Lake Placid isn’t really a place that you go seeking style, but you still should look stylish. With it being so cold, I will admit, it’s a little tricky to look put together. (Think lots of long underwear, multiple layers, feeling restricted and wearing big, puffy coats.) If you’ll recall when I was in NYC, I loaded up on some discounted winter clothes at my new favorite store, C. Wonder, which helped me put together some stylish but warm outfits. Here’s one I came up with…
The Long & Short of It ~
The long of it is that Lake Placid is fun, quaint, picturesque, old-fashioned, and delightful. The short of it is is that it’s a magical adventure. If you’re looking for a winter wonderland, go to Lake Placid. Although, I’ve heard it’s even better in the summer. I’ll let you know about that in a few months. It’s at the top of my list for a summer vacation. Something tells me that paddle boarding on the lake and hiking the mountains on a warm summer day would be a magical adventure too.
Places to Eat, Drink, and Be Merry in Lake Placid:
- Paradox Lodge. Tell Red that we sent you.
- The Cottage. A busy, local tavern.
- The Interlakan Inn. Gorgeous, cozy spot. Great food.
- The Lake Placid Lodge. Beautiful hotel, great bar, delicious food.
Your Fun, Sexy, Spiritual Homework:
- See Bing Crosby and the gang sing “Snow.”
- History lesson on the Mt. Van Hovenberg Olympic Bobsled Run.
- Thinking about going on the bobsled ride? More info here.
- Have you seen the final minute of the Miracle on Ice? If you’re American, it’s required viewing. See the winning shot here.
- What is this ski jumping all about? Want to see how they train? Amazing athletes. Truly.
- Why do they ring cowbells anyway?
- While in Lake Placid don’t miss Maui North – the best place to get your outdoor gear.