Everyone has their favorite season of the year for their own reasons. Each season has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Some love the heat of summer while others loathe it, and vice versa. Some prefer the blooms of spring, and some prefer the fall foliage. Today, I’m making the case for loving all seasons; for choosing to see the beauty in and taking advantage of the good bits of every season. Savoring the joyous moments of each season, make the entire year a wonder, or at least make the bad bits seems not as bad.
Over all, we had a great winter. Starting with a joyful holiday season and working its way into so many beautiful snowy days. As this week the weather so coincidentally seems to be warming up, it seems we picked the perfect weekend to spend in Lake Placid. One last snowy and wintery weekend before all the snow melts and we enter the season of mud.
We live in Watertown, NY. Which at first glance to many, including the people who live here, doesn’t really have much to do. However, there actually is quite a bit to do, with in a smallish driving distance. We live close to Lake Ontario, offering swimming, hiking, and boating. We also live close to the Thousand Islands/St. Lawrence Seaway, offering the same things plus golfing and more. Less than an hour from our house is the edge of the Adirondack Park/Mountains, which is home to multiple lakes, the longest hiking trail system in the US, multiple breweries and the location of Lake Placid. Within a 3 hour radius from our home is access to a surplus of outdoor activities. Admittedly, we have not taken advantage of the Adirondacks nearly as much as we should; but after going this weekend and driving by the endless number of trailheads, we know that will change this year.
So we woke up early on Saturday and in just two and half hours we were in Lake Placid. We drove another 10 minutes to the other side of town to make a little stop at High Falls Gorge. I had past this place years ago on my way to Whiteface, but had never been. When there is ample snow on the ground, they offer snowshoeing — unfortunately not available for us this weekend. Aside from the snow showing, is walk along a bridge system that lines the walls of the gorge. They have this open year round, giving you traction devices for your shoes in the winter.
Its about a 3/4 to 1 mile walk along the bridges. The view of the frozen waterfalls with the bubbling pools at the bottom was a breathtaking sight, that has no justice done to it in photos. When you’re finished with the walk, you can treat yourself and toast a marshmallow on an open fire. This place made a great case for not just leaving s’mores for the summertime. With the absence of snowshoeing, High Falls Gorge is a pretty quick activity, making it perfect for a short stop on your way to or from Lake Placid.
When we finished at High Falls it was still a bit too early to even try early check-in, so we stopped at Big Slide Brewery & Public House on our way back into town. When we pulled in, we realized this place must be a big crowd favorite as there was a wait for tables even at lunch time. Luckily, we found a spot along the wall with bar stools. We split a flight of five different beers, all of which were amazing. Corey and I are big fans of sour beers, so three of the five were of the sour variety. The most interesting to me, was the Funky Brown Bourbon Ale. It was a barrel aged bourbon ale but also was fermented to have a sourness to it. It was one of the most flavorful beers I have ever tried. We definitely want to go back to this place because their food menu looked amazing.
Following the enjoyable flight of beers, we decided to try our luck with checking in early to our hotel room at the Town House Lodge. We booked this room on Booking.com while out for drinks on New Year’s Eve. We were drawn by the price along with the seemingly modern rooms. Upon arrival, this hotel did not disappoint. From the exterior, it looked like an older lodge with the German Black Forest-esque look. We were able to check in early, and the women at the front informed us that at 4:30 the owners have mulled wine in the shared kitchen.
We went up to see our room, and couldn’t believe how adorable it was. It was very apparent that this lodge had recently been renovated to have a modern but cozy interior while preserving the original exterior design. We ventured into town to check out the stores and get a coffee. We stopped into The Breakfast Club, Etc., and ordered two almond milk lattes to go. Their coffee was from Detour Coffee Roasters of Burlington, Canada; a company that ensures the coffee is sustainably and ethically sourced. It was so incredibly delicious and smooth.
Coffee in hand, we hit the streets of Lake Placid. Our attention was quickly caught but the people out on the ice of Mirror Lake. The ice was frozen thick enough that people were out skating, shuffling or playing hockey out on the ice. Without much hesitation, we joined them and shoe skated along the ice for a bit. There was something so beautiful about being out on the frozen lake.
After browsing the town and checking out the Olympic Center, we headed back to our hotel to warm up for a bit. After a day of going in and out of the cold, we needed a quick break. We stopped into the hotel’s shared kitchen as the receptionist had said to see if anyone else was in there; we were immediately greeted by the hotel’s owners and offered a hot cup of fresh mulled wine along with some cheese and bread. We sipped on the wine – which was amazing – and watched some of the olympics. We also chatted with one of the owners about dinner recommendations in town. The aroma and flavor of the wine was like Christmas in a cup. After we finished the wine, we relaxed in the room for a bit before heading back out into the cold to find a place for dinner.
Tip: if you’re going to Lake Placid and plan to eat dinner, I suggest you do a little preplanning and make a reservation if possible. At 6:30 PM on a Saturday night, we were quoted 2+ hour wait times at multiple restaurants. It felt like we were racing everyone else on the street to try and find a place to get in. We arrived to the opposite end of the road at Generations, the restaurant attached to the Golden-Arrow Lodge and figured a 1 hour wait was the best we were going to do. Luckily, just 15 minutes later, we were called for a table. We were seated in the bar area with a view of the Live Olympic Coverage; Perfect!
Upon opening the menus, I was so happy to read that so many of their ingredients were locally/ethically sourced, and artisan made. I didn’t get many pictures of our dinner or delicious drinks because, A) I was so hungry I forgot, and B) It felt awkward to do so. Just take my word for it when I say that crispy brussel sprouts with crispy gnocchi topped with parmesan and balsamic reduction — mouth’s watering as I type — makes for one heck of an appetizer. For an entree I got a salmon burger that featured the most buttery and tender salmon filet I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating. Seriously, it was pretty much melting.
Our original post dinner plan had been to go find a bar to get a drink and watch the olympics; but since we had a seat at the bar with olympics in view, we opted for post dinner drinks at the same spot, why venture out into the cold if we didn’t have to? The drinks we ordered were both so good, that we shared both of them. We do this often. We order two drinks and can’t decide which one we both like more, so we share both.
As we got ready to leave the restaurant it started snowing. How perfect could our day get? We walked down the cold and snowy – and oddly quiet- street with the white lights on the light posts a glow. A beautiful snowy night walk was everything we could’ve hoped for.
In the morning, we woke to an inch or two of fresh snow on the ground and braved the elements to stop into a well known pastry shop, Cake Placid. We planned to have breakfast later on, but first we enjoyed the most delicious and fresh maple apple fritter. I’m not sure I’ve ever enjoyed a pastry more than that one. When we finished we walked back out into the snow, sipping on our coffees. After we checked out, we went to main street one last time to walk around and stop into any missed shops and to grab a bite to eat before heading home. We stopped in to SoulShine Bagels, a longstanding Lake Placid shop known for their freshly made bagels and homemade cream cheeses.
I got an everything bagel, with salmon, spinach and cucumber dill cream cheese, because If I’m going to enjoy a bagel, I’m going to do it right. Bagel Heaven.
Once we finished eating, we headed back to the car and started on our way home. It was such a perfect little 24 hour trip, spending a day and night just enjoying each other and our surroundings. While we could complain about the cold, we instead embraced the fact that cold is what made it possible for the waterfalls in the gorge to have their frozen in time appearance, and the cold is what made it possible to shuffle along the icy lake, and the cold is what made the snow fall as we walked home from dinner in the night.
While winter may be the easiest season to hate, it has its own set of advantages and beauty, and I just encourage all of you who can, to embrace it and enjoy it. When you find joy in all seasons, you’re setting yourself up for a happy year.
& one last thing: I also want to remind you that you don’t need to travel across the country or to a foreign country to experience new things. Find the hidden gems of your own state! A brewery/winery, a coffee shop, a landmark, a nature preserve: many of our states have these things within reachable distances. Support those small businesses and broaden your horizons! You’ll certainly be glad you did.
Thanks for reading! – Meg