I awoke to complete and utter silence (well, aside from faint harmonious birdsong); from my bed all I could see was the lush, green forests of the Adirondacks and a warm sun ready to rise. I was staying at the luxury resort Whiteface Lodge in Lake Placid, and I had slept on the most comfortable bed I have ever rested upon.
There’s an unmatched level of morning intensity when you wake up every day in the heart of any city. I happen to live smack in the middle of Columbus Circle in New York City. Living here for so many years has made me acutely aware of—and deeply grateful for— mini moments with nature. And I had many of these at the Whiteface Lodge.
Lake Placid is a perfect escape from the city’s year-round madness, as its so vastly beautiful and ecologically rich season to season. It’s also home to some of the best hiking in the entire nation; Lake Placid park has the largest trail system in the United States. The natural lakes and cooler temps mean a getaway from the city really feels like one. It’s also a mere 5 hours from Manhattan. (It can take upwards of 4 hours to haul out to Montauk on a Friday in hideous traffic or 3-plus on a crowded train.)
The pool and hot tub at Whiteface Lodge.
If you’re more of an adventurous nature lover and less of a scene seeker, Lake Placid is by far a better weekend retreat than the Hamptons. When you land, be it by car, bus, train or plane, you should stay at the Whiteface Lodge.
Whiteface Lodge is the only all-suite resort in the Adirondacks and evokes the region’s 19th-century heyday with a handsome wood-beamed exterior, cozy carpet-strewn sitting rooms and cast-iron fireplaces. It’s warm and completely charming, and can serve as a romantic getaway or shared with family and friends.
My boyfriend and I made full use of our graciously appointed, Adirondack-styled suite. We sat by our fireplace, enjoyed time with family on our cedar-and-mahogany balcony overlooking the mountains, and cooked a delicious meal in our fully equipped kitchen and dining room.
We enjoyed Whiteface Lodge’s endless indoor and outdoor activities, too. The lodge houses a movie theater, bowling alley and full-service spa, and offers a host of wellness classes and educational nature demonstrations. Since I was running the Lake Placid Half Marathon the next day, I prepped my body with an hour-long sports massage which was out-of-this-world relaxing.
In the warm-weather months, you can head to the resort’s private club on Lake Placid, The Canoe Club, as we did. Set against the stunning backdrop of Whiteface Mountain, you can go kayaking, paddleboarding, swimming and fishing. When we weren’t paddleboarding, we played horshoes, volleyball and enjoyed a cocktail at the Club.
Local trout at Kanu.
On Saturday evening we were captivated by a “birds of prey” hour-long presentation by local non-profit organization Adirondack Wildlife Refuge. Afterwards, we dined at Kanu, the lodge’s premier restaurant which offers diners a fresh, local menu and an extensive list of a la carte options as well as three- or four-course wine-pairing experiences.
The birds of prey who remain in the care of Adirondack Wildlife Refuge, are used in educational demonstrations and displays, and are raptors who are generally healthy, but unable to hunt for themselves, due to partial blindness, permanent wing injuries, etc.
On Sunday, my boyfriend and I, as well as his brother John and sister Cate, ran the Lake Placid Half Marathon. The race began on Main Street in the charming Village of Lake Placid (just two minutes from Whiteface Lodge) and ventured through the majesty of the Lake Placid region with its stunning views, including a run around Mirror Lake at the very start of the race. The course is a combination of flat, rolling and challenging hills and if you’re a runner, you should consider adding this race to your 2016 goals. I cannot wait to run it again next year.
Brad Konkler, the race’s co-founder and race director, said that the event attracted 2,000 athletes from over 40 U.S States, Canada and abroad. Konkler proudly added that this year, approximately 60 percent of runners were female!
Fall in the Adirondacks is magnificent—the season boasts one of the longest fall foliage seasons in the country. But, you can’t go wrong sitting by a toasty fire at Whiteface Lodge after a full day of skiing either. I’ll leave it to you to decide!