Listen: I’ll be completely candid here and say that I am not the most familiar with upstate New York. My friends who live in the city consider Beacon, NY upstate, but I got the vibe that it was an NYC suburb considering that Metro-North ran through the town. But I digress.
When the folks at High Peaks resort invited me up to the Adirondacks for a fall trip this past October, I knew I had to jump at this awesome opportunity. The only thing I knew of Lake Placid before visiting was the town’s Olympic past (and present — athletes come in droves during the winter to train here!)
Overall, I’m not sure if I would go back to Lake Placid in the fall, but I think it’s worth a trip during Summer or Winter. Here are my honest thoughts about my Lake Placid experience.
How to Get There
Getting there was my least favorite part of the trip. By car, Lake Placid is 5 hours away from New York, and 6 hours away from Philadelphia. There are also some pretty hefty tolls to get to Lake Placid as well. I looked into a flight, but the closest airport was still 2 hours away from Lake Placid. There isn’t a good way to get to Lake Placid without a car. However, it is only 2 hours away from Montreal and Burlington, VT if you’re looking to do a major road trip throughout the area!
Things to Do in Lake Placid – Where to Stay
We stayed at the High Peaks Resort, which is a pretty impressive property. They have three different buildings you can stay at: the Resort, the Lake House, and their Waterfront property. You have access to all three properties when you stay at High Peaks, We opted for the Resort, and I loved the property. They recently remodeled their lobby, and it’s got a cozy yet chic ski town vibe.
The room decor wasn’t as modern as the lobby. However, even their standard units had plenty of space. Our suite had a cozy pullout couch and was spacious enough to fit four people comfortably. Our unit also had a balcony and an incredible lakefront view. It was pretty surreal waking up every morning with
Unfortunately, fall is off-season in Lake Placid. The spa and quite a few bars/restaurants were closed until winter, so we didn’t have the opportunity to experience those. We did, however, have dinner at their Dancing Bears Restaurant, which was pretty good. If you’re traveling with little ones, or if you’re looking for a laid-back restaurant that has a ton of history, it’s your best bet. The food is well priced, and I was impressed with their wine and beer selection.
Things to Do in Lake Placid – Dining
I thought the food in Lake Placid was pretty alright. I didn’t have a meal here that blew my mind, and since we went in the Fall, some restaurants were only offering very abbreviated versions of their menu since it was the off-season. However, here are some of the spots I loved when we visited:
- Taverna Mykonos: Lake Placid is composed of mostly American restaurants. Towards the end of my trip, I was getting a little weary of the sports bars, BBQ joints, and steakhouses in town. Taverna was a breath of fresh air for us: it’s a modern Mediterranean restaurant that has a fresh, seasonal menu — and a pretty good wine list.
- Goose Watch Winery: While you’re strolling along on Main Street, pop into Goose Watch Winery for a tasting. It’s a great way to taste test some award-winning wines from the Finger Lakes region.
- Big Slide Brewery: Big Slide Brewery is home to the Giant, aka the #1 DIPA in New York State. Do a tasting, and enjoy some delicious options from their farm-to-table menu.
Things to Do in Lake Placid
- Olympic Passport: I didn’t get to do much of this considering I was on crutches during the time I visited, and a good chunk of these activities are not available during late Fall. However, USA enthusiasts will want to check this one out. You can tour every single Olympic site/area in Lake Placid for only $35, including the Cloudspitter Gondola Ride, Disc Golf, Ice Skating and more.
- Shop on Main Street: Lake Placid’s Main Street had that small town charm that I was craving. It’s packed with a ton of restaurants and shops, and some of the best people watching in town. I loved Adirondack Popcorn Company — when we went in October, it was already decked out for the holidays, so I can only imagine what it looks like now!
- On the Lake: High Peaks resort did offer paddling on the lake, and you could bring your own boat on to Mirror Lake. It was pretty pleasant to go out on the water in the fall: the mornings were crisp, and it would be a fantastic place to watch the sunrise.
- Hiking: Another thing I physically wasn’t able to due to my knee was to go on a hike. The mountains surrounding Lake Placid were stunning, so I could only imagine the views! They have a variety of hikes for all different levels, ranging from beginner level trails that you could complete in a couple of hours, to the tallest mountain in the State of New York (5,344 feet!)
Things to Do in Lake Placid – Final Thoughts
I’m not 100% sure I’d visit Lake Placid again, mainly because of the lengthy drive and the gas/tolls. Seriously — it cost us $170 roundtrip in gas and tolls from Philly to get there! If I were heading up to Montreal, I’d probably stop by, but I’d highly recommend going in the Summer or Winter when the town is a bit livelier.
If I were to visit again, I think a weekend would be a right amount of time to visit. There weren’t many restaurants or attractions to choose from to warrant a trip longer than 2-3 days, but I’d be curious to check out their Winter population and hopefully run into a few Olympic trainees!
What are some of your favorite things to do in Lake Placid? Let me know in the comments below!