I'll never forget my first trip to Lake Placid, New York. I was 19ish and it was the dead of winter. At the time, having grown up relatively closeby in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, I had heard that Lake Placid was quite whimsical and just had to find out for myself.
As the sun began to set and I finished careening the winding mountain roads of the Adirondacks, I came upon Lake Placid's Main Street and was instantly awe struck, falling in love with the snow-covered Olympic village draped in sparkling white lights.
I continued driving not knowing where the road would lead. Remember—I was holding printed-out MapQuest directions in my Alfa Romeo 164L. Low and behold to my surprise, a magnificent sight was on the horizon.
Perched on a slope was an ever so charming historic 1883 inn covered from head-to-toe in Holiday glitz reflecting off the icy shores of Mirror Lake: Welcome to the Mirror Lake Inn.
Fast forward to over 15 years later and the same striking grandeur at its finest is still turning heads and welcoming guests from all over the globe.
We made our way to the front desk, narrowly profiling the dueling aromas between freshly baked welcome cookies (a long running Mirror Lake Inn tradition) and afternoon tea—teamed with burning logs in the main living room's fireplace.
Walking into our guest room, known as Cedar Run, was just as dramatic as the inn's profound landscape. They were designed to bring the outside elements into the room—starting with the view, whether spring, summer or fall.
The view is something out of a storybook. We were immediately taken back by Whiteface Mountain and the Adirondack High Peaks towering over Mirror Lake. Throw in some dense fog, layer it up with pillowy clouds and you have yourself a memory of a lifetime.
While we were getting settled in, the concierge dropped off a little note, Saratoga sparkling water (in its signature cobalt blue bottle), a box of sweets from Adirondack Chocolates and assorted local artisan cheeses as a gracious welcome to the Mirror Lake Inn, a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World.
We headed out to explore Lake Placid's historic Main Street, which lines Mirror Lake. Here you'll find rustic bistros and quaint breakfast cafes (including Starbucks), Adirondack-inspired boutiques, ski and board shops, the circa 1884 Lake Placid Public Library, plus the vintage 1926 Palace Theatre, which continues to play 1st-run films to this day.
I ended up buying a new pair of Head skis and bindings at Lake Placid Ski & Board. Whether I get to use them before the season is over, we shall see.
Directly at the beginning of Main Street you'll discover Lake Placid Olympic Center. It's free, open to the public and there always seems to be a hockey game in sight. In case you didn't know, Lake Placid played host to both the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics. I also hear there's a bid in for 2026!
For those inner-athletes, you can get an Olympic Sites Passport and head to the Olympic Jumping Complex, ride the gondola at Whiteface Mountain (we did) or experience an authentic bobsled ride at the Olympic Sports Complex.
Later in the evening we had initially made reservations for dinner at Mirror Lake Inn's signature restaurant, The View. But, ultimately we decided to have an early alfresco dinner fireside at their other restaurant, The Cottage—which is located directly across the street on Mirror Lake. It just so happened to be a 62° February day and we couldn't pass it up. We'll consider this a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And of course it snowed the next day.
You'll want to try the warm Brussels sprout salad and shrimp bruschetta. Cocktails are a must and there's no shortage here. We have to agree, as well as the readers of SKI Magazine, that this is one of the top après-ski spots in North America. Let me know what you think.
While walking back to our room at the inn, we had to check out the spa. We didn't book a spa treatment during our stay, but guests do have access to an indoor pool (outdoor too, in season) and whirlpool.
It was 8AM and we woke up to a gentle knock on the door. Eager for breakfast, the room service attendant set up our table in front of the French doors overlooking Mirror Lake.
Thoroughly enjoying the omelet of the day and Adirondack flapjacks accompanied with local maple syrup, we were finding it incredibly hard to even think about leaving the room, let alone Lake Placid.
All we wanted to do was simply stay curled up in the oversized armchairs in our robes, sip on coffee, read one of the many books included in the room and take in the whimsical view out of the floor-to-ceiling windows. We felt so relaxed and content.
Staying on schedule, we checked out and headed directly to Whiteface Mountain to enjoy a scenic gondola ride to the top of Cloudsplitter.
There were plenty of picture-taking opportunities around the 4,600 foot mountain (New York's 5th highest), Mount Marcy is 1st. On a very clear day you can see the skyscrapers of Montreal.
At the brink of starvation, it was time to head out. Driving by High Falls Gorge on the way in, we decided to go back for a glass of Sauvignon Blanc and a bite to eat. So glad we did.
During the winter High Falls Gorge offers a snowshoe package so that you can explore the waterfalls and roaring river while meandering the bridges and hiking the 1 mile loop. We will definitely explore this next year.
We can't wait to head back to Lake Placid come summer. Mirror Lake Inn has complimentary kayaks to cruise Mirror Lake, a private sandy beach, tennis courts with complimentary balls and racquets—all this in addition to breathtaking Adirondacks hiking. See you here!