My yearly family vacation typically happens at the beginning of August. Over the past 5 years we've usually hit up the beach followed by some hiking either in Tennessee or Virginia. This year we did something a bit different and went north. I've been to Boston before but that's the most northern I've been; and on a totally unrelated note, I am dying to go to Maine.
I've had a few friends tell me that I needed to see the Adirondacks and that's where we ended up for the beginning of our trip. Honestly, I had no part in planning anything and really didn't even look up Lake Placid at all before going so I didn't have any idea what to expect. Without expectations it's obviously easier to be impressed by an experience but even if I did have expectations I believe that they would have been surpassed based on my time there.
We stayed at the Golden Arrow Resort which is on Mirror Lake. I mega loved this place. Super clean, eco-friendly, awesome amenities. We had access to kayaks, canoes, SUP, and paddle boats which was exciting for me. I tried SUP for the first time after wanting to try it for a while now. Overall, a huge fan; would totally go back and stay there.
The town of Lake Placid itself is my type of place. It's laid back with access to everything you need and are most likely looking for, it's dog friendly (YESS), and everyone is so kind. Tons of vegan options everywhere I went which was a big plus for me. I got to properly celebrate my vegan anniversary at the Ben & Jerry's right in town, had tons of breakfast options at the Green Goddess Natural Market, and veggie burgers for dinner were available in literally every restaurant that we went to. I actually ended up packing a ton of food to take with me because I didn't know what to expect and brought almost all of it home because who's going to resist breakfast burritos, strawberry pineapple dole whip, and bbq smoked tofu tacos?!
Being a host of Ironman races, Lake Placid is full of fitness. People running, cycling, lots of yoga classes; basically #goals since where I currently live is not quite similar in that way.
Honestly, I could talk about this town for freakin' hours because I really fell in love with it for the week that I was there. I'm not into cold weather... at all. Which is kind of a problem when you're in love with a place in upstate New York. But sitting in a kayak on the lake overlooking the mountains I tried to picture myself getting into winter sports to make the colder months tolerable there. Yeah, it's unlikely and I'd be very surprised if that would happen. But at the same time I never really pictured myself doing what I'm doing and loving what I do love; so I'll just keep an open mind full of possibilities over here.
We did one big hike while we were there which was Cascade Mountain. I think that this is my favorite hike that I have ever done. Nothing I have hiked yet has been able to compare to it. It's a 4.8 mile round trip hike to the top of an absolutely breathtaking mountain. The hike took us about 4 hours to do. We started in the afternoon and saw a lot of people coming down as we were making our way up. It was an unplanned hike that day but the weather forecast made the decision much easier for us. Once we reached the top there were only a few other people there which was nice. Nothing better than working your way up a mountain and having the top be relatively quiet with minimal people and a warm vanilla almond Clif Builder Bar.
I want to do this hike again someday, definitely. It's one that you can't easily forget.
Little Whiteface Mountain was our trip beginner. We stumbled upon it on our way to do something else but decided to stop and check it out. They just started their gondola rides for the day when we dropped in and so we took one up to the top of Little Whiteface where we got to get out and walk around the top of the mountain. It was relatively cloudy that morning but not enough to ruin a good view, thankfully. We spent some time there before taking the gondola back down to the bottom and heading out to Whiteface Mountain.
You're able to take a road to the top of Whiteface where you can either take an elevator (no thank you, not a fan of elevators) or hike up to the summit (yes please, a fan of hikes). At the top you'll find a castle and a cafe with very good food, I must say. This was a lot more crowded than Cascade Mountain but also had a very impressive view. On a clear day you can see Canada and Vermont. It was pretty clear and I think I saw Vermont which I was excited about because surprise, surprise; I want to go there too.
High Falls Gorge was our Adirondack waterfall experience. I'm into waterfalls, but views are still my favorite always and forever.
High Falls Gorge was very cool though. I recommend hitting this up first thing in the morning due to the fact that I think it can get pretty crowded during the days.
You walk along and through the gorge overlooking the beautifully powerful waterfalls. There are a few sections with glass floors which I love and also feel a strange sense of anxiety/exhilaration about. I still stepped on each one of them though regardless of those feelings. I mean, what could really go wrong by standing on a piece of glass overlooking a deadly waterfall?!
Other honorable mentions of our trip was checking out the Olympic stuff that Lake Placid has to offer, just exploring the town, and spending lots of time on the water.
I really enjoyed this portion of the trip and Lake Placid is somewhere that I really want to go back and revisit. Lakes, hiking, good food, fresh air, friendly people, and just the overall laid back vibe is something that I want to create again. Going to new places is always such an experience. You don't really know where you're going or what's what; things are a bit disoriented but at the same time you're able to really adore the place and the things that you come across. It's a special thing.
And as always, so grateful for this trip and all of my trips.
I feel like that's important to say, no matter how often I end up saying it.
“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.”