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Sunday, August 29, 2021

Weekender's Guide to: Adirondacks (Lake Placid area - summer!)

Lake Placid
Lake Placid, New York

We had big plans for our anniversary weekend. A familiar theme for 2021?

When the delta variant made travel insanely complicated and questionable, we decided to find some adventure and relaxation here in the Northeast. I had always loved the quiet and the beauty of the Adirondacks and past trips took me snowmobiling and snowshoeing in the winter and hiking and rafting in the summer. 

I recommend the Adirondacks to just about anyone because there is something for everyone. Want to camp deep in the woods and climb some of the region's tallest peaks? This is the perfect place. Want to stay at a 5-star hotel, golf in the mornings and visit the spa in the afternoon? Yep, that's here too. For me, it's the solitude and all the different ways to play outside and evenings spent in quaint lake towns.  I wanted a mix of relaxation and adventure, I wanted my weekend warrior outdoorsy adventures and to see a bit of the wildness. 

The High Peaks area of the Adirondacks is considered to be the most consistently high, wild, and remote mountain area in the eastern United States. Adirondack Park also contains 3,000 lakes and ponds, and 30,000 miles of rivers and streams.  New York has expanded both the Adirondack and Catskill parks and they now cover an area of more than six million acres, larger than Yellowstone, Yosemite, Glacier, Grand Canyon and Great Smoky Mountain national parks combined. 

I visited Lake Placid on our last visit to the Adirondacks. It was a quick afternoon while we spent the long weekend exploring the Ausable Chasm area. I wanted to go back for a few days and see what the area was all about over a long weekend. And so, this Weekender's Guide to Lake Placid, New York was born. 

Indian Head Hike
Indian Head Hike - Keene, NY 

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Cliffside Coaster - Mt Van Hoevenberg- Lake Placid NY

I don't usually go crazy for rides. I'm the kind of person that stays off roller coasters and stays out of busy amusement parks in general. When do I make an exception? When I have the chance to ride the longest mountain coaster in the United States on a control-your-own-speed coaster through the mountains of the Adirondacks through parts/alignment of the former 1932 and the 1980 Olympic Bobsled course.

This is another one of those "I wasn't expecting to love this experience as much as I did" sort of moments. I thought the $50 per person price tag for one quick ride was a little steep and doubted it would be worth the cost. I am happy to say we had such a fun afternoon at Mt Van Hoevenberg and a ride on the coaster was worth the price tag. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

The Wild Center - Adirondacks, NY

I love the kind of places that make you feel like a kid. The Wild Center in the Adirondacks will do exactly that as you make your way through suspended bridges, climb into an eagle's nest, walk through what feels like an enchanted forest, and watch otters play. This space was formerly known as the Natural History Museum but I have to admit, the rebranding as The Wild Center just sounds like a lot more fun. I wasn't expecting to love it as much as I did but I can say that this trip is a "must-see" when visiting the Lake Placid area of the Adirondacks. 

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Jay Mountain and Ridge - Adirondacks, NY

I couldn't plan a trip to the Adirondacks without going out for at least one hike.  

The Adirondacks are known for their High Peaks and many hikers head to upstate New York to tackle this "46 list" (hiking the 46 tallest summits above 4,000 feet).  The 46 list wasn't on my agenda for this weekend but I did make a little list of potential hikes before we left. My list focused on hikes with a view and ranged from a 2-mile round trip trek to a fire tower to a 15-mile day hike to New York's tallest peak. I looked at this list, reminded myself we were on this trip to relax and decided that something in the middle might just be perfect. Jay Mountain only 25 minutes from Lake Placid was exactly that.

When I was reading reviews and trail guides trying to pick a hike, I wanted something that was a workout, a little quieter, and super scenic. The second I read Jay's description that included "hiking along the ridge" and "picking wild blueberries" I was sold. Hiking here in the northeast often means you spend most of your time below the treeline, putting in a lot of effort just to see a view at the top. Hikes like Franconia Ridge in New Hampshire and Mount Mansfield in Vermont feel so special because of the amount of time you spend above the treeline and up on the mountain with the amazing view. Hiking up to Jay Mountain gave us a chance to hike as far as we wanted along the ridge, a chance to enjoy the clear skies and mega views on a beautiful summer day in August.