After becoming a photographer, my instagram started filling up with amazing photography locatinos and lots of them seemed to be within the Adirondacks. I did not know much about upstate New York, but I thought the parks were magically. When the hubs (B) and I were looking for a quick long weekend getaway, he wanted to return to the New England area. I did not want to return to Burlington again and New Hampshire and Portland, Maine were turning out to be pricey with long drives to hiking areas. So I threw out my vote for a trip to the Adirondacks! B has actually done the Ironman in Lake Placid and always raved about the area so we booked it! The worst part about the Lake Placid is getting there from an airport because it is about a 2 hour drive – which isn’t horrible but also no one likes to drive far after traveling all day in a plane!
Upon driving into Lake Placid (Mirror Lake is actually where we stayed), I was greeted with, tall lush evergreens and wildflowers growing along the riverbanks. I searched for moose on every car trip but never saw one! We arrived at our destination in the late afternoon at the Grand Adirondack Hotel. It was an Autograph Collection hotel by Marriott. Being titanium members this year, we got upgraded to a fabulous room on the 5th floor which overlooked the lake! What a view to wake up to each morning and see the sunset. It was also centrally located in the village so we did not have to drive anywhere other than to our hiking locations. When we first decided to go, B said he wanted hike Whiteface Mountain. I did almost no research on this hike other than saw it was about 8.5 miles out and back.
Whiteface Mountain has a 360 degree view. Its elevation is 4867 ft, and it was about 5 miles up from our start part with probably 4 of those miles being at a 13-15% grade. IT WAS BRUTAL. The other option instead of hiking up was to drive to the summit and hike a small distance up – this makes reaching the summit less satisfying because there are a bunch of people at the top snapping selfies who did nothing to arrive at the top. Upon summiting, I flopped on the rocks and guzzled my water down and snacked. I needed to recover. B asked if I was ready for the descent, and I laughed and said I had not snapped one photo yet. Honestly it was the hardest hike, I have ever done because of the grueling uphill. I couldn’t really enjoy the summit because I was so tired. (just for reference I am moderately active but had not been doing tons of cardio other than walking 3-4 miles). It was a tremendous view though! (As you can see below, this was basically what we hiked up for miles…)
Gluten Free restaurant options:
This was our first vacation where I had to be Gluten Free. I found out in Spring of 2023 by shear luck that I have Celiac disease. I am asymptomatic which makes it difficult to know if I am truly being GF when eating out in regards to cross contamination. We were lucky because there were several restaurants that offered GF food. Our favorite spot was Top of the Park. They serve fabulous cocktails and tapas. We ate here twice one the trip because it was soo good. It was pricey but the flavors of the sauces on each dish were mouth-watering. We tried the venison, kangaroo, wagyu beef, and the confit chicken wings – which fell off the bone. All these dishes were gluten free. A few other places we discovered with GF options were Big Slide Brewery & Pub offers fabulous salads and cauliflower crust pizza. They have a good drink menu and B really enjoyed some of their brews. It also has a nice outdoor seating area so pups are welcome! We ate at Generations by the Golden Arrow Resort on our first night. It had their GF option labeled on the menu which was nice. We got a flatbread there. It was good, but nothing special.
A few other things to do while in the area is kayaking or paddle boarding on Mirror Lake. We rented kayaks the first day in late afternoon. It was relaxing to explore the banks of the lake and see all the lake houses with the mountains on every side. We went to skating ring where the Olympic speed skating races were held. We saw the Olympic bobsled center which was cool. We also hike one other trail, Mt Van Hoevenberg (the more challenging trail instead of the paved one from the bobsled center). On Saturday we watched the opening game of the Vols vs. Virginia at Lake Placid Pub.
I do not always say I will return sooner than later at new destinations simply because I feel there is so much to see in the world. But I will be back to Mirror Lake and Lake Placid. I will hike some more of the 46 mountains and cross them off my list! I highly recommend visiting this area if you get the chance!