For all of the commotion, creativity, and culture that New York City affords its residents, the scale certainly isn’t even, tipping most definitely to the side of the urban jungle, when it comes to to the city versus nature balance. I think that is why us city slickers freak out (in a good way) so much when the first fall leaves start to fall, as a heavy hand of the season invades our line of vision, which is otherwise relatively blocked from enjoying a stretch of it, save for a stroll through Central Park. Don’t get me wrong, Central Park is a delightful refuge from the city streets, but sometimes a more immersive experience is needed.
This fall I ventured north, gleefully leaving the subway behind and heading straight for the Adirondacks, about four hours from New York City for a three-day weekend getaway. Never having visited the area before, I had visions of lakes and lakes and lakes (Lake George, Lake Placid, Lake Paradox, Thirteenth Lake, Elk Lake, and about 700 more lakes and ponds are there), hyper-blue skies, the most gorgeous ombré leaves, breath taking mountain views, and a general sense of inner peace and calm overtaking my being.
Happiness! Yes, all of these hypotheses came true, and more; follow along for my guide of the expansive area that makes up the Adirondacks region for the memorable stops and shops I visited, places I stayed, and dining and drinking experiences.
Location: North River
Owners/inn keepers Don Preuniger and Mindy Piper made us (Fashion Pulse hubby was with me) feel right at home at the lodge, built in 1936 and updated with modern amenities and accommodations (free wifi, a game room, luxe bath products). The warm customer service was immediately noticeable; Mindy helped coordinate for our late-night arrival, and there was a plate of cookies and water bottles waiting for us on the nightstand upon entering our guest room.
Breakfast in the Loghouse restaurant offered a great view of the lake and mountain range, with more chances to sit and pause, absorbing the nature outside via Adirondack chairs and a screened in gazebo (see image). There are plenty of hiking opportunities surrounding the property, plus you can use an on-site kayak or canoe, bike, or tennis courts as part of your stay. The winter months see more skiing by way of back country and snow shoeing options, plus a complimentary bus service is available. If only we had more time to stay and relax!
Location: North Hudson
Staying in a private cottage certainly has its perks, especially when it’s nestled right alongside a lake! “Here, you can work on your inner beauty,” mentioned Diane, who along with Mike Sheridan, helped us navigate the area and trail exploration around the property, part of a a 12,000-acre private forest preserve that never falls short when it comes to natural majesty . The lodge affords many opportunities besides hiking, with the summer months providing swimming and kayaking opportunities. A marvel to take in, and to take with you, it’s hard to imagine a more idyllic setting to reset and relax, letting those city tensions and anxiety melt away.
Location: Lake Placid
Just a minute or two from downtown Lake Placid is where you’ll find the Whiteface Lodge, a property hitting the 10 year mark and located in Adirondack Park gives plenty of incredible incentives to forgo venturing too far outside. Thanks to a bowling alley, spa, extensive game room, movie theatre (with free popcorn!), indoor/outdoor hot tubs and pools, steam rooms, saunas, wellness classes, and a thorough fitness center, all within a plush yet comfortable setting, you can absolutely find respite with very little effort! In warmer months, the nearby Canoe Club can be utilized for kayaking or canoeing, while in the winter, connections can be made to all of your cold-weather adventures.
We spent the evening soaking in the luxurious pool and hot tubs outside, and in the warmer months, poolside dining is also a possibility (cool!). This easily could be a couple’s getaway, or a family place, with the range of activities and accommodations.
[Ice cream sandwich dessert at KANU]
KANU at The Whiteface Lodge (Lake Placid)- With food as good as this, there’s truly no reason to wonder off of the Whiteface Lodge property and into downtown Lake Placid, as the restaurant is on-par with the most gourmet and opulent high-end options in Manhattan. This premium dining experience is set among high wooden beams and a mammoth fireplace, bringing a bit of the outdoors in, while the food itself is expertly prepared and styled (see image above for the decadent dessert), providing for one of the most delicious risottos this Italian gal has ever had! We also had a hearty buffet breakfast at KANU before heading back home, which gave us enough fuel to make it all of the way without stopping!
Cafe Sarah (North Creek Main Street)- a cozy community-oriented coffee shop with light breakfast and lunch fare.
Elk Lake Lodge Dining (North Hudson)– a satisfying dinner and breakfast is provided in the scenic dining room as part of the stay (pictured above), with the addition of a complimentary packed lunch to take along on a hike. It really was so great to not have to worry about food, while the dining experience enabled us to get to know other guests.
Nettle Meadow Farm & Artisan Cheese (Warrensburg)- cheese aficionados will delight in the varieties of sheep, goat and/or cow milk options made at this animal farm and sanctuary.
[Pie slices at Noon Mark Diner in Keene Valley, New York]
Noon Mark Diner (Keene Valley)- We received a tip from our new friends at Elk Lake Lodge to stop here for a pie, and man oh man, was it a little slice of heaven! Choose from plain crust or crumb among a ton of flavors to eat by the slice or…by the pie. I had a raspberry rhubarb crumb slice; quite possibly a reason to trek the 4.5 hour ride from New York City for it!
SubAlpine Coffee (Keene Valley)- Several stops were made to this caffeinated outpost during our trip in the Adirondacks, enjoying a taste of home via its serving of Counter Culture Coffee, as well as a delicious chai tea latte. The natural accompaniment to a slice of pie, which is coincidentally right across the street.
Paradox Brewery (Schroon Lake) – a lazy afternoon in the tasting room for beer sampling and homemade soft pretzel eating was the best way to ease into a Saturday in the Adirondacks. Considering ourselves beer snobs, it’s unusual to say that we savored every single one of the 10 varieties sampled, but we definitely did! This speaks to the dedication to quality and taste of owners Joan and Paul Mrocka bring to the business, who made us feel right at home and took us on a full brewery tour to take in the behind-the-scenes brewing magic. The large picnic tables encourage conversation among friends and neighbors, and we found both at Paradox Brewery.
Local woodcarver Bob Borquist shared stories about the area with us, with some of his work found in different businesses around town, including the brewery, while other friendly brewery patrons were a mix of full and part-time Adirondacks resident. Great beer, great company, A++!
Springbrook Hollow Farm Distillery (near Lake George)- if you enjoy a good beverage but are more of a spirits person, stop by this local venture for a tasting of everything from vodka to moonshine, lemoncello to orangecello liquor.
Along the way we picked up a handy craft beverage “trail” map, marking all of the local breweries, distilleries, and/or wineries throughout the region; visit AdkCraftBev.com (or download the app) for all of the details.
Gore Mountain (North Creek) the views from the enclosed gondola ride to the top of the mountain were stunning, and hiking back down the lodge was a great start to our trip to get the blood flowing and fresh air in-take in effect. In the winter this place turns into a skier’s paradise, but in the meanwhile, there’s plenty of outdoor opportunities in the milder months.
The Mountaineer (Keene Valley)- this unassuming outdoor gear and clothes store has much much more to be had; from children’s books to healthy snacks, Pendleton pillows and skiing gear, even if you aren’t into the outdoors, you’ll find something to take away with you.
The Birch Store (Keene Valley)- I hate to play favorites, but this was truly my favorite shop stop. It was light on the outdoors quotient, and heavy on the gift and fashion ones. It’s truly a great gift spot with everything from grooming supplies for him to super soft sweaters for the baby, with home items and jewelry woven in between.
Dartbrook Rustics (Keene)- For those who love their vintage pieces to feel polished and like-new, with décor inspiration abounding, this is the stop for you. Vintage ephemera among sturdy furniture, modern lighting, and upholstery options can be found here, and don’t forget to take a moment on the oversized outdoor bed swing in the parking lot.
Braley & Noxon Hardware (North Creek Main Street)- A true hardware shop in that it has a little bit of everything! It possesses a bit of an old five and dime vibe to it, with a variety of goods from children’s toys to Carhartt gear found on the top floor.
Foothills Antiques (North Creek Main Street)- Although you will find antiques here, the gems, in my opinion, are the quality collectibles displayed in an attractive manner around the main floor.