Winter wonderland in Lake Placid: Holiday Village Stroll, Downton Abbey Season 5 Holiday Gala, Mount Whiteface and Wildlife Refuge.
Winter is finally here! Last weekend I eagerly drove two and a half hours from Montreal to celebrate the holiday season in the heart of the Adirondacks at Lake Placid!
Made famous for hosting the 1980 Winter Olympics, this scenic lakeside town is a joyful gathering spot for nature enthusiasts, avid shoppers and families who come from all over to partake in the various family activities, arts and entertainment on offer during the annual Holiday Village Stroll.
We stayed at the family friendly resort Wildwood on the Lake, conveniently located on the shores of beautiful Lake Placid. The owners, the Webers were more than happy to suggest a delicious breakfast place as well as numerous activities to fill up our weekend, which I am now eager to share with you:
Holiday Village Stroll:
Over the weekend of December 12-14, the Village of Lake Placid transformed into a winter wonderland complete with numerous activities all weekend long including a Jingle Bell Run, free movies, ice skating on the oval rink, a colorful parade and visits from Santa Claus. I enjoyed local wine and cider tasting along with lots of holiday shopping in the several boutiques that line the main street.
Holiday Gala Inspired By Downton Abbey
One of the highlights of the Holiday Village Stroll was “A Holiday Gala Inspired by Downton Abbey” presented by local station Mountain Lake PBS on the evening of Saturday, December 13th at the Conference Center at Lake Placid. Attendees were invited to dress in formal or period dress and adopt an aristocratic name for the evening. A lavish British inspired three course menu was set “Yorkshire Pudding with a Mushroom Demi anyone?” and a fun photo booth complete with period accessories and costumes was available for guests to immortalize their Downton Abbey moment.
Emotions ran high when PBS’s CEO and President Alice Recore gave her farewell retirement speech. As the dessert buffet was laid out, the gala culminated with an authorized advance screening of the first episode of Downton Abbey season 5, a full three weeks before it’s public television premier.
I was very happy to be able to view the first episode in a relaxed atmosphere surrounded by avid fans of the series who were more than happy to smile, chuckle or comment on one of the quirky one-liners of the Dowager Countess or at one of Thomas’s usual conniving schemes...
Citing Maggie Smith: « That’s the thing about nature: there’s so much of it… »
Whiteface Mountain is known as a world-class downhill skiing and boarding location.
One of my favorite discoveries during my stay was ascending Whiteface, filling my lungs with fresh air and soaking in all the natural beauty of the Adirondack landscape. Around me I could see dozens of snowy peaks on the horizon scattered around a protected park larger than Yellowstone and Yosemite. Whiteface's season runs from late November until April and boasts 86 scenic runs of varying difficulty levels. The mountain is home to trails that have led Olympic athletes to glory: Now it may be your turn !
*Be sure to make use of the free daily shuttle between Lake Placid / Whiteface and Whiteface / Wilmington.
Fellow tourist asides, If you were ever curious about the other inhabitants of the Adirondacks, I would advise you to drive down to Adirondack Wildlife Refuge and Rehabilitation Center.. This stunning 50-acre rehabilitation center on the western branch of the Ausable River serves to educate the public through on the spot presentations as well as in schools and other organizations. Run by Wendy and Steve Hall, the Halls are passionate about the environment and always willing to explain how plants and animals play a vital role in nature.
During my visit, we spent a wonderful few hours with wildlife rehabilitator Daniel Alempijevic who graced us with interesting tidbits of his extensive knowledge of wildlife. We could feel the love this young man poured into his work as he explained how owl populations could flourish or decrease with scarcity of food or how vultures are actually very picky eaters...
The refuge runs on food and donations. Drop by tours are available from 10 am to 4 pm, except Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
With a variety of cultural, nature and athletic events on their December and January calendar, you are certain to find something of interest during your stay in Lake Placid.
Wishing all of you a HAPPY HOLIDAYS !