One of the aims of the Wild Center, located in Tupper Lake, the crossroads of the Adirondack Park, is to help its visitors discover the story of the Adirondacks. What better way to do that than to build a winter weekend trip around a visit to this unique indoor-outdoor natural history museum while taking in the sights and activities of the region, including Lake Placid, home to the 1980 Winter Olympics?
7 pm: Unwind with a delicious yet casual dinner and a stunning view of Mirror Lake at the Taste Bistro & Bar at the award-winning Mirror Lake Inn Resort and Spa, one of US News & World Report’s Top Hotels in 2015. Settle in to enjoy some live music along with seasonally appropriate comfort foods and cocktails by the fire.
9 am: Start your day off right with an authentic lumberjack breakfast at one of the local diners in Tupper Lake including the Lumberjack Inn.
10 am: Head to the world-renowned Wild Center where you can spend the morning wandering through seeing wildlife exhibits, watching otters swim, ducking into the theater for a film, and roaming the nature trails. If there’s snow, snowshoes are complimentary with admission. Refuel with a healthy (but also kid-friendly) lunch in the Waterside Café. Leave yourself 2 to 4 hours for your visit, depending on how much you want to explore outdoors.
2 pm: Fifteen minutes on the Cloudsplitter Gondola at Whiteface Mountain gets you from the Main Base Lodge to the top of Little Whiteface. During the ride, you’ll get an unparalleled bird’s eye view of the mountains, ski trails, streams, rock faces, and forests, as well as Lake Placid itself and the village that bears its name.
5 pm: As darkness falls over the Adirondacks, head over to the Whiteface Lodge, winner of a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence. First enjoy a cocktail and snack in the cozy Kanu Lounge (kids are welcome until 9:30 pm). Then make your move to the Kanu Dining Room, a 2015 Restaurant Award Winner from Wine Spectator, for a fine-dining experience featuring innovative American cuisine in the Lodge’s Adirondack Great Room. Reservations are required so be sure to plan ahead.
10 am: It’s time to explore Lake Placid’s rich heritage as the site of two Winter Olympic Games in 1932 and in 1980. First hit up the Lake Placid Olympic Center, where “miracles are made,” (especially in 1980 when the US men’s hockey team defeated the Soviet Union on its way to winning the gold medal). Take a spin on the speed-skating oval out front, where the United States earned multiple gold medals in both 1932 and 1980 and then tour the Herb Brooks Arena.
11 am: Next stop is the Lake Placid Olympic Museum in the Olympic Center, just steps away from the Herb Brooks Arena, to get inspired by the stories of the Winter Games.
12 pm: Experience the rush of one of the most thrilling Olympic winter sports at the Lake Placid Bobsled Experience. Climb into a sled with a professional driver and brakeman at the half-mile mark and thunder down the rest of the course. Make reservations 48 hours in advance.
By plane: Adirondacks Regional Airport, 96 Airport Road, Saranac Lake, NY 12983: 30 minutes to Tupper Lake or to Lake Placid
By train: Amtrak to Westport Station: 1 hour to Tupper Lake or 45 minutes to Lake Placid (by shuttle, taxi or rental car)
From Albany: 2.5 hours
From Boston: 5 hours
From NYC: 5 hours
From Philadelphia: 6 hours
From Montreal: 2.5 hours
From Toronto: 5.5 hours