• By: Dan Donovan

Lake Placid—A Winter Wonderland That’s A Short Drive Away

A trip to picturesque Lake Placid, a four-season resort town nestled in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains, is a must-do for anyone in the capital looking for a weekend or even a long weekend away.

There is something for everyone in this charming mountain town, which is a stone’s throw from Ottawa — a leisurely three-hour drive through beautiful rural and farm country until you hit the glorious tall trees of the Adirondacks that act as a gateway until Lake Placid comes into view. Nestled amidst the stunning backdrop of Mirror Lake and the surrounding mountains, the charm of this town is undeniable. The quaint main street is lined with cosy cafés, charming boutiques, and inviting pubs.

Our latest trip to Lake Placid was in January, and it was a pure delight. Between November and March, the Adirondacks are a winter wonderland straight out of a postcard. This area has hosted two Winter Olympics — the first in 1932 and again in 1980. The 1980 games remain famous for the ‘Miracle on Ice’ event, which saw the heavily favoured Soviet hockey team lose to a ragtag collection of American college players who formed Team USA. It’s the stuff of legend, and Lake Placid embraces all of it in a fun and reverent way.

The legacy of these historic events is palpable as you stroll along Main Street, passing by landmarks that bear witness to the town’s Olympic heritage.

ABOVE: The Olympic Museum tells the incredible story of residents who worked together to win the Olympic bid. It also highlights the stories of athletes and has fun interactive displays — like the bobsled simulator!


One such landmark is the Olympic Museum, a treasure trove of memorabilia and artifacts that chronicle the triumphs and tribulations of past games. From vintage uniforms to iconic medals, the museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the world of competitive sports. We spent a couple of hours here and enjoyed every minute of it.

We stayed at High Peaks Resort, conveniently located in the heart of Lake Placid.

The property includes three separate buildings offering a range of accommodations to suit every traveller’s needs, from rooms with scenic views to spacious suites with modern amenities, including a Lavazza coffee maker. Think cosy Algonquin Park Lodge motif, and you’ll get the vibe. High Peaks staff are personable, friendly, and service-focused, which makes a difference.

ABOVE: High Peaks Resort includes three properties with lake access in the summer. (Photos: Courtesy High Peaks Resort)


The hotel’s lobby features fireplaces with big, comfortable chairs and couches. Play cards or chess, or just hang out and chill. The wonderful indoor pool and hot tub are especially inviting after a day of outdoor adventures. The Dancing Bear restaurant, on the hotel’s lower level, anchors Main Street and provides a beautiful view of Mirror Lake across the street. The restaurant offers breakfast, lunch and dinner services with a menu that features comfort food from locally sourced ingredients.

ABOVE: Winter fun on Mirror Lake in Lake Placid, N.Y. (Photos: Todd Bissonette)


Lake Placid loves winter and its shows with all of the cold weather activities available for tourists to enjoy. Skiers and snowboarders can carve their way down the slopes of Whiteface Mountain, home to the greatest vertical drop east of the Rockies, or explore the extensive network of cross-country ski trails that wind through the pristine wilderness. For those seeking an adrenaline rush, skeleton experiences are available and provide an opportunity to experience the thrill of Olympic competition firsthand. Ice skaters glide gracefully across beautiful Mirror Lake, which anchors the town with its beauty, or they can test their speed on the Olympic speedskating oval. You can go snowshoeing or ice fishing or just take a hike and explore the local frozen landscape.

Hockey enthusiasts will want to visit the Olympic arena, and chances are, if you do, you’ll be able to watch a game. Lake Placid is a destination for youth hockey teams from Canada and the USA. During the hockey season there are games and tournaments almost every week.

Lake Placid offers lots of après-ski, cosy fireside lodges and charming taverns that serve up hearty cuisine. We loved the Big Slide Brewery with its rustic wooden tables and warm Edison bulb lighting that gives off an industrial-relaxed and chill vibe. They make and serve a tasty selection of handcrafted brews, ranging from classic styles to innovative experiments, including seasonal beers and non-alcoholic options. My favourite is the “Big Slide IPA,” a bold and hoppy ale bursting with citrus flavours and a crisp, clean finish.

The Pickled Pig is another charming pub. Located on Main Street across from the arena, it’s a local favourite and features a four-season outdoor fireplace. They have great appetisers to pair with their beer and spirits selection.

A favourite dinner stop for locals and tourists alike is Interlaken Restaurant, which is set in a charming and upscale Victorian-style inn. Renowned for culinary excellence, Interlaken offers a dining experience (and an old-fashioned bar) that is as memorable as it is delightful. Standout favourites include the mouthwatering filet mignon, tender braised short ribs, and the signature Interlaken burger—a juicy masterpiece that is sure to satisfy even the most discerning palate.

It is almost impossible not to get into a relaxed zen zone in Lake Placid. The scenery, natural beauty, friendly people and short drive from Ottawa make it an ideal place to get away for your winter solstice.

Header image: Courtesy High Peaks Resort