There aren’t many places you can canoe and kayak in the summer and then dog sled and skate on a naturally frozen lake in the winter. Let alone one in easy reach of the country's most populous metropolis. That's what makes Lake Placid in upstate New York so special.
The village is in the heart of the vast Adirondack Park, which spans over 6 million acres and protects the 46 highest peaks in New York State, 10,000 lakes and ponds, 30,000 miles of rivers and streams, and 2,000 miles of hiking trails.
When you visit Lake Placid, you are also experiencing a bit of sports history. Lake Placid has hosted the Winter Olympics, not once, but twice, in 1932 and again in 1980, when it was the site of the famous “Miracle on Ice.” That was when the U.S. ice hockey team won victory over the heavily favored and multi-gold medal Soviet team. You can feel the history and the Olympic spirit around town, and sites such as the Lake Placid Olympic Museum and the 1980 Olympic Arena.
Want to ski in the footsteps of Olympians? You can! Just 20 minutes from the Village of Lake Placid, on Whiteface mountain, the fifth highest peak in the state of New York, and one of the highest peaks in the Adirondack Mountains. Whiteface was the site of the Olympic Alpine ski events, and remains a premier ski resort, drawing winter sports enthusiasts from around the world.
Did you know that the vertical at Whiteface is only 20 feet less vertical than Vail and 100 feet more than Aspen? There is a reason why the Olympics was hosted here! You can actually see the old Olympic downhill leader board from the 1980 Winter Olympics when you zip down one of the many runs.
With so much to do in the area, you deserve to pamper yourself when it comes to accommodations. The majority of the hotels and inns in the area located in the Village of Lake Placid around Mirror Lake. One of the standouts is Mirror Lake Inn located a short walk away from Lake Placid's famous Main Street.
Mirror Lake Inn Resort & Spa has been top-rated for decades, including being honored with the AAA Four-Diamond, “Exceptional” Award for over 30 years. A finalist in this year’s Bed and Breakfast / Inn category of the 2020 Gay Travel Awards, hosted by GayTravel, Mirror Lake Inn is very LGBTQ+ welcoming, and flies its rainbow flag year-round and not just during Pride.
“We are very proud that the Mirror Lake Inn has long enjoyed a reputation of being inclusive and welcoming to all,” owner Ed Weibrecht tells Out Traveler. “We were first featured in Out magazine way back, nearly 30 years ago and have since been recognized by numerous other LGBTQ publications and social media outlets over the years. For us, our focus is simple: we are committed to providing each and every one of our guests with an authentic and memorable Adirondack experience. The Inn is a special place and we enjoy sharing it with everyone.”
The owner’s son, Andrew Weibrecht, also offers something special. The Olympic athlete, who won a silver (2014) and bronze medal (2010) in super giant slalom, offers guests the exclusive opportunity to have a guided tour of Whiteface with an Olympian, who shows guests “the trails and all the history and legacy from those ski events in 1980.”
Mirror Lake Inn has an extensive selection of outdoor amenities which include stunning gardens, a pool, tennis court, and even a private beach.
Indoor amenities are just as impressive and include a European spa, fitness center, and The View restaurant where you can enjoy an award-winning meal while overlooking the Adirondack Mountains. Another dining option is the Cottage Restaurant and Café, where you can dine while overlooking Mirror Lake.
Hotels and resorts around the world are making changes to comply with CDC safety protocols, but there will always be the ones that go above and beyond. “We’re doing just about everything humanly possible to try and guarantee the safety of the staff and of our guests,” says the elder Weibrecht.
With the understanding that health and peace of mind are now the ultimate luxuries, Mirror Lake Inn has invested heavily to ensure the safety of guests, spending half a million dollars on additional health and safety protocols. That attention to guest health puts travelers at ease and enables you to enjoy your stay without worry.
“We have incredible protocols in place which I would say are second to none, and we can come as close as possible to guaranteeing a safe environment for our staff and our guests,” Weibrecht says. “The reason we’ve put all these protocols in is that we don’t want our staff to be at risk and we don’t want our guests to be at risk.”
A unique answer to social distancing involves heated refurbished gondola cabins Mirror Lake Inn
Aside from the usual CDC recommendations for social distancing and wearing masks, the investment that Mirror Lake Inn has put into keeping guests safe is impressive, especially when it comes to air sanitation. Ownership procured Haiku UV-V ceiling fans and HoMedics standing air sanitizing units, installing them in the living room, library, lobby, conference room, Cottage Café, and View Lounge. The Inn has also implemented state-of-the-art electrostatic sprayers into their already extensive cleaning protocols and added thermal imaging cameras to screen staff prior to the start of their shift, along with all patrons entering the restaurant or spa.
Overall, Mirror Lake Inn makes travel and lodging as safe as humanly possible, proving not only that traveling doesn’t have to be challenging, but also that you don’t have to sacrifice comfort and fun in exchange for safety. If done right, staying safe doesn’t mean you have to compromise your vacation or give up on being pampered – you can have it all!
Out Traveler contributor Barry Hoy is a Canadian transplanted to New York City, who writes about travel, food, and lifestyle and showcases great destinations, local experiences, and all of the must-see (#bucketlist) places around the world. If he’s not traveling, he’s already planning his next trip. Follow his adventures via Instagram @asianmapleleaf or on his travel blog at asianmapleleaf.com