The charm and magic of the Adirondacks lies in its natural surroundings, the silence of its lakes, the calming energy of its sunsets, its mysteriousness of its sky when it wakes up each morning and the deer and elk that live in its woods. Its in the lazy Sundays spent on an Adirondack chair with a cuppa coffee in your hand facing one of its many serene lakes while watching the sun rise behind the pine and fur trees. You may find other parts of the world where you can get a view like this, but likely not from a hotel with its own private beach at a fraction of what it would cost to fly to Europe.
Meet the Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort, a perfect family getaway, particularly in the warmer months so you can take advantage of water sports and swimming. It’s apparently the first resort in the U.S. to receive Audubon International’s Platinum Eco Rating for hotels which is cool in itself, but still not the coolest reason to stay here — this morning views win again and again.
I took the above shot from our hotel window and while there are four floors, the establishment blends nicely into the environment and still has an intimate feel. Located on Main Street in downtown Lake Placid, it might seem as if you’d be in the thick of the town’s bustle, however since a parking lot separates the street from the hotel, and the lobby and lounge area separates the lot from the beach, you feel as if you’re much more secluded. And, let’s remember, Lake Placid New York is a village, not a busy tourist destination despite its claim to fame as the host of two winter Olympics.
People in New England may know about Lake Placid and the surrounding area, but it’s not that well known to Europeans or west coast Americans. The truth is that it’s a great choice if you want to get lost for awhile or are after serenity and calm and want to be out of touch, which for me is what made our trip so revitalizing. Below are a few more shots of Mirror Lake which is the lake Golden Arrow Lakeside Resorts faces, not Lake Placid. To avoid confusion, there are two lakes in the village of Lake Placid: Mirror Lake and Lake Placid. The lakes are so close to each other that they were apparently connected some 5,000 years ago.
Below is the private beach in front of the hotel — there are plenty of lounge chairs, canoes, paddle boards, kayaks and paddle boats, all of which we used frequently during our stay there. The nice thing is that all of the boats are complimentary for guests on a first come first serve basis. There’s a little hut on the beach where you can get soda and snacks for the kids or simply order one of their killer spicy Margaritas from the Generations kitchen, their on-site restaurant and bar.
You might notice that the sand looks very white for this part of the world and it’s because it is made of crushed limestone, which helps counteract the effects of acid rain, a big problem in the Adirondack Park. Every spring, they truck in tons of it to help keep Mirror Lake clean.
On the other side, there’s a grassy area where you can lounge and relax as well. It’s a little quieter here and you can also have a picnic on the grounds if you wish.
Taking the boats out each day is one of the things that makes it feel as if you’ve rented a home for your vacation rather than a hotel room since there’s a community feel to staying here. This is particularly great if you have kids in tow – there’s no greater memory than the special moments you take away from a family trip than the people who touched you along the way and the things you learn from nature.
Below is a couple in one of the canoes who were exploring the lake on an early morning. The docked canoe is in front of the resort itself so you can get an idea of just how serene and peaceful it is.
Below, Anthony and Jake take out a row boat and have a try at fishing, which for Jake was the first time.
Sipping one of the killer Margaritas made at Generations in one of Golden Arrow’s paddle boats — such fun!
A few more great views of Mirror Lake from this fabulous property.
Below, I am bringing the canoe back to the resort (on the left in the near distance) after an early morning canoe ride. The lighting that morning was perfect.
Earlier that same morning (between 6 and 6:30 am).
Around 6:40 am
And, a few minutes later. You can see how the lake evolves over time although the one precious constant remains – textures of silence and a peacefulness that engulfs you regardless of what time of day you’re on the lake. There’s nothing quite like it.
One afternoon on a bright day, the view of the lake from our room.
A view of the resort from the lake during mid-day.
Paddle boarding brings so much serenity to the mind, not unlike yoga — it’s such a relaxing and tranquil activity to do, something I wished I took up years ago. It was just so lovely to be able to grab one of the many paddle boards (or kayaks) hey had and take a spin around the lake, or simply float for an hour or two and feel your body’s energy wind down to zero.
The real magic happens outside regardless of season. If you can get to Lake Placid before the lakes ice over, then you’ll have an opportunity to get onto the lake itself in a boat, which is simply heaven. The hotel itself has a lot of other great things about it like the creativity you’ll find in the lobby area.
If you’re a chess player, how cool would it be to play a game next to a window facing these sweeping views of the lake and mountains in the distance?
The rooms vary; if this is a family vacation, their kitchenettes are the way to go.
Below is a little more sophisticated design motif and this upgraded room comes with a desk and mirror as well.
Below is a room that was very similar in style to ours — the fireplace is a lovely addition to have even in the thick of summer. While it’s warm and balmy during the day, it doesn’t get hot enough at night that you wouldn’t consider having a fire going while watching a movie or taking in the silence of the lake late at night from your balcony which we did on more than one occasion. Getting a suite for family stays is also a great way to go as two rooms adjoin, which is perfect if you want a little privacy.
They have a number of suites to choose from, but if you want to book during a busy tourism season, then it’s best to make reservations well in advance. Not all the suites have fireplaces (it was a big bonus for us mainly because I’m a huge fan of them — they make things so cozy at night. Their Algonquin Suite is perfect for small families. The main room features a king-sized bed, wood-burning fireplace, a love seat sleeper sofa, flat screen TV and private balcony. The small bedroom has one double bed with a TV and amenities include a microwave, mini refrigerator, Keurig K-Cup single cup coffee brewer, and an oversized whirlpool tub in the bath.
We had the Panther Suite (below), which has the convenience of two bedrooms for larger parties, groups or families, and the view from this suite is ideal as you can see from the photos taken from the balcony. The master bedroom features a wood-burning fireplace, king-sized bed, a TV and a walk-out balcony while the second room features two queen-sized beds, flat screen TV and a private balcony. The suite’s foyer has a private nook for entertaining and the spacious bathroom has a marble and a glassed-in shower and a large whirlpool tub. Amenities include a microwave, mini refrigerator and Keurig K-Cup single cup coffee brewer.
Here’s a typical balcony and the views you’ll get. The shot above was taken from this same balcony but facing the other side of the lake; here is a view to the right as you face Mirror Lake’s beauty.
For those who want more of a pool experience than a lake one, there’s a heated pool on the premises, a steam bath, a sauna and two whirlpool tubs, so if you are heading to Lake Placid in the winter months to ski instead, you’ll be able to take advantage of swimming and kid activities inside and take a late night jacuzzi after dinner to soothe your muscles from a day of activities. You probably can’t see the tropical fish tile work from the photo below, but it’s a fun quirk about the pool that makes it particularly fun for kids. Instead of chlorine, they use bromine which is a less harsh but equally effective agent and the decking is flagstone, which is eco-friendly.
The hot tub…
They also have a great Fitness Center which has apparently been revitalized, so the equipment is new and it also boasts a “green” environment. The gym features an EZH2O Elkay EXH2O Water bottle filling station, the flooring is made from recycled rubber tires, and they use Haiku Ceiling Fans, which apparently save 80% more energy compared to regular ceiling fans. Who knew? Golden Arrow also has the only racquetball court in town and guests can play using their own rackets or by renting them on-site.
Speaking of eco-friendly and all things “green,” they actually have a GREEN roof — yes, really. Built in 2008, the Green Roof is a 3,400-square-foot roof that you can enjoy from the deck of Generations Restaurant. Green Roofs have many benefits including creating energy savings by acting as a super insulator, keeping the building warm in the winter and cool in the summer. It also acts as a storm water management system, catching pollutants as they drain off the roof. The oxygen released by the plants will help the hotel reduce its carbon footprint and hopefully provide a nice habitat for birds and insects.
While I did a separate round-up of Lake Placid restaurants, which includes Generations, Golden Arrow’s on-site restaurant, I thought I’d entice you with one of their rustic fruit and cheese platters. The staff were incredibly friendly and helpful, from check-in and room service to the restaurant waiters and bartender, who went through great lengths to make sure I had a Margarita I was in love with. Kudos!
Note: all other photos not marked Renee Blodgett in the lower right are courtesy of Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort.
GOLDEN ARROW LAKESIDE RESORT
2559 Main Street
Lake Placid, NY 12946
Note: we were hosted by the resort, but all opinions expressed are entirely my own.