Photo by Tony the Misfit/Flickr
It is a big one. A really big one. Ironman Lake Placid is right around the corner—the second-oldest Ironman in the U.S is July 24. The former site of two Olympics (1932 and 1980) provides one of the most challenging Ironman courses with the famous Adirondack climbs. It also provides one of the most beautiful courses with the swim on Mirror Lake and the mountain views in the backdrop.
This is probably our hardest guide to write. Why? Because there are so many fantastic options in the area. There is a reason that Lake Placid sells out in minutes. As my real estate friends tell me, location location location.
You probably are not looking for a lot of physical activity before the race but if you end up making it full vacation there are a lot of opportunities to adventure at Lake Placid. From hiking there’s the challenging High Peaks, kayaking on Mirror Lake, and rock climbing in the Adirondacks. With so much adventure, Lake Placid is more than just a race weekend so make sure to add a few extra days. In case you want to get out and stretch your legs:
How about a gondola ride to the top of Whiteface Mountain? The eight-person Cloudsplitter Gondola (5021 Route 86, 800-754-3223) carries you and your family from the Main Base Lodge to the top of Little Whiteface. You can even pack a lunch for some vittles with a great view overlooking the town of Lake Placid.
About a mile before Whiteface on RT 86, stop at High Falls George. It’s only a half mile long walk across the deep crevasses of the AuSable River. You will be traveling high in the air over deep gorges on manmade walking bridges with granite cliffs overhead.
Stop by the lobby of Art Devlin’s Motor Lodge to see Olympic medals and paraphernelia. Art Devlin senior was quite the ski jumper during the 1932 Olympics, and his son (and current proprietor) Art Jr. was also world class.
Morning after Ionman and your muscles are tired? Why not indulge in a little golf. Some of the golf courses around Lake Placid were designed by the same people who bought you Augusta National. So bring your clubs and head to one of the following courses:
Lake Placid Club, 518-523-4460
The boss man fancies himself as quite the linkster and he has played these two courses. There is a Mountain layout and also a Lower Links style course. He mumbled something about the Links course being one of his favorites designed in 1909 by Seymour Dunn. He then mumbled something about shooting a 74 and walked away. He is planning on packing his clubs again this year so that should tell you what he thinks about this 36 hole layout.
Westport Country Club, 518-962-4470
Craig Wood Golf Course, 518-523-9811
Whiteface Club and Resort Golf Course, 518-523-2551
Kids tagging along? Then you’ll need to find a way to entertain them! Being a former Olympic site, Lake Placid is full of opportunities for kids to adventure. There are also a few places that should be on the must-visit list:
45 Museum Drive Tipper Lake, N.Y. 12986
The website says the average visitor spends about three hours in the museum. Average. I imagine that with long list of things to see and do that three hours is short. The Wild Center is in one word: WILD. It is a combination of live animals and a museum. The 2011 feature is Return of the Wild which “looks at how wild things are coming back to Adirondacks.â€ From their website: “The Wild Center has exhibits indoors and out. The Museum’s collection is not stored in vaults; it spreads across all six million acres of the Adirondacks. The Wild Center is a place to explore that living breathing collection.â€
If your kids want to get a little wid, as kids do, then make sure you head to the Wild Center
Lake Placid Family Center
2634 Main Street
Open Daily 10–5
The Lake Placid Family Center is located in the Olympic Center – the site of the famous 1980 Gold Medal win for the U.S. Men’s Hockey Team over the Soviet Union. It is also the place where Sonja Henning captured the world’s heart in the 1932 Olympics.
The first floor is the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympic Museum. Here they have preserved the memories and the glory. As the website says, “this is the heart of Lake Placid.â€ Here you can find out how this little village hosted the biggest games in sports and today still host one of the best Ironman races.
A visit to the family center is a visit to history and glory. Take in the museum and a little ice skating. Pretend you are going for the gold. It’s the big building on the hill right above the Expo, stop in and check it out. You can almost still hear the chants of “USA! USA! USA!”
After being wild for the day and achieving their gold medal dreams, the little ones will have worked up an appetite. Feed them.
Mr. Mike’s Pizza and Italian Kitchen
2742 Main Street
This is the go-to restaurant for any self-respecting triathlete while they are in Lake Placid. Mr. Mike’s offers grilled vegetable salad, so as a vegetarian I already give this place two thumbs up. Plus, it is called Mr. Mike’s and the boss man is named Mike. For Mom and Dad try their homemade pizza or other Italian fare. The young ones have a selection of pasta dishes to choose from ranging in price from $4 to $5.50. Feeding them won’t break the bank, either (since you spent their college fund on that fancy bike you bought to race in Lake Placid.)
Moose Lodge Boathouse Restaurant
373 Whiteface Inn
This establishment describes themselves as a casual family-friendly restaurant. Plus, with Moose in the name the kids will be excited to check it out. Mom and dad will be excited to check out for the location. It’s located in the beautiful White Face Club and Resort offering breathtaking views of the Whiteface Mountains. Every Thursday they run a Steak on the Lake spread from 6-9 p.m. Every Friday is the Burger Feature from 11:30 a.m.–4 p.m. It’s a great place to grab your protein in addition to spectacular views.
You have run the race of your life and hopefully your dreams with a PR. Treat yourself to one of the many finer dining restaurants that dot Lake Placid. I have provided a few for you put on your reservation list.
2559 Main Street
There are a lot of resorts around Lake Placid which means there are a lot of great restaurants. Generations is one of those and more in the Golden Arrow Lake Side Resort. The resort operates as a sustainable resort. Generations keeps that philiosophy by using mainly locally grown and raised foods on their menu. The restaurant also boost a green roof that provides fresh herbs for those locally grown dishes.
Oh, yeah the menu is amazing. For breakfast they offer Cinnamon Brioche French Toast and their own Generations Hash. Lunch and dinner do not stop the mouth watering options. Dinner gives you choices like Kilcoyne Farm Burger to Fledging Crow Caesar Salad. The vegetarian in me is craving the Grilled Portobello Mushroom and the Oriental Vegetable with Tofu. So Go Green and Go Generations and make your reservations now.
Nicola’s on Main
2617 Main Street
The boss man recommends this one and one thing he does know is good food. He says Nicola’s is a must on his visit every year. With options like the Basil Torte (white cheese layered with pesto and garnished with pine nuts and served with bruschetta) it’s easy to see that he does know good food. They also offer a Shrimp Aschettino: shrimp and spinach over linguini. Or try the Provenzale: artichoke hearts, tomatoes, capers, garlic and Kalamata olives with penne.
5993 Sentinel Road
Nicola’s was the boss man’s pick but Chair 6 is none other than Rachel Ray’s. Chair 6 offers high quality organic food. Breakfast offers you choices like Bunny Hill, Half Pipe ad Chair Lift. With names like these you can pick your entrÃ©e like I pick my Derby horses. Lunch offers the choice to design your own custom sandwich … here at Infinit you can’t go wrong with custom! Dinner offers a variety like Smoked Trout Quesadilla and Israeli Couscous.
Lake Placid Pub and Brewery
813 Main Street
Done with the Race and need a beer? Head to the . How can you go wrong with a local pub that began brewing its own beer got so popular that they had to open a separate brew house? That must be some good beer. (Please send me a bottle if you can.)
The Pub just introduced a new menu which they serve for lunch and dinner daily from 11:30 – 9 p.m. (12 p.m. on Sundays) The menu is typical for a pub which is why you will crave it after a hard race. Pretzel nuggets, wings, tortilla chips and waffle fries to start. Beef and beer chili? You know you want it post race along with one of their hometown brews. Make sure to check them out. The gallery of pics on their website makes the crew of the brew look like a great bunch of people to celebrate with, too.
There are plenty of coffee houses to get your caffeine fix or buzz on for the day. I list only the tip of the peak.
2241 Saranac Ave.
I start here because I simply like the name. How can you go wrong with a Cuppa Joe? Well, actually it can go horribly wrong because every office has that one person who cannot make a good pot of coffee to save their life.
Coff E Bean Internet CafÃ© and Coffee Bar
2527 Mirror Lake Dr
One reviewer describes it as ‘No coffee shop in a can here.’ So I think that and the friendly service wraps this one up. Like most places in the area, it also offers a great view, this one of Mirror Lake. I believe that if you are headed to Lake Placid you should do everything with a view.
26 Main Street
Muffins, scones, cookies and cakes. They are all homemade and scrumptious. We recommend the raspberry or blueberry scones and muffins. To die for!
So there you have it. Lake Placid in a visitor’s nut shell. The town is famous for hosting the Olympics twice, provides stunning views, and is home to one of the most popular Ironman challenges. Enjoy all it has to offer and good luck race day.
Laurie Walter is a personal trainer, avid cyclist, and runner, as well as the “Chief Nut Gatherer” for Infinit Nutrition. Formerly, she worked in promotions and publicity for studios like Warner Bros. and Columbia TriStar but decided to pursue a career that paid her to run and ride. Her current job allows her to combine her marketing experience with her love for endurance sports. In her spare time, she serves as an elected official in Milford, Ohio.