Category Archives: NorthEast Travel

Review: Golden Arrow Lake Placid

One of my very favorite spots in the entire world is Lake Placid NY. Lake Placid was the town we visited when I was a child on rainy days when we were camping in the Adirondacks near Saranac Lake. Not much to do in the rain at a campground so we would pile into the car and drive to Lake Placid and walk around in the rain, spending sometimes hours inside the book store. Hey, we didn’t have English book stores near our home in Montreal.

As I got older, it became the spot to go with friends to get away from the crazy bar scene in Montreal. It’s no wonder I met my husband on one of those trips, we began dating long distance (he lived in Lake Placid) and eventually got married. We had our wedding in, you guessed it, Lake Placid.

I simply love the atmosphere in this town. It’s always bustling with people, and activities, and has great restaurants! There is a lovely path that takes you all the way around Mirror Lake. It is just under 3 miles and at the other end of the lake, you can see the actual Lake Placid. There is even a boat tour you can take to learn all about the history of the area and the ghost story of The Lady and the Lake. They are replacing the sidewalk in town and one side is complete with a beautiful smooth surface now.

One of the top places to stay is the Golden Arrow Resort. The Golden Arrow sits right on Mirror Lake, aptly named as you can see in this picture.

The resort has regular rooms, family rooms, specialty suites and is pet friendly. Many rooms overlook Mirror Lake and the beautiful lakeside lawn and beach exclusive to the hotel. They have lake toys available on the docks, beach chairs to lounge, and a sectioned-off area to swim safely for the littles. There are fire pits for nighttime fun and a beautiful spot where there is almost weekly a wedding taking place by the lake.

There is a restaurant and bar, Generations which is a great place to cap off the night before retreating to your room.

My favorite room at the Golden Arrow is the Morningside Suite. This is the suite we book every year for our girl’s getaway weekend. This suite suits us perfectly because it has a large table in the floor-to-ceiling window overlooking the lake. We like to play games when we aren’t on the beach or wandering around the lake, and this is perfect for that. It also has a kitchenette and 2 bathrooms along with a king bed in one room and 2 queen beds in the other. The other fun thing about this particular suite is that it isn’t even in the hotel. This suite is actually at the back of the Alpine Mall. There is a door into the hotel at the back of the mall, on the right-hand side. Directly across, next to the coffee shop, is the door to the Morningside Suite. This means we can just get onto Main Street by a quick walk through the tiny mall without the need to deal with going through the hotel, hallways, and elevators.

On our most recent trip, we hit up our MUST DO of Big Mountain Deli and the #10 Gothic sandwich. Always a staple of mine. We also enjoy eating and a few adult beverages at The Cottage, The Mirror Lake Inn, Jimmy’s 21, Black Bear Restaurant, The Pickled Pig, Top of the Park, and breakfast at The Breakfast Club is a MUST!

In the morning I pop right outside my door and grab an iced latte to sip on my balcony before a walk around the lake. Perfect morning!

The hotel has an indoor pool and hot tub. Water trikes, kayaks, paddle boards available for use freely down by the beach.

There are of course lots of things to do in Lake Placid with the Olympic sites to visit, Whiteface Mountain even in summer is something to see. Gondola rides, hikes, the Ski Jumping complex (in the summer they jump into water!). The arena where Miracle on Ice happened and an Olympic Museum.

Lake Placid is the perfect weekend getaway!

College Town by the Lake

There is no highway that takes you into the quaint little city of Ithaca, NY. Winding country roads with very few gas stations is more the speed of things. Ithaca sits at the bottom of Cayuga Lake, one of the lakes that makes up the wine-laden Finger Lakes region of New York State. It’s home to Ithaca College and Cornell, both a stone’s throw from the downtown area.

I’ve been to Ithaca twice, both times for my son’s swimming events held at Ithaca College. On my last visit, since he was staying with his team, so I chose to book a room at a downtown hotel and enjoy some of this lovely little town we hadn’t really gotten to see before.

We stayed at Canopy by Hilton Ithaca Downtown. It was right in the small central pedestrian shopping area, Ithaca Commons, with restaurants everywhere. Amazingly though, most of the restaurants were quite small and without reservations, it was not easy to find a place to eat late on a Friday night. Note to self and all of you, make reservations. We did manage to find a table at one of the restaurants I had scoped out.

But first, the parking situation. Hotels in downtown Ithaca do not have parking. The hotel did have a little 15-minute drop-off, and pick-up area by the front door with a few spots to drop off your luggage. We missed it so brought our luggage from the garage. There are several public garages that were easy enough to get in and out of. We parked in the Seneca Street Garage just 1 block away. Some hotels had designated floors to park on and some sort of agreement with the garage, but Canopy did not.

We walked across the street from our hotel to Mahogany Grill for dinner and it was lovely. A small cozy upscale Italian restaurant. They had some interesting drink choices and the meal and service were fantastic. I dared to try gnocchi. I grew up with parents from Italy who made gnocchi regularly, and it’s hard to find a suitable substitute for my father’s gnocchi. These were good. Very good. Not my father’s good. But pretty good. Delectable desserts as well. We enjoyed our meal and ran into another swim family. It was early March and very cold so we didn’t linger in the shops, but returned to the hotel and stopped for a nightcap at the bar. It was busy for a hotel bar, nice atmosphere that night.

Rooms at Canopy by Hilton are average size and very comfortable. The sink is open to the entry hallway and then a sliding door encloses the toilet and shower. Even though the room is somewhat compact, there was ample storage. We opted for 2 queen beds because when I booked I wasn’t sure about the team situation and if our son would be staying with us.

The hotel has a large lobby area, small meeting room, full bar, and restaurant which appeared to have good food albeit a small menu.

Saturday afternoon after a morning of swim preliminaries, we had a hearty lunch at Ithaca Ale House. Also right across the street from our hotel. We sat at the bar and it was crowded with people waiting for seats even though this seemed to be the biggest place in town. We luckily found 2 seats available at the bar when we walked in so didn’t have to wait.

Saturday night, the boys wanted pasta to carb load before finals in the morning so we took them to Pasta Vitto. You guessed it, it was right across the street as well, right across from Ithaca Ale House. My impression was this was more of a fast-food-type pasta place, but we ended up eating here with another couple and all the boys from our team, just 5 of them, and it was quite good. A real sit-down Italian restaurant, albeit much more casual than most. Kudos to this restaurant for accomodating a large group of 9 of us on the fly and then adding 2 more. It was packed and people kept coming in and being turned away. We arrived just in time, and snagged the last 3 tables.

Guilderville Boys Varsity Swim Team representing Section 2 at NYSPHSAA Championships

Canopy offered an a la carte breakfast which we ate both mornings. You could do a room package that included breakfast or just pay.

We enjoyed our short but sweet stay in downtown Ithaca and hope to do it again someday soon when the weather is better and we can wander around a bit more and take a drive to the lake and visit some wineries. We do love the Finger Lakes wine region.