Peak fall foliage time is upon us! If you are looking for a short week-end break to view the changing of the leaves with the kids or planning ahead for a New England ski vacation, then look no further. The Whiteface Lodge in Lake Placid – a great rustic lodge reminiscent of the Great Camps of the 20th century – has been on my to-do list for years. That is, ever since I first visited Lake Placid in 2003 and checked into Lake Placid Lodge (see my earlier post on this wonderful place) for a blissful weekend with my husband and dog.


So, when I suggested The Whiteface Lodge (which is a 86-suite property of the Leading Hotels of the World and ranked #14 in Travel & Leisures 2010 top USA/Canada hotels) this summer to a friend looking for a family vacation within driving distance of the city (The Whiteface Lodge is about  a 5-hour drive from NYC), I was excited to hear she not only went but came back with a glowing review!  Enjoy….

“My husband and I wanted to take our two children (4.5 year old boy and 7 year old girl) on a week-long summer vacation.  We live in New York City, so we decided to find a place where we could enjoy the outdoors.  Plus, our daughter absolutely loves animals and nature.  We preferred to go someplace within driving distance so we could pack the car without worrying about too much luggage or overweight bags or flight delays.

Indoor pool at the lodge

We called the hotel directly and got a great rate for a one-bedroom suite with connecting room (which included a dining table, kitchen area and pull-out sofa and powder room).  The price was better than the AAA rate at the time.  It included a great buffet breakfast, too, with some tables on the terrace of the dining room.  The hotel was perfect for us.  We LOVED the hotel.  They thought of just about everything.  It was totally kid-friendly.

The way the hotel is decorated is absolutely in keeping with the Adirondack theme, and was just perfect and charming.  It is a large hotel, but still managed to feel quite cozy and comfortable.”

What We Loved:  Just about everything!

Some things in particular:

  • The amenities: Whiteface Lodge has a free kids camp with two sessions a day (morning and afternoon), although we didn’t use it.  There is a movie theater with three movies a day (G, PG, PG-13), a game room, an ice cream parlor, two bowling alley lanes, and a connected indoor/outdoor pool.  We got huge, delicious cookies at turndown.  And, the best of all was the make-your-own smores outside by the bon fire each night.  Don’t plan on losing weight here!  However, there is a nice sized fitness center and a spa :-).
  •  The hotel, while not on the lake, has a Canoe Club just down the road.  We just called the front desk when we were ready to go and by the time we were in the lobby, the car was ready to take us there.  At the Canoe Club,  they have tons of sports such as canoeing (obviously!), basketball, volleyball (newcomb), badminton, paddle boats and croquet.

What We Didn’t Love:  

  • The staff was terrific, however I had some trouble with the communication between the front desk and the housekeeping staff.
  • There is very little cell phone service (which we actually liked!).  Don’t plan on using AT&T up there.  And, Verizon service is spotty.

Don’t Miss:

  • Check out the Olympic Bobsled run and take the tour of that site.  We saw the ski jump location and were able to view skiers training on the actual jump as well as ski jumping into a pool…crazy!
  •  Hiking – We enjoyed hiking around High Falls George and the Whiteface Mountain as well as on the Whiteface property.
  • The Wild Center where you can see live animals indigenous to the Adirondack Mountains, such as river otters, owls, raptors and snakes
  • The  Avalanche Adventures Family Fun Center near the hotel where we played mini golf, went on the trampoline (while we were attached to bungie cords), played in the bouncy castles and went rock climbing. Tons of fun!
  • A drive to the top of Whiteface mountain. We climbed a short way to the castle at the top for amazing views. Call
    Mel’s Diner

    in advance (518 946-2223 ext. 5) to determine visibility.

  • Lunch at Mel’s Diner – it’s a great diner and a playground is right outside which was perfect for the kids while waiting for food to arrive.

What to Skip:

  • The 8-minute motion sensor ride at the Olympic Center skating rink.
  • Jimmy’s restaurant in town – just ok

Tip: Pack clothes for all sorts of weather. It rained and was cold the week before we got there. We needed fleece jackets the first day and then just shorts and t-shirts after that.

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