I loved "Snow Days" as a kid. And being an adult is no different!
School age children in Canada and the northern United States know that the two most beautiful words in the world are "Snow Day"! For those unfamiliar, a Snow Day occurs when the winter weather is so inclement it necessitates school closures. This actually happens far less often than you'd imagine, as those of us living in harsh winter climates are pretty hearty folk and we've got the road clearing equipment needed to stare down just about any winter storm.
The winter mornings of my childhood in rural Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, were spent with one ear cocked towards the radio, listening (often in vain) for the coveted Snow Day announcement. But when it finally came, oh, there was much rejoicing throughout the land! I'd immediately head outside to play in the snow. No matter how bad the storm, Snow Days were always the perfect day to play outside. The day would pass in a blur of sodden snow pants, red cheeks, and frozen mittens.
Now there's a chance for me and everyone else to recreate that amazing Snow Day feeling in one of my favourite destinations for outdoor adventure: Lake Placid, New York.
Lake Placid is a town that knows how to tell winter who's boss. As America's first winter resort, it's king of the Snow Day. I think the perfect Lake Placid Snow Day would start with some tobogganing but, I must warn you, Lake Placid isn't your average winter town and this isn't your average hill.
Lake Placid tobogganing takes place on a converted ski jump trestle. I believe its actual height is about 30' but let's just call it SUPER DUPER high! Riders pile onto a proper, old fashioned, wooden toboggan and head down an icy chutes and onto the frozen surface of Mirror Lake. Depending on weather conditions, some toboggans have been known to travel 1,000 feet across the surface of the lake!
Coming from Ottawa, you'd likely imagine that I'd stick around Mirror Lake to complete their 2 mile skating track. After all, Ottawa's Rideau Canal freezes in winter to become the world's longest skating rink. I should be a pro at this skating stuff! But, alas, I'm not. I'm a horrible wimp and an even worse skater. I'll leave Mirror Lake to those with stronger ankles and stiffer constitutions and skip right ahead to the best part of skating: the apres-skating treats!
In Ottawa, that means Beavertails, a deep fried, long, flat pastry that is drenched in cinnamon and sugar. In Lake Placid, that means heading to main street for a bit of window shopping and snacking. Some of my favourite stops include Saratoga Olive Oil (I love their Sicilian lemon white balsamic vinegar) the Adirondack Popcorn Company, and Temptations (for hot chocolate, plus savory goodies to compliment the balsamic vinegar).
Come afternoon, I'd venture outside Lake Placid to visit the Wild Center. The Wild Center is an indoor and outdoor natural world experience that brings visitors closer to nature in unexpected ways. Words don't do it justice - you absolutely need to experience this in person for yourself.
I had an amazing time visiting the center this summer and taking part in their "Wild Walk", a tree top nature trail, complete with swinging bridges, a gigantic 'spider's web', and four story tree house. But I didn't get much time to explore the center's indoor exhibits and I think a Snow Day would be the perfect opportunity to do so. (Fellow winter visitors, take note: The Wild Center has limited hours in the winter so check ahead before you go).
I'd cap off my perfect Snow Day with a treat I was denied in my last visit - a real pub night! I should note that the denial was all my own doing. As some readers might remember, I wasa bit under the weather during my last Lake Placid visit. I made the very sensible and boring choice to refrain from indulging in the Adirondack's craft beer and local wine scene. It's time for a re-do!
I know Lake Placid has so much to offer in this regards and I'm eager for some overdue indulgence. It's time to discover it for myself!