Lake Placid excludes a timeless magic. Jackie Caradonio, the journalist who married at Lake Placid Lodge, shares her impressions of an establishment that is at once grand and intimate.
There’s an image of Lake Placid Lodge that has been imprinted in my mind since 2012. It’s early morning and a thick mist has settled over the lake, obscuring the water almost completely and reflecting the rising sun’s golden light. The grass lawn that leads to the lake’s edge is covered in blanket of dew, a perfectly fluffy layer of bright-green shag carpet. At the edge of the pier a cluster of boats sit quietly. It’s a photo, but you can almost hear them gently swaying with the mellow ripples the wind makes in the water.
I’d like to think this image, taken from the balcony of one of Lake Placid Lodge’s Lakeside one-bedroom suites, would stick in the mind (and heart) of any guest for its peaceful beauty—but for me, there’s another reason I’ll never forget it: It was the first thing I saw on my first morning as a married woman.
It has been more than eight years since my little wedding at Lake Placid Lodge, where a small group of family and friends gathered under the great moose head on the terrace of the Artisan’s restaurant for an intimate “I do,” followed by an incredible degustation menu in the Baby Bootlegger Room. But the romance of this property is more than a memory of a special day: It’s the kind of place where you can’t help but fall in love—with nature, with art, with history and cuisine.
There’s a timeless essence at Lake Placid Lodge. Maybe it’s the grand log-cabin architecture or the timeless collection of art and antiques (including an impressive selection of original Hudson River Valley paintings). Maybe it’s that you’re more likely to pass the time with a puzzle and a hot chocolate than you are to flip on the TV or read the news.
It’s easy to imagine things have always been this way, since the lodge was first built in 1882 by a German family—another one of those fabled “great camps” that New England is famous for. These little histories transport you at every turn, whether you’re zipping along the lake in the hotel’s circa-1940s mahogany Hacker-Craft or hiking through the surrounding woods, where signs of age-old camps are still nailed into the massive pines along rough-hewn trails.
The most spectacular view you’ll ever find of the lodge requires you to leave the lodge—and explore the great lake as nature intended, gliding on a stand-up paddleboard, “cycling” in a pedalboat, or puttering around in something with a bit more power. Once out on those placid waters you’ll realize the lake is much larger than it seems, but no matter how far you go, the return is always the best part, when the grand log structure and its forest-green roof come into view like a beacon.
It’s the little things that make every meal at Lake Placid Lodge a standout. Our wedding reception in the Baby Bootlegger was unforgettable—packed with fresh heirloom tomatoes and lobster and truffles—but it was the butter that I remember to this day because it’s the richest I’ve ever tasted (even in Europe). Breakfast is no simple affair either. Order anything—in fact, order everything—but whatever do you, don’t miss the pancakes topped with berry compote, maple syrup, and that butter.
Still, after a day on the lake, the “meal” I look forward to most is a laidback nibble, a snack at Maggie’s Pub, a cocktail by the bonfire, maybe a s’mores or two as I cozy up in a bright-red Adirondack chair and blanket. When the sun is just about to dip below the horizon, the best place to be is in the shallows of the lake, your pants rolled up à la Huckleberry Finn and a glass of bourbon or Pinot Noir in your hand. It’s another perfect instant that can’t help but embed itself in your memory, a mental image you can call up any time for a peaceful moment at Lake Placid Lodge.