Lake Placid – healthful and intoxicating

In April, there will be a four-day celebration of fine food and wine.

lake placid 311 (photo credit: AP)
lake placid 311
(photo credit: AP)
LAKE PLACID, New York – Say the words Lake Placid and an image of toned and strapping athletes going for the gold probably springs to mind.
And it’s with good reason that the idyllic mountain village is known for being an athlete magnet: It hosted the Winter Olympic Games in 1932 and 1980, and has become a world-renowned training center for future Olympic contenders from around the world.
It has also long been a draw for mere mortals with a passion for fitness.
Droves of weekend rock climbers, bikers, hikers and cross-country skiers converge in and around Lake Placid to get their cardio on.
However, if you’ve never owned a snowboard or pair of hiking cleats, don’t let any of this intimidate you. Lake Placid is an equally viable getaway for a grazing foodie, voracious reader or avid board-game geek.
It’s true, you can actually spend a weekend in these fabled, alp-like surroundings and not lift a finger – well, maybe a fork and a wine glass.
This April, you’ll have the perfect opportunity when the Adirondack Festival of Food and Wine returns to the Mirror Lake Inn. Set on a slice of land that splits between Lake Placid and the storybook-perfect Mirror Lake, the inn’s seven-acre campus features a main building with oak library, bistro, award-winning restaurant and 19 guest rooms.
The rest of the property includes an additional 100 guest rooms and 31 suites, a spa and a fitness club.
The four-day celebration of fine food and wine features master chefs and vintners offering tastings of food and wine pairings, cooking competitions and culinary demonstrations.
This year’s highlights include a library tasting hosted by Opus Winery, a wine seminar hosted by Reidel, a grand tasting with food and wine pairings from Bubbles to Bordeaux, an Italian wine seminar with Castello Banfi and a sparkling wine brunch hosted by Mionetto.
The festival kicks off at 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 22, in the inn’s bistro with wine pairings chosen by the in-house sommelier, Barry Sears. All wines will be of an organic or sustainable nature and will be paired with small-plate dishes at the Tapas station, as well as specially chosen local and Vermont cheeses with homemade bread and seasonal fruit.
Friday’s events will feature interactive food demonstrations, a wine glass seminar and an evening grand tasting with more than 50 varieties of red, white, bubbly, sweet and dessert wines.
On Saturday, Sarah Langan, senior chef instructor at the New England Culinary Institute, will lead a cooking demonstration on “The Holy Trinity: Food, Wine and Cheese.”
There will also be a behind-the-scenes look into what it takes to assemble a seven-course dinner at the inn’s AAA four-diamond restaurant, the View; a cooking demonstration; and a seven-course wine dinner, “A Taste of Italy.”
The festival concludes with a sparking wine brunch on Sunday morning hosted by Mionetto. The New York Times has said of the festival: “For New Yorkers who prefer to get their adrenaline rush via food and wine, there’s the Adirondack Festival of Food and Wine... at the Mirror Lake Inn Resort and Spa.”
And if it’s spa treatments or some quality time in a relaxing whirlpool you’re after, the Mirror Lake Inn’s 5,000 square foot spa fits the bill perfectly. Steeped in Adirondack serenity, the spa sanctuary is accented in tumbled local marble and mahogany.
Amenities include fireplaces, Jacuzzis, steam rooms, indoor swimming pool and a lake-view fitness center. Services include the Adirondack Maple Body Scrub, Algae Exfoliation, the signature Dry Float Massage, Four-Layer Facial, Craniosacral Therapy and Heated River Stone Therapy. The inn’s Spa Getaway package begins at $355 per couple per night and includes a 50-minute spa service and breakfast.
Since Lake Placid is steeped in an intriguing tapestry of history and natural beauty, you may find that you’re able to tear yourself away from the inn’s cozy campus long enough to take in some of the town’s famous sites.
Downtown Lake Placid is a compact amalgamation of quaint shops, mid- and upscale dining, art galleries and museums, including the renowned Olympic Center. It is here where you can relive the glory of the 1980 US Olympic hockey team’s unexpected victory over the Russians, and figure skater turned movie star Sonja Henie’s spree of 1932 gold medals, among other historical events.
For those who prefer a more hands-on experience with athleticendeavors, the Mirror Lake Inn encourages guests to make ample use ofMirror Lake by offering complimentary kayaks and canoes to guests.
Or you could take quiet walks along the lake, where vistas of the highpeaks and breezes of immaculate mountain air cast an intoxicatingspell. There’s no wrong way to enjoy Lake Placid.
The writer based in Lake George, N.Y. Her Web site is