Archive for December, 2013

Winter in Finger Lakes

Posted on: December 30th, 2013 by Erin Weir No Comments

Sitting between the major cities of Rochester and Syracuse lies the under-appreciated gem of New York State known as the Finger Lakes Region.

While the tiny, finger like lakes that steak through the rolling hills of this region make it a great summer destination, the Finger Lakes Region is a wonderful place to visit at all times of the year.

Winter affords a wonderful opportunity to see those same gorgeous used for boating and fishing in summer, paved over with ice and frost.  The vineyards become a frozen wonderland perfect for providing one of the region’s delicacies – ice wines.

There are close to 100 wineries operating in the Finger Lakes Region, making it New York’s largest area of wine production.  Many of these wineries are open to the public, allowing anyone to come taste the wines produced in the area.  The Finger Lakes Region is especially known for Gewurztraminer, Chardonnay, Pinot noir, Seyval blanc, Riesling, Cabernet Franc, and Videl blanc.  It’s also well known for ice wine, a sweet dessert wine produced from grapes which have been frozen while still on the vine.

The Finger Lakes Region isn’t just home to great wine.  It’s also filled with lots of great history waiting to be explored.  It was right in the middle of the Second Great Awakening, which swept over New England in the 19th century.  The Underground Railroad ran through the region, and it was the birthplace of the women’s suffrage movement and the LDS Church.

In winter, Finger Lakes offers snowshoeing, skiing, ice fishing, and more! It’s the perfect place to experience any of your favorite winter activities, and it’s all in the heart of wine country!

Ski at Sugarloaf in Carrabassett Valley

Posted on: December 20th, 2013 by Erin Weir No Comments

800px-Sugarloaf_Mountain_seen_from_Maine_State_Route_27Carrabassett Valley is a beautiful small town at the base of Sugarloaf Mountain, one of Maine’s most well known ski resorts.  It is perhaps best known for being the home of the Carrabassett Valley Academy which trains young adolescents in academics and winter sports and fostered many young Olympians and national champions.

Sugarloaf/USA was opened in the 1950s by the Sugarloaf Mountain Ski Club.  Within 20 years it had become one of the most popular destinations on the east coast, thanks in part to its hosting of several World Cup events in 1971.

Sugarloaf is the main event in this area, but there are plenty of things to do in Carrabassett Valley.  Ski the slopes, snowboard in one of their great terrain parks or visit the Sugarloaf Outdoor Center for cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and ice skating.  If you’ve had your fill of winter sports, visit nearby Kingfield where you’ll find lots of great museums and shops, as well as great Victorian charm.

There are plenty of great places to eat in Carrabassett Valley and Kingfield.  You’ll find lots of places to partake in the “apres” culture, and lots of great places to stop for a drink after a long day on the mountain.  Restaurants here focus on simple Maine staples and favorites and great pub grub.   Many of the area’s restaurants are great places for enjoying a drink with friends, playing a game of billiards, or just relaxing by the fire after a long day out in the cold.

There are also a great range of places to Stay in Carrabassett Valley. Stay slope side, with ski-in ski-out options and the lifts just a few steps from the main entrance.  Stay in the alpine village in the heart of everything so you never miss what’s going on.  Or stay at one of the many condos close to the mountain, or in town at a great bed and breakfast that will offer fantastic personal service and small town charm.

Carrabassett Valley has great skiing, nightlife and culture.  It’s the perfect place for a quiet winter getaway for families, couples, or anyone who loves winter!


Carrabassett Valley, ME

Posted on: December 16th, 2013 by Erin Weir No Comments

Sugarloaf_PanoramaCarrabassett Valley is a very small town with a population of under 1000.  It is known best for being home to Sugarloaf (formerly Sugarloaf/USA), a major ski resort as well as ski and snowboard academy where many of the USA’s winter Olympians have been trained.

The town was created in 1971 from what was then called the Jersalem Township.  It is called Carrabassett Valley after the Carrabassett River which runs nearby. The town has come to play a large role in the development of the mountain resort.


Sugarloaf is the largest ski resort east of the Mississippi.  It has 154 trails, 1,400 skiable acres, and a continuous vertical drop of 2,820 feet.  It has the second highest elevation in Maine.

It was first opened in 1950 by the Sugarloaf Mountain Ski Club and a local ski group called the Bigelow Boys.  The first trail was cut in the summer of 1950 with the help of club member Amos Winter, giving it the appropriate name “Winter’s Way.”

Ten years later, 5 T-bars had been installed over the mountain, and Whiffletree and King Pine Bowl portions of the mountain were opened.  

In 1965 the name was changed to Suglarloaf/USA at the suggestion of Walt Ernst, a copywriter working for Ad-Media, who thought it would imply size and international stature. The resort continued to grow with several chairlifts being added in the late 60’s and 70’s.

During the 1970-71 season there was little snowfall in Europe, forcing World Cup races to be held elsewhere.  North America was the best choice.  Suglarloaf was already scheduled to host a World Cup Downhill and Giant Slalom and it was the only mountain large enough to host it, the Arlberg Kahndaharone – one of the most high profile races – was moved to Sugarloaf.  It was, and still is, the only time that the race has been held outside of Europe.  A total of 6 World Cup events were held at Sugarloaf that year, bringing thousands of spectators putting Suglarloaf/USA on the international stage.

The early 1970s saw a shortage in snow not only in Europe, but also on the east coast.  Sugarloaf installed snowmaking machines, allowing it to increase the number of ski days.  With the incorporation of Carrabassett Valley and the increase in ski days there was a large increase in real estate development around the mountain.

In the 1980s the Carrabassett Valley Academy was founded offering ski and snowboard training to middle and high school students along with the rest of their academic studies.

During the 90s and early 2000s Sugarloaf played host to the U.S Nationals on multiple occasions.

In 2007, Sugarloaf changed hands, dropping the “/USA” from its name and undergoing a major renovation.  New trails have been added as well as new lifts and there are plans for a new Gondola.

Today Sugarloaf offers fantastic skiing and snowboarding while the town and mountain offer great restaurants, shops, and more!

Places to Eat in Ludlow

Posted on: December 11th, 2013 by Erin Weir No Comments

[google-map-v3 width=”350″ height=”350″ zoom=”12″ maptype=”roadmap” mapalign=”center” directionhint=”false” language=”default” poweredby=”false” maptypecontrol=”true” pancontrol=”true” zoomcontrol=”true” scalecontrol=”true” streetviewcontrol=”true” scrollwheelcontrol=”false” draggable=”true” tiltfourtyfive=”false” addmarkermashupbubble=”false” addmarkermashupbubble=”false” addmarkerlist=”300 Mountain Rd, Ludlow, VT 05149-9600{}1-default.png{}Toms Loft Tavern|31 Route 103 South, Ludlow, VT 05149{}1-default.png{}Mr Darcys Bar and Grill|91 Route 103 S, Ludlow, VT 05149-9777{}1-default.png{}Sams Steak House|41 Depot St, Ludlow, VT 05149-1323{}1-default.png{}The Downtown Grocery|44 Pond St, Ludlow, VT 05149-1067{}1-default.png{}The Killarney” bubbleautopan=”true” showbike=”false” showtraffic=”false” showpanoramio=”false”]

While many resort towns have bloomed up with overpriced restaurants and fancy cooking you won’t find much of that in Ludlow.  This town is stayed true to its down-to-earth Vermont charm, and much of what’s available in Ludlow is good, simple, old fashioned cooking served with a smile.

Tom’s Loft Tavern – This great local tavern has a cozy feel and offers traditional bar fare.  Nachos, wings and burgers are what you’ll find here, along with great craft beer, including regional brews like Long Trail and Harpoon on tap.  Come for a drink and stay all night for the delicious food and great atmosphere!

Mr Darcy’s Bar and Grill – Specializing in gourmet burgers, Mr Darcy’s offers a fun, modern environment with quality food and service.  Compliment your meal with a local craft beer or a glass of wine from their extensive wine list.  Don’t forget to finish off your meal with one of their homemade apple tarts!

Sam’s Steakhouse – Sam’s Steakhouse serves prime steaks and comfort food.  Sit in the lounge for a lighter menu and a trendy, romantic atmosphere, or sit in the dining room for the full menu and experience the atmosphere of a cozy country inn. Their extensive wine list has been carefully chosen to pair perfectly with every meal, and they offer an array of regional craft beers and hand crafted cocktails.

The Downtown Grocery –  A quirky, lively bistro, offers creative, eclectic food prepared by Chef Rogan Lechthaler.  Lechthaler focuses on using seasonal, local ingredients and products, and aims to deliver his guests the freshest meals possible, hand crafting his pastas and curing meats in the cellar below the restaurant himself.   His cooking has been recognized by The Wall Street Journal, Yankee Magazine, and GQ.

The Killarney – This family owned and operated pub has one saying: “At the Killarney there are no strangers – only friends who haven’t met yet!” Providing a friendly, cozy, authetically Irish atmosphere, the Killarney is the perfect place to meet with friends or make new ones.  With 15 rotating taps, and over 30 bottles, there is no shortage of great beers to try.  They have the most extensive selection of Scotch and Irish whiskey in the area.   Food is prepared with fresh, local ingredients and made with quality in mind.


Ski and More in Ludlow and Okemo

Posted on: December 9th, 2013 by Erin Weir No Comments

Ludlow,_VT_ArchitectureThe town of Ludlow, Vermont is a gorgeous 150 year old mountain town offering fantastic skiing, charming b&bs, and great night life! While in years past it may have been seen as just a place to drive through on your way to Okemo Mountain Resort, it has grown into a thriving town worth spending some time in.

With much of the village listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Ludlow offers anyone who visits it a charming respite from everyday life and an chance to travel back in time to a simpler time.  Now a condominium and retail center, the Gaymont Woolen Mill was once the economic powerhouse of Ludlow, providing employment for many of its residents.   It remains a prominent feature of the village today.

Black River Academy, another building on the National Register of Historic Places, was the town of Ludlow’s public high school until the 1930s.  Several notable students roamed its halls including rotary founder Paul P. Harris, U.S Attorney General John Garibaldi Sargent, and President Calvin Coolidge.  It now houses the Historical Society and the Black River Academy Museum.

Okemo Mountain Resort was founded in 1955 by a group of Vermont businessmen.  Lifts officially opened on the 31st of January, 1956.  In its early years, the resort used only Poma surface lifts, charging 20 cents per ride for lower lifts and 60 cents per ride for upper life.  It was not until almost 10 years later, in 1965, that they would install their first chair lift to reach more advanced terrain.

In the years since, the resort has expanded greatly, installing many more chair lifts and opening many new trails.  It aims to preserve its historic, homey feel, staying true to the name Okemo, which they claim to mean “All Come Home” in an undetermined Native American language.

While Okemo has grown, so has Ludlow.  However, unlike many mountainside towns it has not become overgrown with ski huts, chalets or boutique shops.  It is the perfect place to get away and ski without having to deal with the pretentious ski resort attitude.

Even More Places to Stay in Lake Placid

Posted on: December 5th, 2013 by Erin Weir No Comments


Lake Placid has a great mixture of lodges, boutique hotels, bed and breakfasts, and campsites.  There’s something to suite everyone’s needs!

Adirondack Loj – One of the High Peak’s region’s oldest lodges, the original lodge was opened in 1890.  However it was lost in a fire in 1903.  The lodge that now stands in its place was built in 1927 as part of the Adirondack Mountain Club.  Sitting on the shores of Heart Lake, it is at the trailhead to Mount Marcy and Algonquin Peak, the highest peaks in the Adirondacks.  The lodge offers everything from private rooms to campsites and lean-tos, so it’s the perfect site for whatever kind of Adirondack experience you may be looking for.

 Camp Solitude – Sitting on 45 acres on the shores of Lake Placid, this beautiful estate gives you a 180 degree view of the pristine shoreline and its undeveloped surroundings.  Escape the crowds, enjoy true solitude and bliss at this remote camp.  Reaching the camp requires a 10 minute boat trip, making it the ideal location for your secluded Adirondack vacation.

Placid Bay Inn – Within easy walking distance of the village of Lake Placid, this cozy inn sits on the shores of the village’s namesake lake.  Find comfort in beautiful lakeside cabins, full suites, and sweeping views of the Adirondacks all within easy distance of the village.

For more places to stay in Lake Placid check out our previous posts here and here.  Also be sure to check out places our clients recommend.

Even More Places to Eat in Lake Placid

Posted on: December 4th, 2013 by Erin Weir No Comments

[google-map-v3 width=”350″ height=”350″ zoom=”12″ maptype=”roadmap” mapalign=”center” directionhint=”false” language=”default” poweredby=”false” maptypecontrol=”true” pancontrol=”true” zoomcontrol=”true” scalecontrol=”true” streetviewcontrol=”true” scrollwheelcontrol=”false” draggable=”true” tiltfourtyfive=”false” addmarkermashupbubble=”false” addmarkermashupbubble=”false” addmarkerlist=”2166 Saranac Ave Lake Placid, New York 12946{}1-default.png{}Pan Dulce|144 Lodge Way, Lake Placid, NY 12946{}1-default.png{}Artisans/Maggies Pub|2126 Saranac Avenue, Lake Placid, New York 12946{}1-default.png{}Freestyle Cuisine|2436 Main St. Lake Placid, NY 12946{}1-default.png{}Bluesberry Bakery|77 Mirror Lake Dr, Lake Placid, NY 12946{}1-default.png{}Taste Bistro and Bar” bubbleautopan=”true” showbike=”false” showtraffic=”false” showpanoramio=”false”]

Lake Placid is one of the best places in the Adirondacks to experience fine dining.  Restaurants heavily emphasize farm to table practices, using local farms and producers to get their ingredients and inspire their menus, creating fresh, flavorful dishes that make a big impact.

Artistans – Enjoy sweeping views of Lake Placid at this intimate, cozy restaurant which sits almost on top of the lake.  Choose from a seasonal a la carte menu or their 7 course tasting menu, both inspired by the local, fresh ingredients used to make it.   Cuisine is New American in style but borrows from all around the world. Compliment your meal with a glass of wine from their extensive wine list.

Maggie’s Pub – A classic Lake Placid pub, Maggie’s is a great plus to sidle up next to the fire place and enjoy a drink with friends.  Sink into one of their deep armchairs and listen to the logs crackle, play a game of billiards, or simply sit in an Adirondack chair and take in the gorgeous views of Lake Placid.

Pan Dolce – Lake Placid’s premier destination for casual fine dining, Pan Dolce pride themselves on serving a diverse menu that can cater to anyone, whether you’re craving something rich and decadent, or something light and healthy.  Menu items are prepared using fresh, seasonal ingredients of the highest possible quality.  Enjoy live entertainment and make use of the full bar while you enjoy your meal!

Freestyle Cuisine – At Freestyle, your meal is a journey.  Take a journey across the globe without ever leaving your sit by enjoy cuisine from all over the world at this one restaurant.  Meals range from the traditional to the unique and innovative.  Choose from chef Richard’s fine wine collection to compliment and enhance your meal.

Bluesberry Bakery – A Lake Placid favorite, Bluesberry uses fresh, natural ingredients in all their baked goods.  Find delicious scones, cookies, cakes, and more at this delightful bakery.  Owner and baker Rainer is committed to creating high quality products with traditional methods.

Taste Bistro and Bar – At Taste the cuisine style changes with each menu cycle, as the chefs are inspired by the ingredients and products that become available for the season.  Quality and freshness are important, and great care is taken to insure that the highest quality local cheeses, meats, and produce are used to create your meal.

For more places to eat in Lake Placid check out our previous posts here and here, and take a look at the places our clients recommend.

Even More Things to Do in Lake Placid

Posted on: December 3rd, 2013 by Erin Weir No Comments

Atlas_snowshoesIn winter, Lake Placid utterly transforms! The same paths that in summer made for great hiking are now used skiing and snowshoeing.  Golf courses, once frosted over, become home to cross country skiing and telemarking.   Lakes, which in summer provided swimming and boating, now are hubs for ice skating and ice fishing.

Winter also brings all kinds of fun events to Lake Placid!

From the 6th through the 8th of December, Lake Placid will be hosting the Holiday Village Stroll.  Gear up for the holiday season by spending the weekend in Lake Placid, enjoying free kids activities, including crafts and making ornaments, and a visit with Santa, and more! For couples there will be evening activities, live entertainment and dining specials.  Join the Jingle Bell Run around Mirror Lake and help benefit the North Elba Christmas Fund.

Whiteface Mountain is where many people find their main source of entertainment.  It offers fabulous downhill skiing, boarding, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, tubing, and much more.

Whiteface is also where the Olympic sites are.  With an Olympic Sites passport you won’t miss a thing! You’ll see every site, get to skate on the “Miracle on Ice” rink, get to ride to the top of the Gondola, and even get a ride on the bobsled!

While there is certainly tons to do at Whiteface, Lake Placid certainly has more to offer than just this one mountain.

If you enjoy rock climbing, you may enjoy Ice Climbing! Ice falls and frozen waterfalls provide much the same thrills as rock climbing, whether you’re looking for something really challenging, or just looking for something fun to do for a few hours.

Snowmobiling is one of the most popular activities in the area! Lake Placid is also one of the best places to go snowmobiling in the Adirondacks, due to its pristine trails which provide easy riding and great views of the Lake.




Experience Winter in Lake Placid

Posted on: December 2nd, 2013 by Erin Weir No Comments

800px-Whiteface_Mountain_from_Lake_Placid_AirportWinter is almost here and you can certainly tell in Lake Placid!

Located in the High Peaks Region of the Adirondacks, Lake Placid is home to some of the East Coast’s best skiing.   Best known as a fabulous winter sports destination, now is undoubtedly the best time for a visit!

Founded in the early part of the 19th century as a base for mining iron ore, Lake Placid grew into a resort destination with the establishment of one of the country’s first winter resorts at the end of the 19th century.

From there, history was made! By the 1920s, Lake Placid had a speed skating arena, a ski jump, and a ski association.  In 1932 it gained world attention when it hosted the Winter Olympics.

It continued to have a strong connection with winter sports, breeding many strong skiers who went on to the Olympics.   However, only the most avid sports fan had heard of Lake Placid until 1980, when it again played host to the Winter Olympics.  This time around the entire nation turned its eyes to Lake Placid as the USA beat the USSR in one of the biggest upsets in hockey ever seen – the “Miracle on Ice.”

Today the village still has strong ties with the Olympics, maintaining several Olympic training facilities, training many hopeful Olympians year round.

Whiteface Mountain, where many of the Olympic facilities are, also offers great outdoor activities for those of us who are a little more average in our athletic ability.

December 6th through 8th, Lake Placid hosts the Holiday Village Stroll.  Celebrate the upcoming holidays by strolling through the beautiful village of Lake Placid and making fun crafts, ornaments, and much more!

While the village certainly offers the secluded mountain top feel, it isn’t difficult to access. Commercial flights are available at several nearby airports, including Montreal, Albany, Burlington, and even into Adirondack Regional Airport in Lake Saranac.  Or you can fly directly to Lake Placid by air charter.