On Civic Holiday weekend, we suddenly realized we needed a break, a quick change of scenery (I only had one day off) to see something new. We picked Lake Placid, a three-hour drive from Ottawa, in New York State.
The small village in the Adirondack Mountains was twice the site of the Winter Olympic Games, in 1932 and in 1980. I didn’t know that but I have an excuse—I wasn’t born.
We crossed the border at Prescott/Ogdensburg, stopped to have a look at the car show and kept driving West, on small scenic roads. Most sported yellow Amish buggy signs, warning motorist they could get stuck behind these vehicles for a while. I wouldn’t have minded, the road was very nice, bordered by corn fields and farms.
Because we picked Lake Placid randomly, I wasn’t sure what to expect. We thought the weather would be cooler by the lake—it wasn’t. The small bed & breakfast we had booked the night before on Expedia was better than I thought though, a lovely house with a cozy wooden room. Not that we were planning to spend too much time in it.
The Main Street in Lake Placid borders Mirror Lake, and is lined up with small businesses, bakeries, restaurants, souvenirs boutiques and sport gear shops. Not too many franchises but for a Starbucks camouflaged in a wooden building.
You can see remains of the village’s Olympic past here and there, including the Olympic Center Box Office, located by one of the nicest high-school I’ve ever seen. People still brag about the Miracle on Ice, the 1980 USA–USSR hockey game which opposed an American college students and amateurs team to the Soviet national ice hockey team. Despite the upset, the U.S.A won the game 4–3, and two days later won the gold medal. In the middle of the Cold War era, it meant a lot to them.
We left the city to take a walk by Lake Placid, just past Saranac Avenue. The view from the Marina was amazing, shades of blue and green under the bright sun.
Being in a mountain resort during summer time was a strange yet fun experience. The look of the cozy wood-clad houses, the Olympic theme and the winter sports facilities made us feel like it was February… yet it was about 35ºC outside.