The snow-covered pond is not yet frozen solid. The giant, snow-caked evergreens — worthy of The Rockefeller Center in midtown Manhattan — here, stand unknown, strong and proud, they stand here for me. The trails at John Brown Farm are family and four-legged pal friendly.

So I come here in any mood, whether I want to hike, meander, or stroll. The trails intersect at various points so it’s a bit of a make-your-own-hike, which I find really fun and adventurous.

This scene is even better close up.

Togetherness In Nature

Whatever the dynamic of your family, I find the roaming, winding, meandering trails at John Brown Farm to be the perfect place for bonding. I have been on the trails here for over sixteen years, with my son, my boss, my family, and my dog. It never gets old here. Ever. I feel close to everything and everyone when out here. Nature and symbolism, it’s all around me and slaps me up aside the head at times when I’m not paying attention.

Trees represent balance, strength, stability, learning, growth, and harmony, words a family of any size can live by. Words even my dog and I can live by. Here, the trees come in many different shades and come pre-decorated; snow-frosted scented evergreen, white birch accents, living garland decor - I realize I’m stretching the bands of modern decoration, but nature encourages an out of control poetic license. I’m going with it.

This is the time of year when you can slow down and catch those moments — with your eyes, your heart, and your cell phone. The winter-wonderland season may be the most photographed time of year in your family, it was in mine. Jump in and tell the kids to use their imagination and get a snapshot of the family nickelodeon moment. In nature, imaginations and energy can run wild. Here, fun supersedes all other options.

Out here dogs get to be dogs; sniff, run, play.

Watch Spot run. Watch Spot smile.The open spaces here provide for balls, Frisbee, and toys to be thrown as far as your arm allows. Here on the trails a dog gets to be a dog, kids get to be kids, and you get to be a kid again. Get silly, throw some snowballs, dogs love catching snowballs (I still don’t know why?).

Bring a sled, the wagon of winter.

Load up the kids, and the dog on a plastic sled or a classic runner — mush! All of a sudden, you’re walking through a Norman Rockwell painting, laughter, and visions of sugar plums dancing in your head — I still don’t even know what sugar plums are aside from a perfect term of endearment. Enjoy as their smiles widen and their eyes twinkle, while you do all the work, of course, the many benefits of being a child are exploited here.

You’ll catch yourself smiling until your face hurts. Exercise, fresh air, and snow combine with well-being, it’s the essential part of being here, getting back in touch with nature.

Chose a new path or loop back to the beginning.

Let the dog or the kids decide which way to go at the fork in the road, or wait, on second thought, I’m reminded of a motif in Russian folk tales; a Knight comes to a fork in the road and a standing stone inscription declares, “If you ride to the left, you will lose your horse, if you ride to the right, you will lose your head,” maybe, I’ll just go left this one time.

Keep a sense of direction or just go in a circle.

The trails here are a series of right turns, like clockwork, and you always complete a circle,  so you always feel like you’ve taken a full hike no matter if it was fifteen minutes or two hours, I’ve done both. So no backtracking unless you want to. All the exits lead back to the picturesque parking area.

A million dollar view for free.

This time of year in particular Lake Placid’s views have always made me stop and look, after sixteen years here, it’s still majestic beauty. Beauty held in concert by hills and by snowy peaks and falling snow, all the world here is a beautiful stage.

A pine allée in a great garden as nature grows closer in and hugs you into its fold.

Adventure beckons.

Happiness and fun and beauty is always in season and in abundance throughout the Lake Placid Region.

Find the perfect place to stay. Fuel up with our dining. Find more outdoor recreation.

This week in related ADK news:

5 paths to Saranac Lake winter fun

Olympian Andrew Weibrecht Q&A

Birding near the northern border

Snowmobile the ADK

Camp Santanoni winter weekends

Tupper apres cross-country ski 

Champlain Area Trails