Over the years I've worked in many aspects of the service industry in Lake Placid - from front desks to restaurants, and I am constantly asked the same question: "What is the best way to see the town?"
Well, in my opinion, there is only one best way, and that is to take a walk around the lake. Mirror Lake has a paved path that is a 2.7-mile loop. This walk is beautiful in any season. Really. Even in the rain this is a great walk. The problem, for me, is there are so many stops and shops and restaurants along the way. I love to window shop and I love to stop and take in the views. Sometimes when I head out for this quick walk it can take me hours — and I enjoy every minute of it.
Take your dog
The "ATL" as it's known to locals (short for Around The Lake) is very dog friendly. There are even little green bag stations along the way in case you need them. Dogs love the quick stops to jump in the lake, and on hot days they happily sip from the bowls that many shop owners leave out just for them. How nice! And, insider's tip, if you swing into some of the shops, chances are they have a little treat for them as well.
Where should we start?
You can start wherever you would like, this loop will bring you full circle. I like to start at the Mirror Lake Inn and go the 'back way,' saving my favorite part, Main Street, until the end. When I am strolling down Main Street it never feels like I am exercising. I am wrapped up in the lights, the windows, the church bells ringing. The flat surface makes it so easy to just enjoy the scenery, and you'll be amazed at the number of hellos from fellow walkers.
If you are heading out for exercise you can complete this walk in under 45 minutes. A lot of my friends rush around, pushing themselves, out of breath. Not me, I prefer to take it all in, stopping at all of my favorite places along the way. My journey is not only about the exercise, the fresh air, and the beauty, it's also about the shops, restaurants and the VIEWS.
Okay, are you ready to join me? Here's a glimpse of what you'll experience along the way...
There are gorgeous views from start to finish. Mountains surrounding the village, tall trees, the clear water of Mirror Lake with it's mirror-like reflection — a namesake through and through. There is about a half mile where you pass beautiful lakeside homes and boat rentals on the shores of Lake Placid lake — you'll even catch a few glimpses of the lake. The lake walk is lined with pretty spots to stop and take in the views. Benches are in the most scenic spots so make sure to sit back and enjoy.
The "back of the lake" (as it's known to residents), is the area opposite of Main Street. It is a perfect walk to clear your mind. No hustle and bustle, just you and the the fresh air. The Boathouse Restaurant is on the shores of the lake and you can stop in and have a quick drink if you would like — this kind of multi-tasking is completely encouraged on this kind of walk. The views from the back window of The Boathouse are stunning. It is as if you are looking through a frame. That picture is real though, and it's right in front of you.
A little farther up is one of those spots to take a break.
The seasons change this view. In the winter you can see the kids playing hockey on the ice, the toboggan chute pushing people out onto the frozen lake, and the skaters of all levels showing off their skills on the groomed skating loop.
In the summer months the paddle boarders are out and you'll spot canoes with passengers and pets enjoying the ride.
Autumn has so many colors to capture right from this very spot. The back drop of the village shops and restaurants and all the colors of the season, will make you want a beer. Good thing you are about to come up to the brewpub. top in for a quick craft brew to keep you going. Across from the pub is the town beach and park — a great spot for people watching.
The next part of my walk is where I find myself getting into trouble. Once I hit the bustling street scene I try so hard to window shop, but I keep failing. In Lake Placid there is so much time and energy put into these beautiful window displays, I always end up going in. There are so many choices. You'll find everything from great hockey stores to unique hat stores, to jewelry, art, books, and clothing shops. It is hard to not stop. Generations restaurant is another great spot to sit. I love the window seats — you're basically right on Main Street.
Both sides of the street are lined with independently owned boutiques and specialty shops. Once a week I make sure to stop into the popcorn shop, here I can grab fresh popcorn with unique flavors to bring home to the kids. Maybe they will come with me next time, maybe not. They know I do not like to be rushed.
The Alpine Mall
You might as well add 20 minutes to your walk and take a stroll into the Alpine Mall. This quaint shopping center has so much to offer. You can find great gifts for others or yourself here. The views from the coffee shop at the end of the long hallway are some of the best in town. Make sure to stop into the shops here offering everything from specialty cigars to stuffed animals.
Back on Main Street
Continue on down the sidewalk for more exercise and window shopping. My favorite window to browse is that of the Bookstore Plus. But, you should go in, this family-owned and operated bookstore has so much for offer including calendars, books, art supplies, and more. The kids' section here is wonderful and they even have story hours and authors signings on a regular basis.
The last building on the right has two restaurants in that are really hard for me to pass up. I can get dinner at The Top of the Park, or Players Sports Bar, depending on the mood I am in. The views from these two businesses are breathtaking. I know I am trying to get some exercise, but a girls got to eat. So I stop, and take it all in, the view, the food, the drink. A perfect end to a perfect walk.
As I continue the last few minutes of my walk, the sun is setting and air gets a little crisp. I've cleared my mind, was out in the fresh air, had great exercise, and dined all around that perfect loop.
Invent your perfect walk around the lake. Bring a friend, a dog, or just yourself. Clear your mind and get a little leisurely exercise. Don't forget to window shop and be enticed by small town dining and shopping at its finest.
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