Dreaming of Nordic valleys and ice-capped mountainscapes, but your wallet says no way? Consider hopping in the car and traveling to Lake Placid instead! As winter rolls on in the Adirondacks, the cold days and cloudy weeks tend to creep up on everyone this time of year. However, people in Scandinavian countries are considered the happiest on earth - and most of their winter days are spent in complete darkness! It might be due to how they do winter, and we’re happy to say in that regard, these countries and Lake Placid are practically twins!

The regions are parallel in their lifestyles and how we do life here. Beautiful unique landscapes? Check. Humming athletic and winter sporting scene? Check. Cozy huts and luxuriously sleek stays, paired with spas that will realign your soul? Yep! It may seem odd for two regions thousands of miles apart to be so aligned, but hey, your soulmate isn’t always your next door neighbor. 

Two women cross-country ski on a clear day in the woods.

Cozy (or hygge) stays 

Hygge, (pronounced hyoo·guh)  is a “quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.” It’s safe to say that your choices for lodging in Lake Placid embody just that! To get more hygge, here are a few places you should consider. 

The Boha Hotel

The self-touted “Boho-Adirondack Hotel,” The Boha encapsulates the outdoor elegance of Lake Placid, while being practically at its center! Completely remodeled, the former Woodlake Inn has brought the Scandi vibes in its interior design and mission for its guests. Simple decor is blended with heavy wood accents, where log beams and wood paneled ceilings are the main eye catchers in most rooms. You’ll find a unique stay dedicated to paying homage to its location. Following a rule of “intention of relaxation,” the hotel encourages its guests to experience the outdoor relaxation of the region, while coming back to rooms that ground you in the surrounding scenery during your stay. 

A white bed next to a green wall in a simply decorated room.

Bluebird Lake Placid

Of the many gems scattered along Lake Placid’s Main Street, Bluebird Lake Placid takes the cake for those looking for essential Scandinavian living with minimal but stunning interiors that give your senses a reprieve and dial the comfort levels up a notch. Characterized by its giant windows overlooking downtown, chill fire-side while you look out at the frosty Mirror Lake, or watch the dog sled teams right from the window. In a blend of Scandinavian and Japanese interior designs, (lovingly known as Japandi), your surroundings will send you off into the nordic winter of your dreams. 

open common area with heavy wood themes and high cielings.

Eastwind Lake Placid

The quintessential base camp, Eastwind Lake Placid takes the form of a completely renovated, historic motor lodge for you to gather and unwind. Located within walking distance to the rest of town, including Main Street and routes around Mirror Lake, you’ll have your own slice of wintry heaven with everything you need for your stay. For chilly early mornings or late nights, Eastwind gives travelers an escape from mountain temperatures in the form of a bar and lounge, vintage library, private dining room (a converted blacksmith shop, hello??) and our favorite feature, the sauna. Inspired by practices in Finland – not technically considered Scandinavian, but we’ll let it slide -– saunas are a favorite winter-time practice here in Lake Placid, hence why you’ll see many of our favorite lodges and resorts offering them. Scandinavian-inspired hot-cold-temperate sessions may help soothe aching muscles and alleviate stress, so you can have some reprieve after days out in the snow. 

A cream and wood themed room with simple white decor and farmhouse accents.

Snowy outdoor adventuring

While it may be hard to believe, Scandinavian countries and Lake Placid share very similar winter climates. While it’s not unusual for us to hit the negatives at night (and sometimes during the day) we’re not far off from our friends across the ocean. Because of this, you’ll find we share the same affinity for winter outdoor recreation. Consider taking your own dog sled team to race across the tundra (Mirror Lake). Experience a classic mode of travel for snow-faring regions, learn about the sport, and relax in the sled as you’re pulled by an eight-dog team. 

Lake Placid is also home to miles and miles of cross-country skiing trails, from wide-open snow-covered valleys to narrow pathways through evergreen forests. Also known as “Nordic skiing” you’ll be traversing snowy trails all the same, without the plane ticket. 

Looking to get into more of the soul searching and rejuvenating aspects of winter? Consider winter forest bathing – and no, you don’t have to get wet. Forest bathing is a therapeutic practice where individuals come and spend time with nature, focusing on sensory engagement to connect with nature. Although this is more of a summer activity, it is still doable in winter, with proper layering of course!

A couple rides in a dog sled on a frozen lake.

It's a lifestyle

Need to delve deeper into the culture of Nordic living? Main Street is the perfect place to reinvent yourself. After a visit to Ruthie’s Run, you’ll look like you just hopped off from a trip to the Swiss Alps. With carefully curated pieces from Norway among its suppliers, you’ll fit right in with knit sweaters, outdoor gear, and hygge attire for your days in the mountains. Want to cozy up in your favorite coffee shop with a good book to stick to your New Year’s resolution? Stop into The Bookstore Plus for every fix, from romance novels to biographies and comic books, so you’ll be toasty by the fire and look sophisticated at the same time.

Fancy some journaling in the new wilderness, or need to sketch a new plant you just discovered under all that powder? Head to Mary Ballou Design for journals, stationary, and more. When you return from your dreamy winter escape and miss the rustic Adirondack decor that flooded your stay, order from the Adirondack Store & Gallery for home decor to hygge your space. 

A man and woman window shop in winter.

Honorable mentions: the coziest coffee shops and eateries

Possibly the coziest thing about life here in Lake Placid are our Main Street establishments and coffee shops. Origin Coffee Co. has been serving the Lake Placid - Saranac Lake Region since 2015, and offers up a relaxing corner of each town to get your hands on delicious coffee, sandwiches, soups, and pastries. Capisce Coffee and Espresso Bar is a woman-owned-and-operated coffee shop, serving latte flights, artisanal lite bites, and an array of Italian and seasonally inspired specialties.

For a sit-down restaurant with views of the lake and piping-hot skillet breakfasts, head over to The Breakfast Club, Etc. Choose from breakfasts including their famous BC Rostis, array of benedicts, smoothie bowls, or burgers and sandwiches. Like the others on this list, they also offer a range of coffee fixes for the caffeine fiends. Sip and dine while you look out on the frozen lake!

Two breakfast skillets served with orange juice.

Scandinavian destination

For a Scandinavian stay with all the vibes and none of the extensive travel fees and airfare, Lake Placid is the perfect destination for your next wintry escape.