Mirror Lake Inn & Spa: An Adirondack Adventure
by Christine Lynn Harvey

If you want to treat yourself to an Adirondack experience but still be royally pampered, then Mirror Lake Inn and Spa (www.mirrorlakeinn.com) in Lake Placid, NY is one of the east coast’s most affordable luxury resorts. You will not find a more professional welcoming staff anywhere in the world. The staff of the Mirror Lake Inn makes you feel like you’re one of their close family members, making sure everything is perfect during your stay. Conde Nast Traveler’s Gold List rated the Mirror Lake Inn #1 in the US for its location and #1 for service in North America.

Located in the heart of the High Peaks region of the Adirondacks and headquarters for the US Olympic Committee’s winter sports training facilities, the Mirror Lake Inn is only about a 5 hour scenic drive from NYC. Take the NYS Thruway I-87 to Exit 30 (Keene); Head west on Route 9 to Route 73 (Keene Valley). Go to the end and make a left on Main Street. Go through town and stay straight until you see Mirror Lake Inn on the hill in front of you. The road through Keene and Keene Valley is one of the most scenic drives in the eastern US.

The Mirror Lake Inn was built in 1883 as a private residence and became an inn in 1924. Two years later, it was bought by William Rufus Wikoff, the man who achieved financial success with his concept of the “Fuller Brush Man.” The inn became known as a high quality resort attracting rich clientele from all over the state, especially NYC. In 1932, during the Winter Olympics, the Norwegian Team rented out the entire inn.

Lake Placid is close enough to major northeastern cities, but far enough in the mountains to feel like you’ve arrived in another country all together. The town is a thriving Adirondacks attraction featuring shops that carry upscale as well as reasonably priced outdoor clothing and gear. The natural scenery is breathtaking; there are 46 peaks over 4,000 feet high, (why the region is named the “High Peaks”) and the lakes and rivers are endless. The Saranac Lake Chain, connecting Upper and Lower Saranac Lakes, offers 17.5 uninterrupted miles of canoeing or kayaking. For more info on natural attractions and great outdoors activities in the Adirondacks, go to: www.adk.org

Mount Whiteface (www.whiteface.com) affords an incredible view of Lake Placid and Mirror Lake while Ausable Chasm, about a 30 mile drive from town, is considered the Grand Canyon of the East. A lakeside room offers views of Iroquois and Algonquin, the second highest peak in New York State (Mt. Marcy being #1). There is even a club for hikers who have hiked all the 46 peaks (www.adk46r.org) of which Lisa Weibrecht, owner of the Mirror Lake Inn, is one.

“Most of our guests are from the Long Island area,” says Janis Uccellini-Pascarella, Activities Concierge Coordinator. “Now, the trend in travel is people come to a place like the Mirror Lake Inn not only because of our great location and service, but because they want to have everything planned for them. They don’t have time to figure out what is the most cost-effective way to spend their time,” says Janis, who helps arrange custom activities for the inn’s guests which may include a wilderness canoe trip for parents while the kids go horseback riding elsewhere. The Mirror Lake Inn offers a wide variety of daily activities like yoga and fitness walks, rockclimbing, fishing, hiking, mountain biking and canoeing with licensed instructors and Adirondack guides as well as down-hill and cross-country skiing.

The Mirror Lake Inn has special mid-week and weekend packages ranging from $150-$1,125 that include accommodations, meals, spa services and activities. Check out their website for more info on: The Women’s Revitalization Weekend, Wine Tasting Weekend, Three for Twos (Golf, Spa and Ski Packages), Empty Nest and Bed and Breakfast Packages.

There is never for a lack of things to do here. You can take a brisk 2.7 mile walk along the fitness trail around Mirror Lake while you hear Lake Placid’s history from a guide. You can cross-country ski from the inn on the 26 mile Jackrabbit Trail, practice your skating skills on the inn’s private, lighted ice rink, take a bobsled, luge or dogsled ride, toboggan down the chute on Mirror Lake, snowshoe, ice climb and more. For alpine skiers, majestic Whiteface Mt. offers excellent skiing for the entire family until early spring, and you can skate indoors at the Olympic Arena all year round.

Since Lake Placid is considered the Winter Sports capital of the world, being home of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics, there are plenty of winter sporting activities to keep you occupied either as a spectator or participant. December events include: World Cup Skeleton, World Cup Women’s Bobsled, New Year’s Ski Jump Competition; January events include: Sprint Freestyle Grand National, ISI Figure Skating Competition, 21st Lake Placid Lopper. The Empire State Winter Games takes place February 20-22. Lake Placid is also home to the US Biathlon National Championships and World Team Trials, the summer Ironman Triathlon and I Love NY Horse Shows.

The Olympic Center, Kodak Sports Park and Mt. Van Hovenburg give visitors the opportunity to experience the Olympic ski jumps, ski runs, luge run, bobsled track, indoor ice rinks, speed skating oval and the Winter Olympic Museum which houses information concerning the Winter Games. For more info, please visit www.orda.org and LakePlacid.com.

If you are interested in the history, culture, art and natural beauty of the Adirondacks, there are plenty of other things to do. The Arts Council for the Northern Adirondacks produces an excellent guide. Please visit www.artsnorth.org, or contact: ACNA, PO Box 187, Westport, NY 12993, (518) 962-8778, email: artsco@westelcom.com.

The Mirror Lake Inn is an incredibly romantic place, perfect for a honeymoon or special anniversary. The staff will make any request of yours a reality no matter how large or small. Once, a man wanted to propose to his girlfriend in an igloo. Beverly Merrill, account executive for the inn explains how the management hired someone to build the igloo while the staff served a romantic dinner, champagne and roses in the igloo. Incidently, the woman said yes to the man’s proposal.

A highlight of the Mirror Lake Inn is its Spa which offers its signature treatments, an Adirondack Maple Sugar Body Scrub and the Mirror Lake Inn Seaweed Body Mask, a state-of-the-art European Soft Pack detoxifying treatment known to stimulate the metabolism. Pamper yourself with a variety of other spa specials: a honey almond body polish, aromatherapy salt glow, hydra quench facial, anti-aging mask, soothing eye treatment, hot stone therapy massage or deep tissue therapeutic massage. There are other services available through the spa including a full salon (hair, pedicure, manicure), personal training, energy healing (Reiki and reflexology) and nutritional counseling.

If you’re going to indulge yourself in any of the spa services, make sure you arrive a half hour ahead of schedule so you can take advantage of the spa’s sanctuary which includes steamroom, jacuzzi and a waiting room with fireplace where you can fully relax before and after your treatments. Access to the sanctuary is only available the day you have your spa appointment; the fitness center, 60-ft pool and whirlpool sauna are open to all guests of the inn. All the products used in your spa service are for sale in the inn’s store. Prices for spa treatments are between $45-$140 per treatment and spa packages are available.

Afternoon tea is served from 3:30-4:30 daily, just in time for you to warm yourself up with complimentary tea, coffee and homemade chocolate chip cookies. To preserve the quiet and meditative ambiance of the Mirror Lake Inn, weddings are not catered and cell phones are not permitted in common use areas. Pets are also not permitted. Children eat free during early family dining hours in the Wikoff Room. Try the amazing hearty Adirondack Breakfast Buffet for only $15 pp, served daily from 7:30 am 10:00 am on weekdays and 7:30 am-11:00 am weekends. The Cottage Cafe on the lake offers lighter, reasonably-priced fare while the Averil Conwell Dining Room offers delicious gourmet meals in which reservations are required.

Chef Matt Baldwin was given favorable reviews in two recent issues of “Bon Appetit” magazine. Chose from the inn’s guilt-free spa menu: the Nappa Cabbage Vegetable Strudel made with grilled veggies, Israeli coucous wrapped in cabbage and finished off with an Anasazi Bean Ragout with Tomato Reduction sauce at only 230 calories or try the Sushi Blackened Tuna with a sweet and spicy mole sauce with fresh mango, grilled Bermuda onion relish and yam puree (405 calories). If you’ve hiked and don’t feel so guilty, then try the signature Pepper and Coffee Encrusted Cervena Venison Loin and Foie Gras with a black currant sauce or the Adirondack Style Gumbo with smoked venison sausage, lump crab, shrimp, chicken, trout and oysters over dirty rice in a sauce that has a hint of maple syrup. The desserts are also out of this world. Try the blueberry maple creme brulee or the spa’s fresh fruit crepe with Adirondack yogurt cheese and strawberry relish. The staff and chef will accommodate any dietary request and also give you any recipe. You can even order a pre-made hiker’s lunch (includes sandwiches, drinks, fruit, pickle and chips for two at $14.95) or gourmet picnic for two (smoked salmon, assorted cheeses, shrimp cocktail, crudites of veggies and fruit for $31.95) to make your Adirondack outing extra special. For the full menu, visit the website.

Gift certificates are available; treat your special someone to a gourmet candlelight dinner, invigorating massage, wonderful European body treatment, facial or spa beauty products this holiday season. Valentine’s Day is also coming up.

To see a video tour of Mirror Lake Inn’s spa and dining room and of Lake Placid, or to take a 360° virtual tour of the facilities, please visit www.mirrorlakeinn.com. For more info, call 518-523-2544, fax 518-523 2871, email: info@mirrorlakeinn.com or write: Mirror Lake Inn and Spa, 5 Mirror Lake Drive, Lake Placid, NY 12946.

All photos and story by Christine Lynn Harvey, publisher/editor of New Living Magazine.

MIRROR LAKE INN SCONES

2 cups all purpose flour
3 Tbs. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
12 tsp. salt
1/3 cup butter
8 oz. sour cream
1 beaten egg yolk
1 slightly beaten egg white
1 Tbs. brown sugar
1/8 tsp. brown sugar

Mix flour, brown sugar, baking powder & soda and salt using a pastry blender. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center of the dry mixture. Add egg to sour cream in bowl then add mixture to well.

Knead dough on slightly floured surface until nearly smooth. Lightly roll dough into 1/2" thickness. Cut with 4" round bisquit cutter. Brush tops of scones with egg wash (egg whites + 1 Tbs. water). Sprinkle cinnamon/sugar over scones. Bake at 425 degrees F for 12-15 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Serve warm. Makes 20-24 scones.

RASPBERRY BUTTER

1 cup butter
1 cup fresh raspberries
1/4 cup sugar
or substitute 1 cup raspberry preserves for the fresh berries and sugar.

Mix all ingredients well. Refrigerate and serve over warm scones.

MIRROR LAKE INN & SPA in Lake Placid, NY.
MIRROR LAKE INN offers spectacular views of the Adirondacks.
The OLYMPIC CENTER houses a museum of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Games.
Hikers atop Mt. Jo, near heart Lake in the High Peaks area of the Adirondacks. These same mountains can be seen from a lakeside room at the Mirror Lake Inn. (author 2nd from right)
On your way to the Lake Placid, KEENE & KEENE VALLEY offers some of the most scenic views in all of the eastern US
Mirror Lake Inn & Spa offers plenty of Adirondack Aventures for you to chose from: skiing, hiking, canoeing, fishing, golf & more!
SPA SANCTUARY Make sure you arrive an hour before your spa services so you can indulge yourself in the steamroom and jacuzzi before and after your spa treatment
OLYMPIC CENTER. Lake Placid NY is known as the Winter Olympics Capital of the World
YOGA after scones. You will want to take advantage of the Mirror Lake Inn's yoga classes after you eat their famously delicious scones.