By Gwen Ashley Walters
Resort: Lake Placid Lodge
Recipes: Lima Bean Rosemary Risotto, Coconut Mousse with Orange-Vanilla Compote
Ah, the great outdoors. There is camping and then there is my kind of camping. If you're talking about a pup tent in the woods and roasting weenies over an open fire, forget it! But if you're talking about the Great Camps of the Adirondacks in upstate New York, the summer playground to the Rockefellers and Vanderbilts during the turn of the century, I'm in. Instead of roasting frankfurters, you're more likely to munch on artisan sausages like wild boar, venison and rabbit. Instead of a bun, we're having a fresh-baked loaf of crusty ciabatta. A dessert finale of Coconut Mousse with Orange-Vanilla Compote tastes much better than a singed marshmallow, even if it wasn't dropped in the dirt.
My idea of camping is a little cabin in the mountains, and if that cabin happens to be part of a prestigious Relais & Chateaux luxury lodge nestled against the pristine Lake Placid, all the better. Think Ralph Lauren. Think warm cozy rooms with rock fireplaces, log and twig bed frames, Indian blankets and plaid curtains framing gorgeous views of a peaceful lake. Picture a breakfast tray on the doorstep of your cabin with fresh-squeezed orange juice and steaming hot coffee. A charming twig basket of freshly baked breads emits an aroma that almost makes you swoon. Now that's camping!
Lake Placid Lodge is surrounded by more than 6 million of acres of the Adirondack Northwoods, yet it is only 275 miles from both Boston and New York City. The splendor of the Adirondack area prompted the U.S. to create the first constitutional law of "forever wild" preservation in 1892. of the vast wilderness designated as Adirondack Park, more than 1 million acres are closed to motorized vehicles and development. The word "Adirondack" means "bark-eater"—a name given to the indigenous Indians, more to represent their heartiness than to describe their culinary habits.
Thank goodness tree bark isn't on the menu these days. What you will find is a refreshing take on American cuisine, incorporating local flavors and ingredients. The seasons dictate the menus at Lake Placid Lodge. Wintertime brings a whole bounty of game and pumpkins and squashes to the table, while summer's bumper crop of baby vegetables and sun-ripened fruits practically flow from the kitchen. In the winter you might encounter a Toasted Confit Duck and Sweet Potato Ravioli, or Cider Peppercorn Glazed Venison with a grand finale of a Warm Mandarin Cake with Campari Orange Sorbet. A mid-summer night's meal might begin with Duck Trap River Smoked Salmon, followed by a creamy Lima Bean Rosemary Risotto, finished with a fresh berry tart.
There isn't a national publication that hasn't raved about the lodge. The accolades may be summed up in one sentence: Lake Placid Lodge is a rustically romantic retreat with stunning views, immaculate service and world-class cuisine. Camp, anyone?
Lake Placid Lodge
P.O. Box 550
Lake Placid, NY 12946
Accommodations: 34 lodge rooms, suites and cabins.
Activities: Summer: golfing, tennis, canoeing, hiking, mountain biking. Winter: cross-country skiing on property; downhill skiing nearby at Whiteface Mountain; nearby village offers ice-skating and an Olympic Museum.
Rates: $300 to $800 per night
Copyright © 2001, Gwen Ashley Walters. All rights reserved.
Gwen Ashley Walters is cookbook author, cooking teacher, food writer and Certified Culinary Professional with a degree in Culinary Arts. Gwen's travel guide/cookbooks, The Great Ranch Cookbook, (1998) and The Cool Mountain Cookbook, (2001) were published by Pen & Fork Communications.
This page created June 2001