Published on: July 26, 2021

Upstate NY nature themes

LAKE PLACID – One of the many reasons people flock to the Adirondacks in Upstate New York is the connection to nature they feel once they arrive. The air, the water and the mountains – it’s all so pristine and clean, and juxtaposes the “real” lives that visitors experience at home. The beauty here is that none of this is contrived. We were blessed with these surroundings and only too happy to share it with you through the following recommendations that can all be found within a 90-minute drive of the Inn.

The Visitor Interpretive Center (VIC) at Paul Smith’s College is 20 miles from Lake Placid. It’s an expanse of 3,000 acres offering a combination of arts, sports and educational programs year-round. The VIC includes 25 miles of trails, perfect for walking, cross country skiing and snow shoeing. There are programs for kids and adults. Observe butterflies, moths and a variety of Adirondack birds. If you like pancakes, French toast and waffles, the VIC has a maple sugar operation. Make sure to ask about that!

The Wildlife Refuge in Wilmington is just a 15-minute drive from the Mirror Lake Inn, and located in the shadow of Whiteface Mountain. Many visitors, after seeing and learning about the refuge, have left with tears in their eyes. The LLC is dedicated to rescue, rehabilitation and release back into the natural habitat. “Residents” here include bear, loons, wolves, coyote, fox, deer, moose, etc. Take a nature walk while you’re there, but remember the refuge is closed each Tuesday and Wednesday.

Wolf standing on snow
The wolf is among the residents of the Wildlife Refuge in Wilmington

Wild Center in Tupper Lake can be found 30 miles west of Lake Placid on Route 3. The Wild Center presents the story of the Adirondacks. This is also where you’ll hear the discussion about humans and mountains peacefully coexisting. The Wild Center engages youth with climate programs and a summit to start the education process early. According to their website, there’s more of the wild here today than 100 years ago. View the animals and canoe the Raquette River. The Wild Center is open daily from 10 AM to 5 PM.

Adirondack Experience, the Museum at Blue Mountain Lake, offers activities that speak entirely to the, well, Adirondack experience. Feed the fish, row an authentic Adirondack guide boat, climb an Adirondack fire tower, enjoy hiking – there’s lots to do on this open-air campus that encompasses 20 buildings over 120 acres. Educational programs are offered with experts on the region. You’ll even find bingo offered here. And of course, the views are available every day. The Adirondack Experience is a leisurely drive less than 90 minutes from Lake Placid.

History lessons await at Fort Ticonderoga, in Ticonderoga, N.Y., about 90 minutes south of Lake Placid. In one destination, the adventures here are endless. Learn how the capture of Fort Ticonderoga was a turning point in the Revolutionary War. Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys, along with Benedict Arnold, come to life at the fort. The story of the fort’s capture, in the middle of the night, by these 2 historical figures is legendary. The staff at Fort Ticonderoga brings it all to life each day. Supporting these events, visitors will find museum exhibitions, tours and boat cruises.

Fort Ticonderoga
At Fort Ticonderoga, history comes to life

To accompany these itineraries, it’s important for travelers to gain sustenance in order to push on. To and from these attractions, motorists will come upon numerous locally owned restaurants, diners and organic ice cream and soft-serve shops. This is a perfect way to complete a day of learning and appreciation of our great Adirondack outdoors.

(All photos provided)