When the opportunity to visit Lake Placid, New York, came up, I jumped at it. Well, I squealed a little out of excitement, and then jumped at it, much like some young children would when told they will be going to Disney World. What could warrant such a reaction from a soon-to-be-forty-year-old mother?
HOCKEY. That’s what.
Some of you may be too young to remember. Some of you probably don’t even care. But Lake Placid was the site of arguably one of the greatest moments in American sports history. I’m talking, “Do you believe in miracles?”
Lake Placid hosted the 1980 Winter Olympics. It was the second time the honor was bestowed upon the town nestled in the Adirondack Mountains, the first time being in 1932. But in 1980, a team of unknown American college hockey players was assembled and put on the ice to face off against the world’s best. I was barely six years old at the time but I remember words like “Russia” making me feel uneasy, even scared. So when the U.S. men’s hockey team was set to play against the Russian team in the medal round and, ultimately, to decide which country got to play for Olympic gold, the off-ice implications did not escape me. We were still in the midst of the Cold War and the Soviet Union was enemy #1.
I remember the game. I remember hating that team in the red uniforms. I remember jumping up and down when it was over as Al Michaels exclaimed, “Do you believe in miracles? Yes!” It has stayed with me throughout my life and no doubt has fueled my deep passion for the game of hockey, as well as my patriotism. Because of that hockey game in 1980, Lake Placid already was a special place to me. I’d always hoped I’d have the chance to visit one day.
That day came – it was a whole weekend, actually – and I got to visit the Olympic sites and museums and even skate on the same ice where that historic game was played back in 1980. But you know what was even more amazing? I learned there is so much more to Lake Placid than its Olympic heritage. Unrivaled outdoor recreation opportunities are at the top of that list, thanks to the town being situated in the middle of the Adirondacks. Unfortunately, the weather did not allow us to have the winter sports adventures we’d hoped to (ice climbing in driving rain probably isn’t a good idea), but the potential for outdoor adventures was apparent. I hear the fly fishing is spectacular, too (I’ll be making a subsequent visit to verify that claim). There are incredible dining options, with a major focus on using local products, from grass-fed bison to maple syrup; choices for family accommodations ranging from rustic cabins to luxurious resorts; and, what I appreciated most, that overall laid-back, mountain-town kind of vibe, similar to what I have experienced in the Rockies.
Lake Placid, you are pretty miraculous, and I cannot wait to return.
My visit to Lake Placid was sponsored by the Lake Placid CVB and its partners. As always, my thoughts and opinions are my own, and I’m pretty sure I’d have felt the same way if I’d visited on my own.