Recollections of Lake Placid and Saranac

Lake Placid, NY is one of my favorite places and is probably why I am so glad that I live in Chattanooga, TN area with these beautiful mountains.  It is like a fairy land of mountains, trails, lakes and lodges with Adirondack chairs on the porches deer heads on the walls, Whiteface mountain, Mirror Lake, and Lake Placid.  It is also the land of the flying teeth called black flies whose bite is much worse than their bark.  In the winter you will think that you are in fairy land because it’s beauty is breathtaking.  Snow is piled everywhere and the winter carnival in next door Saranac Lake is capable of transporting you to times of old where lumberjacks compete at axe throwing and log chopping and sled dogs race the clock in competitions on trails through the forest with owners on sleds.  The men returning from the race with icicled beards and mustaches and both dogs and masters’ kinda in a pant.  Blocks of ice are cut from the lake and a castle is built.  Winter doesn’t  feel so cold on this day.  Snow shoes, and cross country skis are a must means of winter travel to prevent cabin fever.  The very ruggedness of it makes you feel alive.

The first time I saw the area I drove south from Malone to Saranac Lake,NY.  in January.  Even a Pennsylvania girl like me had never seen so much snow.  I was delighted!  Saranac is home to huge old homes with tall windows and big porches where tuberculin patients would come to breathe the fresh mountain air to hopefully heal .  I used to rent a room in one.  It is also home to North Country Community College, my old alma mater.  Where I learned to sculpt because pottery class was full.  It changed me.

Next community over is Lake Placid.  Home of the 1980 Olympics and host of the year our hockey team beat the pants off of the Russians (watch the movie, MIRACLE)  It is fun to live in Lake Placid.  Because the Winter Olympics were held there, there are a lot of people who go there to train.  So part of the character of the town is the winter athlete, and part is Canadian tourists and others as well.  I was driving down the mountain and saw a guy skiing down the road on roller skis.  That is a bit mind blowing.  Ice skaters bop around with their skirts flitting.  Tourists shop at the artsy stores on Main Street and bus travellers rush through their breakfasts at Ramada Inn to keep to the schedule.  In Lake Placid is Mirror Lake and behind Lake Placid is Lake Placid with Whiteface Mountain staring down.  It is breathtakingly beautiful and quite brisk even for a summertime swim…but refreshing.  I used to jump in the lake after a day of waiting tables at the Ramada Inn.  Tourists were shocked that I would swim in that cold lake and they also commented that they didn’t know people actually LIVED there!  Silly tourists.

Once I rode my bicycle to the airport at Lake Placid and paid to fly over the area.  There was a couple, me and the pilot.  Guess who got to sit in the co-pilot’s seat!  I ate a little less that week but it was worth it.  Grab the moments.