When a sentimentally stunted couple travels to Lake Placid for the honeymoon they never planned to have, they learn there’s more to couple’s activities than holding hands and sipping champagne.
By Catherine Shannon | Photo © Lake Placid Chamber of Commerce
My honeymoon started about 11 p.m. with Jimmy and I curiously probing the walls of our Lake Placid Lodge suite. “Maybe this is one of those places where the TV is cleverly hidden,” he said, eye level with a rustic-looking bureau, inspecting it for any unusual openings.
You’d think we’d be more concerned with lighting the floor-to-ceiling fieldstone fireplace or uncorking the complimentary bottle of chardonnay. Unfortunately, though, doing these sorts of activities – particularly “romantic” activities – typically makes us squirm. So when we were sent out on a fall four-day honeymoon-themed assignment, I was curious how we’d do in the High Peaks region of the northern Adirondacks doing couples-oriented activities. And without the white noise of a TV (there is only one on property, in the wood-paneled Maggie’s Pub), I could see the first signs of Jimmy’s anxiousness and my own unease bubbling up.
Come morning, however, any of the previous night’s anxiety dissipated when Jimmy drew the blinds to unveil 4,867-foot Whiteface. The fifth tallest of the 46 High Peaks, it sat overlooking the five-mile-long Lake Placid. And without a single boat on the glassy water or a cloud in the sky, we enjoyed our breakfast from our room’s balcony – for the first time in a long time, no friends present, just Whiteface and us.
Later we learned that meeting other people, especially other couples, was surprisingly easy here. Perhaps it was the warm, inviting classic lodge feel with exposed beams and twisted-branch-framed rooms and porches. Or perhaps it was the liquid courage provided by Maggie’s Pub, where we met the lodge’s resident artist, local PJ LeBarge, whose bronze pieces litter almost every room. We also met Bob and Cathy Levine, from northern New Jersey, who had revisited the lodge a dozen or so times over the last 30 years.
Prompted by the Levines’ tales of childhood hikes, Jimmy and I set out the next day to summit Whiteface. We started strong and confident. After a three-hour slow slog up the rocky trail, Jimmy morphed into something of a personal coach. “You’ve hiked bigger mountains while you lived up north,” he pumped with encouragement, referencing Maine’s 5,200-foot Katahdin. “This is cake.” Every time I started lagging again: “Cake, Catherine. This is cake.”
Some five hours later, we finally reached the summit – and the 360-degree views, showcasing Vermont’s Green Mountains, the skyscrapers of Montreal, and even New Hampshire’s White Mountains. Eventually, we sprawled out on a slab of rock, just staring at the sky. In fact, a lot of what we did during our trip was simply sitting and “being” – like on the red Adirondack chairs in front of the lake while Jimmy fed the ducks or in front of our suite’s fireplace, drinking coffee in our robes. Like my mom always says, “You’d be surprised how much can be said to one another when you are silent.”
On the Way Out
The next day, we closed our Lake Placid honeymoon with an afternoon tour on Christie, the lodge’s 36-foot mahogany Hacker-Craft. As we puttered through the Shelter Straight between Moose and Buck islands (two of the three lake islands), our captain expounded upon area-related fun facts, like how 12 streams drain in and out of the lake, completely changing out the entire body of water in three days’ time, or how there are only 255 camps here (the oldest being one called Agawam built in 1847) and all sprawling and quite amazing. I saw some rustically detailed camps and boathouses larger than our own home.
Within a few hours, we were getting our half-eaten dinners of Vermont rabbit confit and wagyu beef strip in Artisans to go – not because we were stuffed, but because we were instructed by PJ LeBarge, the artist we met at the bar, to save room for dessert. With options like yogurt cheesecake with an almond-crunch crust, we each ordered our own elaborately arranged confectionery. And while this trip was very much about testing how well we shared such experiences with each other, this was one we did not.
Where to Stay Lake Placid Lodge