While the Adirondacks have long been known as a summer (and fall) retreat, Lake Placid, which is located in the northwestern part of the park has been associated with the winter olympics (they were held there in 1932 and 1980). But in recent years, as the ‘dacks have heated up as a summer destination yet again, Lake Placid has been seeing more summer visitors than ever; and why not? The hiking gets you to incredible views easily (no hyperbole about it, see below) and the natural lakes and cooler temps mean a getaway from the city really feels like one. In the heart of the small town of Lake Placid, the Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort (pictured above) is the perfect place to serve as home base to explore the area’s natural beauty.
Check out that gorgeous lakefront! Kayaking, canoeing, stand-up paddleboarding and more are all available from the resort’s private beach. Since motorized vehicles aren’t allowed on the lake, swimming is allowed throughout! Love that.
The Golden Arrow is a true family business, run by a brother and sister team (pictured above) with the help of some fantastic staff. Carrying on their father’s appreciation for the earth and the nearby Adirondack Park, Golden Arrow has been a leader in reducing the impact of their guests and buildings, and the resort has received a platinum rating in the Audubon Society’s eco rating program for hotels (which they share with only 6 other hotels), as well as awards from TripAdvisor.
What’s green? Let’s start with solar panels, low-flow shower-heads, low-impact laundry solutions, CFL and LED bulbs, some pretty hard-core recycling, a green roof, local food in the restaurant, local furniture, no-VOC paint and easily repairable high-use areas (think hallway panels that can be replaced individually instead of ripping out a whole wall-genius!). There are recycled games in the hallways for kids, and if you arrive in a hybrid car, by bike, cross-country skis or on food, you get a special eco welcome package. The Golden Arrow’s green roof (above) is not only lovely to look at, with Mirror Lake on the other side of it, but it supplies herbs for the kitchen.
The Golden Arrow is all about health and wellness, and in addition to their serious environmental stewardship (co-owner Jenn Holdreid even lectures and advises other area hotels on how to reduce impact), they run yoga classes outside (weather permitting), advise on hikes and bike rides, skiing and snowboarding, and all of the area’s other outdoor fun—I found front-desk employees to really know their stuff whenever I asked for advice about outdoor activities, which they all seemed to enjoy themselves.
The Golden Arrow has a luxurious, but still homey and Adirondacks-style feel. All of the rooms smelled fresh and clean, without cloying artificial scents common to even luxe accommodations (that’s because the cleaning staff uses non-toxic cleaning products), and they even ofter allergen-free rooms which have bamboo floors with throw-rugs to minimize dust, hypoallergenic pillows and blankets, dust-mite covers, air filters and leather furniture. At the other end of the spectrum, the resort also offers pet-friendly accommodations, and of course, rooms of various sizes, many with kitchenettes and family spaces as well.
I loved both the cool faux-fur pillow on my bed, and this sign about saving water with towel and sheet changes.
If that’s not classic Adirondack style in the main lobby (check out the huge fireplace in the corner), I don’t know what is!
The Golden Arrow’s solar panels heat the water for many of the resort’s daily functions, meaning that they don’t need to use fossil fuels or nuclear power to do so. They are looking to add more solar panels for electricity in the future.
I took a fun hike—one of many available in the area—on a sunny early April day. This trail was all of 10 minutes from the Golden Arrow, and was well-maintained by the Adirondack Park.
For a hike of what I would consider average difficulty, I was rewarded with way-above-average views, a classic feature of the Adirondacks.
Giant glacial erratics sat on top of Pitchoff Mountain, perfectly framing the incredible views.