Adirondacks-thWhen I was invited to join a group of women for a fall escape to the Adirondacks, it was a no-brainer. Fall foliage, friends, and beautiful views, what could be better?

By Holly Kennedy



When I was invited to join a group of women for a fall escape to the Adirondacks, it was a no-brainer. Fall foliage, friends, and beautiful views, what could be better?

It was my first visit to the area in the off-season. My usual habit is to enjoy the Adirondacks in the summer months, and I regularly trek up I-87 to visit my favorite summer camp located on the shores of Lake Champlain.

A fall visit is completely different. For starters, the crowds are gone. The winding roads are gloriously yours to meander, parking spaces are plentiful, and restaurants have open tables. Secondly, the scenery is even more spectacular. The air is crisp. The mountains are covered in a blanket of trees ablaze in rusty reds, sunny yellows, and oranges, punctuated with deep greens of the pines. Every lake sparkles with the riotous reflected colors of the trees. It’s pretty ‘peak’ season, no pun intended, and it is gorgeous.

We came from Vermont, Cape Cod, Connecticut, and New York. We shared a love for the Adirondacks and the summer camp where we met. Our kids are grown now and mostly out of the house. Somehow our husbands coped, and we were able to spend 48 glorious hours reminiscing and sharing our lives. In mid-life, we’re created our own sorority based on deep affection of a place that has influenced our families and ourselves.

We walked lake trails, made hearty dinners, explored gardens, toured Lake Placid by boat, and in my case, mastered the art of porch sitting, which if done correctly, can pass the time for several hours. Three adventurous souls, myself included, dared a lake dip. This required fortitude and a friend to say ‘I’ll do it if you do.’ Off we went, challenging each other with our version of the best way to get in. One went in headfirst, another climbed the ladder, and I choose the shore walk-in. No matter, we all came out sputtering, laughing, and frozen. What is beautiful to look at is freezing for a swim. Luckily, we could warm up by a roaring fire.

The retreat over, I took double the time to return home. Why not? Around every bend was yet another spectacular view to photograph and without children or spouse to dissuade me, I could indulge in a stop at each beckoning store.

Having vowed to myself that there was nothing I needed, it turns out that I find Adirondack-themed gear irresistible. First stop, The Adirondack Store in Lake Placid, where I managed to find the perfect throw, a set of candle hurricanes, and my first Christmas gift.

For lunch I stopped at the Mirror Lake Inn Cottage. Did I say earlier that there were no crowds? Well, those who were visiting were lunching at this popular lakeside restaurant. I ventured down into the central business district of Lake Placid and ate instead at The Great Adirondack Steak and Seafood Brewery and Restaurant. From an outdoor table I had a wonderful view of Mirror Lake and the far-off mountains and enjoyed a grilled eggplant and mozzarella sandwich with homemade potato chips and a locally brewed beer. (Diet later.)

I found myself intrigued with the drink glass that featured a snowboarder. My son is a snowboarder and loves the Adirondacks, so I inquired if the glasses were for sale. Bingo! A few minutes later I had my set, and I was all set — the beer glasses, along with my previously purchased book, “Happy Hour in the High Peaks” by Kim Ladd and Pam Ladd from the Adirondack Store, and my Christmas present shopping for one of my young adult children off to a good start.

Instead of the typical 45 minutes to get back to the Thruway, it took me almost two hours.

I had to stop, savor, and photograph every view. No one ever lets me meander as I did and I loved every minute. In Keene, I discovered The Dartbrook Rustic Goods Store, a terrific source for unique and high-quality Adirondack décor. While I was intrigued by the handmade wool mittens at $35 a pair, made from vintage sweaters (I recognized familiar patterns from the ’70s), another shopper was intrigued by the gigantic moose head for $4,800.

Not in the market for taxidermy, I did find myself drooling over a set of five vintage posters from the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics. The young man at the counter was amusedby my story that my weekend companions had attended the 1980 Olympics, but not me. And that sealed the deal. I would capture those memories and buy the set. I knew my husband had been there, and this would make a great gift. My last stop was The Birch Store in Keene, where I found the perfect cheese knife, a present for myself.

I finally got to 87 and headed home, knowing I’ll be back.



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