Part III: THE ADIRONDACKS – Trains, Camps, Museums, etc.

By Charlene S. Mixa

Exciting activies and adventures continue

"Get Wild" at the Wild Center

“Get Wild” at the Wild Center

The Adirondack Mountains are amazing in their magnificent beauty and varied activities. This is the third story of our Amazing Adirondack adventure. Spending a month in Lake Placid and exploring these mountains, we discover a plethora of exciting activities and adventures. Continue with us as we visit towns, museums and more in the Lake Placid and Adirondack Mountains. 

Ride the rails through remote forests, past sparkling rivers, over bridges, tranquil ponds and streams. All aboard for a relaxing Saturday afternoon on theWine Tasting Train! Riding in an open air car, we sample the wines of Swedish Hill & Goose Watch wineries. Enjoying the scenic beauty of the ride to Saranac Lake, we sip our wines and munch on the complimentary cheese and crackers. A guitarist entertains us as we sing along to old favorites adding to the fun experience. Arriving at Saranac Lake with a 20 minute layover, we browse the historical Union Depot before our return trip. ( Arrive early to tour the historical Lake Placid Depot. 

White Pines Camp - Hermit's Hut

White Pines Camp – Hermit’s Hut

Relive history at a Great Camp where in the late nineteenth century, the wealthy relaxed, attended parties and enjoyed the wilderness in their grandiose family compounds on lakes in the Adirondacks. The White Pines Camp, the 1926 Summer Whitehouse for President Calvin Coolidge, has two hour historical tours on Saturdays. Our guide, Jim Burdiss, takes us back to the gilded age on an extensive tour of White Pines with its 35 acres and 20 buildings. We visit the Alpine Gardens, the owner’s cabin, a dining hall, four sleeping cabins, two boathouses, an indoor tennis house, a bowling alley, and a charming Japanese teahouse. Walking the woodland and lakeside paths, we learn about the various owners and the camp’s unique architectural style The sleeping cabins can be rented and Jim gives us a quick peek in these delightfully appointed cabins. A terrific tour! Come prepared for 2 hours of walking over various uneven terrains.  Note: Combine a White Pines Camp tour with the Saranac Lake Saturday Farmer’s Market, stroll historic Saranac Lake and have lunch in one of its varied restaurants. 

Wild Center - Oxbow Trail

Wild Center – Oxbow Trail

Explore nature at The Wild Center. The award-winning Center houses great exhibits where we explore the Museum’s 31- acre campus. The main building has plenty of hands-on activities and hundreds of live animals from rare native trout, to river otters and many other hard-to-see residents of the woods and waters. A new exhibit is the River Otters and we watch the antics as these two otters get acclimated to each other and their new environment. In the theater “Wild Adirondacks” shows the wonders of the Adirondacks through the panoramic photography of Carl Heilman with spectacular scenery, wildlife, and foliage through the seasons. In the hands-on exhibit area children are checking out all the exhibits and learning about the “wildlife and animals of the Adirondacks”. Under cloudy skies we take the nature walks around the pond and to Oxbow on the Raquette River passing through various types of vegetation. At the river wooden platforms offer views of the river and wildlife.   The Wild Center is excellent for both children and adults. Allow at least a few hours to explore The Wild Center to be able to include guided walks, view videos, attend a scheduled program, wander through the exhibits and take the nature walks. 

Adirondack Museum building - craftsmanship is terrific.

Adirondack Museum building – craftsmanship is terrific.

Discover more than 200 years of Adirondack history at the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake, NY. In a campus-like setting with 22 exhibit spaces and galleries the Museum tells the stories of the men and women who lived, worked and played in the largest wilderness east of the Mississippi. As we walk through the buildings the breadth of its collection is fantastic. Tales of work, play, creativity and community are shared bringing us closer to the area’s heritage. Taking time to tour the impressive collections of historic artifacts, photographs, archival materials and fine arts the museum provides insight into the area. The buildings and exhibits cover all aspects of life and history in the Adirondacks such as the Adirondack Guideboats, photographs and paintings of the 18th and 19th centuries, and the various hotels, camps and clubs of the region over the years. Learn about logging in the Adirondacks, explore outdoor recreation of moutaineering, fishing, trapping and hunting. There’s even an Adirondack lean-to, a schoolhouse and the Whiteface Mountain Fire Tower where you can climb for great views of the museum and Blue Mountain Lake. The Great Outdoors is a hands-on exhibit for families and children to experience the 20th and 21st century outdoor recreation. These are just samplings of the exhibits. Absolutely fantastic! We recommend the museum as a “must do” and a “gem.” for visitors to the Adirondacks. It is a 90 minute drive from Lake Placid, leave early and plan to spend the majority of the day. Everything is extremely well done and will intrigue visitors of all ages.

Listen to the Music of the Lake Placid Sinfonietta’s Symphony Series Concerts. These early evening performances are held on Sundays during July and August in the intimate theater of the Lake Placid Center for the Arts. Precious Metals and Flickering Lights was the final performance for the summer. Featuring works of Claude Debussy, Antonio Vivaldi, Otttorino Respighi, Franz Lehar and Franz Joseph Haydn, we enjoy a wonderful evening of enchanting music. Check the schedules for both the Symphony Series Concerts and the Songs at Mirror Lake each week in the summer to include for your visit.

Lake Placid and the Adirondacks have plenty to keep visitors busy with its wide variety of activities. Enjoy these amazing mountains as you fill your day with adventure, excitement, and fun.

If you go:  Be sure to visit the Visitor Center below at the beginning of your trip as they have excellent information and assistance. They also have The Guide a handy reference for things to do, places to stay and where to eat.

Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism, 46 Parkside Drive, Lake Placid, NY 12946; 800.447.5224;;


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About Charlene Mixa

Seeing new places, learning about cultures and seeing the sights has always been my dream. Growing up I was blessed with parents that enjoyed traveling and thought nothing of taking a family of seven on excursions. My career in Human Resources and later as a consultant for an international Human Resource firm offered some travel, but I knew as my husband and I approached retirement, my goal was to do more traveling and broader trips. The nine years since retirement has been filled with fantastic adventures from short local one day trips to several week excursions. Living in Florida, it is especially enjoyable to be away in the summer to cooler climates. Multi-week driving trips across the good ol' USA, settling in for a month in the mountains to explore the local area, or a combination of both fill much of our summer season. Our travels are predominantly self-orchestrated, bringing the fun and challenge of getting everything to click. It's all about doing and sharing! Experiencing a travel adventure is exciting. Reliving a special travel moment with a friend or family is exhilarating. I feel my heart race and pulse quicken, as I sharing that special moment. Thank you for joining in my travel adventures and allowing me to hear your stories.