Lake Placid, New York

Escapes Under $500
by , SmarterTravel Staff
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Whiteface Mountain, Lake Placid, NY (photo: David Schmidt)
Editor's Note: This story was originally published on February 12, 2010. To see the most recent SmarterTravel articles on related topics, please click on any of the following links: activity, Anne Banas, Colorado Springs, destination, Escapes Under $500, Lake Placid, Salt Lake City, special event, sports, vacation package, Vancouver, weekend getaways, winter.

Not only is Lake Placid a site of another U.S. Olympic Training Center (also offering free tours), but it's the only U.S. destination to host two Winter Olympics (in 1932 and 1980). Decades later, the attractions are as popular as ever.

With the Olympic Sites Passport for $29 (a $45 value) you can see all Olympic venues from the 1932 and 1980 games, including the Herb Brooks Olympic Arena where the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" happened. You can also ride an elevator up to the 120-meter ski jump, take the gondola to the top of Little Whiteface (or drive to the summit in the summer), experience the bobsled run used for both games (as I did many years ago), and see athletes train on the new combined bobsled, luge, and skeleton track at the Olympic Sports Complex.

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And special for this year, Lake Placid is celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the 1980 Games from February 12 through February 28. Events include youth activities like hockey and curling at the Olympic Speed Skating Oval (where Eric Heiden skated to win five gold medals), a relighting of the 1980 torch and cauldron, family sports competitions with medals, and a special showing of the 2004 Disney movie Miracle in 1980 Olympic Arena.

Of course, you can always ski down the same trails the Olympians did on Whiteface Mountain, as well as cross country ski on the original 50-kilometer Nordic track. And, for a dose of memorabilia, take a tour of the Winter Olympics Museum, where you can see the very first winter Olympic medal ever won, a gold medal earned by speed skater and Lake Placid native Charles Jewtraw during the 1924 Games in Chamonix, France.

Deals:

    The Road to Vancouver package at the High Peaks Resort includes two nights' accommodation, breakfast, and Olympic Passports for each guest. For dates in February, I found rates for $376 including taxes based on double occupancy. Mirror Lake Inn has an Olympic Experience package for $299 per night based on double occupancy. Oddly enough, the owners' son, Andrew Weibrecht, made the U.S. Ski Team and is set to compete in the alpine events in Vancouver.

Sample airfares (including taxes and fees for February weekend travel):

  • $179 Boston to Adirondack Regional (Cape Air)
    Cape Air serves the Adirondack Regional Airport (16 miles from Lake Placid), but there are three major airports within a 2 1/2 hour's drive: Albany, New York; Burlington, Vermont; and Montreal, Quebec. Be sure to compare prices at each airport for the best deal. Also, Lake Placid is within a day's drive of many Northeastern cities.
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