If you're heading to upstate New York for some outdoors fun, why not plan an adventurous gourmet meal along the way and while you're there?
The quest for the perfect meal. We’ve all been there. Occasionally we discover new favorite restaurants, especially when we’re traveling, and “away from home” is often a good place to introduce children to unfamiliar tastes. Families who enjoy spectacular scenery and pristine natural environments — as much a great dining experience — will find the Adirondack Mountains of New York state a very satisfying destination. It’s a fun area for a weekend of family togetherness, too, with more four-star resorts (many of them family-friendly) than anywhere else in the state.
Lake George Region
Start your journey at The Sagamore, a beautiful Victorian resort located on its own 72-acre island in Lake George. It’s an idyllic year-round getaway with a private marina and beach where families can waterski, fish, kayak, or take a sailing lesson at the Sagamore Sailing School. Wintertime activities include cross-country skiing, ice skating and sledding. A break from activities for afternoon tea and light lunch on the Sagamore’s Veranda, overlooking Lake George and the mountains beyond is just a prelude to an uncommonly elegant dinner prepared by Joe Greco, the Chef de Cuisine at The Trillium, whose motto “epicuriously inspired, elegantly Adirondack” pretty much sums it up.
There are so many exceptional dining options at The Sagamore, that even after you decide whether you’d like to dine near the lake, overlooking the lake, or on the lake – like on The Morgan dinner cruise – there are still several casual or more formal dining options for each. The Sagamore restaurants are open to the public if you’re just passing through or staying elsewhere along Lake George.
North of The Sagamore is the Friend’s Lake Inn, a four-diamond country inn with 17 unique guest rooms, each with its own distinctive character, and most with Jacuzzis, lake views, and fireplaces. The highly acclaimed restaurant offers exquisitely prepared New-American cuisine, complimented by a Grand Spectator award-winning wine collection. The sommelier is available for advice on wine selection, and it’s all served in the rustic elegance of a 19th-century dining room with brick fireplaces, candlelight, burnished woodwork, and cozy ambiance. If you’re traveling with young children, you’ll probably want to make a reservation on the early side at this popular inn. It can be a splurge dinner event for those enjoying a winter weekend at Gore Mountain, ranked in the October ’06 Ski Magazine reader’s survey as a “Top 10 Mountain in the East” for value, weather, snow and lifts. What’s more, Dave Bulmer, Gore’s Mountain Services Manager, says Gore “is 100% committed to providing the best family experience possible.”
Another hidden gem nearby, a little further off the beaten path, is the Owl at Twilight in Olmsteadville. It’s a charming secluded farmhouse where sophisticated fusion cuisine is served. It’s popular with weekenders, so definitely call ahead to 518/251-4696 for reservations.
Lake Placid Region
Lunch at A.P. Smith, located in the historic Hotel Saranac, is prepared by the culinary students from Paul Smith’s College (a popular school for budding NHL hockey stars.) They work alongside professional chefs who ensure that each entree is carefully prepared and impeccably presented (check out their “Wild Menu”). At dinnertime, make your way over to the Paradox Lodge, also in the town of Saranac Lake, a rugged Adirondack classic offering five-star cuisine prepared by Chef Moses LaFountaine.
Nearby Lake Placid, famed site of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics, has dozens of good restaurants. Take gourmet kids on an exhilarating bobsled ride or luge run before lunch at the Bark Eater Ranch, originally a stagecoach stopover in the early 1800s.
If you’re spending the night at the Mirror Lake Inn Resort and Spa (rated by Travel + Leisure in 2006 as one of the world’s best hotels), you’ll learn how Chef Paul Sorgule emulates the hotel’s combination of modern-day luxury and old-school warmth in his lakefront dining restaurant. For a more casual treat, visit at lunchtime and, while dining, gaze over swimmers and boaters in summer or ice skaters in winter.
Finally, if you’re traveling with adult family members, round out your culinary odyssey at the place the Hideaway Report called “the most enchanting lakefront sanctuary of its kind in America:” The Point Resort. Dinner by world renowned, three-star Michelin chef Albert Roux is a dramatically regal (and royally priced) way to end your weekend, an experience Zagat calls “pure bliss.”
For more information on each of these places, as well as additional culinary itineraries, travel packages and your own copy of New York State’s Culinary Guidebook, visit I Love NY or call 800/CALL-NYS or 518/474-4116.
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