Lake Placid has an interesting history. In 1845, Gerrit Smith arrived in North Elba near Lake Placid. He was a strong abolitionist and not only bought a great deal of land around the village, he also granted large tracts of land to former slaves.
When the famous abolitionist, John Brown, heard about Gerrit Smith's reforms, he left his anti-slavery activities in Kansas to buy 244 acres of land in the area. This parcel later became known as the "Freed Slave Utopian Experiment," Timbucto. Shortly before his execution in 1859, he asked to be buried on his farm, which is preserved as the John Brown Farm State Historic Site.
As leisure time increased in the late 19th century, Lake Placid was discovered for resort use by the rich and famous, who were drawn to the fashionable Lake Placid Club. Melvil Dewey, who invented the Dewey Decimal System, designed what was then called "Placid Park Club" in 1895. This inspired the village to change its name to Lake Placid in 1900.
Dewey kept the club open through the winter in 1905, which aided the development of winter sports in the area. Nearby Saranac Lake had hosted an international winter sporting event as early as 1889, and was used year-round by patients seeking treatment for tuberculosis at sanitariums. They believed the mountain air was good for them.
By 1921, the Lake Placid area featured a ski jump, a speed skating venue, and a ski association. In 1929, Dr. Godfrey Dewey, Melvil's son, convinced the International Olympic Committee that Lake Placid had the best winter sports facilities in the United States. The Lake Placid Club was the headquarters for the International Olympic Committee for the 1932 and the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid. It has also hosted the 1972 Winter Universiade and the 2000 Winter Goodwill Games.
Today Lake Placid still maintains its "DNA" for winter and summer outdoor adventures. Many summer hiking trails become well-traveled ski and snowshoe trails in the winter. Golf courses take on new life as cross-country ski centers and the high peaks are always accessible for a cold-weather hike with a licensed Adirondack guide.
Since the area does not lack for ice-covered cliffs and frozen waterfalls, Adirondack ice climbing has become a popular winter time activity. Area lakes are great for ice skating and cross-country skiing and draw legions of ice fishermen and many play host to popular fishing derbies throughout the winter. Old logging roads that provide mountain bikers their summer routes, often become trails for use by snowmobile clubs in the area. And of course, Whiteface Mountain is the place to be for a world-class downhill skiing and boarding experience.
Lake Placid offers plenty of things to do for the family. What kid would not want to visit Santa's Workshop at one of the Adirondack's original theme parks? Santa's Workshop has been a beloved family attraction since 1949. This theme park specializes in entertaining kids and the young at heart with attractions geared toward children 48 inches and smaller. Sit on Santa's lap, take in a show, and don't forget to feed the reindeer!
For some 'ole fashioned family fun, and it's too cold to spend the whole day hiking, and you need to expel a little extra energy, Bowlwinkle's is the place to be, especially if you enjoy Cosmic Bowling & Laser Tag! Explore the wild nature of the Adirondacks at The Wild Center, an attraction with rave reviews!
For those who want to experience the Adirondack wilderness lifestyle, you "must" enlist the talents of the Adirondack guide services. Early visitors to the area were intimidated by the vast Adirondack wilderness and quickly learned that the local guides knew where to catch the fish, hunt the game, build boats and shelters, and survive in the back-country of the Adirondack Mountains. Travelers from around the world have enlisted the services of these woodsmen and have not been disappointed.
They are fully licensed guides who can help you with hunting deer, bear, coyote, and turkey; fly-fishing for native Trout on one of the many local streams; lake fishing for deeper water fish such as Trout and Salmon; or just paddling on any number of the areas 1000's lakes and rivers. They also provide everything needed for camping, hiking, whitewater rafting, and the extreme sports of rock climbing or ice climbing.
While in the area be sure to visit some of America's oldest natural attractions, Ausable Chasm and High Falls Gorge. The views are stunning and provide insight into how water carves its way through the landscape.
A visit to Fort Ticonderoga and Crown Point, can provide a historic trip back in time to the French and Indian War era. Take a ride on the Adirondack Scenic Railroad and see the beautiful Adirondacks by train.
Lake Placid is home to two Winter Olympic Games; 1932 and 1980. It is still an active Olympic training site, but you can take a tour of the sites and you can experience the ski jumps, take a bobsled ride, or even see Olympic athletes training.
Lake Placid has a thriving arts community and boasts several venues for the arts and hosts a variety of performances. From classical music to family-friendly shows, rock concerts to community plays and musicals, events are available throughout the year. The Lake Placid Center for the Arts offers programs in the areas of music, theater, dance, art, and film in addition to galleries, exhibitions and workshops.
If Golf is your game, visit Whiteface Club & Resort Golf Course, Lake Placid Club Links Course, Lake Placid Club Mountain Course, and Craig Wood Golf course and enjoy the incredible scenery.
For a complete family vacation, Lake Placid maybe just the place for you!