Reviews & Photos
August 10 2016
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34 Gifford Woods Access,
Gifford Woods State Park is conveniently located near Killington Mountain and and also other nearby towns of Rutland and Middlebury. This is a smallish state park used for hiking and camping. We recently spent a couple of nights at the park in a rustic but cozy cabin in the campground at the park.The campground is located nearby a main route making for easy access but it is very quiet and relatively small. We were welcomed by a friendly camp ranger housed in a nicely landscaped house at the top of the hill. She explained the campground rules, what was nearby and different hikes we might like to take. The grounds were nicely kept and very woodsy. The areas of the camp were separated by tent sites and cabins/lean to's.All are accessible.
The cabin itself seemed brand new with exposed fragrant pine beams and plenty of space for our family of 5. It housed a table and chairs, a bunk bed and futon meant to sleep a total of 4. We added a queen sized Aerobed on the floor and had more than adequate space. The outside of the cabin was a welcoming sight with flower pots, a large covered sitting porch, fire pit, large picnic table and the beautiful Vermont woods just right for finding newts and other critters. While there were no bath facilities in our cabin the nearby shared bathhouse was easily accessed. These showers and toilets were cleaned it seemed more than once a day and were definitely roomy enough for the census of the entire campground. A bonus of the cabin experience was he addition of electricity. We had one electrical outlet necessary for shared device charging, but we also had an overhead light and ceiling fan. When we opened the screened windows of the cabin and ran the fan we almost felt like we had air-conditioning! Quiet hours began PROMPTLY at 10pm as we were quickly reminded of after returning to the camp at 9:59pm after a dinner at Killington. It seemed as though quiet hours were better enforced at the cabin area as my children pointed out that the tent area was still creating quite a ruckus. Overall the area was quiet and we were able to have a great rest.
The campground is located at the foot of Killington Mountain and nearby Pico. There are a variety of restaurants right nearby for those not wanting to cook. We decided to have breakfast and lunch at the camp and ventured out to the mountain road for our dinners. Killington offers summer mountain fun with moutnain biking, zip lines and hiking. Further on into Rutland there are plenty of shopping areas for supplies and sundries as well as other activities. We were able to check out local art exhibits at the Chaffee Arts Center and Castleton Univserity .The Long Trail which bisects the entire state of Vermont can be accessed from the campground and the Appalachian trail is also nearby. We were able to make some terrific albeit short hikes from the campground and the surrounding areas.
The price for camping in the cabin is about $50 per night. We found this very economical considering the cleanliness of the cabin and grounds, size of the cabin and proximity to outdoor fun. I feel it is one of the best ways to enjoy the outdoor lifestyle of summer in Vermont.
Disclosure: My family and I were hosted by the Vermont Arts Council for the purpose of writing this review. However I was not required to provide a specific opinion and all opinions are my own.
August 27 2015
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Hotel North Woods
2520 Main Street,
Lake Placid, New York
"Great Lake Placid Hotel"
The Hotel North Woods is a historic hotel located in the heart of the quaint town of Lake Placid New York; the site of two winter Olympic Games and the annual Ironman triathlon . Needless to say this is a bustling town in the middle of the Adirondack Mountains filled with outdoor and sports enthusiasts.
We were pleased to spend a couple of nights in the newly renovated Hotel North Woods. We were provided daily views of the renowned Mirror Lake which is postcard perfect. From our window we could see the kayakers and paddle boarders as they started their day. Of course had we spent a couple of more days I am sure I would have finally figured out where to rent one on my own!
There are plenty of hotels in Lake Placid. They are located all around the main area of town, but the Hotel North Woods is in the main area of town with its own parking. The parking is key because there is a shortage of parking in the area and this is a walking town. First thing in the morning the runners start and soon the sidewalks are full of shoppers and sightseers. The Hotel is located within walking distance of many restaurants, a park and of course the Olympic Ice Skating rink where snow magically appears each day.
We loved that we could leave our hotel and be at a shop or restaurant within minutes. Additionally this is a musical town. There was always some type of concert or performance happening. Everything seems to be happening outside. We took in a concert a few blocks from the Hotel North Woods where many people parked their lawn chairs despite the rain to listen to a prodigious teen create some screaming rock tunes!
The location here is the key to your Lake Placid Stay. The hotel is right on the main street of Lake Placid which makes it so easy to explore the town especially with parking right behind the hotel. The hotel rents bikes should you wish to explore the area beyond Main Street.
The Hotel North Woods also has 2 restaurants on the main floor of the building. The Delta Blue is a Mississippi Delta inspired bar and grill with tasty food, the requisite pool table and live entertainment. One night we were entertained by BAT a talented guitarist/singer who took requests and did impersonations. The kids were enjoying it so much that they didn’t want to leave. Luckily our room was right upstairs so we could stay for just one more song.
The Cabin Grill serves a hearty breakfast streetside including some other delta inspired foods like crawfish and eggs. I played it safe with the stuffed French toast and was very happy. One night while we visited they had chamber music playing for our enjoyment.
This hotel has recently undergone a significant remodel. They have made it modern while still maintaining the historic charm of the facility. Outstanding murals decorate the expanse of the lobby and the Cabin Grill. The remodeled elevators have maintained their charm and the rooms have been extensively remodeled to reflect a modern, casual Adirondack feel.
We had adjoining rooms that each featured a King size bed with a fabulous temper pedic mattress as well as a leather pull out sofa bed and a small area with a refrigerator and microwave. These are great amenities for traveling families who like to eat on the go or are used to snacks. Our room faced Mirror Lake and made for some pretty mornings.
The in room baths have also recently been remodeled with stone counters and warm tone tile floors. Each room features a flat screen television as well as a cozy seating area.
We enjoyed our stay at the Hotel North Woods and would definitely consider staying again. Unfortunately there is not a pool on site and that is pretty important for our kids. We stayed busy with outdoor pursuits and accepted the lack of pool, but it is important for other family travelers to have this information.
Enter from the back of the building to avoid the 2 flights of stairs to the lobby from the ground floor
The lobby carpeting is being redone in days
Kids will love the Popcorn shop downstairs as well as the emporium across the street where ours wisely shopped to find just the right souvenir
The skating center is within walking distance. We loved watching the figure skaters train. We had to drag the kids away from there
The hotel staff will guide you in the direction of restaurants and area attractions and hikes,
Families larger than 4 will need adjoining rooms but the beds are so comfy!
August 27 2015
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45 Museum Drive,
New York 12986
The Wild Center is a well-known Leed’s certified natural history museum that details the environment of the large swath of beautiful land known as the Adirondacks in update New York. This area is home to mountains, lakes, rivers, and abundant wild life. Families can learn all about the natural land at the Wild Center which has hands on exhibits, live animal displays and outdoor walks and playgrounds. I envision the Wild Center as a good introduction to the flora and fauna that is found in the region. One is able to encapsulate what has been learned on the trail or ready themselves for what they are about to see when hitting the trails.
On July 4th of this year the Wild Center opened the highly anticipated Wild Walk. The Wild Walk is an all accessible, raised outdoor trail through the trees that allows humans to have the perspective of the woods from a simulated Eagle’s nest and heights as much as 45 feet in the air.
Charles Reay, the designer of both the Wild Center and Wild Walk has certainly created a one of a kind masterpiece that allows both young and old to appreciate the wilderness that is the Adirondacks.
The Wild Walk is separate from the Wild Center and is located to the left side of the parking lot when driving in. There is no need to enter the main building to get tickets for the exhibit as there is a ticket booth right at the beginning of the trail. The raised trail is mostly accessible and sturdy. The platform walk starts at ground level and slowly climbs to height that makes the surrounding Adirondack Mountains visible in a 360 panoramic view. The walkways are mostly decking and at times suspension bridges are made of metal which can get slick when it is raining. We visited on a relatively busy day so we did spend some time waiting to meander from stage to stage. Each stage details a different type of wildlife, environment or perspective of the natural land. After completing a visit you can go through the walk again to investigate and search for something in the exhibit or something on the ground you may not have noticed before. Visitors may also head to the outdoor playground or take in the exhibits at the Wild Center.
The Set up
Initially envisioned as a birds eye view for birders there is a heavy emphasis on birds here. Walkers will learn about birds, watch them, sit in their nests, or examine artifacts. Other exhibits teach about environmental balances, the strength of a spider’s web and insect and arachnid life. The walk has different segments to enter as the path rises up into the trees to provide for a unique perspective. I loved that both young and old could enjoy absorbing nature’s bounty all around them. I noticed that older people seemed enthralled by the sheer magnitude and architectural undertakings of the project while the kids really enjoyed the hands on aspects of the exhibits. Ours seemed to be most engaged by the giant spider web where they practiced their best spidey moves!
Visit early in the morning to avoid crowds. Alternatively visit the Wild Walk during the off season
The exhibit just opened in July 2015. There is still much excitement surrounding the Walk.
Younger children should be well-supervised or held by the hand. There isn’t much danger in falling off but kids are known to find every nook and cranny.
Try to slow your children down to maximize opportunities. They will likely be excited and ready to run from stage to stage.
Bridges can get slippery in the rain and are NOT accessible.
There is a restroom right at the beginning of the Wild Walk. Be sure to use it to prevent turning around and fighting the schools of people swimming the opposite direction.
Disclosure: My family and I were provided complimentary acess to the Wild Walk and Wild Center. I was not asked to provide a specific review and all opinions are my own.
August 27 2015
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Square Eddy Expeditions
282 Main St,
New York 12853
"Adirondacks Experts on outdoor fun"
Do you like the outdoors? Do you like a bit of adventure when touring an area? Do you like real people? People that are willing to share their knowledge about their environment have some good conversation, snacks and laugh a bit?
We found place in North Creek Adirondacks that provides such an adventure. Square Eddy Excursions based out of North Creek will allow you to customize an adventure on land or in the water with experienced, knowledgeable, friendly real guides. Square Eddy is named after a type of water formation that occurs as water swirls and is certainly not a way at poking fun at a guy named Eddy from your science class!
Lori Phoebe, one of the proprietors at Square Eddy met us at hotel at North Creek NY to share her Adirondacks with us. She drove us to a special piece of public land where in times long past garnet mining was the industry. As we hiked for a few hours she shared tales of the land, the history of its use, explained the local plant and animal life and even brought us a terrific snack to share while we rested. We learned about the caves in the area, the way garnets were mined, and the lives of the people who did the mining. Now the land has been cut for wood and reforested. Remnants of the buildings of the older settlers and workers can be found in crumbling foundations, equipment and garnet rock pile waste all with the green of the forest growing up around it. The kids ate up her stories and shared what they knew about plant and animal life. We had so much fun with Lori Phoebe. She was so kind and warm hearted we felt like she was an old friend not a guide.
Square Eddy Expeditions specializes in White Water rafting. They offer scheduled trips on the Hudson and also include overnight hike in raft out trips. If you are intent on learning about the Adirondacks or having a rafting adventure I would definitely out my trust into Square Eddy. The folks are fabulous!
Call in advance for White water trips. Older kids can go on the trips.
There is an office located in the center of North Creek.
Contact Square Eddy for other excursions
Disclosure: Square Eddy provided us with a complimentary guided hike. I was not required to submit a specific review and all opinions are my own.
August 27 2015
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"Summer fun at the ski mountain"
In the snow filled Adirondack Winter, Gore offers some top notch skiing. In the summer the mountain is also used for outdoor adventure. They offer some fun ways to enjoy the fresh Adirondack air and maybe even get in a workout.
We visited Gore Mountain after taking the scenic Saratoga/North Creek railway tour from Thurman. A free shuttle met us at the station to bring us to Gore for an afternoon of activity. The shuttle runs at well-posted scheduled times so you can be sure to make it back to the train if that is the way you arrived. Of course you can also enjoy your own drive to Gore. There is plenty of parking.
We were a bit confused about where to get our passes to enjoy a day of fun on the mountain. There are a few buildings but none were really marked as “the “place. Once we had found the spot we were assisted by a well-informed, very friendly and accommodating staff [person. She told us everything we needed to know and where to head.
The activities available were a Euro-bungy, bounce house, inflatable obstacle course, rock climbing walls and a mini golf. We were also able to take the enclosed gondola ride to the top of the mountain to take in the incredible views and take a hike. I loved being at the top of the mountain and certainly had my fill of sun kissed ripe raspberries.
The kids chose to spend their time on the bungy, the rock wall and of course compete in time trials on the obstacle course. While everything in our family is a competition I was not surprised. All three of them made it to the top of the rock wall and tried their hand at multiple flips on the euro bungy. The fun came in when our youngest bested her 2 older siblings repeatedly on the obstacle course. She won bragging rights!
Snacks and drinks are available at the lodge
Keep the schedule for the shuttle handy if you too the train so you are back to town on time
Gore mountain summer activities are best for school aged children
Mountain biking trails are open to those bringing their own gear. Watch out for them on hiking trails and the trial track at the bottom of the hill
Disclosure: My family and I were provided complimentary use of the facilities. I was not required to write a specific review and all opinions are my own.