Lake Placid Outings: Beyond Saranac Lake

We took a drive past Saranac Lake during our week up in the Adirondacks.  Actually, it turned out to feel like a much longer drive than we’d anticipated.  As a coping mechanism, I invented a new Car Ride Game.  It’s called, “That’s your house!”   It really only works on those drives that are somewhat rural, because they often have a wide variety of different residences, and they’re spaced out a bit.  Here’s how you play:

  1. Establish and explain a particular order (say, alphabetical or chronological).
  2. Tell everyone the rules (it has to be a residence, and you have to be able to see it from the road).
  3. Decide when to begin (like, after that white mailbox up ahead).
  4. As you drive along, point out each building and name whose house it is.

It was surprisingly entertaining.  Some people got lovely homes with beautiful front porches, others got half-boarded, decaying hovels.  J asked her friend L if she could come swim in her pool, and then invited her for tea at her home afterward.  Or. . . maybe we were all just bored? I don’t know.  It’s worth a try.  And it beats the heck out of I’m Going on a Picnic.

Finally, we reached the Paul Smiths Adirondack Visitor Interpretive Center.  If we had spent the entire day there and planned to do some serious hiking or boating on one of their guided tours, we would have a more enthusiastic report.  Instead, we popped in to see what was in the center itself, since the kids were a bit hiked out.  Inside, it was similar to–but not quite as fun as–a visit to Thacher or Albany Pine Bush.

J & her friend L examine the touchables.

Outside, there was a modest playground that the kids enjoyed.

They also had a butterfly house with staff that were friendly and eager to teach.  I saw the teensiest caterpillar I’d ever seen there.  It’s not their fault that my kids have been to, oh, at least 4 or 5 other butterfly habitats before.

On the way to our car, J encountered a baby snake, which might have been the highlight of our trip.

As we drove home, we were excited to locate Donnelly’s Ice Cream, which had come highly recommended by a friend as well as the workers at Ben & Jerry’s (yes: it’s true).

It’s a little place that offers one flavor (twisted with vanilla) of superbly creamy soft serve ice cream.  Lucky for us, we hit a chocolate day.  M took one step out the door and her ice cream dropped right off the cone.  There was an unbelievably quick response with a bucket and sweeper, and after sitting on the grass nearby we understood:  I think 3 or 4 people lost their ice cream in the fifteen minutes it took for us to finish our cones.

I found the ordering process quite stressful.  I know it sounds ridiculous: all you have to choose is your size, but people were lining up behind us at an alarming rate.  When we mentioned to a local that we’d eaten there, she laughed and said, “They’re like the Soup Nazi!” and I felt validated.

After ice creamin’ up, we headed to Lake Colby for the rest of the afternoon.  It was beautiful, the kids all enjoyed the water, and I was the single most popular woman on the beach because I was loaning out the many Max Liquidators that we’d brought along.  Which was a treat, since often when you go to lakes, that sort of thing isn’t allowed.  In fact, we spent such an unexpectedly long amount of time at the beach that my friend went on a drinks-and-trashy-magazines run, and both the grown-ups got burned (dang those men for going back to work instead of applying sunscreen to our backs).

J also appreciated picking the wildflowers at near Lake Colby.

J's bouquet

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