Home Travel How to Spend the Weekend In New York’s Coolest Ski Towns

How to Spend the Weekend In New York’s Coolest Ski Towns

by Ohio Digital News

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Whether you’re a skier, aprés-skier, or just looking for a winter weekend full of wonder, New York has mountains of fun for everyone. After hitting the slopes in the state with the most ski areas, stick around in some of its coolest ski towns. From award-winning spas and picturesque main streets to delicious cuisine and craft beverages, here’s how to spend a weekend in the Empire State’s fun ski towns.


JUMP TO: Lake Placid | Lake George and Bolton Landing | Hunter and Tannersville | Ellicottville | Canandaigua | Hudson




Group of people walking down Lake Placid's main street


Where to stay


If you’re looking for a quintessential ski town, look no further than Lake Placid. The quaint village warmly welcomes you into its walkable main street, lined with restaurants, shops, luxurious lodging, and holiday decor. Settle into the AAA Four Diamond Mirror Lake Inn Resort and Spa, idyllically overlooking the lake, high peaks, and village. Take a dip in the indoor pool, rejuvenate at the full-service spa, dine right on-site. Just down the road is the Grand Adirondack Hotel, in the heart of the Olympic Village, offering an authentic Adirondack atmosphere in the lobby, restaurant, and lounge. Every room features a panoramic view of Mirror Lake and the snow-capped mountains. Bluebird Lake Placid recently came onto the lodging scene, offering 90 rooms and suites designed with Scandinavian and Japanese influences. The modern boutique hotel is highlighted by an on-site restaurant and bar, and pet-friendly accommodations.


Where to eat


The coolest club in town is The Breakfast Club, a brunch hot-spot serving French toast fondue, sausage benedict, and spiked lattes alongside stunning landscape scenery. Join the 46ers (sandwich) club when you chow down at Big Mountain Deli & Creperie. Their menu includes 46 sandwiches named after the 46 High Peaks (in order of height), from #1 Marcy (Roast turkey, cranberry horseradish sauce, cheddar, apple, and cracked pepper mayo), to #46 Couchsachraga (basically a design-your-own sandwich). Follow the low and slow-smoked BBQ smell over to Smoke Signals, and treat yourself to their award-winning wings and burnt end BBQ nachos. Every ski town has “that place”, and in Lake Placid it’s Lisa G’s. Locals and out-of-towners flock to enjoy comfort food with a modern twist in a relaxed but quirky atmosphere.


Where to drink


Chill out and warm up with the best beverages in town. A pit stop to Emma’s Creamery is a must for their signature shakes, featuring flavors like maple creme, chocolate peanut butter, and caramel bourbon. Or sip on 15 different flavors of homemade hot cocoa, with varieties like s’mores, frosted oatmeal cookie, and peppermint bark. Dash through the snow to Origin Coffee Co. where you can enjoy pour-overs, espresso, cold brew, lattes, drip coffee, and for the non-coffee lovers, there is matcha, smoothies, tea, kombucha, and of course hot chocolate. Voted “Best Brewery in New York” at the TAP-NY Brewery Festival, Lake Placid Pub and Brewery hangs its hat on its flagship “Ubu Ale” microbrew (named after a customer’s chocolate lab) and brews beers that collect awards right and left for more than a decade.


Dogs pull two people on a sled across the snow


What to do


There’s way more to do than just ski in this ski town. Get your thrills and chills with a dog sled ride across Mirror Lake, from the packs of Thunder Mountain Dog Sled Tours and Mike Arnold Dog Sled Rides. Ice skating is a way of life in this two-time Olympic town. Hit the ice at historic rinks inside the Olympic Center itself and skate outdoors at the Speed Skating Oval, one of the few outdoor rinks of its kind left in the country. Ditch the cold and catch a flick in the beloved, locally owned vintage 1926 Palace Theatre, showing 1st-run movies on 4 big screens. Light up the night at Pure Placid candle bar where you can get creative and cozy making candles! Choose from a variety of classes like firestarter making, LED candles, cocktails and candles, and more. It wouldn’t be a trip to Lake Placid without dipping your toes in the village’s epic sports history. Visit the Olympic Center to learn about competitions past including the famous “Miracle on Ice,” then head to the Olympic Sports complex and take a 26-story elevator to the top of the 120k tower at the Olympic Jumping Complex.


Snowboarder goes down whiteface mountainCredit: @whiteface_mt on Instagram


Where to ski


Lake Placid boasts two iconic ski spots! Whiteface, the pinnacle of New York skiing, claims the highest vertical east of the Rockies, and 94 trails! Cross-country skiers will glide into glory at Mt. Van Hoevenberg, where the Olympic trails have delighted visitors since the 1980 Olympic Games.




Exterior of a green sign that says "Welcome to the Village of Lake George" with a steamboat in the background covered in snowCredit: @jameskblundell on Instagram


Where to stay


Situated in the heart of Lake George village’s main street is Courtyard by Marriott, within walking distance of the best dining, shopping, and experiential options. Picture-postcard views of the lake and surrounding mountains can be captured from any room. Live in the lap of luxury just down the road at the Inn at Erlowest. Built in 1898, this mansion offers 10 lush suites, all of which include a jacuzzi, fireplace, and balcony with stunning lake views. With gourmet fine dining right on site you can wine and dine without ever leaving the comfort of this home away from home. Pursue the pinnacle of lodging at The Sagamore Resort, in Bolton Landing. Amenities like award-winning dining, immersive indoor and outdoor activities, an 18-hole golf course, full service spa, and movie loft, make it hard to leave.


Where to eat


There are plenty of good eats in Bolton Landing, and The Huddle is a good place to start. They’re serving up breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus filled with classic American bistro fare. If surf and turf is what you’re looking for, Beyond the Sea is doing it all in their inviting dining room and bar, highlighted by live music and a vast bourbon selection. For a truly luxurious experience, make reservations at The Chateau on the Lake, a restored 1800s private home that’s been featured on the Food Network and now serves as one of the Top 100 Restaurants in America (two-time awarded). The Lake George dining scene is lively at The Lagoon, where you can enjoy a thin crust, wood-fired brick oven pizza against the backdrop of live entertainment. The rustic ambiance of Olde Log Inn is as appealing as the expansive menu of classic pub fare and special dinner menu. For an elegant 4-Diamond gastronomy experience that’ll make you feel like royalty, Shepards at Erlowest is the place to go.


Where to drink


At the Sagamore’s Glacier Ice Bar & Lounge, 50,000 pounds of crystal clear ice are masterfully sculpted into one of the coolest bars and lounges in the Northeast. Also in the area is Bolton Landing Brewing Company, a locally owned-and operated microbrewery brewing craft beer on site for enjoyment in the taproom. In Lake George, stop by Caffe Vero for freshly roasted coffee drinks, specialty lattes, gourmet teas, and white hot chocolate. Experience this ski town like a local at Duffys Tavern, where the 3 bars are buzzing with live music, karaoke nights, lively libations, and classic pub foods. Continue the pub crawl at Adirondack Pub & Brewery, where year-round and seasonal favorites are brewed using pure spring-fed water and locally sourced ingredients.


Winter Realms


What to do


Stroll the lively, shop-lined streets of Lake George and Bolton Landing, where more often than not you can hear live music, see the lake come alive with activity in every season, and marvel at festive decorations. Share moments of joy at Lake George’s newest winter experiences! Ski town seasonal splendor comes alive at Winter’s Dream, with a highly-immersive and magical multimedia installation at the historic Fort William Henry Museum. And Winter Realms hits the town all winter long! Enjoy a mesmerizing experience twirling on the ice, sipping on frosty beverages at the Polar Ice Bar, gazing at stunning sculptures, and wandering through Santa’s Candy Court. The annual Winter Carnival fills February weekends with outhouse races, cook-offs, 4×4 truck races, an ATV Poker run, ice diving demonstrations, and more. Hit the ice and cheer on the Adirondack Thunder hockey team at their home arena in Glens Falls.


A skier in a blue jacket and black pants skiing down a steep snowy slope past snow-covered trees on Gore Mountain in the Adirondacks


Where to ski


Gore Mountain, just 30 minutes from Lake George, is New York’s largest ski resort, and also one of the most family-friendly resorts. Shred across four mountain peaks, 108 trails, and a 2,537 vertical drop. Fresh powder can be found at West Mountain, only 15 minutes from Lake George and 30 from Bolton Landing. Ski or board down 31 trails and a vertical drop of 1,010 feet.




Hunter


Where to stay


Convenience is key at Hunter Mountain where you can play and stay with a selection of the best lodging options right on-site, including a hotel and condos. Nearby, the Bluebird Hunter Lodge combines sophisticated ski lodge vibes with spacious rooms and plenty of outdoor space, ideal for a ski getaway to Hunter Mountain. Warm up by roaring fireplaces, clean alpine-inspired design, and balcony rooms for easy outdoor access. Scribner’s Lodge rests on 20 acres of mountainside to explore, and is known for its thoughtful design, friendly service, and delicious food and drinks, making it the perfect basecamp for your escape to the outdoors.


Where to eat


Break bread at Nat’s Mountain House, a fun, artful environment serving up an all-you-can-eat brunch buffet every weekend, happy hour, and dinner menus. Prospect at Scribner’s features a dining room with floor-to-ceiling picture windows, sleek wood-hued design and a fire pit on the adjoining cedar deck for cozy winter nightcaps. The menu includes hearty yet creative dishes with local ingredients. Homemade pastries pair perfectly with the soups, salads, and sandwiches made from locally-sourced ingredients at Fellow.


Where to drink


Caffeinate your day at Bear and Fox Provisions and enjoy a specialty latte, mocha, cold brew, or any other coffee classic. Try out nearly 20 craft beers on tap and a full-service bar at the Hunter Mountain Brewery. You’ve got every opportunity at Last Chance Antiques & Cheese Café to try over 300 beers, 100 different types of whiskey & an extensive cocktail and wine menu.

 


Snow Tubing in Hunter Mountain - Photo by NYS ESD


What to do


Just because you’re in a ski town doesn’t mean skiing is the only outdoor activity. Hit up the 1,000-ft long tubing park at Hunter Mountain, or go ice skating against a captivating Catskill view at Scribner’s Lodge rink. After a day of play, Mountain Cinema offers the perfect place to unwind with popcorn and a movie. For more entertainment, the Orpheum Performing Arts Center is designed by Hugh Hardy, one of the best-known theater architects in the U.S. The venue is perfect for large scale performances such as dance, full orchestra, and rock concerts.


Two skiers ski down Hunter Mountain


Where to ski


Smack dab in the middle of Hunter you’ll find aptly named Hunter Mountain, showcasing 67 trails across four mountain faces, four terrain parks, and a vertical drop of 1,600 feet. Windham Mountain Club is a mere 15 minutes down the road and features 54 trails over 285 skiable acres, and like Hunter, a 1,600-ft vertical drop.




A family strolls on a snowy shop-lined main streetCredit: @visitellicottville on Instagram


Where to stay


Home to two ski resorts, exciting bars and restaurants, shop-lined streets, and festivals aplenty, Ellicottville without a doubt knows how to do winter. Lodge slope side at Holiday Valley Resort where you can stay close to all the action and enjoy cozy amenities like fireplaces and jacuzzis as well as a host of exciting events. The Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino in Salamanca is located just 20 minutes outside of Ellicottville with luxury rooms, a full-service spa, and a variety of dining options plus 1,600 slots and 30 table games. At the Wingate by Wyndham Ellicottville, you’ll have a comfortable home base just steps away from all the fun in the village.


Where to eat


After spending some time on slopes, refuel with a delicious meal in town. At Dina’s, feast your eyes on the western ambiance and 1970s aprés-ski themed interior before settling in to dine on a range of cuisine including vegetarian and vegan options. The Gin Mill has been an Ellicottville tradition since 1976 with a full bar, classic pub grub, and live music throughout the week. For an inviting atmosphere head to the West Rose which features a seasonally-rotating menu, cocktails, and fireplace.  


Where to drink


If you’re looking to warm up and unwind, Ellicottville is packed with places to grab a tasty beverage. Cozy up to the fireplace at the award-winning Ellicottville Brewing Company while you enjoy unique small-batch brews and a bite from the American grill menu. Relax in the decadently-designed atmosphere of the BANQ and sip on a craft cocktail creation. Coffee-lovers will want to stop at Katy’s Cafe for a warm beverage or delicious homemade baked goods. Breakfast and lunch are also available.


 


Holiday Valley Mountain Coaster


What to do


Not a skier, not a problem! Ellicottville is the village that truly has it all. If you’re looking for live music, Balloons is the place to go with new acts every night. Indulge in a day of relaxation at the Ellicottville Salt Cave, a full service spa with an infrared sauna, massages, facials, and an authentic salt cave. For those looking for a little more action, test your axe-throwing skills at the Ratchet Hatchet. Take a thrilling and chilling ride on Holiday Valley’s Sky Flyer Mountain Coaster (pictured) as you travel down the mountain through the snowy woods. Not to mention, main street is a shopper’s paradise with everything from boutiques to quilt shops to winter adventure gear.


Groups of people are sitting in ski lifts traveling along the snowy tree-lined slopes at Holiday Valley


Where to ski


Nestled at the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains, are Ellicotville’s two spectacular ski resorts. The area is known for getting some amazing natural snowfall and both resorts have state-of-the-art snowmaking, so a day spent on the slopes is sure to be one to remember. Holiday Valley features 60 slopes spread over four different faces, a 750-foot vertical drop, and 13 lifts. The resort also has snow-tubing, cross country and snowshoeing, and lively year-round events in the lodge. Ellicottville is also home to the largest private ski area in North America, HoliMont Ski Resort with 56 custom trails, seven lifts, and a 700-foot vertical drop. Adaptive skiing for children and adults is also available as well as a terrain park to practice new tricks. 




Skis propped on racks outside lodge at Bristol Mountain


Where to stay


In Canandaigua, you’ll get the best of both worlds with dazzling views of northern Canandaigua Lake and a historic yet lively downtown featuring a variety of locally-owned establishments. Lakeside luxury awaits at The Lake House on Canandaigua. Check into one of the stylish guest rooms, many of which featuring private balconies, and enjoy world-class dining, a full-service spa and sauna garden, year-round hot tub, and more. At the 236-room Woodcliff Hotel & Spa, you’ll have access to the spa, 70 acres of hiking trails, and the award-winning on-site restaurant plus an unrivaled view of the Rochester Skyline.


Where to eat


After a day in the snow, dig into authentic German fare at Rheinblick German Restaurant which pairs excellently with a glass of Finger Lakes wine. Get a taste of Canandaigua cuisine and culture at Green Front, a former speakeasy with a welcoming atmosphere and a variety of delicious menu items. Simply Crepes offers a menu filled with sweet and savory crepes as well as other tasty favorites all made from scratch. 


Where to drink


If you’re wiped after all that winter fun, re-charge with some caffeine at the Dalai Java, where all roasts are made with organic coffee beans. Enjoy a craft beer with a twist at Twisted Rail Brewing with 20 unique craft brews on tap like chocolate espresso stout and blueberry lager. You can’t visit the Finger Lakes without visiting its world-renowned wineries. While in town, journey along the 30-mile Canandaigua Lake Wine Trail with a diverse lineup of wine and food tastings (like grape pie). 


Twisted Rail Brewing Company - Photo Courtesy of Twisted Rail Brewing CompanyPhoto courtesy of Twisted Rail Brewing Co.


What to do


This year-round destination is packed with all kinds of winter time activities. There’s no shortage of breathtaking views in this picturesquely-placed city, but for the ultimate lakeside photo, head to the Canandaigua City Pier dotted with three historic boathouses. Indulge in some classic winter fun at the Canandaigua Civic Center for open ice skating. Warm indoors at Canandaigua Theatres where you can catch the latest movie releases.  


Bristol Mountain


Where to ski


Within a 35-minute radius of Canandaigua, you’ll find two of the area’s renowned skiing destinations and great snow conditions – thanks to impressive snow-making systems and Finger Lakes terrain. Bristol Mountain (pictured) in Canandaigua, is home to a 1,200-foot vertical rise (the highest between the Adirondack Mountains and the Rockies), 138 acres of skiable terrain, 39 slopes and trails for all levels, and two high-speed quads plus 97% of trails have lighting for night skiing. 400 snow-covered acres can be found at Hunt Hollow, home to an 875-foot vertical drop, 80 acres of trails, and three lifts. Hunt Hollow also has a lodge with warm fire pits and food, and if you’re new to skiing, lessons at their nationally-accredited Snowsports School are offered. 




Colorful building surrounded by snow line Hudson's Warren StreetCredit: @buyingupstate on Instagram


Where to stay


When you stay in Hudson, not only will you find a cozy place to settle in for the weekend but also lodging options with a unique history. The Rivertown Lodge can be found in a renovated two-story former 1920s-era movie theater, now featuring 27 comfortable and rustic guest rooms, and a lobby with two wood burning stoves. Treat yourself to a stay at the Amelia Hudson, a restored Queen Anne-style private home turned boutique hotel boasting six stylish guest rooms and two suites, an outdoor fire pit, and stunning surrounding landscape. At the Maker Hotel, check into one of the 11 spacious rooms that each display a curation of different time periods spread across three historic buildings. 


Where to eat


Hudson’s dining scene is so spectacular, you could spend the weekend solely exploring all it has to offer. Wunderbar Bistro serves up progressive American comfort food in a low-key environment. Vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options are also available. Step back in time to a 1950s retro diner atmosphere at Grazin’, and enjoy 100% grass-fed black angus burgers, hearty salads, and house-made milkshakes. Wm. Farmer and Sons sports a cozy and coppery barroom and restaurant atmosphere with a variety of culinary offerings made with ingredients from local Hudson Valley farms. For your pizza fix, head to Baba Louie’s where you’ll find creative combinations like the Isabella Pizzarella with roasted sweet potatoes and parsnips.   


Where to drink


Housed in a converted 19th century carriage house, is the Maker Hotel’s intimate cocktail lounge with candle-lit corners, a cozy fireplace, and an enticing selection of craft beverages. Warm up in a quirky and unique atmosphere with a cup of coffee and delicious pastry at Rev Coffee. Tea lovers should be sure to stop at Verdigris Tea & Chocolate Bar with an extensive luxury tea menu as well as baked goods made from a Culinary Institute graduate.


Cars parked in front of antiques storeCredit: @americanweekender on Instagram


What to do


While in Hudson, a stroll of Warren Street is a must-do. Antique stores, art galleries, vintage clothing boutiques, and more line the lively main street, waiting to be explored. On Front Street, you’ll find the largest owner-operated antique and vintage shop in the Northeast, the Antique Warehouse, and maybe some treasure to bring home. Get outside and admire views of the Hudson River and surrounding Catskill Mountains from 8 miles of trails including a mile-long Access for All trail at the Greenport Conservation Area. Engage in the arts at Hudson Hall and check out their impressive lineup of programs including concerts, exhibitions, lectures, readings, theater and dance presentations, and more. 


Skiers in front of the Catamount ski lodgeCredit: @this.is.newengland on Instagram


Where to ski


Whether you’re a seasoned ski professional, just starting out, or don’t ski at all, Catamount Mountain has a winter adventure for everyone. Just about 20 miles outside of Hudson, this resort has some of the most varied terrain in the area, sporting 44 trails of varying difficulties (including one of the steepest ski runs in the Northeast), eight lifts, a 1,000-foot vertical drop, plus opportunities for night skiing and snow tubing.  



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