In winter, this Adirondack village is a haven for skiing, snowshoeing, winter hiking challenges, snowmobiling, and exploring a lively downtown full of artsy shops and restaurants. A favorite time of year is when the snow flies and locals and visitors can get out into the woods on skis or snowshoes, and embrace the season with outdoor events. This February, there is more reason to celebrate with an added snowshoe fest and the re-opening of the Hotel Saranac.
The Hotel Saranac
The Hotel Saranac opened in 1927 and for decades was “the” upstate New York hang out for wealthy Manhattan magnates. The iconic property re-opened last week after receiving a $35 million make-over that pays homage to its Gilded Age roots, retaining much of the original architecture, but adding modern amenities like a full service spa. It’s once again a basecamp for outdoor pursuits, and a hub where locals can convene for dinner and prohibition-era inspired cocktails.
Saranac Lake Winter Carnival
Each February, the town celebrates winter with a 10-day carnival full of parades, games, snowshoe softball, ‘toss-the-frying-pan’ competitions, tubing races down ski hills, live music, and more. It started back in 1897 as a way to beat the mid-winter blues. The carnival begins and ends with incredible fireworks set against a black Adirondack sky above the ice palace. Built using two-ton blocks of ice harvested from nearby Lake Flower, the ice palace takes its shape anew each winter, offering tunnels, a maze, and new surprises at every turn.
The Gala Parade brings out the creative side of Saranac Lakers with wacky floats and performances including a favorite - the Lawn Chair Ladies. Their performance is replete with costumes and yes, they actually dance with lawn chairs.
Every year since 1981, Doonesbury cartoonist and Lake Saranac native Garry Trudeau has created a button lapel pin for the Winter Carnival to sell. He donates his time and the design.
Adirondack Snowshoe Fest
Dewey’s trails twist and turn up the gentle slopes of the mountain, which is a short drive from downtown. The VIC is an Adirondack sampler — you’ll pass through every Adirondack forest ecosystem, except high alpine tundra, as you explore the extensive trail network.
Pack your snowshoes, gather your Carnival costume, and plan to beat the mid-winter blues with a cool visit to Saranac Lake this February!