You know the story: small town girl grows up dreaming of the day she can finally escape the little town where nothing ever happens, so she leaves said small town not a moment after receiving her high school diploma to see the world and live her life to the fullest, only to return home and realize that the life she led until she flew the coop was as wholesome as grandma’s meatballs and her best friend’s mom’s PB&J on rye.
That small town girl: me.
Those meatballs: to die for.
Beth’s PB&J: not a joke.
And, as the saying goes: we don’t know what we have until it’s gone.
I grew up cross-country skiing at Dewey Mountain every Tuesday. I skied with NYSEF (New York Ski Education Foundation) and since we had a mix of Lake Placid and Saranac Lake kids, we had practice at Dewey on Tuesdays so the amount of driving wasn’t completely unfair for parents. So, we had practice at 3 p.m., and the Tuesday Night Dewey Mountain Race series shot off at 5 p.m. The snow-covered trees and lights that lit the trails past sunset were there even then. Yet for nearly 10 years they sat in the background, unappreciated by this small town girl who wanted to be anywhere but where she’d already been.
The funky and uncomfortable year of 2020 brought lots of us back home, and I doubt I’m alone in discovering the true meaning of "there’s no place like home." I have rediscovered pastimes from my childhood that I used to see as really no fun at all, especially over the past few months since the snowflakes started to fall. Dewey Mountain joined the list of destinations revisited, and although a new lodge has taken shape since my Tuesday nights spent there, the magic of trails lit by lights has not changed one single bit.
What did change was my perspective, my willingness to slow down and appreciate the little things, and realize that the best of all isn’t necessarily out of town.
Back to the trails
Revisiting Dewey went something like this: I rolled in, I parked, I got out of the car and looked up. I took a deep breath, feeling the cool air in my lungs and couldn’t believe how quickly it brought me back to those high school nights that seemed a lifetime ago. I clicked on my skis and started gliding around, pausing frequently to simply take it in because, wow, it was beautiful. Skiing through the snow surrounded by friends with the moon and stars all aglow, and fresh groomed corduroy and tracks under my feet below, felt something of a fairy tale.
Although my adventures out west and to France and everywhere in between were exhilarating and taught me things, there’s nothing like being home and developing a newfound appreciation for somewhere you knew like the back of your hand.
A cozy, hometown ski center
If you’re big on magical adventures in cozy hometown places, I couldn’t encourage a visit to Dewey more. You will absolutely love it. The trails are rolling and the terrain varies, so you can choose to do less or you can choose to do more. Of course, skiing and snowshoeing can be done in daylight too, but who wouldn’t want to log some miles by moon, star, and twinkle light?
In terms of convenience, Dewey Mountain is only minutes outside the Saranac Lake village, and only minutes farther from Lake Placid and Tupper Lake. The short commute is no indication of how remote your time on trail will feel, though; it’s easy enough to slip into a snowglobe where the sounds of everyday life are nowhere to be found. From 10 a.m - 7 p.m. (10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. on weekends), trail passes and/or rentals are all you will need to escape the symphony of "what’s for dinner?" and "have you walked the dog?"
Speaking of dogs, you can even bring your furry friends with you! Any day on the snowshoe trails, but only on Wednesdays if on your skis.
So, in summary, I highly suggest a Dewey Mountain visit this season. You’ll follow trails like Cookie Monster and Peanuts, leaving you hungry not only for dessert before dinner, but more importantly, a desire to create more magical moments in the snow with the ones you love.