Saranac a slice of heaven on higher ground

Take a short drive to the Adirondacks for year-round fun

Photo by Allyson Stone, special to NNY Living.

The natural beauty of the Adirondacks is easily enjoyed during summer months, but can be just as breathtaking during the winter, making it a year-round destination that is always evolving. The evolution can come from the flora and fauna that reside in the mountains and forests, or the people who live in the quaint, quiet towns and villages strategically placed throughout the Adirondack Park.

Saranac Lake comes alive during the summer months, with water races by boat and thousands of hikers scaling nearby mountain tops to get a view unlike any other. However, the winter is when the true personality of this small village of 5,000 comes to life. With Winter Carnival countdowns beginning in July to community-funded projects like The Community Store and Adirondack Carousel representing the true sense of pride that Saranac Lake residents feel for their community, it almost feels like home when you may only be in town for a few short days.

5 p.m. Friday, It’s easy being green

To get a true Adirondack experience, it’s important to surround yourself with the beauty of the mountains, the lakes and the land. That immersive experience is well within reach at the Lake Clear Lodge and Retreat.

Just a stone’s throw from Saranac Lake, the lodge is located right on Lake Clear in a compound-like facility that features an authentic Great Camp-style main lodge with hotel-quality accommodations, or separate chalets and guest houses for a more romantic or private setting. The lodge’s property features nature trails for sleigh rides or moonlit walks, a restaurant, wine and beer cellar and water sports during the summer months.

Lake Clear Lodge has continually been recognized for its effort to be a “green” and environmentally friendly operation, including achieving the 2012 Audubon International 4 Green Leaf Award. The lodge also is committed to holistic living, with farm-to-fork cooking practices and a focus on healthy living with plenty of outdoor activities.
Check in, grab a bite to eat, and maybe a glass of wine or two from a massive selection, and take a wander around the lake shore.
Lake Clear Lodge and Retreat, 6319 State Route 30, Lake Clear, 1 (518) 891-1489,

10 a.m. Saturday, It takes a village

It may have taken 12 years and $1.3 million, but last summer Saranac Lake’s Adirondack Carousel came to life in the historic downtown area. Located in William Morris Park, the carousel and accompanying playground were developed as a community initiative to promote the Adirondacks and offer education workshops, art exhibitions and Adirondack-related children’s programs, according to its website.

Additional photos

All of the animals that grace the carousel were hand carved by specially selected artisans who each created an animal that can be found in the Adirondack Park. Children can ride on the red squirrel, named “Red Storm” or “Lucy” the loon and “Beethoven” the moose. Lucy, Beethoven and Red Storm are part of the 25 animals that complete the carousel.

Through May 31, the carousel is only open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Admission is $2 per ticket, three tickets for $5 or seven tickets for $10.
Adirondack Carousel, 2 Depot St., Saranac Lake,

11:30 a.m. Saturday, A true community store

As evidenced by the Adirondack Carousel, the Saranac Lake community is not only proud of its village, but it constantly finds ways to improve it.

So when corporate pressures closed the village’s only department store, the community banded together to keep big box stores out of its beloved hometown. Dozens of people donated money to help fund The Community Store, 97 Main St., across from the Hotel Saranac.

Filling the need for a shopping location that locals can take advantage of, when they previously had to drive to Plattsburgh to buy the basics, The Community Store also adds a welcomed dash of nostalgia to downtown Saranac Lake. It’s a gathering place for tourists and locals to share stories and experiences while picking up a little memento of their stay or a new set of bed linens.

Also at The Community Store, regional artists and authors showcase their work for sale, allowing visitors to take home something that is quintessentially part of the Adirondack experience.
The Community Store, 97 Main St., Saranac Lake,

[Editor’s note: This is a truncated version of this story. For the full version, please see NNY Living in print or subscribe.]

Kyle Hayes is associate editor for NNY Living. Contact him at 661-2381 or