As the co-author of the FDU/NYTimes On-Line Wine Course I was invited to lecture at the 7th annual Adirondack Festival of Food and Wine. The festival took place at the AAA 4 Diamond (28 years) Mirror Lake Inn Resort & Spa in Lake Placid NY (a 5 1/2 hour drive from NYC) from April 19 to 22nd. The theme of this year’s festival focused on how the basic elements of taste influence the way we eat and drink. The five elements of taste are: salty, sour, sweet, bitter and umami. Festival highlights included: an opening reception featuring guest mixologists, a wine bar and hors’d’oeuvres; guest chef cooking demonstrations, wine seminars and tasting; The Ready-Set-Cook! Competition which pitted the Inn’s culinary team against the talents of guest chefs; A seven-course dinner paired with wines, all prepared by guest chefs, the Inn’s culinary team and a guest sommelier (Shawn Dore). The final event of the weekend was a live jazz brunch and tasting.
My seminar was entitled- “Confessions of a Non Wine Snob”- 73 years of drinking wine and traveling the globe in search of the good life and the perfect wine course! I was honored that Terry Robards and his wife Julie attended my seminar. Terry owns Terry Robards Wine & Liquor in Lake Placid and was the wine writer for the NY Times for many years. I met Shawn Dore for the first time. Her seminar- “Taste Like A Pro- Let’s Talk Vino” made the sensory discovery of wine as easy as 1,2,3. Shawn is the Director of Education for the Charmer/Sunbelt Group, the second largest wholesale of wine & spirits in the US. Other events during the weekend included: a Single Malt Scotch tasting, several interactive food demonstrations and tasting and The Grand Tasting of Wines with small plates and boutique wines.
The Mirror Lake Inn Resort & Spa (131 rooms) is on peaceful Mirror Lake, but a minute from Main Street and downtown Lake Placid. Part of the Inn was rebuilt after a fire in 1988. Conde Nast Traveler voted the Inn a Top 150 Resorts in the mainland U.S and a Top 100 Resort Spa in the U.S as well as the Award of Excellence from the Wine Spectator for The View Restaurant (12 years). There is a private beach and complimentary boats for the guests. Outdoor activities include paddling and fishing as well as biking and nearby golfing. The unusually warm spring meant the dog sled tour of Mirror Lake I had booked would have to wait for another visit, as will the bobsled ride on the track heading into town. I did enjoy the heated indoor pool (the outdoor one as well as most of the outdoor activities opens on Memorial Day), sauna and Jacuzzi. There is also a large fitness center.
The larger Lake Placid provides another place for one to kayak, canoe, charter a boat or fish while looking up at Whiteface Mountain (13 miles from lake Placid) and its skiing, hiking, gondola rides and mountain biking areas. I was there in “Mud Season” so did not get a chance to see any skiing. Besides shops and restaurants Main Street has the Olympic Center with the museum and ice rink that celebrates the “Miracle on Ice”, the American win over the Soviet Union ice hockey team during the 1980 Olympic games. There was an amateur hockey tournament-taking place when I visited. The original skating oval from the 1932 Olympic games was left intact on Main Street and is still being used. Eric Heiden won his 5 Olympic gold medals on this oval. Along with St. Moritz, Switzerland and Innsbruck, Austria, Lake Placid is one of three places to have twice hosted the Winter Olympic Games. If the weather is too chilly there is also an indoor ice skating rink. I also drove a few miles out of town to the Olympic Jumping Complex. The glass-enclosed elevator took me up 394 feet (26stories up) to the observation deck where I could view the sunset views of the Adirondacks’ peaks. High Falls Gorge and its magnificent waterfalls were worth the short 8-mile drive from town. Owner Kathryn Reiss walked with me along the hiking trails and the steel bridges explaining the flora and fauna. If this was wintertime I could have rented snowshoes for touring the trails.
This was the perfect time for me to visit Lake Placid. The weather was spring like and the roads, shops and attractions were uncrowded.