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Finding Wellness in the Adirondack Mountains and The Newly Opened Eastwind Hotel

As summer neared the end, I longed to squeeze in a getaway that would shake off the persistent stress of the city and provide me with a wilderness escape. The allure of the Adirondacks lies in the region’s many lakes, hiking trails and ice age history. This was going to be my chance to go further north and hike around the 5 million year old national landmark that is the Adirondack Mountains. On the agenda was adventure, forest bathing, grounding, sauna time, and swimming in lakes. Staying at the newly opened Eastwind Hotel & Bar in Lake Placid was just the cherry on top.

Scandinavian Lushna cabin – Glamping at Eastwind Hotel, Lake Placid.

The Adirondack Mountains have a captivating history – not only is this where you can find the fifth highest mountain (Whiteface Mountain) within the United States, it was once the home of two Native American nations (the Iroquois and the Algonquins). The historic intrigue continues well into today. A great example of this is Eastwind’s new property. The three owners, Bjorn Boyer, Julija Stoliarova, and Dan Cipriani, took over a 1950s motor lodge from a WWII survivor. During the war he was taken in and protected by a Czech family. When he moved to the United States and opened his Lake Placid inn, he lovingly named it Prague Motor Inn. I have no doubt that the beauty of the Adirondacks reminded him of the mountains in Bohemia. Once he was ready to retire, he passed the property onto that very same Czech family and their younger generation. The founders of Eastwind ended up purchasing the inn, revitalizing it back to its original glory. The renewed feeling of excitement can be felt as soon as you drive in.

Eastwind Hotel property, bonfire and barrel sauna.
Eastwind Hotel King Room in the pool house has a breakfast nook and soaking tub.

The village of Lake Placid is five hours away from New York City, with the last stretch of it being impressively scenic. The closer you get the more hikers you will see. Olympic history can be seen everywhere, starting with the ski jump complex peeking high above tall trees. Driving into the Eastwind property, which looks more like a small village than a hotel, gave us a touch of summer camp nostalgia. The Eastwind complex at Lake Placid provides guests with 26 designer-curated rooms, including their famous Scandinavian style Lushna cabins. The tranquil property includes a pool (will not be open until next year), a barrel sauna, living room with a bar, a bonfire gathering area, hammocks and guest bikes. The newly opened hotel still has more special additions in mind. The latest being a dining room for guests looking to plan a dinner party or take a workshop.

Eastwind Hotel communal living space and interior of King size room in the pool house. Creative direction by
Co-Owner, Julija Stoliarova.

It is easy to see why Eastwind stands out for its interiors alone. Thanks to Co-Owner and Creative Director, Julija Stoliarova, each room has its own charm. From furniture to fixtures, every item is carefully selected to inspire your stay. Julija says, “I’ve long admired the clean lines and wood elements of Scandinavian design, but was inspired by fellow female curators, some of which I found on Instagram, to play with the abstract forms and bold colors of the postmodern movement. With vintage and found objects, we’ve been able to put our touch on every room making each a different experience, all with a unifying warmth only home can provide.”

Main house and pool house, Eastwind Hotel & Bar at Lake Placid.

Unsurprisingly, I chose a room with a soaking tub. There is no better way to end a day of hiking than with an Epsom salt bath. Our King spacious room was in the pool house, and while it was hard to choose my favorite part, it would likely have to be the breakfast nook. I liked to spent quiet moments here with a book. The design resembled a traditional European style breakfast nook that helps invite conversation. Eastwind makes breakfast easy by offering a large and nutritious morning basket. The well-balanced breakfast is just the thing to help get you on your way to hiking some of the most exciting trails in the Northeast. If you prefer venturing into town, try the breakfast club, etc. on Main Street. The food is well worth the wait.

Petite Lushna cabin and breakfast basket by Eastwind Hotel & Bar.

If you have your heart set on staying in a Lushna cabin, you will be pleasantly surprised to know that both the Suite and Petite options include a queen size bed, private bathroom and an outdoor patio. Admittedly, this is a much better version of camping, especially if you have children or pets with you. I made sure to take a tour of the cabins and can report back that they are quite welcoming and comfortable. The suites have large windows that swing open, making it easy to get fresh air as you admire the view. The all-weather cabins are cozy, plus feature luxuries amenities like Zenology bath products, bluetooth speakers, and an electric kettle.

Eastwind Bar sangria cocktail and smoked trout plate.

No stay at Eastwind would be complete with a cocktail at the bar. Mirroring the first location in Windham, the bar offers a refined food and beverage program, directed by co-owner Dan Cipriani. The intimate living room and bar area is inviting enough for you to stay a while and chat with fellow travelers. The same can be said for the nightly bonfires. At night we found fellow hikers gathered at the fire, comparing travel itineraries and making friends.

Scenic Chubb River runs right behind the Eastwind Hotel.
Break from hiking with a quick soak in Lake Placid with incredible views.

Waking up at Lake Placid truly awakens the senses. In the mornings I found myself rushing to spend time in nature and Eastwind makes that easy with a park right in their backyard. The gorgeous landscape and Chubb River allowed for relaxing walks, picturesque views, and even more importantly, gave me a place to meditate. The prettiness of the Adirondacks is undeniable. Consisting of both private and public lands, the wilderness of the Adirondacks can be enjoyed by all, and for free. Adirondack Park is the largest publicly protected area in the contiguous United States, and contains the most expansive protected wilderness area east of the Mississippi. While not a national park, it is the largest National Historic Landmark in the US.

Rocky Falls hiking trail inside High Peaks.

Even the most inexperienced hiker will enjoy the Adirondacks. Thankfully the Adirondacks have over 2,000 miles of hiking trails, with plenty of variety to choose from. Make a plan, make sure to pack essentials, and choose a trail based on difficulty and elevation gain. Remember that exceeding your limits can have uncomfortable, even dangerous, consequences. I recommend visiting the High Peaks Wilderness area. It is well taken care of, has clear signage, an information center, and includes both easy and advanced trails.

Hiking the High Peaks Wilderness, but first stopping for Heart Lake views.

We opted for easy to moderate trails, including the Peninsula Trails, Rocky Falls, and High Falls Gorge. Peninsula Trail was the easiest of the three, with Rocky Falls, within the High Peaks, being the most difficult. Each has its own beauty and pleasant surprises along the way. You will find yourself admiring picture-perfect waterfalls, lakes, and variety of flora and fauna. For a day filled with adventure pack a light or waterproof backpack, swimming suit (you never know), water and snacks or lunch (very important), hiking shoes, a cooling towel and a quick drying towel. For quality backpacks I recommend Skog Å Kust, Cotopaxi, Venture Pal, and Rains.

Lake Placid Legacy Sites Olympic Ski Jumping Complex and Skyride

Lake Placid hosted the Olympics in 1932, and again in 1980. Even today, Lake Placid continues to be the capital of winter sports in the East. Getting to experience being at the top of the 1980s Olympic Ski Jumping Complex was memorable, especially because it is still used today. The next World University Games are this winter, January 2023. Until then, you can take The Skyride, which takes you to the top of the HS-128 meter jump. At the top is a glass-enclosed observation deck, which has impressive views of the mountains, and a deck leading to the very bar the athletes launched themselves from. For more Olympic history visit the village and museum. Eastwind Hotel & Bar is located about 5 to 10 minutes by car from the historic Main Street. The street and shops are always bustling with tourists, allowing me to imaging what it was like during the Olympics. Here is where you can also find Mirror Lake for swimming, water sports, and hiking.

The Adirondack Mountains offer something for everyone. While one week was not enough time to experience it all, it is an unforgettable place to visit for nature enthusiasts.

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