Longtime Adirondackers get attached to places the way they knew them, mostly for sentimental reasons. In my case, more than 20 years ago I met my now-husband in the second-floor lounge of Lake Placid’s old Northwoods Inn.
That hotel has been around a while, before Placid hosted the ’32 Winter Olympics, as Main Street began filling in with accommodations and shops, precursors to the bustling strip we know today.
The Northwoods Inn, originally called Hotel Marcy, was built with brick in 1927, the community’s first fireproof hotel. When it went up along Main, it elevated the lodging game. Marcy’s imposing exterior, its soaring Great Room, massive ballroom and more than a hundred guest suites gave it landmark status, and for decades it was a fashionable place to stay in Lake Placid. The property changed hands in the 1950s, was eventually renamed the Northwoods Inn after a boarding house that once stood adjacent to it, and the hotel weathered the years as the village and visitors’ vacation habits changed.
Last August a much-needed renovated iteration of the historic inn was unveiled as the Grand Adirondack Hotel. The bones of the original Marcy are still there, with simple but stylish guest rooms and a sprawling lobby. On the hotel’s first floor is Marcy, branded a “brasserie-style” eatery; for cocktails and small plates there’s the more atmospheric Marcy Bar, with abundant, comfortable seating. Set to open this summer is Cloud Splitter, a rooftop bar with an elevator accessible from Main Street. The entire place smells faintly of woodsmoke, décor throughout is simple and refined, with watercolors by wildlife artist James Prosek, plus historic photographs and postcards on the walls. Massive windows frame views of the surrounding peaks and the action along Main. The vibe is classic and nostalgic.
During a recent tour of the hotel, I was anxious and curious about the lounge’s transformation. That space, once known as the Cabin and now called the Great Room, will forever be a part of my story, of the start of my family and why I’m in the Adirondacks today. What I saw was stately and woodsy, a cozy place with fireplace and bar, spacious enough for group celebrations or performances or other affairs. It’s more like the elegant North Woods aesthetic of the original Marcy, but merges the past with the present—a backdrop for memories to come.
Find the Grand Adirondack Hotel (www.grandadirondack.com, 518-523-1818) at 2520 Main Street, in Lake Placid.