On a recent trip to Titus Mountain in The Adirondacks in upstate New York, I accomplished something I never thought possible—I skied a black diamond hill. In the six years since I first learned to ski, I’ve become quite the underachiever, sticking primarily to green and occasionally blue-ish slopes. What can I say? I’m a giant chicken at heart. Bock, bock. Needless to say, when my daughters and I visited the Titus Mountain Family Ski Center and I effortlessly skied down a black diamond, I was ecstatic.
I’ve really only ever skied one mountain, so I’ve been blindly assuming that a black hill would be the same everywhere. At Titus Mountain, I learned, a black hill is right up my alley. While it absolutely pushed me out of my comfort zone, it wasn’t nearly as steep as what I was used to seeing, making it seem more achievable. Titus Mountain also wasn’t as busy with people, meaning I had lots of space to carve those great big S’s that slow me down. Have I mentioned I’m a chicken?
Located three hours from Ottawa, Titus Mountain is a perfect weekend getaway in the heart of the picture perfect Adirondacks. If you’re unfamiliar with the Adirondacks, think apple pie, Norman Rockwell, and colourful Adirondack chairs (AKA Muskoka chairs for the Canadians), and that sums up this area nicely. It’s the classic all-American destination, with its arms wide-open for Canadians. Lucky us, because it offers a wide array of activities year round to suit every type of traveler from adventure seekers to chill seekers.
We stayed at the newly renovated Hotel Saranac (Hot Sara to the locals), and fell in love with it’s charm and cozy feel. Officially deemed a grand hotel, I’d refer to it more as a baby grand but only because of its smallish 102 room size. Interior decor nuts will fall in love with the original terrazzo flooring, brass window casings, and beautifully restored antiques throughout. Built in the time of prohibition, the Hotel Saranac has a million little details from the roaring twenties throughout the hotel that will leave you swooning, but comfortably in freshly updated rooms.
The Great Hall Bar on the second floor is the perfect place to cozy up in front of a roaring fire during the winter, or to relax under an umbrella on the sweeping terrace in the summer months. The hotel restaurant Camp Fire has a spectacular menu all day, and the interior with birch logs and retro inspired furniture had me thinking about kitchen renos the whole weekend.
If you should join Camp Fire for dinner, don’t miss out on the S’More dessert. There’s nothing more fun than roasting marshmallows at your table.
After a day of skiing at Titus Mountain, the Ampersand Spa & Salon located at Hotel Saranac is the ideal place to have a massage, or even just relax in the Eucalyptus Steam Room. Be sure to stock up on the Red Flower Body products before you leave, the smell of them is intoxicating. I left with the Jasmine Lotion, and am now a little sad I didn’t leave with the body oil and shower gel. Looks like I just gave myself an excuse to return though!
The Hotel Saranac is located in Saranac Lake, a scenic 45 minute drive from the Titus Mountain Family Ski Center. In the town of Saranac Lake itself, there is some great shopping along the main street. Also, worth pointing out though is that the shop in the main lobby of the Hotel Saranac is a treasure trove of unique finds. Be sure to take a minute to poke around for the perfect souvenir before you leave.
The most surprising find of the weekend though was Casa del Sol! Go to this charming Mexican restaurant for the Carne Asada, the Plancha Style Pescado, and fresh guacamole, but stick around for the Cadillac Margaritas! This little gem is only a few blocks from the Hotel Saranac and 100% worth your time.
Round out your weekend escape with a quick trip to The Wild Center in Tupper Lake. During the winter, The Wild Center is only open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
The trails are open year round, and in the winter, guests can rent snowshoes to explore the area. This museum is a love story about the Adirondacks and is a great way to learn more about this massive national park that could hold Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Glacier, and Great Smoky Mountains National Parks inside its borders. Most impressive though is how the Adirondacks remain largely unspoiled by humans, and can serve as a model for the rest of us.
Inside the center, you’ll find a variety of exhibitions that include local wildlife. The daily calendar includes opportunities to get interactive with live animals, like porcupines. A great way to spend half a day with kids, be sure to include a stop at The Wild Center in your weekend plans.
I love finding new places to visit close to home, and now that I know I can conquer black diamonds at Titus Mountain, we’ll be back. With Lake Placid and Whiteface nearby, I know we definitely won’t run of things to do when exploring the area.
Disclosure: We were invited to experience Titus Mountain and the Adirondack region by ROOST (Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism). All opinions are mine.