With the rapid turn of the weather, bright foliage harkens a truly beautiful season for the East Coast. Lucky for us Washingtonians, there are quite a lot of scenic visages to enjoy, including a lovely rustic resort about a nine-hour drive from D.C.
The Whiteface Lodge (7 Whiteface Inn Lane, Lake Placid, N.Y.), located a stone's throw from Montreal) is an unexpectedly gorgeous retreat tucked away in the pristine Adirondacks.
Comprised of 94 all-suite guestrooms and a plethora of fun amenities, including an on-site movie theater, game room, Lake Placid's only resort spa, ice skating, an indoor pool, hot tub and ice cream shop, The Whiteface Lodge has everything a guest could conceivably need to relax and enjoy the leisurely pace of fall.
Of particular note are the two hand-crafted, luxury lean-tos, unique to the Adirondacks. Located just in front of the ice skating rink and tennis courts, the lean-tos provide a perfect view of several sloping hills and smaller mountains.
An outdoor fireplace between the lean-tos provides enough heat for a cool Adirondack night. An added bonus: Full service from the KANU Lounge, including an excellent cocktail menu creatively designed by lodge sommelier Scott Walker. I ate and drink liberally, sitting in a lean-to for about four hours without a movement except bring food and drink to my mouth.
As for the food, the KANU restaurant is a quaint three-story space with a nice, slightly limited menu. I didn't find any of the dishes particularly standout -- except the KANU Lounge's Hunters Meatloaf ($19), the best meatloaf I have ever had.
It's made with house-made game meat loaf (the day I ate it, it was bison, with a full exterior wrap of bacon) and laid on a bed of chive mashed potatoes with the seasonal vegetable of asparagus and natural sauce, the meatloaf was rich and hearty yet light. I devoured it and was left yearning for more... so much so, I ordered it again the very next chance I had to eat it.
I also recommend the pastries, such as the chocolate-covered strawberry muffins, made fresh daily by the charming pastry chef, but it should be noted the lodge also has s'mores available every night in their two massive outdoor fireplaces. Alas, I was never quick enough, or mean enough to shove away the little kids who went through the s'mores, but the lodge staff was kind enough to give me some ingredients to make my own one night and I loved it as much as I loved any sweet I had from the kitchen.
The kindness of the entire team is to be noted. Everyone is very attentive, as a Leading Hotels-designated resort should be. From the fresh homemade chocolate chip cookies waiting in the room every day, to the personalized readout of fun things to do both on-site and off daily, to the friendly greetings all around, I really enjoyed my stay. It felt like camp for grownups, in the very best way.