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Northern New York’s Adirondacks offer gorgeous scenery, with abundant lakes and ponds, forests and those majestic mountains. It draws sporty types and outdoor enthusiasts alike, as well as history buffs. Bolton Landing, on the shores of Lake George, earned the nickname “Millionaires Row” after an influx of wealthy urbanites chose to summer here in the 1800s. Today, most of the waterfront mansions have been converted into resorts, but the air of cultural sophistication lives on — experience some of it in our list of the five best things to see and do in the Adirondacks.
1. Lake Placid. Built for the 1932 Winter Olympics and renovated for the 1980 Winter Games, this arena hosts winter and summer skating shows, hockey games and concerts. It was made famous in the 1980 Olympics as the place where the U.S. hockey team beat the seemingly invincible Soviets, an account reenacted in the Hollywood movie Miracle. The center also includes a museum with Olympic paraphernalia.
2. Robert Louis Stevenson Memorial Cottage. This modest farmhouse is where the Treasure Island author lived while undergoing treatment for what is believed to have been tuberculosis from 1887 to 1888. Today, the building contains a collection of photographs, letters and memorabilia from Stevenson’s life.
3. Marcella Sembrich Opera Museum. Metropolitan Opera diva Marcella Sembrich used this studio in the early 20th century to teach piano, violin and vocals to promising pupils from Juilliard and Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute. The studio was part of her summer lakeside mansion, named Bay View. Today, the museum displays operatic memorabilia from throughout Sembrich’s career, including opera costumes and autographed photographs from her contemporaries, such as Brahms and Puccini. Be sure to explore the grounds, which exhibit great views of Lake George.
4. Lake George. You’ll find everything from lakeside fun to quiet mountain retreats here. In the foothills of the Adirondacks, the area is a center for winter as well as summer sports. Go biking, kayaking, hot air ballooning, fishing, hiking and much more in the warmer months or skiing, skating and snowmobiling when it’s cold outside.
5. The Great Escape and Splashwater Kingdom Fun Park. New York’s largest theme park has rides, live shows and attractions, including numerous roller coasters, the Raging River Raft Ride, the All-American High-Dive Show and a Storytown-themed kids’ area. Splashwater Kingdom water park features a giant wave pool, waterslides, Adventure River and kiddie pools perfect for cooling off after the rides. A trip to Lake George’s theme park is bound to delight, especially if you’re bringing your whole family.