You grew up in Saranac Lake, New York too?! Well, you’ll definitely have these memories, but if you DIDN’T grow up in Saranac Lake, New York… You won’t have these memories, but you’ll wish you did.
If you grew up in Saranac Lake, New York, you know Winter Carnival is the highlight of the year. Starting off the week with a grand coronation recognizing Saranac Lake’s finest royalty and ending the week with a spectacular fireworks show is only just a chunk of what goes on. Between this, you can find the community engaging in various activities to embrace the brisk winter chills of the Adirondacks.
My personal favorite was visiting the ice palace. Yes, there is a giant palace made completely out of ice! Here, volunteer teenagers who dress up as fictional carnival characters arrived and greeted children with warm hugs. This allowed me to meet all of my favorite imaginary characters, such as Snow White, Winnie the Pooh, Mickey Mouse and others. I also loved walking through the ice palace maze, trying to remove coins stuck in the ice walls only using the warmth of my hands that were placed there by the ice palace workers.
Before the week officially closed with fireworks, the last big event was the Winter Carnival Parade. From the lawn chair ladies to the winter carnival royalty float, everyone loved to watch the parade and have a good time. As a kid, I never realized why the adults acted loony. Now I know why!
Boating on Lower Saranac
This is something that is unique to our small town. Growing up, my family had a pontoon boat docked at Duso’s Marina, which is now called the Saranac Lake Marina. My absolute favorite summer day was when we’d pack up our things and head to the marina to sail away for a day full of fishing, sunbathing, swimming and feasting on picnic foods. We spent late mornings to early evenings hosting a family fishing competition where we’d attempt to catch the biggest fish. The best part was stopping at the several islands scattered along the lake, where we’d set up our portable grill and have a cookout. Having a chain of lakes with islands allowed us to have quality family time during the summer as well as parties with friends who’d join us for the fun and embrace the Adirondack summer sun.
Hiking Mt. Baker (and other mountains close by!)
Hiking is the perfect way to have fun and get a little exercise at the same time. Mt. Baker is an easy hike for beginners, but an enjoyable one with a perfect view of Saranac Lake. Along with Mt. Baker, there are so many mountains surrounding us, including the 46 high peaks. It’s amazing having mountains just minutes away, something that many people outside of the Adirondacks don’t experience on a daily basis
Owls Nest Pizza
Owls Nest pizzeria is the place to go if you’re craving a slice of pizza. Their pizza place is the go-to spot to hang out with friends after school, grab a slice before or after sporting events, or go on a casual pizza date. Just as 2:30 p.m. hits, you can find all of the Saranac Lake middle school and high school students making their way towards Owls Nest. To this day, Owls Nest is still my favorite pizzeria. Just thinking about their thin and crispy pizza straight out of the oven is making my mouth water!
Lake Clear Beach
Lake Clear Beach is a small beach just a few minutes outside of town in Lake Clear, NY. Growing up, Lake Clear was a common place to go on hot, summer days. I remember going there with my mom and sister to meet our closest friends for a fun beach day when we were younger. I’d bring my sand toys and build sand castles, just as any little kid would do at the beach. Even to this day, I’ll go with my closest friends and spend a day off of work tanning with my girlfriends while our guy friends play spike ball in the sand. After leaving the beach, we’d get ice cream at Donnelly’s Ice Cream stand on the way back home. Indulging in their homemade ice cream was a perfect way to end the day.
Mmm, Mountain Mist! This was always a special treat I’d get during the summer season. If you’re craving ice cream, this is the place to go. Every week is a different “flavor of the week” whether it’s maple, orange cream, black raspberry, etc. My favorite cone was simply a chocolate vanilla twist with rainbow sprinkles – it always hit the spot on a hot summer day. All of their ice cream selections are rich in flavor and smooth in consistency. From classic burgers to delicious milkshakes, Mountain Mist has a basic, yet varied and delicious menu. This ice cream stand also sits right on Lake Flower, so pull your boat up to the docks outside and stop for some ice cream!
Skiing at Mt. Pisgah was always a favorite after-school activity in the winter season. Seeing snowflakes falling outside of a classroom window gave me a rush of excitement knowing I’d be skiing or snowboarding in fresh powder. It was always so much fun heading to the small mountain with my friends to take a break from homework. I loved skiing down the mountain and looking forward to warm hot chocolate with my friends afterward.
If you grew up in Saranac Lake, New York, you know it is the perfect place for fishing. With several lakes, ponds and rivers, there are plenty of fish to catch! My family would always bond over fishing because that’s how we usually spent our free time throughout the summer. Ice fishing on Lake Colby during the winter months kept our spirits up when the long cold days tried to dampen our souls.
Sledding at North Country Community College
With all the snow that our town gets throughout the winter, sledding has always been a popular activity. On our snowiest days, you could find most people at the North Country Community College sports field, which has one of the largest sledding hills in town. This is another simple way we embraced our cold, snowy winters when we grew up in Saranac Lake, New York.
This has to be my all-time favorite memory of living in Saranac Lake. Waking up every morning to see myself surrounded by rigid mountains, still lakes, and secluded forest trails has taught me to love nature and be thankful for my surroundings. There is no better feeling than a beautiful view and fresh mountain air, and we’re constantly surrounded by it. After heading off to college and being away from home, I’ve realized how much I appreciate the fact that I grew up in Saranac Lake, New York.
If you grew up in Saranac Lake, New York, let us know your favorite memories in the comments below!