How can a family of outdoorsy mountain types and city slickers find a perfect vacation balance? How can both ends of the spectrum meet in holiday bliss?
Don’t throw in the towel in frustration! If you’ve never considered a ski vacation in New York State as a possibility, this might be your year to achieve vacation perfection.
Gore Mountain, New York
The mountains of upstate New York are a surprising, far-away world from the busier, fast-paced and albeit congested city life. You’d be surprised how relaxing upstate New York can be, all without being too far removed from the city. The Gore Mountain Ski Resort in North Creek, New York sits in the Northeastern sector of the state, about a 4 hour drive north from the Big Apple and close to Lake George.
Vacationing at a ski resort is a surprisingly simple trip to organize. With packages that feature lodging, food, rentals and lessons all available for an affordable price, you typically don’t need to do much more than buy one pass or make one reservation to have access to a few days of fun. Ski vacations are great for shorter trips, and for combining with another destination (in this case New York City) to create an exciting trip for the whole family.
I spent the majority of my time at Gore Mountain getting up after falls and trying to find my skis, but they have slopes to attract all levels of skiers. — I was just a bit too ambitious. I began my first day with a 2-hour lesson that covered the basics of using the poles, turning, stopping and carving to control speed. After the lesson, the ski instructor will take you to one of the beginner hills and help you get the hang of lifts, navigating the mountain and controlling your speed. After the lesson, you’re free to go explore. I headed straight to an intermediate hill and later regretted my decision.
Gore Mountain is a great spot to introduce your family to skiing. With 10% of the slopes dedicated to beginners, 60% to differing levels of intermediate skiers and 30% to the seasoned experts, there is a place for everyone to ski, as long as you know your skill level. The instructors will also point you in the direction of the right trail for your skills. There are also Gondola rides to the top of the mountain and back, and tickets can be purchased separately, or as part of a package.
Three lodges with food courts are sprinkled throughout the resort, as well as places to relax at night if you’re staying near the mountain. The Tannery Pub and Restaurant is located within the resort and has delicious bar-type food like burgers, wings and fries as well as refreshing drinks.
If you’re up for venturing into the nearby town of Lake George, you’ll find a quaint town with fun mom-and-pop shops and family owned eateries. Café Vero offers amazing breakfast and coffee for lazy mornings. The nearby town of Schroon Lake is great to peruse after a long day on the slopes, and if you stop by, be sure to visit Pitkin’s Restaurant for a BBQ Beef Sandwich (and spring for the cheddar cheese topping). You should also visit the Village Wine and Coffee Shop in Schroon Lake, especially on wine tasting day!
Like most ski resorts that cater to outdoorsy types, Gore Mountain Resort has a quaint village at the base of the mountain. The town is a great place to wander after a long day on the slopes and there are plenty of homey coffee shops to enjoy coffee or hot cocoa.
On To The Big City
Once the outdoor lovers in your families have had their fill of mountain air, you can venture into the Big Apple and let the city slickers in your family get a taste of urban wonders. Staying outside of the city will keep your costs low and you can take the subway in to avoid dealing with traffic. We stayed in the nearby city of Edgewater, New Jersey, which is just over 10 miles from NYC and took the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail and Commuter Train into the city.
Depending on how long you want to stay in the city, you can arrange to see a play on Broadway, tour Central Park or just browse the streets and shop til’ you drop. We had the chance to see Lion King on Broadway one night. There is plenty of great food in New York, and if you love eating as much as we do, you should be sure to check out some of the best spots in NYC to chow down in-between shopping and sight-seeing. One of our favorite restaurants was a Mexican spot called Blockheads, which is located on 50th street, between 8th and 9th avenues. With indoor and outdoor dining, and affordable lunches and dinners, it’s the perfect space to relax in the middle of a busy day.
The last bit advice to keep everyone happy: be sure to plan the timing just right. Skiing is a pretty taxing activity, especially for those with less experience. You might spend more time learning or tumbling down the mountain than you anticipate and will likely be sore for a few days. Try to visit the city first and once you’ve had your fill of NYC, head up the mountains for a retreat. Even your city slickers will love the view.
About The Author: Michael lives deep in the Midwest, if that’s even possible, and loves traveling to interesting places as often as possible. He also helps run the blog at http://www.