Local Wilmington and Lake Placid Attractions

Whiteface Mountain

Whiteface Mountain in Wilmington boasts the greatest vertical drop east of the Rockies, offering challenging terrain across two peaks, as well as ample beginner and intermediate trails to accommodate skiers and riders of all levels. Located just a short drive from Lake Placid, the mountain and the town have been rated #1 in North America for Off-Hill Activities for more than 20 years by SKI Magazine.

The mountain boasts 86 trails; and the lion’s share are rated intermediate to expert- level, with approximately 20% geared toward beginners. Eleven lifts, including an eight-passenger, high-speed gondola, transport skiers and riders across the mountain, offering access to glades, terrain parks, steep vertical and wide, cruising lanes. With 98% snowmaking coverage, Whiteface boasts one of the longest ski seasons in the Adirondacks.

Locals and visitors alike gather to enjoy sunny, blue bird days and evenings at Whiteface’s base lodge filled with ski chatter and live music. Find a variety of dining options at mid-station, and in the base lodge, or pack a picnic and enjoy the view of Lake Placid from the summit of Little Whiteface at the observation deck, located just off of the gondola.

Adirondack Wildlife Refuge

The Refuge Center is located at 977 Springfield Road, in Wilmington, New York, on 50 acres, along the West Branch of the Ausable River, about a mile downstream from Whiteface Mountain, on that section of the river called “Lake Everest.”  Wendy Hall has Federal and State licences for wildlife rehabilitation and wildlife education, and we are available to do presentations with wildlife for schools, churches, hotels and other organizations. For sample, click here.

When you work with support from local veterinarians to care for sick or injured wildlife, there are three common outcomes: naturally, some animals die despite your best efforts, while most recover to the point where they are able to forage and/ or hunt, and can be released into the wild.  The critters who remain in our care, and are used in educational demonstrations and displays, are animals who are generally healthy, but are no longer able to make a living in nature.

The Refuge Center includes two miles of educational hiking trails, and a Public Fishing Access trail, which winds its way along the West Branch of the Ausable River and along three river sloughs, through forest and meadow. Our enclosures for education birds include Red-Tailed Hawks, Broad-Winged Hawks, Rough-Legged Hawks, Swainsons Hawks, Peregrine Falcons, Great Horned Owls, Snowy Owls, Barred Owls, Screech Owls, Turkey Vultures and Ravens.  The refuge mascots are three gray wolves, and two black bears. If you’re in the area, stop by and see what’s going on!

 

Santa’s Workshop

When Santa’s Workshop opened its doors in July 1, 1949, little did the developers know that they had introduced a new form of outdoor entertainment ultimately to become known as the “Theme Park”.

The seeds of imagination that culminated in this fantasy village lie in an enchanting story a father told his young daughter about a baby bear whose adventures led him to discover Santa Claus and his North Pole Workshop. The little girl’s plea to visit this magical place prompted the father, Julian Reiss, a Lake Placid businessman, to begin to dream about a summer home for Santa Claus located where children could live their fondest fantasy.

The dream was brought to well-known artist and designer Arto Monaco of Upper Jay, NY whose sketches and designs gave it substance. To complete the team, Harold Fortune , also of Lake Placid, contributed construction know-how, the site on Whiteface Mountain, and a natural talent for promotion.

The originality of a fantasy village populated by storybook and legendary characters centered around a “North Pole” frozen year round attracted immediate and widespread media coverage. Friendly deer and other animals walking freely about the park added to the novelty. Within weeks of the opening over 700 dailies in the U.S. and Canada carried photos and feature articles. Pathe Newsreel showed the workshop to 30 million theater viewers.

Visitors began to flock to the new North Pole. From an opening day crowd of 212, attendance grew steadily until the single day record of over 14,000 was recorded on September 2, 1951.

In the true spirit of Christmas the developers chose to share their good fortune. Santa’s Operation Toylift began delivering toys and gifts to underprivileged children in northern New York and Vermont with pilot Julian Reiss and his personal aircraft. Within six years, with the help of a C-46 “the Silver Sleigh” provided by ESSO Standard Oil of New Jersey, Operation Toylift expanded to over 13 States, The District of Columbia and two Provinces of Canada making 34 stops at major airports delivering over ten tons of presents to orphaned children.

On 16 December 1953, The U.S. Postal Service, recognized the great interest in North Pole, NY awarded it “Rural Postal Station” status. The same year Santa and his reindeer team traveled to the nations capital to participate in the Pageant for Peace. Earlier the same year they were seen in New York City’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Many other organizations recognized Santa’s Workshop’s dedication to the true Christmas Spirit and invited the park to participate in their holiday activities. The Holiday Festival at Palisades Park’s Bear Mountain and Project 80 in Montreal, Quebec to name a few.

The Nativity Pageant, the story of the first Christmas, was first introduced in 1954. Presented on a flower decked hillside, it has become a daily remembrance of the true meaning of Christmas.

In 1973, Christmas Preview, a new concept in family entertainment was introduced. From modest beginnings, these package weekends now have over 600 participating families each season.  The program has been renamed to Yuletide Family Weekends.