June 2017

Best of the Adirondacks 2017

Winners of our Readers' Choice Awards

Illustration by Mary Kate McDevitt

Illustration by Mary Kate McDevitt


Here in the Adirondacks, we like to keep it simple. That’s certainly true of our Best Burger winner, The Tavern, in Eagle Bay, with its two dining options: hamburger or cheeseburger. What this beloved roadhouse lacks in variety, it makes up for in lip-smacking quality—and a made-to-order attitude. You can even get your burger topped with Hofmann’s German-style franks.

Many of our readers’ favorite bites reflect the simpler things in life: home-style cooking at Walt’s Diner, in Old Forge; slices served up at Screamen Eagle, Inlet’s go-to pizza-and-beer joint; the pub fare on tap at Big Tupper Brewing, in Tupper Lake; or the joys of a fish fry at Daikers, overlooking Fourth Lake. For five-star plates there’s Five Corners Cafe, in Old Forge, winner of Best Fine Dining thanks to earthy offerings like caramelized Brussels sprouts in a warm maple vinaigrette or rainbow trout with local sweet corn, roasted red peppers and fingerling potatoes. And the 46 varieties of sandwiches at Lake Placid’s Simply Gourmet were voted, well, simply the best.


Winner: The Tavern 5520 Route 28, Eagle Bay
(315) 357-4305, on Facebook
Runner-Up: Turtle Island Cafe, Willsboro


Winner: Simply Gourmet
2099 Saranac Avenue, Lake Placid
(518) 523-3111,
Runner-Up: Lakeview Deli, Saranac Lake


Winner: Walt’s Diner
3047 Main Street, Old Forge
(315) 369-2582, on Facebook
Runner-Up: Tamarack Cafe, Inlet


Winner: Screamen Eagle
172 Route 28, Inlet
(315) 357-6026,
Runner-Up: Little Italy, Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake


Winner: Walt’s Diner
3047 Main Street, Old Forge
(315) 369-2582, on Facebook
Runner-Up: Noon Mark Diner, Keene Valley

Outdoor Dining

Winner: Daikers
161 Daikers Circle, Old Forge
(315) 369-6954,
Runner-Up: R. F. McDougall’s at Hungry Trout Resort, Wilmington

Casual Dining

Winner: Big Tupper Brewing
12 Cliff Avenue, Tupper Lake
(518) 359-6350,
Runner-Up: The Lean-To at Great Pines, Old Forge

Fine Dining

Winner: Five Corners Cafe
3067 Route 28, Old Forge
(315) 369-2255,
Runner-Up: Hungry Trout, Wilmington



Summer isn’t summer without a velvety twist cone from Donnelly’s, in Saranac Lake, or a luscious homemade gelato from Northern Lights Creamery (an Inlet institution that lost the ice-cream category by only a whisker). And many trips to the High Peaks region include a visit to the Candy Man, in Wilmington­, now known as Adirondack Chocolates with a second location in Lake Placid. But it would also be a mistake to miss out on the Donut Shop, in Eagle Bay (serving up our readers’ favorite fry cakes), or Mary’s White Pine Bakery, in Inlet, where fans line up early to get the best baked goodies fresh from the oven.

Ice Cream

Winner: Donnelly’s
1556 Route 86, Saranac Lake
On Facebook
Runner-Up: Northern Lights Creamery, Inlet


Winner: Adirondack Chocolates
5680 Route 86, Wilmington, and
61 Main Street, Lake Placid
(800) 232-4626,
Runner-Up: Candy Cottage, Old Forge


Winner: The Donut Shop
5474 Route 28, Eagle Bay
(315) 357-6421,
Runner-Up: Mary’s White Pine Bakery, Inlet


Winner: Mary’s White Pine Bakery
152 Route 28, Inlet
(315) 357-5170
Runner-Up: Cake Placid, Lake Placid



Liquids & Solids at the Handlebar, in Lake Placid, is still the undefeated champion of the Adirondack cocktail, gaining lifelong fans with creative sips like The Vanilla Cat, a concoction of tequila, blood orange, ginger, chocolate bitters and vanilla chili syrup. Meanwhile, a newcomer has taken the microbrewery category: Fulton Chain Craft Brewery, in Old Forge, has been winning hearts and minds since 2014 with an impressive lineup of locally sourced suds. But our readers’ favorite spot to enjoy both cocktails and beer—and music and food—is Old Forge’s Daikers, which has been doing a rollicking year-round business for 60 years.


Winner: Liquids & Solids at the Handlebar
6115 Sentinel Road, Lake Placid
(518) 837-5012,
Runner-Up: Wakely’s Speakeasy at Van Auken’s Inne, Thendara


Winner: Fulton Chain Craft Brewery
127 North Street, Old Forge
(315) 369-1181,
Runner-Up: Big Tupper Brewing, Tupper Lake


Winner: Daikers
161 Daikers Circle, Old Forge
(315) 369-6954,
Runner-Up: Wakely’s Speakeasy at Van Auken’s Inne, Thendara



Whether it’s thrills on the lake or the trail, the slope or the links, this six-million-acre playground has something for everyone. To score a great game of golf, our readers suggest the Donald Ross–designed Thendara Golf Club. You can gear up for a day on the water at Wilmington’s Hungry Trout Fly Shop, a favorite outfitter stationed on the bite-rich Ausable River. And we hear Placid Boatworks, two-time winner of Best Boatbuilder, crafts the best canoes. Although Lake Placid’s renowned Olympic Mountain got the top nod for downhill delights, this year McCauley Mountain, Old Forge’s hometown hill, almost knocked it from its pedestal.

Golf Course

Winner: Thendara Golf Club
151 Fifth Street, Thendara
(315) 369-3136,
Runner-Up: Inlet Golf Club, Inlet

Sports Outfitter

Winner: Hungry Trout Fly Shop
5239 Route 86, Wilmington
(518) 946-2117,
Runner-Up: Mountainman Outdoor Supply Company, Old Forge,
and The Mountaineer, Keene Valley


Winner: Placid Boatworks
263 Station Street, Lake Placid
(518) 524-2949,
Runner-Up: Hornbeck Boats, Olmstedville

Ski Center

Winner: Whiteface Mountain
5021 Route 86, Wilmington
(518) 946-2223,
Runner-Up: McCauley Mountain Ski Area, Old Forge



Adirondack culture is hard to define. Maybe it’s a mouthful of campfire coffee set to the soundtrack of crackling logs. Or a shanty full of anglers swapping fish stories. It can also be the top-shelf works at the annual Adirondacks National Exhibition of American Watercolors at Old Forge’s View, or a rustic furniture installation at the Adirondack Museum, in Blue Mountain Lake. Rustic style is a beloved part of our region’s past as well as its present, with favorite shops like Keene’s Dartbrook Rustic Goods stuffed to the rafters with Adirondackana. But in large part, Adirondack culture is the culture of fun: checking out a band at a rehabbed speakeasy, climbing onto a frozen sculpture in the shadow of Saranac Lake’s iconic ice palace, or taking on the 280-foot Killermanjaro at Old Forge’s Water Safari.

Arts Organization/Gallery

Winner: View
3273 Route 28, Old Forge
(315) 601-9728,
Runner-Up: Lake Placid Center for the Arts


Winner: Adirondack Museum
Routes 28N and 30, Blue Mountain Lake
(518) 352-7311,
Runner-Up: The Wild Center, Tupper Lake

Music Venue

Winner: Wakely’s Speakeasy at Van Auken’s Inne
108 Forge Street, Thendara
(315) 369-3033,
Runner-Up: Daikers, Old Forge


Winner: Saranac Lake Winter Carnival
Every February, Saranac Lake
Runner-Up: Oktupperfest, Tupper Lake

Tourist Attraction

Winner: Enchanted Forest Water Safari
3183 Route 28, Old Forge
(315) 369-6145,
Runner-Up: The Wild Center, Tupper Lake

Rustic/Adirondackana Store

Winner: Dartbrook Rustic Goods
10923 Route 9N, Keene
(518) 576-4360,
Runner-Up: Old Forge Hardware



Some folks like the Adirondack experience to be up close and personal—morning mist blanketing the breakfast table, a bear brushing past the tent after midnight—others would rather enjoy the view from an elegantly appointed room. Whether you prefer the pampering of the Mirror Lake Inn, in Lake Placid, a bunking-with-wildlife adventure at the Old Forge Camping Resort, or anything in between, our readers have picked just the place.


Winner: Mirror Lake Inn Resort & Spa
77 Mirror Lake Drive, Lake Placid
(518) 523-2544,
Runner-Up: The Woods Inn, Inlet


Winner: Silver Bay YMCA
87 Silver Bay Road, Silver Bay
(518) 543-8833,
Runner-Up: Great Pines, Old Forge


Winner: The Tumble Inn
875 Route 9, Schroon Lake
(518) 532-7605,
Runner-Up: Moose River House, Thendara


Winner: Dartbrook Lodge
2835 Route 73, Keene
(518) 576-9080,
Runner-Up: Sunset Beach Lakeside Cottages, Inlet


Winner: Old Forge Camping Resort
3347 Route 28, Old Forge
(315) 369-6011,
Runner-Up: Lake Placid/Whiteface Mountain KOA, Wilmington

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