Small Towns, Big Holidays

It's no secret that the Adirondacks completely transform into a winter wonderland when the snow starts to fall. As sweeping snow flurries begin to descend on the mountains, perfect snow-capped evergreens line the roads and outside our windows, the Adirondacks take the term ‘White Christmas’ to a whole new level. Speaking of Christmas, whether we like it or not, the holidays are upon us! Preparation for this spectacular season is in full swing, pending the fluffy snow outside. Discover all the ways the Adirondack Experience celebrates the holidays, and how you can join in the fun.


Touted as an “all-season vacationland”, Speculator never ceases to amaze with all the winter fun to be had season after season. Resting on the vast Lake Pleasant, there’s all sorts of ways to break into the holiday season this year! Oak Mountain, the area’s resident ski mountain, knows just the way to kick off the festivities. Visit the Holiday Fair Saturday, December 10, from 1p.m. to 7 p.m. to ring in some holiday cheer! The festival will be hopping with live music with the Wayward Folk and special guests! The mountain will also feature Santa's Workshop and plenty of activities to explore. Build your own gingerbread house, get your face painted, or event build your own ornament to hang on the tree! And because this is their workshop, Mr. & Mrs. Claus will be making a special appearance. Get some holiday shopping done at the vendor fair and stop in at the Campstore for treats, fun & games! After, make sure to indulge at the Acorn Pub and Brewery at the mountain for a cozy winter meal.

Two men with skis on look down from their chairlift.

Long Lake

Home to 14 miles of pristine lake water and miles and miles of trails, Long Lake comes to life in winter. While snowmobiling and cross-country skiing may be dominating your dreams, this rugged mountain town offers so much more this holiday season. At Mt. Sabattis, try your skills at ice skating! The town ice skating rink is free for everyone, including free skates to use with a wide range of sizes, you can even choose between hockey or figure skates! If you’re looking for last minute Christmas gifts with Adirondack flair, Hoss’s Country Corner offers the best in fine foods, gifts, and outdoor gear. There’s even an entire wing of the store for ornaments! If you’d like to gift your loved ones with something of your own handiwork, Cindy Black offers a balsam wreath making class every year. Learn how to work with balsam and decorate your home for the holidays. After you’ve crafted to your heart’s content, stop into the Long View Lodge for a delectable Adirondack meal. This lodge-style restaurant has something for everyone, offering cozy dining, an expansive bar, and an appetizing meal for everyone’s taste buds. 

An aerial view of Mt. Sabattis and an ice skating rink.

Indian Lake

Although Indian Lake is known as the “Whitewater Capital of New York State”  in the summer, the town is no stranger to holiday fun. Downtown, stop in to Pine’s Country Store for your holiday shopping. Pine’s uniquely offers ski gear, jackets, Adirondack apparel, and of course hiking and winter supplies. Find the perfect gift for the adrenaline junky in your life, or the perfect tool your loved one is looking for here! Pine's is a TrueValue hardware store, and if you’re staying close, they even offer local delivery! Head over to the sledding hill after for some delightful powdery sledding and ice skating! Finish off the day at Indian Lake Restaurant and Tavern. Although this may not be the most “Christmassy” dish, their fried chicken sandwich happens to be the best in the area, hands down. From soups to four course meals, you’ll end the day satisfied and ready for dessert!

an aerial view of indian lake.


Inlet is home to some incredible lodges, waterfront views, and like many of its neighbors, peak snowmobiling trails. Covered in snow, the town might as well have jumped right out of a Norman Rockwell painting. Stay downtown and explore the adorable local shops and restaurants. Fern Park Recreation Area offers impeccable trails for cross country skiing and even ice skating! Don’t forget about the events of the season! December 11 is Inlet’s annual cookie swap. Bring three-dozen of your own cookies with the recipe, and leave with three-dozen of an assortment of cookies! When you’re not cookie-swapping, The Lean-to at Great Pines resort offers cozy Adirondack dining with nordic charm. Sit by their fireplaces with a drink or dive into your next meal with loved ones! There’s no better way to get into the holiday spirit than a fireside dinner. 

A street view of Inlet, focused on two store fronts in the snow.

Raquette Lake

Raquette Lake’s history is ingrained in winter traditions of the Adirondacks, its name comes from the French word raquette (snowshoe). The birthplace of gilded age Great Camps, families have come to this hidden gem season after season for its remote comfort and breathtaking views. Today, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and of course, snowshoeing are the games here. Relax in the Raquette Lake Hotel and Taproom and socialize with other winter adventurers like yourself this season. 

A snowmobiler drives a snowmobile across a large frozen Adirondack lake with a fishing ice shanty in the distance.

Blue Mountain Lake

Nestled on Blue Mountain Lake lies this quaint little town ready for the holidays! If you’re more lake-minded like the rest of us, you’re in luck! Ice fishing is king in this town, and you’ll find that sitting next to that carved hole in the ice was worth it. Landlocked salmon can be found here as well as lots of fun above the ice! Grab your fishing buddies and hit the lake. To experience winter in Blue Mountain Lake in all its glory, catch a sunrise on the ice. You’d be surprised how many colors you’ll see in winter! After you’ve caught plenty of fish, just down the road, stop in at Chef Darrell’s Mountain Diner. You’ll find hot, authentic diner food and of course, hot chocolate to warm your mitts! 

An aerial view of Blue Mountain Lake in the winter.


The Piseco-Arietta region is perfect for those who love to spend their holidays relaxing in the great outdoors. This town is made up of 95% state protected forest, and you’ll find plenty to do out there. Piseco has access to the Northville-Lake Placid Trail, 133 miles of carved wilderness trails, perfect for any winter activity. Stay at the Irondequoit-Inn for a “White Christmas” with lodge style amenities and stellar winter scenes all around you. Don’t forget to stop at the Piseco Lake Lodge Store for fresh donuts!

Irondequoit Inn at night.

Wells, Hope, and Benson

These small towns pack a big punch in winter. In Benson, head over to the Lapland Lake XC Ski Center for miles and miles of snowy trails and dreamy views. Stop in the warming lodge for refreshments and equipment rentals, or buy your own right there! Wells has been hard at work to revitalize its downtown, with new restaurants, shops, and cultural escapes, making for peaceful private holiday traditions. Hope happens to be home to the only farm in Hamilton County, Hope Valley Farms! Find their delicious treats at the Speculator Farmers Market as well as Blue Mountain Lake in the summer. 

A skier grabs gear from outside.

Happy holidays!

With so many towns to visit and so much to do, pack in adventure after adventure when you visit Hamilton County this holiday season, and don’t forget, stay warm!

a man tubes down a hill with others.