Embracing Small-town Charm: Winter Wonderlands in Long Lake and Inlet

Make this a wonderful winter with classic adventures

Escape the hustle and bustle of your everyday routine and immerse yourself in the enchanting small-town charm of the Adirondacks and Hamilton County (we're so laid-back we don't have a single traffic light!). Tucked away in this winter wonderland are two gems that promise a classic, retro experience like no other: Long Lake and Inlet. Join us as we explore the cozy accommodations, frosty adventures, and timeless charm these historic towns have to offer.

Inlet: The Woods Inn and Fern Park fun

Nestled on the shores of Fourth Lake, The Woods Inn in Inlet welcomes you with open arms and a hearty dose of nostalgic charm. The inn, which has been hosting travelers since 1894, boasts vintage aesthetics, transporting you back to a simpler time while providing modern comforts. It's the kind of place where you don't even think to turn on the TV! Each room is a step into the past, with rustic decor and picturesque lake views that add a touch of tranquility to your stay, all while staying in the heart of downtown Inlet, where retail stores, restaurants, coffee shops, and activities are just a short walk down the sidewalk. Stay in and dine at the inn or try out some local favorites, such as the Screamen' Eagle, where the pizza is famous.

A woman and two children walk toward a large, yellow inn, past a line of parked snowmobiles.
An inn dining room featuring pressed tin ceiling, antique lighting, and an array of tablecloth-covered tables.
Close-up of rustic wooden signs reading, "Inlet," "Explore," and "Adirondacks."

After a restful night's sleep, bundle up in your warmest winter gear and head to Fern Park, Inlet's outdoor playground for cross-country skiing bliss and some snowy shenanigans. Fern Park is located just half a mile from The Woods Inn; less time getting there means more time for fun! Lace-up your skates and glide gracefully across the frozen surface of the Fern Park Ice Skating Rink. The crisp mountain air and the sound of blades cutting through the ice create a magical ambiance that's perfect for a leisurely afternoon on the ice.

For those seeking a bit more adventure, Fern Park offers miles of scenic cross-country skiing trails. Strap on your skis and explore the snow-covered landscape, surrounded by towering pines and snow-laden branches. The incredibly maintained, groomed trails of single- and double-track allow you to connect with the big outdoors and relish the simplicity of winter in the Adirondacks. If you don't ski, snowshoeing is another classic way to enjoy the snow, and at a gentler pace.

And in case skating or skiing isn't for you, Fern Park is a haven for all things snowy! Channel your inner child and engage in a friendly snowball fight or build a quirky snowman with friends and family. The free sledding hill is home to a "little library" of sleds to borrow, meaning all you need to do is show up and have fun! The park's welcoming atmosphere and important role in the community make it a great place to spend an afternoon or a day at play. It's even dog-friendly!

A family of two adults and three children cross-country ski in a snowy forest.
A woman stands next to a "library" of free sleds to borrow, while watching a child on a sled.
A black labrador retriever stands on a snowy cross-country skiing trail.

Long Lake: Motel Long Lake and Cottages and Mt. Sabattis Recreation Area

Another gem of Hamilton County, Long Lake welcomes you with open arms a touch of nostalgia, and vintage hospitality at Motel Long Lake and Cottages. The retro vibes are strong here, not the least of which is the awesome lakeside sign that travelers may spot from the road. The motel exudes a timeless charm that harks back to a bygone era of family road trips and adventurous relaxation, but the rooms are all sparklingly up-to-date and full of welcoming comforts. The property offers 8 motel rooms and 9 cottages (18 in spring, summer, and fall), allowing solo travelers, families, or couples the opportunity to find just the right space for them.

Motel Long Lake is just over half a mile from the center of town, where great dining — such as at the Long Lake Diner and Owl's Head — awaits, alongside the famous Hoss's Country Corner, one of the best spots in all of the Adirondacks for just about anything you need: from souvenir t-shirts to Christmas ornaments (year-round!) and a huge selection of Adirondack books, Hoss's is not to be missed. Plus, if you forget anything, like a winter hat or outdoor gear, Hoss's is the place to find everything.

A rustic-modern Adirondack motel room featuring lightly-colored wood paneling, large bed, and cozy touches.
A view of a motel room bathroom and bedroom, showing pale wood paneling, simple but elegant decor, and bright natural lighting.
Children in winter clothes admire an oversized stuffed animal of a black bear in a shop.

Just around the corner from Hoss's, you'll find Mt. Sabattis Recreation Area,  where classic winter experiences abound, including sledding and skating. The town-run rink is the perfect, easy-to-get-to spot for both beginners and seasoned skaters to take to the ice. There's plenty of room and skaters can even enjoy views of the lake and town. Best of all, you don't need to bring your skates! The rink has free skates to borrow in a range of child and adult sizes, but be aware they are first come, first served. Elsewhere at the rec area, sledding is a whizzy, exciting way to experience small-town winter fun.

Mt. Sabattis is also home to mountain biking and hiking trails that, in winter, become great snowshoe trails, ranging in length from 0.75km to 1.25km. This is a great way to get out in the woods and enjoy the snow, without the commitment of a day-long hike.

A girl in winter outdoor clothing hugs a large ice sculpture that shows a bear and reads "Long Lake."
Two girls hold hands while ice skating on an outdoor rink.
A solo snowshoer treks along a gentle slope in a snowy forest of birch trees.

The timeless allure of small-town magic

In both Long Lake and Inlet, the allure of small-town magic is undeniable, from the friendly shop and restaurant owners to the ease of strolling down the street to get breakfast. The classic winter experiences you'll find at The Woods Inn, Motel Long Lake and Cottages, Fern Park, and Mt. Sabattis Recreation Area will help you create memories that last a lifetime, and will make you want to keep coming back! And why not? We're pretty in summer, too. From the cozy accommodations to the outdoor escapades, these towns offer a refreshing escape from the ordinary, allowing you to reconnect with nature, embrace winter's wonders, and relish the simplicity of life in a charming Adirondack town.

So, pack your favorite sweaters and toques, and get ready to embark! Plan your visit today by exploring more about our charming towns, where to eat, and the many outdoor activities that make our winters so special.

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