During our trip to East Africa, you might remember I had stress issues stemming from our lack of planning. Not having booked hotels in advance left me teetering on the cusp of a panic attack more than once. I can happily report that I’m better at dealing with unplanned travel now…at least when I’ve got access to the internets.
Right up until Labour Day weekend, Junkii and I had no firm plan for our three days off. In fact, it was only Friday evening that we finally committed to taking a romantic getaway/road trip. And we didn’t set our primary destination until we went to bed that night: Lake Placid, NY. We had no real cause to go there – it’s just a town we’ve never been to. Do people even go to Lake Placid in the Summer?
Evidently, they do. It’s supposed to be a great winter-sports town – they’ve hosted the Winter Olympics twice! – and being as it’s smack in the middle of Adirondack park, the changing leaves would make it a beautiful spot in the fall. But the crowds we encountered would indicate that summer is also a popular time for tourists.
There’s supposedly plenty of hiking and mountain bike trails around to lure outdoorsy types, but I was suffering from a head cold, and neither of us went prepared for long walks in the forest. Luckily, having no expectations, we found plenty to entertain us for a one-night stay: a quaint town with plenty of shops lining Main street. We made a day of window-shopping, drinking, and eating. Ain’t nothing wrong with that.
Of course, not having planned anything, our first order of business on arriving was to find a hotel. With free WiFi available at places like Starbucks and McDonalds, on-the-fly planning has become a breeze – especially since we both have iPhones. A few minutes spent scouring TripAdvisor gave us a lead on a decent hotel. And even better, the hotel matched the price we found on Orbitz when I was able to show it to them as they were quoting us their standard room rate! Thanks iPhone – you saved us $15.
But where to eat? A little browsing at UrbanSpoon had us worried that the town was primarily made up of middling, lackluster family restaurants – but one eatery stood out amid the dross. This will be a separate post, but our meal at Liquids and Solids at the Handlebar was probably the highlight of the trip!
Lake Placid is pretty idyllic, but even with helpful hints from the web on how to enjoy the place, we didn’t feel the need to stay a second night. We’ll go back again, but for now it was time to move on. But to where? Do we head up to Montreal for a day? Do we drive to another new city – maybe Montpelier or Brattleboro? Do we go back to reliable old Syracuse (and indulge in a little Dinosaur barbecue)?
In the end, we opted for an old favourite: Burlington, VT. We hadn’t been back there for 5 or 6 years! Time to reacquaint…which meant more web research as we lay in bed. Hotwire pointed us to a few hotel deals, and Google Maps gave us our route – a one-hour ferry ride across Lake Champlain right into Burlington. The ferry even had a website with fares and schedules, so our wait time was minimal.
We spent the afternoon in downtown Burlington. Lunch at a local Vietnamese place for pho (thanks, UrbanSpoon), followed by drinks and people watching on Church Street – the city’s popular pedestrian mall. We took a little photo walk along the harbour front – photos will be up on our SmugMug site soon – and finished off the day with a late dinner at another great UrbanSpoon find: American Flatbread, where they do yummy thin-crust pizza featuring locally sourced ingredients, along with their own beer!
The rest of the trip involved a drive back home via Montreal – nothing special – but it’s nice to know how easy it is to travel around North America with just a car and a cell phone. Helluva lot easier than Ethiopia, where web access is spotty at best, and non-existent in most places.