“…the puck is still loose… eleven seconds… you’ve got ten seconds… Morrow, up to Silk… five seconds left in the game… DO YOU BELIEVE IN MIRACLES… YES!” -Al Michaels, February 22, 1980.
On one side, the hockey team of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Gold medal winners in the previous four Winter Olympics. A roster better described as professionals than the amateurs who are theoretically the heart of the Olympics. A team that had defeated National Hockey League teams, including a special team composed of NHL all-stars. On the other side was the United States of America hockey team, the youngest squad in United States Olympic history. Composed of players primarily from the University of Minnesota, Boston University, and Bowling Green, it was a team of inexperience. In an exhibition game at Madison Square Garden two weeks before the Olympics, the Soviet team crushed the Americans, 10-3. Yet led by their coach, Herb Brooks, in the medal-round game of the 1980 Olympics at Lake Placid, New York, the American team skated with their Soviet counterparts, playing them hard throughout the entire game. Playing in a European-style that was far different than most American teams, the United States seemed to play one step ahead of the Soviet team throughout the game until team captain Mike Eruzione scored with ten minutes left, giving the team a 4-3 lead that it would never relinquish. It was the Miracle on Ice.
Located in the northern reaches of the Adirondack Mountains, Lake Placid is a village of 2,500 people that has hosted the Winter Olympics in 1932 and 1980. Long a vacation spot for those who enjoy winter sports such as skiing and ice skating, its selection as an Olympic venue has made it into a year-round tourist destination. With a weekend trip to the Adirondacks planned, my wife and I decided to visit Lake Placid so I, a lifelong hockey fan, could see one of the most famous spots in hockey history.
What started originally as an Independence Day weekend visit to a member of my wife’s family turned into a 900+ mile road trip that included Lake Placid, relaxing at a lake in the mountains, visiting a historic lighthouse, and standing 212 feet above the Hudson River. Needless to say, this is going to be a long post. You might want to take a moment to pour another cup of coffee or crack open a beer or mix some lemonade and sparkling water or pop some popcorn… as this is going to be a bit of a long read:
This past weekend’s road trip was certainly memorable. Adirondack Park is a must-see destination for anyone who enjoys beautiful scenery, nature, clean air, and history. The Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid is free to visit (although special events may require the purchase of a ticket). The Lake Placid Olympic Museum is open year round from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, and is $7 for adults, students and seniors are $5 each, and children 6 and under can enter for free. Saugerties Lighthouse is freely open to the public to visit during daylight hours, but the interior of the lighthouse is only accessible to guests who have reserved a room in the bed and breakfast. The Walkway Over the Hudson is free and is open year round, although hours of operation vary throughout the year, so check the website before you go.
I hope you enjoyed following along with this road trip and exploring upstate New York with me. And thank you, as always, for coming along on my journeys down the open road ahead.