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Mountain Escapes for Cigar Enthusiasts

Posted: November 3, 2010

As smoking restrictions become increasingly draconian across the United States and the world, it takes some creativity for innkeepers and restaurateurs to accommodate those who love a great cigar. Here we turn to two lodges with a focus on outdoor activities, each of which has a very intriguing way to allow cigar smokers to puff in peace.

A Sanctuary in the Adirondacks
By David Savona

The Whiteface Lodge in Lake Placid, New York, offers one of the most picturesque (and creative) smoking spots in the great outdoors-a pair of high-end cigar and Cognac lean-tos created specifically for cigar smoking.

Located in the Olympic town of Lake Placid, New York, and designed in the tradition of the great camps of the Adirondack Mountains, The Whiteface Lodge looms like a sanctuary in the woods above Lake Placid. Made of stone and local timber that was milled on-site, the all-suite resort is ideally situated for fishing, hiking, spa treatments (the spa boasts a 5,800 square foot spa) and all manner of winter sports. You can try your hand at skiing or snowboarding or even bobsledding, luge or skeleton.

The resort holds awards from Travel + Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler and AAA, and its wine cellar has won the award of excellence for four straight years from Wine Spectator, Cigar Aficionado's sister publication.

Whiteface is a classic lodge. The game room is devoid of Wii and Guitar Hero, opting instead for pool and shuffleboard, activities that invite conversation and family interaction rather than catatonic devotion to a TV screen. The lodge even has a two-lane bowling alley and a movie theatre and an all-season indoor/outdoor pool allowing you to swim from the interior of the lodge to the outside.

The cigar lean-tos, also known as the cigar and Cognac outdoor lounges, began as simple shelters for adults watching their children as they took to the ice.

"It was a gathering place for people to watch the kids ice skating," says Scott Waller, sommelier and beverage manager for the resort. "Then it got a little more comfortable. We added leather chairs, rustic wood furnishings. We had some management that was very into cigars."

The lean-tos are remarkable creations, with electricity, warm blankets to guard against the Lake Placid cold, and a menu of cigars and spirits to add warmth where blankets fail. Adding an extra element of luxury is a dedicated phone line that connects guests to the concierge, who will expedite delivery of cigars and a fine beverage. The Whiteface Lodge has more than 20 Scotches (from Abelour to Springbank), eight bourbons and ryes (including Michters), a trio of rums (Plantation and Ron Zacapa) and ten Ports by the glass. There's also Cognac, Armagnac, Grappa and Calvados.


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