Known for its seemingly endless natural beauty and outdoorsy pursuits such as skiing, mountain biking, hiking, and fishing, the village of Wilmington may not immediately come to mind when planning a holiday outing, but let’s not be too hasty. As the craziness of the season hits a crescendo, how about taking a day to unwind with some fresh air with dear friends or loved ones, followed by great new local fare in front of a warm fireplace?
A morning of downhill skiing at beautiful Whiteface Mountain or cross-country skiing at the Flume Trails, paired with a pint and a plateful of poutine goes together like peanut butter and jelly; which is to say, exquisitely.
And the place to go is Pourman’s Tap House, slated to open mid-December.
Spend the morning at Whiteface Mountain, skiing or riding on the 87 trails augmented with increased snowmaking. Or if cross-country is your game, head to the Flume Trails, right off route 86, two miles from the village center. The 10.5 miles creates a web of trails leading you by waterfalls, wetlands, and through conifer and deciduous woods. The weather the day I went to Wilmington was gray and raining, but since then it has snowed several inches of fresh snow, covering all the trails.
The next stop is the Whiteface Region's newest pub, Pourman's Tap House. Located on the former site of the Holiday Lodge at Wilmington’s four corners, it used to be part of Santa’s Workshop. Local businessman Roy Holzer leased a portion to Jesse Rogers and plans to turn the rest into guest suites and an Adirondack store.
Nearly completely renovated, the bar, dining room, banquet room, and kitchen at the former lodge has been repurposed and reenergized, giving new life to a vacant lot and creating a gathering place for locals and visitors.
On my visit there last week, owner Jesse, a Jay resident, toured me through the capacious dining area, which is replete with two new fireplaces. The hallmark of the space is a very long bar, a mix of wood and steel, that will serve 20 tap beers, many from local breweries. He has in place a chef and a wait staff ready to serve up hearty and authentic dishes of poutine, flatbreads, burgers, wings, and more.
Not only is Jesse looking to turn a profit, he also wants to be a community asset and, as he said, “fill the gap” and create a place for locals to gather and for skiers and other outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy. Pourman's Tap House is ready to take on the challenge.
“It’s a big undertaking, but I love that the community needs this. I wanted to find a way to give back,” he said. Jesse is a mountain bike enthusiast and worked at Whiteface Mountain making snow in his younger years. After college, he returned to the area he loved.
“The mountains were calling,” he said.
Jesse noted the popularity of Wilmington with mountain bikers — a sport that is gaining traction in the hamlet — as well as the continued popularity of Whiteface Mountain. Both are crowds he hopes to attract. New mountain biking trails are set to connect the Poor Man’s Downhill Trail with the Wilmington Flume trails, expanding the trail system in the hamlet, and Jesse plans to install bike racks and outdoor seating for summer.
Follow Pourman's Tap House on Facebook for updates and an opening date.
Before leaving Wilmington, be sure to visit Adirondack Chocolates and browse the large selection of small batch homemade chocolates. The business began over 40 years ago, and continues to grow. On a rainy mid-week November day, the store and chocolate factory was bustling with people purchasing candy cane fudge, peppermint bark, and chocolate Santas. Owner Joe Dougherty said the almond and peppermint barks are particularly popular through the holidays.
Stop by the shop and enter the drawing to the 3-foot tall, homemade chocolate Santa, or browse the selection of vintage Lake Placid T-shirts, holiday ornaments, and homemade candles.
Now that’s a perfect trifecta of a day — skiing, a local pint, and pizza, all rounded out with homemade chocolate. Why not spend the night and make a weekend out of your visit to the Whiteface Region?
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