Since I love outdoor dining in the summer, the Whiteface Region is a favorite place for me to enjoy river breezes and stunning mountain scenery along with my meal. Dining in this charming region fits the category of "gourmet picnic with beverages." Imagine combining a bistro with the majestic views of the High Peaks.
Indulge yourself on the decks, porches, and pavilions, which are a short drive or walk from most lodging choices.
From casual to classic
Simple food can be wonderfully done, which elevates it to another form of fine dining.
I stopped by Up a Creek Restaurant which has a wonderful pavilion area between their outdoor gift shop and their outfitters. They have a breakfast and lunch menu featuring old favorites done with a "Whiteface touch," like their Adirondack-style Baked Beans simmered in a homemade sauce, or the Turkey Club with Cranberry Mayo.
As seen in the picture below, they also offer some cute cabins and rentals. If you want to try the feel of these old-fashioned resorts with nearby dining and recreation, such choices offer a relaxing weekend without a lot of driving.
If you like your traditional meals extra-traditional, there's no better spot than the big pavilion at the local A&W Restaurant. Choose from burger or chicken combo baskets, Corn Dog Nuggets, or combine that famous root beer with ice cream for an old-fashioned float.
For a dinner or a late lunch, R.F. McDougall's Pub offers gourmet twists and a stunning view from their back deck. Choose from classic pub offerings like a variety of wings and their Tavern Battered Fish & Chips, or browse among choices that range from fish tacos and specialty salads, all the way to their Bistro Steak broiled over an open flame.
Soak in a fantastic view of the Ausable River and the distant mountains. Stay at the lodging complex, which includes access to the Miracle Mile of Fly Fishing.
Longtime local loves
Of course there is a great ice cream stand. This is the Adirondacks!
Choices abound at the Whitebrook Dairy Bar. There's seating at the picnic tables out front, but I like to go to the adjoining meadow — it's surrounded by trees and there are more picnic tables in the wonderful forest.
Get an old fashioned clam basket and thick milkshake, or try one of their special creations, like the Salted Caramel Sundae or my favorite: their specialty fries with a spicy sauce, all loaded with toppings.
Little Super Market is fondly known as "Little Super." This is far from the usual convenience store fare. Their sandwiches are famous all over the Adirondacks. For dessert, they have homemade baked goods and fresh fruit.
In summer there are picnic tables with umbrellas out front. Like most places in the Whiteface Region, the mountains stand sentry all around, creating a breaktaking vista in almost any direction.
Another delicious spot for dinner is the Wilderness Inn II Restaurant. They are part of the grand tradition of "roughing it in style" which has long been part of Adirondack hospitality. Enjoy steaks and seafood at a deck nestled into a little grove of trees.
This is another casual resort that offers a variety of on-site lodging.
The whole property has a feel of the Great Camps of old, from the stunning fireplace in the indoor dining room to the cozy cabins with names like Spruce, Balsam, and Cedar.
New and exciting
The new coffee shop, Bear Den Coffee & Gifts, welcomes those in search of gifts and treats and coffee. Which is most people.
The location is an easy walking distance from the center of town, so it's a great stop to make while exploring the riverfront parks and shops. Take a little break in the sun or shade, as you wish, and immerse yourself in small town charm.
River View Cafe at High Falls Gorge is a new fine dining cafe with a choice of craft beverages. Part of their dining room has expanded into their lovely riverside park area, with a special shack for serving appetizers and drinks in a very relaxed atmosphere.
High Falls Gorge has paths, ramps, and staircases to enjoy the wonders of the gorge, with its roaring falls and giant boulders. Look down: some of the walkways have glass floors.
It's easy to spend an entire day exploring wonderful Adirondack scenery with the pampering and support of an all-access viewing path. There are hiking trails, an extensive gift shop, and a place where kids can look for treasure, too.
There is a surprising range of options all packed into one river valley between majestic mountains. Make some of your dining just as nature-filled as your other activities.
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