Montreal Gazette


- ROCHELLE LASH rochelle@rochellela­

The Newvida Preserve near Whiteface Mountain, N.Y., is a vintage lodge and large estate that captures the outdoor spirit of the majestic Adirondack region.

Newvida is a vacation getaway with many enticing features. To start, it's an easy 90-minute drive south of Montreal, and it offers Canadians a 10 per cent discount.

In only a few months, Newvida has become the hospitalit­y heartbeat of the quiet communitie­s around Jay, Wilmington and Au Sable Forks. It's the local go-to for folksy evening entertainm­ent, casual weekend dining and happy hour, as well as a gym, yoga classes and a vast network of trails criss-crossing a 2,000acre domain.

For visitors, Newvida's lodge of 14 rooms and suites is the draw. The Adirondack A-frame architectu­re and handsome cedar walls spell traditiona­l rustic comfort, but there also are modern touches like QR codes for dinner reservatio­ns, rain showers and progressiv­e massage techniques in the mini-spa.

Newvida can be a laid-back country escape, a family holiday, a base camp for adventure or a springboar­d to four-season action. The two-time Olympic region is prized for snow sports, plus hiking, fly-fishing and an unparallel­ed calendar of culture and competitio­ns. (Whiteface is a seven-minute drive away; Lake Placid is about 25).

Outdoors: Newvida's most distinguis­hed aspect is its unspoiled expanse of property — a rare private playground that is about three times the area of Montreal's Mount Royal.

It's the reincarnat­ion of the former Paleface downhill area, which closed 40 years ago and has evolved into an ecosystem with wildlife roaming two mountain summits, rocky cliffs, dense woods, fields and waterfalls.

More than 50 kilometres of old ski runs and carriage roads are available for trekking, cross-country and back country skiing, snowshoein­g, Alpine touring and mountain biking. If you conquer the four kilometres to the summit, you'll score breathtaki­ng 360-degree views of the Adirondack­s, but there are many compelling outlooks along the way.

“We are unique,” said Rick Vidal, who co-owns Newvida with his husband Matt Vidal. “It is the only resort of this scope in the region, with history, an extensive tract of land and proximity to Whiteface.”

Hospitalit­y is a relatively new pursuit for this accomplish­ed couple who enjoy rejuvenati­ng historic properties. Matt is a lawyer with Google, and Rick was a data scientist at Google and also a physician. They have three young children who happily explore the outdoors. They also own scenic Cascada Farm, a collection of cottages in the Hudson Valley, north of New York City.

Indoors: Newvida's guest rooms and suites are decked out in relaxed, back-to-nature decor with denim, plaid or gingham bedcovers, basic wooden furniture and contempora­ry woven rugs over oak floors.

It's the simple life, but the towels and linens are superior and the bathrooms are updated, along with heating, air-conditioni­ng, blackout shades and Wi-fi, though there are no TVS.

The lodge has a studio for yoga and the lesser-known practice of Nia, which incorporat­es dance moves and tai chi. The massage range includes myofascial, craniosacr­al aromathera­py and deep tissue.

Newvida's summer plans include opening an indoor lap pool and expanding the spa with a sauna and beauty services. Food and drink: Newvida's Restaurant and Craft Bar flow together in the Adirondack Great Room, where a soaring cathedral ceiling with pastoral views and sturdy log-and-timber dining tables create a down-home mountain ambience.

The scene is a throwback to yesteryear's wholesome family days and friendly neighbourh­ood nights. Live bands perform on Fridays and Saturdays and the social calendar also includes Paint & Sip evenings and poetry readings, with movie screenings in the works. If you simply want to chill, the rambling lodge has lounges with a pool table, board games and a large-screen TV.

Dinner highlights are tomato bisque, crab cakes, cavatelli Bolognese, stuffed portobello mushrooms, salmon with jasmine rice and New York strip steak. The Craft Bar's small plates include steak tacos, chorizo meatballs or caprese flatbread, and the slick cocktail list includes Winter Sangria, with red wine, cinnamon and orange liqueur.

The Bistro, a daytime café, serves all-day breakfast and weekend brunch. (Dining hours vary).

Whiteface: Whiteface boasts the longest lift-serviced vertical drop in the East (965 metres/3,166 feet). It has a new detachable, four-person lift connecting the Bear Den Learning Center to the main mountain, and riders can unload at mid-station or continue upward.

 ?? NEWVIDA PRESERVE ?? The centrepiec­e of Newvida Preserve in Jay, N.Y., is a remodelled Adirondack lodge surrounded by 2,000 acres of private land.
NEWVIDA PRESERVE The centrepiec­e of Newvida Preserve in Jay, N.Y., is a remodelled Adirondack lodge surrounded by 2,000 acres of private land.
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