Hotel Intel: NewVida channels pure Adirondack mountain life

The 14-room lodge has become the hospitality heartbeat of the quiet communities around Jay, Wilmington and AuSable Forks in upstate New York.

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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.

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In only a few months, NewVida has become the hospitality heartbeat of the quiet communities around Jay, Wilmington and AuSable 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 cross-crossing a 2,000-acre domain.

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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).

An aerial photo shows a building complex with a forest and mountains behind it
NewVida Preserve, an outdoorsy Adirondack lodge and mountain domain near Whiteface in upstate N.Y., is a year-round destination with its own trails, a wellness program, casual dining and a popular bar. NewVida Preserve

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 eco-system 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.

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“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.

A rustic bedroom with wooden ceiling, wall and bed
NewVida Preserve has 14 warm and inviting guest rooms and suites with knotty cedar and pine woodwork , casual country décor and updated amenities. NewVida Preserve

Indoors: NewVida’s guest rooms and suites are decked out in relaxed, back-to-nature décor 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, although 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, cranio-sacral aromatherapy and deep tissue.

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NewVida’s summer plans include opening an indoor lap pool and expanding the spa with a sauna and beauty services.

A bar looks up at a triangular vaulted wood ceiling
The Great Room at NewVida Preserve, home to the Restaurant and Craft Bar, is loaded with the character and history of a former ski lodge. NewVida Preserve

Food/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 ambiance.

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.

Two women smile behind the counter of NewVida Bistro
The Bistro is a daytime café, one of the three food and beverage venues at NewVida Preserve, near Whiteface Mountain in N.Y. Here, Ali (left) and Rosie are on the job. NewVida Preserve

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

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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.

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If you go

Jay, N.Y. is about a 90-minute drive south Montreal. Regional info: Lake Placid: or Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism (ROOST): 518-523-2445, and Whiteface (ski/ride): 518-946-2223, 877-ski-face,, Wilmington, N.Y.

NewVida Preserve: 518-946-6192,; 6394 Route 86, Jay, N.Y. Lodging open daily.

Price: Canadians get a 10-per-cent discount. Regular rates from US$185, per night, for two, plus tax, including a resort fee. Some rooms sleep four. Weekends, summer and holidays can be higher. Including trails, fitness area, guest fridge/ espresso/tea, playground. NewVida’s private members can access facilities.

[email protected]

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