Value for Money:
Personality Types that Like it Best
Did You Know…?
- Thousand Islands salad dressing comes from New York’s Thousand Islands region.
- Sam Wilson of Troy was the original “Uncle Sam.”
- The “I (heart) NY” logo was created in 1977 for New York state, not the city.
- The public can attend theater inside Sing Sing; prisoners are the actors.
- New York was the first state to establish a state park (Niagara Reservation) in 1885.
Beyond the Big Apple
New York embodies contrasts in the extreme, from New York City, America’s cultural and financial capital, to Niagara Falls, a world-renowned natural wonder on the Canadian border. The state is endowed with green forests, mountain streams and major rivers, rolling hills and skiable mountains, lakes Great and small — the stuff of outdoor recreation around the calendar.
History lives on here in small things that appeal to visitors — old country inns, stone houses, historic canals, colonial-era forts, but tourists also come for the pleasures of a 21st century lifestyle, like comfortable resorts, good food and drink, casinos and more.
Aside from New York City, the larger cities (Albany, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse) offer attractions and entertainment, but these are not vacation destinations. It’s the Catskills, the Adirondacks, the Finger Lakes and Niagara Falls that draw in visitors.
Tourists come to fish, hike and sample water sports, or for skiing in winter. They come to visit wineries and eat fresh foods, and by the by, may become intrigued by the area’s history, which encompasses the Underground Railroad, the women’s emancipation movement — and war.
A remarkable portion of the French and Indian War (1756 -1763) played out in New York because the English and the French were fighting over which would control significant chunks of North America, including Quebec, other parts of Canada and even parts of New York itself. The English won, and nowadays tourists can visit 16 New York sites prominently associated with that conflict. At some forts, they can attend living history events.
New York state is a destination for the venturesome. These travelers want to get away from crowds and bypass banal tourist attractions to find beautiful settings. Travelers from far and wide to seek out these natural attractions and the small towns in what is a large state by the standards of the U.S. Northeast. And, by any standards, the Adirondack Park is large: At 6 million acres, it is America’s biggest state park outside of Alaska and roughly the size of Vermont.
The resort areas are busiest in the summer, and winter sports fans visit Adirondack sites like Lake Placid December through March.
Things to do for Venturers
- Visit Elmira’s National Soaring Museum, home to the largest collection of gliders and sailplanes in the world. Then, take a glider ride at the Harris Hill Soaring Center. Elmira is called the soaring capital of America.
- Go whitewater rafting. Options include Cattaraugus Creek or the Genesee River in western New York or the Black River, Moose River or Sacandaga River in the Adirondacks.
- Ski cross-country trails at Lake Placid, site of the 1932 and 1980 Olympics. Or, hone your skills at any of a range of other winter sports: bobsledding, downhill skiing, ice skating. Whiteface Mountain claims the highest vertical drop in the East, 3,430 feet.
- Go snowmobiling. The state boasts more than 11,000 miles of snowmobile trails. Head north for choices along the Great Lakes Seaway Trail scenic byway, a snowy winter playground.
- Attend a wine camp on Long Island, offered by the Long Island Wine Country Bed and Breakfast Group.
- Rent a canal boat and travel on some of the 500-mile New York State Canal System, between May and mid-November, for a unique perspective on wildlife preserves and settled towns, waterside restaurants and seasonal festivals.
Things to do for Centrics
- Stay at a dude ranch and get in some horseback riding, along with cookouts, hayrides, fishing, etc. Some ranches operate year-round and offer ice skating, snowmobiling and skiing, both the downhill and cross-country kinds.
- Attend the Finger Lakes Wine Festival in July.
- Rent a houseboat for a week and cruise among the Thousand Islands (really, nearly 2,000 islands) in the St. Lawrence.
- Try your luck at the tables and see a show at the Oneida nation’s Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, N.Y., a short drive from Syracuse.
- Retrace the route of the Underground Railroad used by escaping slaves in the 19th century. The sites include Harriett Tubman’s home in Auburn and Broderick Park in Buffalo, which each August hosts a reenactment event.
- Go on a beer-tasting expedition in the Cooperstown area (Cooperstown Brewing Company and the Brewery Ommegang). Also, visit the Fly Creek Cider Mill and Orchard where cider is made from New York apples. If visiting in March, attend one of the Sunday sugaring-off events at the Farmer’s Museum, just outside of Cooperstown. You’ll sample the maple syrup at breakfast. In any case, don’t overlook the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Things to do for Authentics
- Include Niagara Falls on any itinerary that takes you anywhere close to the falls. It is one of those numerous “eighth wonders of the world” we always hear about.
- Fashion a trip along the Hudson to visit a number of opulent mansions built by the very wealthy in the 19th and early 20th centuries. These include homes belonging to the Rockefellers, the Roosevelts and railroad tycoon Jay Gould. The properties also include the homes of author Washington Irving and the eighth president Martin Van Buren.
- Charter a boat for fishing on Lake Ontario.
- Hoosick Falls was home to the country’s best-known folk artist, Grandma Moses. Visit her grave site on Main Street but enjoy the charming town itself, for its 19th century churches, houses, stone schoolhouse, covered bridge — and nearby Revolutionary War site. Attend a Hoosick Falls Community Band concert in Wood Memorial Park any Wednesday of July or August.
- Book a series of cooking classes, then build a vacation around the destination.
- For a unique national park, visit the Women’s Rights National Historical Park in and around Seneca Falls. The park comprises a group of historic sites including the Elizabeth Cady Stanton House in Seneca Falls, home of the legendary leader. No surprise then that the National Women’s Hall of Fame is also in Seneca Falls.
For more information, consult the New York State Division of Tourism at www.iloveny.com