By Carly Petrone
Need to escape the city heat? Head to upstate New York and enjoy farm-to-table restaurants, adorable B&Bs and plenty of outdoor activities. Here are five of our favorite places to explore.
Head north to Saratoga Springs and enjoy a trip to the races! There’s still time to place your bets at the Saratoga Racecourse as well as enjoy a polo match at Whitney Field. If relaxing is more your speed, take a drive into Saratoga Spa State Park and relieve some stress while bathing in one of their many naturally carbonated mineral baths. Beer and wine drinkers will be happy to know that there are plenty of distilleries and wineries in the area to explore including Druthers Brewing Company, Halfmoon Cellars, The Saratoga Winery & Tasting Room, and Olde Saratoga Brewing Company. Pick up some souvenirs at quaint little stores like the Adirondack Cigar Shop or Saratoga Sweets Candy Co. Whether you’re in the mood for a massage at the Roosevelt Baths & Spa or a peaceful fishing trip along Saratoga Lake, there’s more than enough ways to enjoy the summer at this popular upstate destination.
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Just 90 minutes from New York City, the Sullivan Catskills will whisk you away to a place filled with countryside, great food and plenty of places to explore. Check out a live concert at nearby BethelWoods Center For The Arts (the historic site of the 1969 Woodstock festival) or try one of their many farm-to-table restaurants like the Pickled Owl, the Fat Lady Café, or Matthew’s On Main. Grab the Good Taste Artisanal Beverage Trail Map and set out with your friends for a day of wine and beer tasting at local wineries and breweries. If you’re looking for something fun to do in the evening, check out the Monticello Casino & Raceway. Fall asleep at a quaint bed & breakfast or feel like a resident by renting a cottage, cabin, or bungalow. You can’t beat a relaxin swing on the front porch!
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Have you been up to Buffalo lately? It’s certainly going through a transformation thanks to its redeveloped waterfront area, a brand new multi-million dollar hockey and entertainment complex and craft distilleries popping up throughout town. Don’t worry, its impressive turn-of-the-20th century American architecture is still a highlight of the city while its vibrant culinary scene has seen quite a revamp over the past few years. The Grange Community Kitchen, Billy Club, and BreadHive Café are just a few restaurants that have opened up their doors recently. Of course, you can always grab some traditional classics like Sponge Candy and Beef on Weck or test out Larkin Square’s Food Trucks on Tuesdays. Art lovers can stroll through the world-renowned Albright-Knox Art Gallery, featuring works by Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock and more. Take the kiddos to the newly renovated Canalside area by the waterfront and enjoy Sunset Sundays, Tuesday Night Movie Series and Summer Reading hours. It’s certainly a family-friendly town with plenty of activities that adults can also enjoy.
Niagara Falls, NY
It’s time to explore Niagara Falls all over again. Experience one of the natural wonders of the world by escaping to the wilderness where acres of pristine hiking trails, delicious local food and live entertainment along Old Falls Street await you. If you’re feeling adventurous, sign up for a helicopter tour with Rainbow Air or a jet boat ride with Whirlpool Jetboat Tours. You’ll get to discover majestic views of the American and Canadian Falls from the air or experience a 45 to 60 minute guided tour of the Niagara River Gorge – and watch out for the class 5 white water rapids through the Devil’s Hole! Families can dive into the aquatic world at the Aquarium of Niagara while thrill-seekers can ride an elevator 175 feet deep into the Niagara Gorge. Here, visitors can put on bright yellow ponchos and special footwear and then follow a guide to the famous “Hurricane Deck,” where you are a mere 20 feet from the billowing torrents of Bridal Veil Falls. It’s certainly a moment you’ll never forget!
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New Paltz, NY
Mark your calendars for September 17th because the Taste of New Paltz Festival is taking place at Ulster County Fairgrounds in New Paltz. From 11 a.m. – 5 pm. the entire family can nosh on great food, listen to live entertainment and take part in the Kids Expo (hello pony rides and face painting!). Sip on craft beers from Allagash, Sixpoint and Stone Brewing Co. or go shopping for handmade jewelry made by local artists. Stick around for the rest of the weekend and check out the farmers markets, produce stands and shops – there are also plenty of farms to tour. Dressel Farms, Apple Hill Farm, and Taliaferro Farms have seasonal activities such as apple picking and pumpkin picking so it’s easy to get the entire family involved. You can even visit one of the oldest streets in the U.S. Take a stroll down Historic Huguenot Street, which was established back in 1894 and enjoy a little piece of history. It’s hard to believe this quaint little town is less than three hours away from New York City.