There are two types of New Yorkers: those from the City and those of us “upstate.” And while many people from the City love to escape to their country homes for some fresh air on the weekends, we upstaters enjoy everything the State has to offer all year round! Yes, we go to the City for a Broadway play or an American baseball game at Yankees field, but it’s not long before we’re heading right back home!
I like to drive Route 9, the most scenic route, where the City gives way to the Catskill Mountains. The Catskills offers some of the most amazing views, hiking trails and beautiful waterfalls in all of New York.
New York State boasts over 475 waterfalls, and Bash Bish Falls is one of my favorite. Bash Bish is on the border between Massachusetts and New York. You can choose to climb down the river bed from the Massachusetts side, or hike along the well-maintained trail from the New York side. Either way, the roar of the falls helps melt away any stress you may have after the crush of the City!
Continuing to head north on Taghkonick Parkway will bring you to Interstate 90, which traverses the State east to west. Heading east takes you to Boston, while heading west takes you to Albany, the Capital of New York State.
The Hudson River runs from the Atlantic Ocean at New York City, through Albany, and is the most traversed rivers in the State. It’s used for both recreation, with multiple boat marinas along its edges, and for commerce, with large container ships bringing cargo to the various port cities along the way. Sitting in the Albany Amphitheater, you could simultaneously watch a concert and a swinging bridge open to allow a container ship to cargo to the Port of Albany.
Continuing to head north, you’d end up in the Adirondacks, home of Lake Placid. There are approximately 217 amazing lakes in New York State, and Lake Placid is probably the best known due to having been the location of the Winter Olympics years ago. It’s still maintained as the training site for winter-sports Olympians.
Instead of continuing north though, I keep driving west towards the Finger Lakes Region, home of many more lakes in New York. There are plenty of recreational activities to enjoy at the lakes, including parasailing, sailing, or just relaxing!
The Finger Lakes Region, called that for the five finger-shaped lakes in the area, is also home to world-class wine country. The breezes in the region are conducive to growing grapes, and the countryside opens itself to sweeping vistas of vineyards. Of course, wine tastings are a necessity, and there are plenty of wineries willing to make your experience worth the stop! One of my favorites is Casa Larga, which has a great tour, boasts a fantastic gift shop, and makes the best ice wine on the planet!
You’ll also see plenty of farms, and maybe even get stuck behind a horse drawn carriage driven by an Amish gentleman. The Amish don’t believe in modern conveniences, so no phones, cars, radios, or tractors! Can you imagine harvesting a field of corn using only your hands and some horses? These young boys didn’t seem to mind the hard work at all, and even took the time to let me take their pictures. I had to show them my camera to get my point across, as many speak Pennsylvania Dutch.
Last but not least on our trip east across New York State is Niagara Falls. These massive waterfalls border Ontario, Canada and New York. The New York side of the Falls boasts has views that are amazing, while the Canadian side offers more tourist attractions. One of my favorites is the Maid of the Mist, a large boat that takes you right up to the American Falls. All the passengers wear blue rain slickers, but are still drenched by the time they get back to dry land! The sound is deafening, so conversation has to wait! If going on a boat up close to that much water isn’t your thing, you can always take a helicopter ride over the falls (highly recommended!), or a more leisurely stroll behind the falls.
There are so many other wonders in New York, which have to wait for another day and another blog! I’m not sure if a week is enough time to see it all. I’ve lived here for 10 years, and have yet to see all New York has to offer!