Jump in the car & day trip

A view of Skaneateles Lake. Photo courtesy skaneatelestalk.com.

A view of Skaneateles Lake. Photo courtesy skaneatelestalk.com.

Beat the winter blues with 10 Empire State destinations each within a reasonable trek of the north country [Read more...]

Sooth your soul in ‘Spa City’ Saratoga Springs: Journey east packs history, arts, culture

Saratoga's famous racetrack is just one of Spa City's many attractions. Courtesy www.saratoga.com

Saratoga’s famous racetrack is just one of Spa City’s many attractions. Courtesy www.saratoga.com

Famous for its racetrack, outdoor summer concerts and mineral springs, the city of Saratoga, less than four hours from the north country, makes a great getaway year-round. Known for a robust arts scene that includes the Opera Saratoga and Saratoga Performing Arts Center, the city’s downtown also bustles with art galleries, boutiques and restaurants. And, only about a 30 minute drive from the Capital Region, a weekend trip to Saratoga will also make it easy to jaunt into the state’s capital for a wider range of shopping or to take a detour for a hike in the Adirondacks coming to or from. [Read more...]

Head south for a hippie haven that will delight: Ithaca an outdoor mecca for the foodie at heart

Ithaca Commons is the heart of Ithaca's downtown and makes a great place for shopping and browsing through both funky and upscale shops. Photo courtesy Visit Ithaca.

Less than four hours from most points in the north country, Ithaca is a medium-sized city of about 30,000 year-round residents known for its opportunities for outdoor adventure, hippie culture, robust local food scene and premier colleges and universities. For a weekend getaway, Ithaca offers plenty of great hiking, shopping, cultural events and eating, particularly vegan and vegetarian fare.

Friday, 2 P.M., take a walk in the company of great minds

A quick walking tour of the Cornell University campus is a good way to get a taste of Ithaca before you settle into your accommodations.

Cornell, an Ivy League university with about 22,000 students across undergraduate and graduate programs, boasts a spectacular, hilly 2,300-acre campus full of old, ivy-covered brick buildings and breathtaking views of the city. It offers a great place for a stroll, though you will get a workout from its huge quantity of stairs. Stop inside Cornell’s oldest library, Uris Library, which has a collection of two million volumes combined with Olin Library. Cornell’s other specialty libraries include the Baily Hortorium Library, composed of the combined botanical resources from the personal libraries of Liberty Hyde Bailey and Wiegand Herbarium. It has about 30,000 volumes, more than 200 journal titles and hundreds of shelf-feet of reprints. The Paleontological Research Institution Library contains over 50,000 volumes on paleontology, geology and natural history. The Snee Hall Reading Room is a glass-enclosed room with a beautiful view of the Cascadilla gorge and is a popular place to study. Visit www.cornell.edu/libraries for a list of libraries and their locations.

Grab a coffee or snack in Collegetown, which has numerous award-winning restaurants and shops. Stella’s Restaurant, Bar and Café at 403 College Ave. is a great place to refuel and get a taste of the local culture, offering something for everyone and known for its coffee and espresso drinks. Collegetown Bagels at 415 College Ave. is a great quintessential college town bagel shop and is also good place to grab a quick sandwich. [Read more...]

Discover a world away just across the border in Kingston

Downtown Ontario Street. Photo courtesy Tourism Kingston

‘Limestone City’ offers culture, cuisine and charm

Located where the St. Lawrence River and the Rideau Canal meet Lake Ontario, you’ll find Kingston, a city boasting a heritage that blends the beauty of the past with the many modern amenities of a larger, metropolitan area.

From its urban core, Canada’s first capital sparkles with relaxed boutiques and bistros while its waterfront teems with a mix of historic neighborhoods and pristine parkland. All of this in a city less than an hour or two from most points in Northern New York. Indeed, this cross-border city delights with 19th century limestone architecture and attractions of a major hub, but retains an affable small-town charm. [Read more...]

Go west and discover innovation in the Flower City

Rochester packs a punch a short drive away

The George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film. Gardens surround the house that was once owned by Mr. Eastman, the founder of Eastman Kodak.

Rochester is a city built on innovation. A cornerstone of the regional economy, Kodak’s global headquarters, Eastman Kodak, has called this Western New York city home since the early 1900s. Xerox and Bausch & Lomb are among dozens of other companies whose roots are planted in Rochester. Creative individuals who have convened in the Flower City have helped make each tiny neighborhood unique and inviting throughout.

Speaking of neighborhoods — and suburbs for that matter — Rochester has a ton of them. From the uber trendy Park Avenue neighborhood to the affluent Erie Canal village of Pittsford, each offers something different and caters to various clienteles. Want a night on the town without having to drive from a restaurant to a nightclub? Hit the East End. Looking for a good cup of coffee, local foods, hip cafés and shops the cool kids visit? The Southwedge is your place. [Read more...]

Saranac a slice of heaven on higher ground

Take a short drive to the Adirondacks for year-round fun

Photo by Allyson Stone, special to NNY Living.

The natural beauty of the Adirondacks is easily enjoyed during summer months, but can be just as breathtaking during the winter, making it a year-round destination that is always evolving. The evolution can come from the flora and fauna that reside in the mountains and forests, or the people who live in the quaint, quiet towns and villages strategically placed throughout the Adirondack Park. [Read more...]

Take a bite out of the Big Apple

Holiday magic, cheer awaits in city that never sleeps

Photo courtesy I Love NY

Despite the wreckage that Superstorm Sandy left in its wake, a trip to New York City in the late fall and early winter is an experience the whole family will not soon forget. Unlike a summer trip, temperatures are cooler for walking tours of the city, sidewalks are not so packed with tourists and shops everywhere are bedecked for the holidays, complete with inventory-clearing sales to take advantage of. In fact, late in the year may just be the perfect time to visit the unofficial cultural capital of the East Coast.

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A grand slam of activities awaits in Cooperstown: Baseball, brews and more in home to first Hall of Fame

Photo courtesy of Cooperstown/Otsego County Tourism

A wonderful fact about living in Northern New York is its close proximity to a veritable world of treasures, most within a reasonable day trip of home and inside the Empire State. Less than three hours from Watertown, an easy jaunt down Route 12 to Utica, east on the New York State Thruway to Mohawk and south on Route 28, is Otsego County and Central Leatherstocking Country.

[Read more...]

Hudson Valley’s historic downtown has serious personality

By Kyle R. Hayes

Hudson's Warren Street is the hub of cultural activity, with dozens of antique shops and restaurants. Photo by Daniel Case.

The north country is packed with small towns, each with their own unique personalities and histories. For those accustomed to the slower pace of the north country, a quick jaunt or weekend away to a major metropolitan city isn’t always the most relaxing experience. The Hudson-Catskill region, called “Upper Hudson River Valley,” combines some of the north country’s small-town charm, with many big-city amenities. Less than four hours from Watertown, take the easy trip down I-81 to the New York State Thruway to Albany and head south. Across the Hudson River from Catskill is Hudson, a city with small-town charm.

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Take flight to a Windy City in waiting

Metro Chicago calls with direct air from Watertown

The Chicago skyline as seen from Navy Pier. Photo courtesy of the City of Chicago/GRC.

By Kyle R. Hayes
NNY Living

Northern New York has a new neighbor. With American Eagle Airlines flying out of Watertown International Airport to Chicago-O’Hare, crossing Lake Ontario and Lake Michigan takes less time than the drive from Watertown to Albany. Flights leave Watertown at 7:10 a.m. every day but Sunday and at 5:05 p.m. every day except Saturday. Booking a flight is as easy as visiting the American Airlines website at www.americanairlines.com. Founded in 1837, Chicago is celebrating 175 years of history, hot dogs, deep dish pizza and baseball. While winters can rival those in upstate New York, a spring visit will ensure gardens in bloom and mild weather to walk, or bike, the lake shore and city streets. [Read more...]

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