“Where does Upstate New York begin and end?” This is debatably one of the most vexing questions you could ask a local New Yorker, and it is unlikely you are going to receive one simple or straightforward answer. Some argue that anything outside of the city is upstate, while others suggest that true upstate New York could be considered anything that falls north if you draw a line extending from Pennsylvania’s northern border across the Hudson Valley. Those are of course, just two of the many working definitions to this seemingly subjective answer to this question.
One thing that is certain is that once you get outside of the concrete jungle, the Empire State is truly a haven for outdoors lovers. From the rugged peaks of the Catskill Mountains to the world famous Niagara Falls, wilderness abounds in upstate New York. Here are three places that must be visited in upstate and some amazing places to stay nearby:
1) The Catskill Mountains
Just two hours north of the city, the Catskills are the perfect escape for those looking to avoid the hustle and bustle of the inner city. Nicknamed the “blue mountains” because of their idyllic blue appearance in the distance, the Catskills actually form part of the Appalachian Mountain range and are one of the largest and most complex natural areas in the east coast. We recommend a stay in Roxbury, a charming historical hamlet in the Catskills that remains one of the few places in upstate new york that is still a thriving farm community. With Plattekill State Forest and Relay State Forest close by as well, this area is the perfect peaceful getaway!
2) The Finger Lakes Region
The Finger Lakes can best be described as a series of 11 long and thin finger-like (hence the name) lakes that span northern western New York. The lakes are known for their pristine nature, as well as for their connection to native american history. Legend has it that the finger lakes lakes were created by a Great Spirit who blessed the land with his hands, and as such the names are all Native American- Skaneateles, Otisco, Owasco, Cayuga, Seneca, Keuka, Canandaigua, Honeoye, Canadice, Conesus and Hemlock.
This region is not only home to some of the country’s best lake centric vacation spots, but ideal microclimates that are perfect for producing many vibrant wines such as world-class Rieslings. Stay at a cozy cabin to experience some of the best of the region.
3) The Adirondack Mountains
The Adirondack Mountains are unlike the neighboring Rockies or Appalachians, as they are comprised of a 160-mile wide dome of more than 100 peak rather than a connected range. The area encompasses a plethora of picturesque lakes, mountains, and waterfalls. With few tourists in the area, visitors will find themselves soothed by the calming surroundings of the great outdoors. Best of all, there are no park fees to enter, no gates that close at night, just a boundless natural preserve and the promise of adventure.
This lovely lakefront cabin is around an hour and a half to two hours away from Albany and a four-hour drive from New York City.
Written by: Giovanna Tapia