Upstate New York is one of New England's most popular rural getaway sites, located within convenient day or weekend trip driving distance from major cities such as New York City and Philadelphia.
Many of the region's major cities have recovered from their Rust Belt days and are experiencing a cultural renaissance, including lovely areas such as Rochester, Utica, and Buffalo. World-renowned attractions such as romantic Niagara Falls and the Olympic Games attractions of Lake Placid are also within easy day-trip distance of both American and Canadian cities in the area.
1. The Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens
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The Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens are one of New York's most beautiful botanical garden facilities, designed as a collaboration between renowned architects Lord and Burnham, botanist John F. Cowell, and legendary landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted.
The gardens, which were originally created between 1894 and 1900, are recognized as a National Historic Site today, attracting more than 100,000 annual visitors from around the world.
Stunning indoor gardens showcase native and exotic plants around the world, including a majestic Palm Dome house, an Asian-style Rainforest House, and an Ivy, Carnivorous Plants, and Medicinal Garden House, which is home to the world's largest public ivy collection.
Displays of cacti, succulents, begonias, and orchids are also showcased, along with an art gallery showcasing rotating exhibits by professional and amateur artists.
2655 South Park Ave, Buffalo, NY 14218, Phone: 716-827-1584
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Cazenovia, NY is located within Madison County along the southeastern banks of Cazenovia Lake.
The charming village was originally established in 1794 by John Lincklaen of the Holland Land Company and is named in honor of company agent Theophilus Cazenove.
Today, it is known as one of upstate New York's most picturesque getaways, showcasing a splendid rural landscape filled with forested areas and scenic waterways. Visitors can explore the city's charming 19th-century historic business center, which is home to many architecturally significant buildings.
Delicious dining options include the acclaimed Lincklaen House, which serves up casual fine dining in a stunning historic building stocked with period furniture. More day trips from Rochester, NY
Corning is a lovely Finger Lakes area town in Steuben County, located along the banks of the Chemung River and named in honor of Albany financier Erastus Corning, the head of the Fortune 500 company Corning Incorporated.
The beautiful Corning Museum of Glass is home to one of the world's most comprehensive artistic and functional glass collections, showcasing pieces dating back to antiquity.
Western American painting and sculpture is also on display at the Rockwell Museum, making the city a must-do for arts and crafts enthusiasts.
The city's historic Gaffer District is home to gorgeous restored 19th-century buildings and a plethora of shopping and dining options.
Visitors can also view the historic Bloody Run site, which commemorates the site of a significant battle between indigenous American villagers and European generals. Finger Lakes Weekend Getaways
4. New York Day Trips: Ellicottville
Ellicottville is a scenic ski village in western New York state, originally incorporated in 1837 after development by the Holland Land Company.
Today, many of the city's gorgeous historic sites are listed on the National Register of Historic Places within the Ellicottville Historic District.
Two area ski resorts operate throughout the winter months, including the renowned HoliMont Ski Club, North America's largest private ski club, and the popular public Holiday Valley ski resort.
Beautiful Nannen Arboretum is home to a Japanese-style stone garden and strolling pathways, while Ellicottville Village Park offers day-use picnic sites. Each year, the city's annual Fall Festival is held in conjunction with Canadian Thanksgiving weekend and the peak of fall foliage.
Other special events include a Mardi Gras celebration, a Jazz and Blues Festival, and a Rock'n'Oldies Weekend.
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5. The Enchanted Mountains of Cattaraugus County
The Enchanted Mountains of Cattaraugus County are one of western New York's most scenic upland areas, located within the state's lovely Chautauqua-Allegany Region.
The region is known for its stunning natural scenery, including lush forests, rolling hills, impressive glacial valleys, and pristine, sparkling lakes and waterways. Visitors can explore the region's two major cities, 13 villages, and 32 townships, which are home to delightful attractions such as the Holiday Valley ski resort, commonly known as the "Aspen of the East."
Outdoor recreational opportunities abound at sites such as Zoar Valley, Case Lake, and Harwood Lake. Unique geological attractions are also on display at Rock City Park and Little Rock City, including prehistoric formations. More day trips from Pittsburgh
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6. Ausable Chasm
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Ausable Chasm is a unique tourist attraction near the city of Keeseville, showcasing a stunning sandstone gorge that was carved by the melting of glaciers during the end of the last Ice Age.
The gorge spans approximately two miles and is one of the biggest natural tourist attractions of the Adirondacks region, located along the course of the majestic Ausable River near its terminus at Lake Champlain.
Visitors can observe and photograph unique natural attractions and formations such as The Devil's Oven, Sentinel Rock, The Cathedral, and Elephant's Head or view the stunning Rainbow Falls, which is located at the gorge's southern end.
Cultural attractions in the region include the North Star Underground Railroad Museum, which commemorates the Civil War-era operations of the Underground Railroad. More than 15 miles of mountain biking trails are also offered at the Ausable Chasm Recreation Center.
2144 U.S. 9, Ausable Chasm, NY 12911, Phone: 518-834-7454
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7. Coney Island History Project - Preserving Coney Island's Past
Known as the 'Playground of the World', Coney Island has held a special place in the hearts of many people through several generations, dating all the way back to its establishment as one of America's favorite seaside resorts back in the mid-19th century.
The Coney Island History Project is a 501 (c) (e) not for profit organization that works to preserve the past of Coney Island, honoring the people and stories who made the place what it is today and helped it earn such iconic status over the years.
The Coney Island History Project all began in 2005 with the opening of the Coney Island Hall of Fame, and this is still a big part of the project's work to this day.
When we look back into the past, it's fascinating and inspiring to see and learn more about the various visionaries, pioneers, inventors, and leaders who helped to make Coney Island what it is today.
People like Granville T. Woods, who helped to invent the electric roller coasters that made Coney Island so popular with families, or Paul Boyton, who constructed Coney's first ever amusement park, are all honored in the Hall of Fame. It's one of the most interesting spots in Coney Island, decorated with colorful banners and interesting information panels.
The many artifacts, photos, and other materials of the Coney Island History Project are on display at the project's Exhibition Center, which is located at West 12th St, right by the entrance to Deno's Wonder Wheel Park, just off the Boardwalk.
You can see some of Coney Island's oldest surviving artifacts, including a Toll House sign from 1823, as well as taking a photo with Coney Island's only remaining original Steeplechase horse. coneyislandhistory.org
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8. Hunter Mountain
Hunter Mountain is the second-highest peak within New York's Catskill Mountains, reaching elevations of 4,040 feet above sea level.
The mountain is most associated with the ski resort area of the same name, which is anchored around its Colonel's Chair ridge on its northwestern corner.
Atop its beautiful summit, a fire lookout tower offers the state's highest observational views and can be reached via a hiking and horseback riding route.
Excellent snow tubing and skiing experiences are offered for visitors of all ages and skill levels at the Hunter Mountain resort in Greene County, which was New York state's first skiing facility to utilize 100 percent artificial snow operations.
Four terrain parks are offered, along with a plethora of dining experiences and resort amenities.
8827 NY-23A, Hunter, NY 12442, Phone: 518-263-4811
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Ithaca is one of the most famous college towns in the United States, home to renowned Ivy League college Cornell University.
The beautiful city, which is located within New York's stunning Finger Lakes region, is a cultural paradise for day trippers, showcasing stunning museums and botanical gardens such as the renowned Cornell Botanic Gardens, which are home to the unparalleled Cascadilla Falls.
Families can enjoy attractions such as the Museum of the Earth natural history museum, the Cayuga Nature Center, or the hands-on Sciencenter.
Arts lovers can take in performances at the city's Hangar Theater or view important collections at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art.
The city is also renowned for its extensive live music scene, which is home to more than 80 venues throughout the greater region and has produced major independent rock artists like the X Ambassadors and Kurt Riley. Things to do in Ithaca
10. Lake Placid
Lake Placid was the host village of the Winter Olympics twice throughout the 20th century, in both 1932 and 1980, one of only three sites in the world to host the Games more than once.
One of the best weekend getaways from NYC, the village is a must-visit for winter sports and hockey enthusiasts, known as the site of the "Miracle on Ice" hockey game between the 1980 United States and Soviet Olympic hockey teams.
Olympics memorabilia is on display at the Lake Placid Olympic Museum, including team medals and uniforms.
Visitors can enjoy a plethora of hotels and activities throughout the city's beautiful Adirondack Mountains landscape, including opportunities for skiing at nearby Whiteface Mountain, which is home to Eastern North America's highest vertical elevation. If you are asking yourself: "Where should I go in Upstate NY?", Lake Placid is a great destination for couples and families. More New York Lakes
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11. Letchworth State Park
Letchworth State Park is a gorgeous 14,000-acre state park spanning areas throughout Wyoming and Livingston Counties, located approximately half an hour southwest of the city of Rochester.
The park follows the course of the majestic Genesee River, flowing northward over beautiful waterfalls and gorge stretches.
It has been voted as America's favorite state park by the readers of USA Today, noted for its excellent outdoor recreational opportunities year-round.
Visitors can explore the park's Upper, Middle, and Lower Falls sites and view its spectacular 550-foot gorge walls, which earned the site a reputation as the "Grand Canyon of the East."
Day-use picnic sites are offered at the park, along with 66 miles of hiking trails, swimming pools, and opportunities for hiking, biking, kayaking, hunting, fishing, and whitewater rafting. During the winter months, visitors can snow tube, cross-country ski, snowmobile, or enjoy scenic horse-drawn carriage rides through the snowy landscape. More ideas: Beaches Near NYC
1 Letchworth State Park, Castile, NY 14427, Phone: 585-493-3600
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12. Lily Dale
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Lily Dale is a quaint hamlet within the town of Pomfret, located along the eastern banks of Cassadaga Lake in southwestern New York state less than an hour outside of Buffalo.
The idyllic community, which is unofficially known as the "City of Light," was founded as the Cassadaga Lake Free Association camp in 1879, striving to further the science and philosophies of Spiritualism.
Each year, the village opens to the public for summer workshops and courses, ranging from spiritual healing sessions and reiki lessons to private psychic medium consultations.
Guest lecturers are also showcased throughout the summer, including international luminaries such as Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer, James Van Praagh. Lisa Williams, and members of the television series Ghost Hunters. More day trips from Albany, NY
13. The Muse Brooklyn
© The Muse Brooklyn
A celebration of all things circus related, The Muse Brooklyn is NYC's premier circus space and circus community. A home for artists from far and wide, The Muse Brooklyn aims to allow visitors to engage with the circus however they want, through classes, events, and performances. Circus Classes are aimed towards those aged 18 and above.
They cover all aspects of circus performance from aerial ropes and silks to lyra, German wheel, Chinese pole, handstands, juggling, wall running, hammock work, trapeze, and tumbling.
Kids Classes include Ground Kids Cirque, which focuses on ground activities like tumbling and juggling, as well as Aerial Kids Cirque, which sees kids aged up to 12 take to the air in hammocks and wraps, learning and performing all kinds of aerial acrobatics and tricks. To get in touch with The Muse Brooklyn, call 929-400-1678.
14. New York Adventure Club - Great Tours of New York City's Hidden Gems
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The New York Adventure Club is all about truly one of a kind experiences you wouldn’t be able to find or enjoy anywhere else.
There are plenty of NYC tours out there to take you around Times Square and the big touristic sites, but the New York Adventure Club is totally different.
These kinds of tours and experiences are completely unique, taking you to off-beat locations and hidden gems all over the New York Boroughs.
Whether you’re a total newbie to New York City or a lifelong resident, you can get a lot out of these tours and experiences.
Even if you think you know New York better than anyone, you’ll be surprised to learn and see what the New York Adventure Club has to offer.
One of the best things about NYC is that you can spend an entire lifetime there and still have so much to discover, and the club makes those lesser-known areas and activities much more accessible.
As the name suggests, the New York Adventure Club really is a club, with a focused community vibe and atmosphere.
It’s a great option for the countless people who find themselves visiting the same old places and not daring to go beyond their own little ‘bubble’ due to fear, anxiety, or a lack of friends around the city.
With the New York Adventure Club, you’ll be able to team up with a whole host of like-minded people for some super experiences like hiking along abandoned trails, visiting beautiful buildings, learning new skills, visiting some of NYC's secret parks, and enjoying private tours and shows at many other locations. nyadventureclub.com
15. Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge
Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge is a lovely wildlife preserve overseen by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, located within the town of Tyre approximately halfway between the cities of Rochester and Syracuse.
The scenic Seneca County refuge is anchored around Cayuga Lake's Montezuma Swamp and Marshes, which were designated as a National Natural Landmark in 1973.
Today, they protect one of New England's best examples of undisturbed swamp woodlands, spanning 10,000 acres along the Atlantic Flyway migratory bird trail.
Visitors can observe native wildlife, including significant populations of migratory bald eagles, during daylight hours seven days a week at the preserve.
Hiking and biking trails are offered throughout the preserve, along with the 3.5-mile Wildlife Drive auto tour route. More day trips from Rochester, NY
3395 Hwy 20, Seneca Falls, NY 13148, Phone: 315-568-5987
16. Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls is one of North America's greatest natural wonders, located along the United States-Canadian border approximately 20 minutes from the city of Buffalo.
The stunning falls, which are located along the majestic Niagara River, are home to North America's highest falls flow rate, cresting more than six million cubic feet of water each minute.
The falls are actually comprised of three separate waterfall areas, including Horseshoe Falls, which are known as the site's most iconic attraction.
Visitors can view the massive falls from Niagara Falls State Park's Prospect Point Observation Tower or traverse to other viewpoints from the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center.
A plethora of visitor attractions are located on both the American and Canadian sides of the falls, including the family-friendly Aquarium of Niagara.
Visitors can also ride the Maid of the Mist tour boat for an up-close view of the falls directly on the water. Where to Stay Near Niagara Falls
Rochester is a charming city on Lake Ontario, known as one of the United States' first boomtowns in the early 19th century due to its fertile land conditions.
The region has been historically known as a major manufacturing hub, producing companies such as Kodak, Xerox, Western Union, and Bausch and Lomb.
Today, it is known as one of America's most livable cities, home to lovely cultural institutions like the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, the Rochester City Ballet, and the George Eastman Museum International Museum of Photography and Film.
Families can enjoy attractions such as the Rochester Museum and Science Center, while beer lovers can taste brews at microbreweries like Genesee Brewing Company and Three Heads Brewing.
The city hosts many major festivals each year, including a spring Lilac Festival and the Rochester International Jazz Festival, one of the United States' largest jazz festivals. More things to Do around the Finger Lakes
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18. The Gefilteria Classes and Workshops
© The Gefilteria
The Gefilteria is an innovative food venture that started up in 2012 with the aim of offering a fresh take on European Jewish cuisine, bringing classic, traditional dishes into the modern era.
The team members and founders behind The Gefilteria all share a strong belief that Old World Jewish foods have a lot to offer, aiming to raise awareness of these foods through talks, classes, workshops, and more, as well as creating some of the very best gefilte fish in the world.
Gefilte fish was historically a stuffed fish dish, but it changed a lot over the years, with the complex stuffing step of the recipe gradually being phased out in favor of a simpler approach, resulting in a blend of poached, ground, deboned fish like carp, whitefish, and pike, served in a quenelle or fish ball format.
Inspired by this traditional dish, The Gefilteria was originally formed to offer the best gefilte fish around.
The classes and lessons are primarily focused on making traditional Jewish dishes, but incorporate elements of Jewish culture and history into each session for a highly entertaining and educational experience for all.
You can visit the official site gefilteria.com for a list of upcoming talks and classes, with The Gefilteria appearing at some very prestigious institutions and events like the New York City Wine and Food Festival, Columbia University, and the Center for Jewish History.
Skaneateles is a beautiful town and village in Onondaga County, located along the banks of gorgeous Skaneateles Lake.
The charming village is home to a quaint downtown district that is noted for its historic buildings, boutiques, shops, and restaurants.
Visitors can stay at charming historic inns and bed and breakfast facilities and peruse the city's lovely art galleries, including the John D. Barrow Art Gallery.
Skaneateles Lake offers excellent opportunities for fishing, walking, and boating, while nearby Carpenter Falls is one of the region's most beautiful natural photo opportunities, accessible via lovely forest nature trails. Wine lovers can enjoy tastings at the picturesque Anyela's Vineyards.
Annual special events hosted by the town throughout the year include the summer Skaneateles Festival music event, the Skaneateles Antique and Classic Boat Show, and the Dickens Christmas in Skaneateles period holiday event.
20. The National Museum of Play
© The National Museum of Play
The National Museum of Play is a unique museum operated by the Strong in Rochester, originally established in 1969 as a showcase for the personal collections of Margaret Woodbury Strong.
The museum is one of five museums operated by The Strong, along with the National Toy Hall of Fame, the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play, and the International Center for the History of Electronic Games.
It is the world's only collections-based museum devoted to the study of play, showcasing exhibits on beloved children's characters and franchises such as the Berenstain Bears and Sesame Street.
Immersive exhibits showcase video games, comic books, carousel rides, storybooks, and other children's play activities, including eGameRevolution, the United States' first permanent video game-related exhibit.
1 Manhattan Square Dr, Rochester, NY 14607, Phone: 585-263-2700
21. The Thousand Islands
The Thousand Islands are a stunning group of more than 1,800 islands along the United States-Canadian border on the St. Lawrence River, known as a popular summer retreat area for New England and Canadian elite throughout the 19th century.
Today, the region is known as a nature lover's paradise, home to the Canadian Thousand Islands National Park, which offers walking trails and campgrounds.
More than 30 New York state parks are also located throughout the islands, including Robert Moses State Park and Wellesley Island State Park. Visitors can swim at the Lake of the Isles, sunbathe at Potter's Beach, or fish at Eel Bay. Historic fortress remains are showcased on Wolfe Island, which played a significant role in the American Revolutionary War.
Other gorgeous structures on the islands include the romantic 120-room Boldt Castle and the living history museum Singer Castle. Things to Do in Alexandria Bay, NY
22. Tupper Lake
Tupper Lake is one of upstate New York's most charming small villages, located within the boundaries of Adirondack Park near the city of Lake Placid.
The lovely Tri-Lakes region village is best known as the home of two of New York's best natural science Centers, including the 54,000-square-foot Wild Center, which is set on a 31-acre campus and showcases a wide variety of exhibits and nature programming throughout the year.
The Adirondack Sky Center and Observatory lets visitors observe the beautiful night sky in the region at star viewing parties and open observation times.
Visitors can also explore attractions such as the Six Nations Indian Museum or sample brews at Raquette River Brewing. More Hudson Valley day trips
Utica is one of New York's most populous small cities, located approximately an hour east of Syracuse and four hours northwest of New York City.
The former Rust Belt region has become one of New York's most diverse cities today, home to vibrant Greman, Italian, Irish, Dutch, and Bosnian communities. Visitors can enjoy delicious cuisine options from around the world and sample popular area ethnic foods such as pierogies, Utica greens, chicken riggies, and tomato pies. The popular Matt Brewing Company is ranked as one of the nation's largest breweries by sales, offering tastings and tours at its public facility.
677 acres of parks include facilities designed by legendary landscape artist Frederick Law Olmsted. Visitors can explore area attractions such as the Utica Zoo or view the historic Utica Psychiatric Center, known as one of the nation's most infamous insane asylums in the 19th century.
Annual special events include the Boilermaker Road Race, held in conjunction with the National Distance Running Hall of Fame.
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24. Watkins Glen
Watkins Glen is a lovely village in Schuyler County, located within the towns of Reading and Dix.
The village is best known as the home of the Watkins Glen International race track, which hosts events connected to the NASCAR Cup and IndyCar car racing series.
The village's racing history dates back to 1948's Watkins Glen Sports Car Grand Prix, which was the United States' first post-WWII road race and is credited with reviving the American pastime of road racing in the 20th century.
Today, visitors can learn about the history of motorsports at the International Motor Racing Research Center, which is housed within the Watkins Glen Public Library.
Beautiful National Register of Historic Places-listed buildings throughout the city include the A.F. Chapman House, the First Baptist Church of Watkins Glen, and the Schuyler County Courthouse complex.
Lovely Watkins Glen State Park also spans 778 acres throughout the city, known as a top spot for watercraft racing.
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25. Women's Rights National Historical Park
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Women's Rights National Historical Park is a seven-acre historic park in Seneca Falls and Waterloo, originally established in 1980 to honor some of New York's most prominent feminist figures, including major figures in attendace of the first Women's Rights Convention. Four historic properties are protected by the park, including the Wesleyan Methodist Church, which hosted the landmark Seneca Falls Convention, and the Elizabeth Cady Stanton House. A visitor center features exhibits and sculptures honoring seminal figures such as Lucretia Mott, Mary Ann M'Clintock, and Frederick Douglass, along with a Suffrage Press Printshop and an educational center. A number of attractions are also showcased along the Votes for Women History Trail, including Rochester's Susan B. Anthony House and Mount Hope Cemetery.
136 Fall St, Seneca Falls, NY 13148, Phone: 315-568-0024
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Hammondsport has been voted as America's coolest small town by the readers of Budget Travel, located within upstate New York's Finger Lakes region at the southern edge of Keuka Lake. The region is best known for its award-winning wineries, including the Pleasant Valley Wine Company, which is housed on a National Register of Historic Places-listed campus and has been designated as United States Bonded Winery No.1. Visitors can start their wine-related trips at the city's Great Western Winery and Visitor Center, which displays the world's most comprehensive collection of historical artifacts related to winemaking and vineyards. Beer lovers can sample craft brews at Keuka Brewing Company, named as the state's best craft brewery in 2014. Other unique attractions include the Finger Lakes Boating Museum and the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum, honoring the famed aviation pioneer.
Mohonk Mountain House
Mohonk Mountain House is a beautiful all-inclusive resort in New Paltz, located just 20 miles outside of Poughkeepsie on the banks of gorgeous Lake Mohonk. The National Historic Landmark resort, which was developed in 1869 by Albert Smiley, spans 300 acres and is anchored around a gorgeous Victorian castle building that has provided overnight accommodations for international luminaries, including several United States Presidents. Visitors can explore the resort for the day as part of day packages and enjoy award-winning attractions such as hiking trails, Victorian gardens, and a full-service spa. Delicious buffet lunches are served up at the Granary on weekends, showcasing spectacular mountaintop views from its dining room. Visitors can also enjoy handcrafted cocktails at the Carriage Lounge or hit the links at the resort's Scottish-inspired nine-hole golf course.
1000 Mountain Rest Rd, New Paltz, NY 12561, Phone: 845-765-3286
The Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum honors famed American actors and comedians Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, best known for their roles on the beloved 1950s sitcom I Love Lucy. The nonprofit museum, which is located in Ball's hometown of Jamestown, New York, was opened to the public in 1996, preserving the pair's impact on pop culture and television throughout the 20th century. Visitors can view costumes and personal memorabilia connected to the couples, including awards, television costumes, and other artifacts from the pair's bulk of live and television work. Audio clips on display at the museum's audiovisual exhibits include clips from Ball's 1940s radio series My Favorite Husband and clips from Arnaz's autobiography A Book. Visitors can also listen to songs from Arnaz's Latin music career, explore recreated sets, or host private special events at a recreation of Ricky Ricardo's famed Tropicana Room nightclub.
2 W 3rd St, Jamestown, NY 14701, Phone: 716-484-0800
Attraction Spotlight: Bundy Museum of History and Art
Located in Binghamton, New York, the Bundy Museum of History and Art showcases a variety of historic properties and fine arts exhibits across three museum facilities, including the former Harlow E. Bundy mansion, open to the public as a living history museum. William Legrand Bundy was born in Otsego, New York in December of 1845, shortly before his family moved to nearby Auburn, where his younger brother Harlow E. Bundy was born in 1856.
After moving to Binghamton, the Bundy brothers became involved in jewelry work, with Willard patenting an invention of a time clock in 1888. The following year, the brothers founded the Bundy Manufacturing Company to mass-produce their invention, which aimed to replace the need for corporate timekeeper employees. As a result of the company’s success, the company moved to nearby Endicott to merge with several other local businesses as the International Time Recording Company and later as the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company. In 1924, the corporation was rebranded as International Business Machines, and in 1958, IBM’s Time Equipment Division was sold to Simplex Time Recorder Company.
The former mansion estate of Harlow E. Bundy was preserved as a historic structure and educational resource for the Binghamton community, opening to the public as a living history museum in 2004. Over the next several years, the museum rebranded as the Bundy Museum of History and Art with the opening of an art gallery for participation in the city’s monthly First Friday Art Walk event series. In 2011, the historic Bundy mansion was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, ensuring its preservation as a historic home structure and community resource.
Permanent Attractions and Exhibits
Today, the Bundy Museum of History and Art is operated as a nonprofit museum showcasing the social, cultural, and entrepreneurial history of Binghamton and the New York State region. As a cultural and educational resource for the Binghamton community, the museum strives to honor the accomplishments of notable area entrepreneurs and the cultural environments that shaped their achievements. The museum presents a threefold mission of recounting the entrepreneurial legacy of the Bundy brothers, preserving the Southern Tier region’s Victorian-era heritage, and educating the New York State region on aspects of the fine arts through a variety of community cultural programming.
Three buildings are showcased within the museum’s campus, including the restored 1892 Queen Anne’s-style Harlow E. Bundy House, which is open to the public as a living history museum offering guided tours. The mansion showcases stained glass windows, ornate woodwork, hand-painted ceilings, and amenities of the Victorian era, including a working dumbwaiter and butler’s phone. An art gallery within the home showcases rotating exhibits of works by local artists, presented in conjunction with Binghamton’s First Friday Art Walk events. Additional gallery space is located at the the museum’s 32 Cedar Street space, which features an African art gallery highlighting traditional ceremonial pieces, a community darkroom space with rotating photography exhibitions, and artist studio space for rental for local artists and makers.
Located directly behind the Bundy Mansion, the museum’s Carriage House Annex is home to a number of historic exhibits and archives, including the Southern Tier Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame, which recognizes notable local broadcasters with an annual induction ceremony, and a Rod Serling Archive, dedicated to the television producer and creator of The Twilight Zone. An 1893 World Fair exhibit recreates the Bundy company booth at the event with period artifacts and inventions, including original Bundy time clocks, while a recreated vintage barbershop exhibit reconstructs a local business that once stood near the Bundy Mansion. The barbershop was donated to the museum in 2008 by Endicott resident Ronald DiLorenzo and transported and fully restored to its original condition as a museum exhibit.
129 Main St, Binghamton, NY 13905, Phone: 607-772-9179
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Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site
Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site preserves the site of two historic battles in the War of 1812, located just south of the village of Sackets Harbor along the banks of Lake Ontario in Hounsfield. The National Register of Historic Places-listed site is home to the 24-acre Horse Island, which saw action during the Second Battle of Sackets Harbor. A restored 1850s-era Navy Yard and Commandant's House are also preserved as living history museum facilities, paying tribute to the more than 3,000 men who constructed warships in the region during the war. Visitors can embark on guided and self-guided tours throughout the site's exhibits and outdoor interpretive displays. Throughout the summer months, the site is home to historical reenactments, including demonstrations of soldier camp life in 1813.
504 W Main St, Sackets Harbor, NY 13685, Phone: 315-646-3634
Attraction Spotlight: Phelps Mansion Museum
Located in Binghamton, New York, the Phelps Mansion preserves the former home of city mayor Sherman D. Phelps, operated as a living history museum open for public tours. As one of the prominent figures in Binghamton, New York in the late 19th century, Sherman D. Phelps held a variety of business and civic roles, including a career as a banker and service as a Republican elector for President Abraham Lincoln.
Throughout the late 1860s, Phelps purchased three adjoining lots along the city’s Court Street and tore down their existing properties to create a mansion for his family’s personal residence. Binghamton architect Isaac Gale Perry was commissioned to design the home, which was constructed between 1869 and 1871 at a cost of more than $119,000. The home joined a number of other mansions along Court Street’s eastern section, located near the Susquehanna Valley Bank, which Phelps worked for. In 1872, Phelps moved into the Court Street residence and was elected as the city’s mayor shortly thereafter.
The home gained a reputation as a major civic center throughout the late 19th century, known for its lavish New Year’s Day celebration. Following Phelps’ death in 1878, the home remained the residence of the Phelps family until 1882, when Phelps’ daughter-in-law Harriett passed away. The mansion remained unoccupied for several years before exchanging hands to several short-term owners and eventually being sold as the new location for the Monday Afternoon Club in 1905. In 1986, ownership of the mansion was transferred to the care of the Phelps Mansion Foundation for its preservation as a historic building, and in 2005, the museum was formally charted by the New York State Board of Regents.
Attractions and Tours
Today, the Phelps Mansion is owned and operated as a joint partnership between the Monday Afternoon Club and the Phelps Mansion Foundation. The mansion still serves as the weekly meeting location for the Club, but is also open to the public as a living history museum for public guided tours under the ownership of the Foundation. As a member facility of the American Association for State and Local History, the Museum Association of New York, and the New York Council on Non-Profits, the museum strives to preserve the city’s Victorian-era history by presenting regular tours and public programming related to the city’s civic and cultural history.
The three-story mansion is constructed of brick and stone, designed according to the Empire school of architecture. The home’s basement includes a full kitchen and chef’s apartment, while the first floor showcases a formal parlor, dining room, waiting area, solarium, and entertainment rooms. Five bedrooms are located on the second floor, along with two bathrooms and a sitting room, while the third floor contains servants’ quarters, storage rooms, and a billiard parlor. All rooms have been returned to their period-appropriate condition and showcase original furnishings and possessions belonging to the Phelps family.
Guided tours of the home are offered on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays during the late morning and afternoon hours. Tours embark from the home’s ballroom entrance and are offered every half hour, with guided tours lasting approximately one hour. Tour rates are offered for adults, students, and seniors, with children under 12 admitted free with a paying adult guardian. The museum is fully handicap-accessible, with elevator access available to the home’s first and second stories, and amateur visitor photography is permitted, though no tripods or professional equipment are allowed without advance arrangement. Visitor parking is provided behind the mansion, including space for group tour vehicles.
Ongoing Programming and Events
Private guided tours of the museum for small groups of 10 participants or more may be arranged by contacting the Foundation directly via phone or email at least two weeks in advance of desired tour dates. Curriculum-incorporated tours for elementary and secondary students are available, as well as American Sign Language interpreter tours for visitors with hearing accommodation needs. A variety of onsite workshops are available for booking, which may be tailored to meet the needs of student or adult groups. Workshop topics include 19th-century lifestyle and business topics such as inventions, mail-order commerce, and children’s toys and games. In-school programming is also offered by the Foundation, bringing 45-minute presentations focusing on aspects of the Gilded Age directly into the classroom.
A variety of public special event programming is offered throughout the year at the mansion, including themed children’s holiday events and workshops, trivia nights, concerts and recital performances, and lectures and seminars related to civic history and the nonprofit sector. The museum may also be rented for private photography sessions for weddings, special occasions, and other photoshoot needs. All photography sessions must be scheduled at least two weeks in advance by contacting the Foundation directly via phone or email.
191 Court St, Binghamton, NY 13901, Phone: 607-722-4873
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Attraction Spotlight: Apple Hill
Located in Binghamton, New York, Apple Hill is one of the most productive farms throughout the Southern Tier region of New York State, offering a public orchard facility, cafe, and seasonal farmer’s market. In 1848, the Binghamton-area farmland that now comprises Apple Hills was purchased by the Green family, who still manage the land today and have passed operations down throughout six generations of family ownership.
Though the farmland was intended to grow a variety of crops, in 1920, the Greens began cultivating apple orchards on the property with an initial planting of of 40 acres of apple trees, which the farm became best known for throughout the 20th century. Strawberry fields were added to the property in 1930, and the success of the farm’s apple and strawberry orchards led to the creation of storage facilities in 1942. Farm operations were expanded to include blueberry plantings in 1972, and several areas of the farm were opened to the public seasonally, including a cafe and farmer’s market area. Today, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and a variety of vegetables are grown on the original Apple Hills farmland, though it is still best known for its apple orchards and crops.
Today, Apple Hills is operated as a working farmland and seasonal visitor attraction, offering public fruit picking throughout the 40-acre orchards during ripe growing seasons for crops. Visitors may walk through the orchard areas at their leisure and choose from a large variety of types of fruit to pick, with berry crops reaching their peak during the summer and apples on display throughout the autumn months. All fruit within the orchards may be sampled before purchase, and buckets, carts, and baskets, are available to carry and transport any picked fruit from the orchard area to the facility’s visitor parking lot. As a natural outdoor area for the Binghamton community, Apple Hills’ orchards also provide scenic hilltop views of the region, offering unique photo opportunities for farm visitors.
A Petting Zoo area at the farm provides opportunities for children and families to interact with goats, donkeys, sheep, potbellied pigs, and other farm animals. Animal feed may be purchased for a nominal fee. A nearby outdoor playground area is stocked with bales of hay and other obstacles for children to climb on, while an indoor activity room features a make-believe shop, basketball games, a ball pit, apple-themed games, and art activities. Family-friendly wagon rides through the farm’s orchards are also available seasonally.
An onsite cafe, the Apple Dumpling Cafe, serves breakfast and lunch year-round, offering fare made with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients, many of which are grown or produced directly at the farm. Breakfast offerings include traditional homestyle items such as pancakes, waffles, potatoes, and egg dishes, while the cafe’s lunch menu features American diner fare such as cold sandwiches, soups, salads, and hot dogs. Coffee, tea, hot chocolate, hot apple cider, and a selection of fresh juices are available throughout the day, along with a selection of dessert items.
A public farmer’s market is located within the cafe building, offering seasonal produce picked by farm staff available for visitor purchase, including apples, berries, and vegetables. A variety of homemade baked goods are also available, including donuts, cookies, pies, and freshly-baked bread. Carryout meals packaged from the cafe are also sold at the market, along with bottled apple cider and juices squeezed and prepared on site. A large selection of spices, jellies, and jams are available at the farm’s gift shop, along with a variety of locally-made artisan gifts, including wind chimes, candles, home decor, kitchen items and dinnerware, and fine art pieces.
Ongoing Programs and Events
For young visitors wishing to celebrate their birthday at Apple Hills, a variety of birthday party packages are available from May through October. Party packages offer a party room for private party time, access to the facility’s children’s activity room, and feed for animals at the facility’s petting zoo. Private hayrides and orchard-picking time may also be added onto party packages, and catering for guests may be provided through the Apple Dumpling Cafe.
A number of public special events are hosted at the farm throughout the year, including a large community Halloween event and fall festival, held every weekend throughout the month of October. The annual event offers a haunted barn facility, public apple picking, family trick-or-treating, duck racing, children’s activity stations, and other Halloween-themed activities. Fresh donuts and apple cider are served throughout the farm, along with a variety of other seasonal food offerings. During the winter holidays, ornaments and other seasonal decorations are available for purchase at the farm’s gift shop, and a Christmas light display is presented on December evenings. In the spring, Apple Hill hosts a family Easter Egg hunt event, and in the summer, an annual Berry Festival is held.
131 Brooks Rd, Binghamton, NY 13905, Phone: 607-729-2683
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