New York State Highlights Nifty New Attractions Across State for Travelers

The magnificent Hudson River Valley. There is still time to explore this summer and fall © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

There is still time to take advantage of the many new and exciting activities available across New York State this summer and into the fall. With new thrill rides, dining venues and entertainment concepts, as well as new ways to explore the Empire State’s natural beauty and history, there are more reasons than ever before to explore New York State this season.

“New York State offers unparalleled opportunities to millions of travelers every season, and this summer is no exception,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said. “Both New Yorkers and visitors alike can enjoy a wide variety of experiences, from outdoor adventure to family-friendly activities to some of the very best cuisine. Supporting these local destinations provides a boost to local economies, and gives all visitors an opportunity to explore the best of what the Empire State has to offer.”

The variety of and accessibility to world-class attractions in New York is unrivaled, with something to do in every corner of the State. Visitors can dine in downstate Saratoga Springs, stay in lodging along Cayuga Lake, ice skate indoors on Long Island, and learn about the history of Lake George.

(See also: New York State Partners with ResponsibleTravel on Sustainable Travel Online Guide, Itineraries)

A sampling of some of the exciting new places to visit, stay and dine at across the New York State includes:

New Things to Do and Places to Go

Adirondacks

Extreme Supernova, a new thrill ride at The Great Escape & Splashwater Kingdom in Lake George, takes riders on an adrenaline-pumping, pendulum-swinging, spinning adventure that takes them fifty feet up in the air and sends them head-over-heels with swings and unpredictable spins. The ride joins the park’s 135 attractions which include thrill and family rides and a water park.

Thanks to a land purchase by New York State, OK Slip Falls in Indian Lake, the highest free-falling cataract in Adirondack Park, is now open to the public. Square Eddy Rafting Outfitter is offering a “Hike In – Raft Out” expedition that explores the newly acquired New York State lands. Trips begin with an intermediate level hike to the top of the falls and then down to the Hudson River. Hikers are met with rafts and spend the rest of the day on the Hudson River running rapids and enjoying the float out.

Explore History Tours, which offers walking tours around Lake George’s historic locations led by guides in 1750’s museum quality period dress, has added evening tours this year. The evening tours depart on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings and cover about ¾ mile in 1½ hours, accommodating people of all ages and fitness.

A new bicycle shop, LeepOff Cycles, now open in Wilmington on State Route 86, caters to mountain bikers and all types and levels of cyclists. Wilmington is known as a great destination for mountain biking with a network of well-maintained trails and scenic loops for road cycling.
Lake Placid keeps getting more interesting. Two new businesses illustrate its breadth of interests: Jin Jin’s, a women’s clothing boutique featuring stylish, comfortable clothing and a new branch of Saratoga Olive Oil offers flavored oils and vinegars as well as other gourmet products, most of which can be tasted on-site.

Indian Lake has added two specialty shops on State Route 30 in the past year: Kim’s Country Corner, a collectibles store which sells gifts and home decor and the Adirondack Pickle Ladies, which makes and sells handcrafted pickle products as well as home-baked breads, granolas, pies and other delectables.

Capital-Saratoga

Spa City Market, a year-round farmers market selling top local goods with live music and an entertainment/education section for children, takes place every Sunday from 10am-3pm, (indoors during the winter season) on the site of the historic Lincoln Bath House in Saratoga Springs. The summer, the market will also be held Tuesdays from 3-6 p.m.

Catskills

The iconic 1,300-acre Kutscher’s resort in Sullivan County, which starred in the movie “Dirty Dancing” and was one of the well-known Borscht Belt resorts, has been sold to Veria Lifestyle to be transformed into a healthy living resort expected to open in 2015.

Hancock-based international hunting and fly fishing guide Jim “Coz” Costolnick has added a Paddle and Peddle division to his company, Border Water Outfitters. The shop now rents Trex Hybrid Bikes for adults and children and provides suggested routes. Canoes and kayaks are also available. All rentals include mandatory safety equipment. Boaters can enjoy a day either on the Cannonsville Reservoir or on the waters of the Delaware River and the shop provides shuttle service for those using their own watercraft.

Finger Lakes

The best of New York’s agriculture, entertainment, education, industry and technology is coming to the fun-filled Great New York State Fair, Aug. 21 – Sept. 1, at the State Fairgrounds in Syracuse.

The fair boasts more than 375 acres of animals, exhibits and displays, plus games of skill and new midway rides, including the RC48, the second-largest roller coaster in the country. Enjoy performances from some of the biggest names in entertainment, including Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood and Barenaked Ladies. Be sure to stop by the Taste New York Marketplace and tent to sample and purchase the best of New York’s culinary bounty.

Destiny USA in Syracuse has two new thrilling experiences:

WonderWorks Destiny USA introduces a new Apache Helicopter simulator, allowing those 13 and up to feel the power of navigating the skies in one of the Army’s most renowned machines.

Billy Beez, an indoor play/entertainment center themed around the adventures of a bee and his fellow rainforest creatures, leads kids through a fantastical journey. As they explore the rainforest, kids find a variety of play activities in addition to the park’s signature Rainbow slide, trampolines, obstacle courses and climbing walls.

Bristol Mountain Aerial Adventures, an adventure park set in the forest canopy in Canandaigua, opened this spring with seven different courses offering varying levels of difficulty. Each course is made up of 12-15 elements such as zip lines, tightrope walks, rope ladders and bridges.

Roseland Bowl Family Fun Center, an 18,000 square-foot entertainment center in Canandaigua has recently expanded, adding laser tag, bumper cars and 30 new arcade games to its 44 bowling lanes.

Hudson Valley

Hudson Valley Distillers in Clermont, which creates distinctive spirits sourced from their farm and those of their neighbors, now welcomes guests for tours and tastings Fridays through Sundays from 1 to 6 p.m. Housed in a 100 year old barn, the distillery centerpiece is a 60 gallon hybrid pot still, which places them among the Hudson Valley’s smallest farm distilleries.

Long Island

I.Fly Trapeze, which has been teaching trapeze for nine years at Eisenhower Park, has a new location at Long Beach near the boardwalk. Beginners can practice getting their legs on the bar and taking their hands off, and by mid-session may be ready to experience the thrill of a mid-air wrist to wrist catch with an instructor. No prior experience is necessary.

Adventure Park at Long Island, located on the forested grounds of the Henry Kaufman Campgrounds in Wheatley Heights, offers family fun for ages 7 and up. Opening June 21, the aerial forest adventure includes eight separate trails with five levels of difficulty. Each trail consist of “bridges” between tree platforms made of rope, cable and wood configurations creating over 130 unique challenges and incorporating 14 ziplines.

A new water ride at Splish Splash Water Park, Battle of Mutiny Bay, pits participants against roving bands of pirates and pesky sea creatures in a fun, interactive water battle as they wind through Mutiny Bay. Be prepared to get wet manning the water cannons and fighting off relentless water blasts from opposing cannons. The 96-acre water park, located in Calverton (near Riverhead) was voted one of the Best Waterparks in America by the Travel Channel.

The recently opened Twin Rinks Ice Center at Eisenhower Park, a 165,000 square-foot, world-class facility, has two indoor, NHL-sized skating rinks and an outdoor rink for summer roller and deck hockey leagues. Scheduled public skate sessions, a personal fitness/sports physical therapy training area, pro shop, private party rooms and a day camp are also available. The center will host figure skating competitions, curling events, speed-skating competitions, non-skating entertainment events and more.

Niagara Falls

The legendary Maid of the Mist first launched in 1846. And, for the first time it is only being offered on the US side. Back then, it was used to transport people, mail, luggage and cargo across the Niagara River. With the construction of a suspension bridge, the Maid of the Mist was re-branded as a Niagara Falls sightseeing adventure that is still operating. Go ahead and experience a Maid of the Mist excursion tour. Don a sporty blue rain slicker (provided) and enjoy an exhilarating 30-minute guided boat ride to the base of the American and Horseshoe Falls.

Thousand Islands

A new wilderness skill-building Adirondack Guide Series in New York State’s North Country gives boys and girls 12- to 18-years old the chance to learn and hone traditional skills of the Adirondacks. Five-day sessions in July and August, priced at $275, include shooting sports, wilderness backpacking and fishing with pros, some with overnight camping experiences. The series is offered by the Cornell University Cooperative Extension St. Lawrence County in Canton.

Club Rocky Top, a four room Adirondack Great Camp in South Colton, now offers dog sled rides (with carts) in the summer as well as the winter. Hiking trails and ATVs are also available to guests who want to explore the camp’s 600 acres of Adirondack wilderness and there’s a heated pool for unwinding afterwards.

New Places to Stay

Capital-Saratoga

Excelsior Springs, a new banquet hall and conference center, opened last year in Saratoga Springs. The facility, which can handle up to 250 banquet style, has a certified wedding and event planner on site and can be used in combination with the adjacent Courtyard by Marriot for larger meetings and conferences.

The new 48-suite Pavilion Grand Hotel, an elegant boutique hotel in the heart of Saratoga Springs, embraces Saratoga’s elegant past by reviving the name of one of the city’s elegant Grand Dame hotels. The hotel, which opened in May 2014, features a restaurant with Korean Fusion/American comfort food restaurant, spa and fitness center and roof-top garden. Its spacious accommodations include loft suites with roof top gardens, terraces and balconies.

A new Renaissance by Marriott is slated to open in 2015 across from the New York State Capitol in Albany. The luxurious 204-room hotel will connect via a walkway to the Albany Capital Center convention center.

Finger Lakes

The Rowland House, the newest of the Inns of Aurora, opened in May after an extensive renovation. Located along Cayuga Lake, Rowland House has twin parlors, a library and private dining room, all with working fireplaces and period details. The ten guestroom property, decorated with MacKenzie-Childs’ furnishings, also has an executive boardroom and a small outdoor Grecian temple that can be used for weddings.

Hudson Valley

A new 81-room Holiday Inn Express & Suites Montgomery, slated to open August 8, provides a pool, fitness center, hot express breakfast and a meeting room for up 30 attendees. The property offers easy access to the shops and restaurants of the historic Village of Montgomery and is well situated to host guests exploring the Hudson Valley and attending events at Winding Hills Golf Club.

New York State features 11 beautiful vacation regions. New York’s attractions feature landmarks such as Niagara Falls, the largest park in the continental U.S. in the Adirondacks and treasures such as the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown and the Corning Museum of Glass. New York State offers diverse activities for all: outdoor fun – fishing, hiking and boating, year-round festivals and exploring the rich history and culture of one of the 13 original colonies. Visitors also enjoy the fine cuisine, beverage trails and farm-to-table fresh foods.

For more information, visit www.iloveny.com.

See also:

Journey by boat and bike along the Erie Canal: Macedon-Fairport-Pittsford and slideshow

Erie Canal journey by boat, bike: Exploring canaltowns from Pittsford to Albion and slideshow

Erie Canal journey: Albion-Medina bikeride is most scenic, illuminating and slideshow

Erie Canal journey by boat and bike: Palmyra, ‘Queen of Canal Towns’ and slideshow

A gal getaway hiking New York’s Hudson River School Art Trail and slideshow

Getaway on the Hudson River School Art Trail: Thomas Cole National Historic Site and slideshow

Getaway on The Hudson River School Art Trail: Frederick Edwin Church’s Olana and slideshow

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New Mobile App Quickly Locates Places to Fish, Hunt, View Wildlife and Enjoy Outdoors in New York State

North-South Lake Campground, Haines Falls, NYS, in the Hudson River Valley. New York State has created a new “New York Fish & Wildlife” app © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

New York State has launched a free mobile application that provides up-to-date information on fishing, hunting, wildlife watching and other outdoor adventure opportunities throughout the state.

The New York Fish & Wildlife App is available for free download in the iTunes App Store and the Android Market for use on iPhone and Android devices.

ParksByNature Network, LLC (PBN) developed the technology Pocket Ranger®, a smartphone outdoor mobile guide application as a resource for state park systems and fish and wildlife agencies across the country. The app provides advanced GPS mapping features as well as many other features to maximize any outdoor adventure, including detailed species information, news, advisories and weather alerts, social networking and photo sharing, and cache-able map tiles for offline use.

Brett Melillo, Parks By Nature co-founder and program coordinator, said, “The Pocket Ranger Fish and Wildlife App will encourage a new generation of users to explore and discover all that New York has to offer for outdoor recreation. This public-private partnership has provided a robust mobile app that will enhance the outdoor experiences and raise awareness, interest and participation in New York’s outdoor resources.”

This app gives both novice and seasoned outdoorsmen and women essential information in the palm of their hand. Powered by Pocket Ranger® technology, using the app’s advanced GPS features, users will be able to identify and locate New York’s many world-class fishing, hunting and wildlife watching sites.

Official Geographic Information System (GIS) data allows users to access in real-time accurate trail data, user location, sites nearby and amenity locations, including boat ramps, parking, restrooms and more. For hunters and anglers, GIS data will give geographic spatial information, making it easy to identify county borders and units that apply to regulations, permits and licenses for species.

Other outdoor adventure features include:

  • · Real-time calendar of events
  • · News, advisories, and weather alerts
  • · Social networking and photo sharing
  • · Potentially life-saving alert features
  • · Cacheable map tiles for offline use
  • · Advanced GPS mapping features including built in compass

Download the New York Fishing, Hunting & Wildlife App on the Apple App Store or Google Play store, or by going to the Pocket Ranger website.

This effort stems from Governor Cuomo’s NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative aimed at improving recreational opportunities for sportsmen and women and boosting tourism activities throughout the state. This initiative includes streamlining fishing and hunting licenses, reducing license fees, improving access for fishing and increasing hunting opportunities in New York State.

In support of this initiative, this year’s budget includes $6 million in NY Works funding to support creating 50 new land and water access projects to connect hunters, anglers, bird watchers and others who enjoy the outdoors to more than 380,000 acres of existing state and easement lands that have not reached their full potential. These 50 new access projects include building new boat launches, installing new hunting blinds and building new trails and parking areas. In addition, the 2014-15 Budget includes $4 million to repair the state’s fish hatcheries; and renews and allows expanded use of crossbows for hunting in New York State.

This year’s budget also reduces short-term fishing licenses fees; increases the number of authorized statewide free fishing days to eight from two; authorizes DEC to offer 10 days of promotional prices for hunting, fishing and trapping licenses; and authorizes free Adventure Plates for new lifetime license holders, discounted Adventure Plates for existing lifetime license holders and regular fee Adventure Plates for annual license holders.

“New York State is home to a vast array of fishing, hunting and outdoor recreation locations, providing unmatched opportunities to enjoy the outdoors while supporting local economies statewide,” Governor Cuomo said. “Tourism is a major industry in New York State, and drawing more visitors to our Upstate communities to enjoy the outdoors means new jobs and revenue for local communities. This user-friendly app will build on our efforts to help connect New Yorkers and visitors to opportunities to enjoy our world-class fishing, wildlife and outdoor recreation resources.”

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Women’s History Month Calls Attention to Pioneering Women and Sites Associated With Their Contributions All Over New York State

Eleanor Roosevelt’s study where she wrote her famous newspaper column. Visitingn her home, Val-Kill, at Hyde Park, provides remarkable insights into this most remarkable woman, “First Lady to the World” © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The struggle for women’s right to vote is enshrined here in New York State, at Seneca Falls. The struggle for freedom also had its stops on the Underground Railroad at the homes of Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth, in New York State. The American Red Cross founder, Clara Barton, had her first chapter in Danville, which still operates today. And a pioneer of television comedy, Lucille Ball, is the hometown hero of Jamestown. These are just a few of the sites associated with women who played such an important part in American history and culture.

Celebrate Women’s History Month and learn about New York women’s massive contributions to history, culture and society at sites throughout New York State. Through Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Path Through History initiative, New Yorkers can explore women’s heritage sites and key events like the nation’s first women’s rights convention that took place in 1848 in Seneca Falls or the “First Lady of the World” Eleanor Roosevelt’s home in Hyde Park.

“New York State has been inspired by the great contributions of New York women for over two centuries,” said Governor Cuomo. “The Path Through History gets visitors started on a journey back in time to discover and celebrate the diverse people whose accomplishments made our state great. I encourage all New Yorkers to learn more about these extraordinary women who helped transform our culture and society.”

Women’s Rights is one of 13 themes used to organize 500-plus heritage sites across the state through the Path Through History initiative. Those looking to celebrate Women’s History Month in March can learn about the important role women played in the women’s suffrage and civil rights movement, but also about New York women in various fields from education to entertainment at museums and historic sites around the state. Visitors can locate sites by looking for the Path Through History marker on major state highways as well as additional local signage. In addition, the Path Through History web page—www.paththroughhistory.ny.gov— provides a list of sites.

“New York led the way in establishing women’s rights and that long journey can be traced and recounted by visiting historical sites and museums all across the state,” said Senator Betty Little, chair of the Senate Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation Committee. “Path Through History encourages an interactive approach to learning about our past and developing a deeper understanding of the dedication of those who came before us and fought so hard. It’s enriching tourism and something I hope many people take advantage of this month.”

Assemblywoman Margaret Markey, Chair of the Assembly Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports Development Committee, said, “New York women had a vital role in the nationwide suffrage movement that led to the adoption of the 19th Amendment. They still provide the same inspiration and determination as the struggle for equal rights for women continues in our times. All New Yorkers should take pride in the ‘Path Through History” program that spotlights important sites that reflect the spirit of these pioneering women.”

“Governor Cuomo’s Path Through History initiative was created to connect historically and culturally significant locations throughout the state to attract visitors and boost the economy,” said Empire State Development Division of Tourism Executive Director Gavin Landry. “The hundreds of Path Through History sites identify historical assets and provide a platform to recognize and honor both the struggles and achievements of great New York women in our nation’s history.”

Several of the key Women’s Rights sites along the Path Through History as well as other locales honoring the contributions of women include:

THE ADIRONDACKS

The life of a Pioneer Woman. The Adirondack Museum (Blue Mountain Lake), one of the largest museums in upstate New York, is closed until May, but its online exhibit “Women’s Work in the Adirondacks: 1850-1920” will have you looking at the region’s rugged mountains and historic homes with new appreciation. The online narrative is illustrated with photos and historic artifacts from the museum collections.

CAPITAL-SARATOGA

I Wish You Were a Boy. Abolitionist and women’s suffrage leader Elizabeth Cady Stanton was born in Johnstown, in the Mohawk Valley Region. The Elizabeth Cady Stanton Hometown Association offers a self-guided cell-phone walking tour of Johnstown, “Walk in the Footsteps of Elizabeth Cady Stanton,” that can be reached by phoning 518-406-7081. The tour covers about a mile and is filled with insights and anecdotes, such as the time when her father sighed and said “Oh, my daughter, I wish you were a boy.” This comment, says the narrator, set Elizabeth on a course “to prove that women were indeed as good as men.” For information on special exhibits and events, including a display at the Bank of America on Main Street, visit The Elizabeth Cady Stanton Hometown Association.

Arts in the Park. The Saratoga National Historical Park in Schuylerville (518-664-9821 ext. 2985) is featuring a Women’s History Month exhibit, “The Force of Fashion—Prettifying the Ladies”. Learn that what’s practical and what’s fashionable are by no means new concepts.

CHAUTAUQUA-ALLEGHENY

I Love Lucy. The Lucy Desi Center for Comedy in Jamestown honors a hometown entertainment pioneer. Born here in 1911, Lucille Ball was the first woman to head a major Hollywood studio, which produced Star Trek and other popular shows. Visitors can see re-creations of Lucy and Ricky Ricardo’s NYC apartment and Hollywood hotel suite, a screening area, and vintage memorabilia. You may also be surprised to learn how ground-breaking I Love Lucy was: the show was the first filmed before a live audience using three cameras, and the first to reach over ten million homes.

FINGER LAKES

The Fight for Rights. The Women’s Rights Movement has its roots in Seneca Falls, where America’s first women’s rights convention was held. For a sense of how revolutionary the idea of women’s suffrage was, visit the Women’s Rights National Historic Park. A film, Dreams of Equality, and exhibits at the Visitor Center, provide an excellent orientation to the Women’s Rights Movement. The Park also offers a self-guided cell phone audio tour of key sites around Seneca Falls that can be accessed by calling 315-257-9370. Other sites on the tour include Wesleyan Chapel, where the Convention was held, and two homes of civil rights leaders, M’Clintock House in Waterloo, (open May – August), home of Thomas and Mary Ann M’Clintock, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton House in Seneca Falls. Also in Seneca Falls, the National Women’s Hall of Fame honors women of the past and inducts new honorees every other year. Visitors can read about these women and be inspired by their stories.

The Ongoing Struggle. A third national women’s rights convention, held in 1852 in Syracuse, brought another articulate leader into the movement, as visitors learn when touring the home of Matilda Joslyn Gage in Fayetteville, about 15 minutes from downtown Syracuse. Gage, along with Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, was a founding member of the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) and served in various offices of the organization for twenty years (1869-1889). The museum offers an in-depth understanding of Gage’s life and work, and serves as a center for continuing education and discussion on current social justice issues.

Arrested for voting. In 1872, Susan B. Anthony and other women were famously arrested for voting in Rochester, but the right to vote was only part of what Anthony was fighting for. “Women must have a purse of her own,” she said, protesting the fact that once married, a woman could not open a bank account, rent a place to live, or enter into contracts. Visitors to the National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House in Rochester learn about the life of this legendary civil rights leader. In addition, the Learning Center is designed to keep her spirit alive by offering programs that help people to make positive differences in their lives and communities.

The Underground Railroad Stopped Here. Visitors to the region will also want to see the Harriet Tubman Home Museum in Auburn, where the famed Underground Railroad “conductor,” Civil War spy and promoter of black and women’s rights lived. The Thompson Memorial AME Zion Church that she attended, a center for the abolitionist movement is marked by a plaque. Events are scheduled throughout the year to commemorate the centennial of Tubman’s death in 1913 and can be found at www.harriethouse.org/events.htm, or phone 315-252-2081.

The Angel of the Battlefield. Known as “the angel of the battlefield” for her bravery in setting up and manning hospitals at the front lines of the Civil War, Clara Barton is best known for founding the American Red Cross. In Dansville, the site of the first chapter, started by Barton, is still operating. The chapter maintains a small museum that displays some of Barton’s personal belongings, writings and letters. Visits are by appointment. Call 585-335-3500.

The Mother of Women’s Colleges. Elmira College, founded in 1855 as Elmira Female College, claims the honor of being the world’s first college to grant a baccalaureate degree to women, equal to those granted to men. It remained a women’s college until the school became co-ed in 1969. Eight of the site’s buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places.

HUDSON VALLEY

The General’s Lady. It was in the farmhouse at what is now Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Park in Newburgh that General George Washington established his headquarters from April 1782 to August 1783. While here, Martha Washington served as official hostess, managed the wartime household and helped operate their Virginia plantation. Every year, the park celebrates Women’s History Month with a special program, “The General’s Lady,” which presents the “Martha Washington Woman of History Award” to a woman who demonstrates similar characteristics while contributing towards the education and preservation of history in the Hudson Valley. This year’s presentation will be made on April 6, 2014.

Sojourner Truth lived in slavery here. About 90 minutes north, the Hurley Heritage Society offers a self-guided walking tour of the Hurley Village Dutch Stone Houses, many of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. These well preserved homes, most dating to the mid-18th century and still occupied, include Hardenbergh House, where famous abolitionist and woman’s rights orator Sojourner Truth lived in slavery for about six years, as well as a home with slave quarters and another house that was part of the Underground Railroad.

Doris Mack, a docent at Val-Kill, relates her first-hand experience with Eleanor Roosevelt to visitors © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

First Lady of the World. Eleanor Roosevelt was the longest serving first lady in the United States, but her work didn’t start or end with her husband’s presidency. Nicknamed “First Lady of the World” by President Harry S. Truman in recognition of her human rights achievements, she also served as the U.S. delegate to the United Nations and helped draft and pass the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which she described as “the International Magna Carta for all men everywhere.” Visitors to Val-Kill, her home in Hyde Park, learn about her legacy through a short film and a guided tour. The site is open May through October from 9 am to 5 pm, Thursdays through Mondays. Guided tours are available throughout the day. November through April the site is open Thursdays through Mondays, with guided tours available at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

Inspiration for a Prize-Winning Poet. Visitors can draw their own inspiration while exploring Steepletop, the Victorian home and well-tended gardens where Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Edna St. Vincent Millay lived. Her Austerlitz home and grounds include a “poetry trail,” where poetry readings and other events are often featured. The house is open from late May to the middle of October, except for special events.

Equal Rights N.O.W. Co-founder of the National Organization for Women and women’s rights activist, Betty Friedan lived in Grand View while writing her radical book, The Feminine Mystique. The book helped kick-start the modern women’s movement, with its demands for equal pay and other rights. A monument to Friedan now stands in front of the Grand View Village Hall.

NEW YORK CITY

Honor in a Park. From Cleopatra to Marie Curie, the names of New York City parks and playgrounds read like a Who’s Who of women in history. The New York City Parks Department offers borough-by-borough and themed listings as well as a searchable list of special events. Women’s History Month events feature a talk, “The Iroquois Influence on Woman’s Rights” at the Wyckoff Farmhouse Museum (in Fidler-Wyckoff House Park), in Brooklyn on March 23. Admission is free.

Alice Austen’s House on Staten Island pays homage to a pioneering woman photographer © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

A Pioneering Photographer. Alice Austen, a 19th century photographer and one of the first women to shoot documentary-style photographs, lived on Staten Island. Her former home, originally built in 1690 as a one-room farmhouse and renovated in the 19th century by her father into a Victorian Gothic cottage, is located at the entrance to New York Harbor. Today, visitors to Alice Austen House can tour the historic home and view works by Alice Austen and other artists. The museum is closed January and February; call 718-816-4506 x10 for more details.

For more information about women’s heritage sites, visit http://www.hallofgovernors.ny.gov/wh/Womens-History or the New York State Office of Parks and Historic Preservation’s Women’s Heritage Trail and its Heritage Trail map.

Path Through History highlights historically and culturally significant sites and events throughout New York State. The program, introduced by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, builds on New York’s already robust heritage tourism attractions. The initiative is currently focused on 13 themes including: Arts & Culture, Natural History, U.S. Presidents, Women’s Rights, Canals & Transportation, Civil Rights, Colonial History, Immigration, Innovation & Commerce, The Revolutionary War, Native American Heritage, Sports History and the War of 1812. Important heritage sites and events across the state were selected with input from leading historians. For more information, visit http://www.paththroughhistory.ny.gov.

Follow I LOVE NEW YORK on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or use #LoveNYHistory to join us on the journey down New York’s Path Through History.

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NYS Adds 69,000 Acres to State Forest Preserve

New York State has added 69,000 acres to the State Forest Preserve © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com.

Those who appreciate the outdoors will cheer the latest phase of New York State’s acquisition of 69,000 acres to the State Forest Preserve formerly owned by Finch Pruyn & Company, as well as $875,000 in available grants for projects to develop sites within the Adirondack Park and further position the region as a world-class tourism and recreation destination.

“Expanding the State Forest Preserve will provide new year-round recreational opportunities to New Yorkers and tourists alike and continue to grow the North Country’s economy,” Governor Cuomo said. “Protecting these lands and providing grants for site improvements helps ensure that the Forest Preserve remains an unparalleled natural, recreational, and economic asset available to all visitors.”

The lands acquired from the properties formerly owned by Finch Pruyn & Company will protect miles of waterways and open spaces. To better improve the recreational and economic opportunities available, the $875,000 in grants will fund hiking, horseback riding trails, biking, snowmobiling and connector trails, as well as smart growth planning in the region.

Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens said, “Time and time again Governor Cuomo has demonstrated his commitment to bettering the Adirondack Park and increasing opportunities for growth in the North Country’s economy and tourism industry. These grants will strengthen the connection between local communities and State Forest lands in the heart of the Adirondack Park and help municipalities take advantage of all these extraordinary lands have to offer.”

Third Phase of Acquisitions of the former Finch Pruyn & Co. Properties

In fulfillment of its 2012 pledge to expand the State Forest Preserve and acquire 69,000 acres of former Finch properties over the next five years, New York State has purchased an additional 8,451 acres of former Finch lands in Fulton, Warren, Essex and Hamilton counties. The State will pay $5.7 million to acquire the tracts from The Nature Conservancy (TNC), using the State’s Environmental Protection Funds (EPF). Already, the state has completed two acquisition phases totaling 30,037 acres. The 14 new parcels contain miles of rivers and streams, ponds, wildlife habitat and trails, and offer exceptional opportunities for hiking, wildlife viewing, cross country skiing and mountain biking. The properties include:

  • Benson Road (a.k.a. Tomantown), which borders the Shaker Mountain Wild Forest, features habitat for black bear and bald eagles, regionally-rare plants like Canadian burnet, spruce northern hardwood forests, and connects snowmobile trails in the Towns of Mayfield and Bleeker. (Fulton County, 3,820 acres)
    Black Spruce Mountain, which is adjacent to the Lake George Wild Forest, features Black Spruce Mountain and a section of Podunk Brook. (Warren County, 191 acres)
    Township 33 (Sugarloaf Mt.), which features a section of the popular 120-mile Northville-Placid trail, as well as an exposed cliff. (Hamilton County, 451 acres)
    Good Luck Tract, which features northern hardwood and spruce-fir forests, will provide access to Stonystep and Big Bad Luck ponds. (Hamilton County, 418 acres)
    Buell Valley, which features Buell Brook and was once the site of the Finch Pruyn’s river drive pusher dam. (Hamilton County, 10 acres)
    Cedar Ridge features two small ponds and is adjacent to the Blue Ridge Wilderness, which hosts a major section of the Northville-Placid Trail. (Hamilton County, 548 acres)
    Blue Ridge Road, which can potentially provide enhanced recreational access to the Dix Mountain Wilderness. (Essex County, 77 acres)
    Hudson River Hyslop, near the state-run Harris Lake Campground, can potentially have improved access to Duck Hole. (Essex County, 301 acres)
    North River, which features floodplain and upland forests and more than one mile of Hudson River shorelines. This tract is located opposite the take-out area along State Route 28 used by commercial rafting companies for whitewater rafting through protected forests on the Indian and Hudson Rivers. (Essex and Warren Counties, 155 acres)

In addition to thousands of acres in the Adirondack Park, this phase of the land acquisition includes properties just south of the “blue line” in Saratoga County, favored for its mountain biking trails, hunting and other recreational activities. These properties — the Daniels Road tract (519 acres), the Penn York tract (241 acres) and the Town Line tract (176 acres) — also offer exceptional forest settings, attractive hilly terrain, wetlands, marshes and riparian habitats. In addition, the Town of Edinburg will be able to move forward with the acquisition of 1,248 acres on Fox Hill Road, and plans to improve outdoor recreation and snowmobile trails with a boardwalk over wetlands. Another 154 acres known as Town Corners will consolidate wetlands in Greenfield.

$875,000 in Grants for Recreational and Smart Growth Projects

New York’s Natural Heritage Trust (NHT), in conjunction with TNC and DEC, is offering grants to local municipalities to support the implementation of projects that will enhance public access to the acquired land. In addition, EPF grants will be available to advance smart growth principles of economic development and environmental protection. Specifically, these grants for community development in the Adirondack Park consist of:

  • $500,000 for Adirondack Park Upper Hudson Recreation Hub Grants program projects, including: seasonal shuttle service for hikers, bikers and paddlers; trailhead parking and waterway access on municipal lands; local infrastructure that supports such recreation uses as mountain biking, horse trail riding, snowmobiling and hiking; connector trails; hut-to-hut accommodations; guide services; and visitor orientation signs, apps and brochures. These grants are being funded by TNC and will be awarded through a Request for Proposals (RFP) to be announced this week in the NYS Contract Reporter and also on the DEC, TNC and NHT websites.
  • $300,000 from the EPF for the Adirondack Smart Growth grant program will support key projects to build on existing smart growth plans, including capital projects and community development initiatives that that foster sustainable development, environmental protection and community livability.

    A Request for Applications (RFA) is expected to be released in early spring. The Adirondack Smart Growth grant program will only be available through the new, statewide Grants Getaway, a web-based grants management system that can be used to browse all state agency grants available and anticipated grant opportunities. All applicants will need to register to use the gateway, and not-for-profit applicants are required to “pre-qualify” through the gateway for all grants opportunities. For additional information or to register for the program, visit the New York State Grants Reform website at www.grantsreform.ny.gov.

  • $75,000 to support paddling events, which builds on the success of the 2013 Adirondack Challenge, which led to increased tourism across the region. TNC is providing this initial funding for these events to support the ecological and recreational values of the Adirondacks’ freshwater resources and new opportunities associated with the former Finch lands. These events will be coordinated through the Adirondack Regional Tourism Council.

These programs advance the NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative, which is an effort to boost tourism opportunities throughout the state and improve recreational activities for in-state and out-of-state sportsmen and sportswomen. This includes the streamlining of fishing and hunting licensing, reducing license fees, and improving access for fishing and hunting at various sites across the state.

See also:

A gal getaway hiking New York’s Hudson River School Art Trail and slideshow

Getaway on the Hudson River School Art Trail: Thomas Cole National Historic Site and slideshow

Getaway on The Hudson River School Art Trail: Frederick Edwin Church’s Olana and slideshow

Journey by boat and bike along the Erie Canal: Macedon-Fairport-Pittsford and slideshow

Erie Canal journey by boat, bike: Exploring canaltowns from Pittsford to Albion and slideshow

Erie Canal journey: Albion-Medina bikeride is most scenic, illuminating and slideshow

Erie Canal journey by boat and bike: Palmyra, ‘Queen of Canal Towns’ and slideshow

New season of self-skippered canalboat cruises on New York’s historic Erie Canal (Photos)

Lake Placid, NYS’s winter resort, where you ski and bobsled like an Olympian and slideshow

Lake Placid remains New York’s quintessential winter destination and slideshow

Hiking Ausable Chasm, natural wonder in New York State’s Adirondack Mountains and slideshow

For more travel features, visit:

www.examiner.com/eclectic-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

www.examiner.com/international-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate

‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Twitter: @TravelFeatures

Experience the Best of Fall Foliage in New York State During Holiday Weekend

Bethpage State Park, Long Island, in fall © 2013 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The long Columbus Day weekend coincides with the peaking of fall foliage in many parts of  New York State, which can be enjoyed by visiting a state park or local event and experience the vibrant fall foliage colors throughout New York State.

Fall colors will be at their peak this weekend in Chautauqua-Allegheny, Central New York, and Capital-Saratoga regions, with additional areas of peak color emerging in the Catskills and Finger Lakes regions.

As one of the nation’s top agricultural states, New York is also replete with harvest celebrations for everything from apples to pumpkins, including wine festivals complete with grape stomping. Even when there’s no official festival on tap, it’s easy to find pick-your-own fruit orchards and pumpkin fields, many with petting zoos, whimsical corn mazes, hayrides and crafts, while food and wine lovers can follow regional wine, beer and cheese trails and enjoy farm-to-table dining by local chefs who style the seasonal harvest in creative recipes.

Don’t want to drive? Take advantage of six fall-themed getaways by riding the MTA trains:

· LIRR to Montauk Chowder Contest | Oct. 12-13
· Metro-North to NYS Sheep & Wool Fest | Oct. 20
· LIRR to Oyster Festival | Oct. 19-20
· LIRR to Port Jefferson Harvest Fest | Oct. 27
· Metro-North to Dutchess Harvest Weekends
· Metro-North to Walkway Over the Hudson

Discover the natural beauty at the tip of Long Island with the Long Island Rail Road’s Montauk Village Package. This weekend is Montauk’s Famous Clam Chowder Tasting Contest, where you’ll enjoy clam and oyster shucking, beer and wine tasting, great food, live music, farmer’s market, kids rides, carousel, famous crab races. A short taxi ride from the LIRR, a walk through Montauk Village lets you experience the unique shops, restaurants, parks, trails, beaches, golf and fishing – it’s like being in paradise! Montauk’s laid back atmosphere will have you coming back time and time again. For more information on the contest, call 631-668-2428. For more information on getting there, visit http://www.mta.info/lirr and click on “Deals & Getaways” at the bottom of the page.

The New York State Sheep and Wool Family Festival on Sunday, October 20, draws thousands of visitors to the lovely village of Rhinebeck. And there’s more here than sheep, llamas, alpacas, and their luscious fibers. Take Metro-North’s One-Day Getaway to see 300 fiber artists and crafts galore, amazing sheepherding demonstrations and sheepdog trials, great food and music, a petting zoo, hay maze, and other children’s activities, plus the ever-popular Punkin’ Chuckin’ competition. For all the details, visit http://www.sheepandwool.com or call 845-876-4000. For details on the Metro-North travel package, visit http://www.mta.info/mnr and click on “Deals & Getaways” on the right side of the page.

Long Island’s largest street/waterfront fair, the Oyster Festival in Oyster Bay, is coming up October 19 & 20. It has an abundance of oysters and seafood, the oyster eating contests are legendary, and there are 23 food vendors available to satisfy any craving. Visit the 150 arts and crafts booths, enjoy the musical performances, and explore the tall ships and other waterfront exhibits. The LIRR makes it easy to get to the festival with a package that includes discounted round-trip rail to/from Oyster Bay Station, vouchers for three free oysters on the half-shell for the adults and free admission to the Slide for the children. Shuttle buses will also be available from the Syosset Station, making the event accessible from the east on the Port Jefferson Branch.

Port Jefferson on Long Island is a picturesque, harbor front community where you can enjoy fine or casual dining and unique shops with discounted LIRR fare. The 3rd Annual Harvest Festival is coming up this October 27! It will include a scarecrow walk on East Main Street, a chowder tasting contest, pumpkin decorating, crafts, wood carvers, pet parade at 2:00pm and more. The LIRR package includes discounted round-trip rail to/from Port Jefferson Station, two Lindy’s Taxi stubs and a LIRR Port Jeff Deals Coupon, good for offers at participating merchants.

Metro-North and Dutchess County have teamed up to create some special weekends to celebrate the harvest, local wineries, cheese makers and apple picking. Pick up the Dutchess County Farm Fresh Link shuttle at the Poughkeepsie Station making stops at Fishkill Farms, for a pick-your- own experience, hayrides and farm market where you’ll find organically grown heirloom vegetables, fresh eggs, pressed cider and more. Then it’s on to the charming Village of Millbrook, home to many eateries, gift shops and antique stores. Your third stop is a local vineyard. Then, it’s on to Sprout Creek Farm, a model of sustainable agriculture known for its artisanal cheeses. For more information about these itinerary stops and other agricultural and culinary destinations throughout Dutchess County, please visit http://www.dutchesstourism.com

Sometimes the most breath taking attractions and experiences are free! New York’s Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park is the world’s longest, elevated pedestrian bridge, stretching 1.28 miles, 212 feet above the Hudson River and just minutes from Metro-North’s Poughkeepsie Station. The panoramic views of the Catskill Mountains and Hudson River from the Walkway are spectacular in any season. For more information, visit http://walkway.org or http://nysparks.com.

To get more travel ideas across the state, specific itineraries, area events and even a state-wide chart of the changing of the leaves visit, Fallgetaways.iloveny.com.

The beauty of fall in New York can be captured throughout the 11 vacation regions in the state.

Capital-Saratoga Region
In the Capital-Saratoga region, foliage spotters in the Fulton County communities of Northville and Benson predict peak to just past peak conditions with 90-100 percent color change by the weekend, and average to bright red, orange and yellow fall colors, especially in the lower elevations. Color change is everywhere in Rensselaer County. There is more color in the eastern and northern portions of the county, along with more leaf droppage. Predominate colors include bright shades of red, orange and yellow. Saratoga County will be at peak this weekend with 80 percent color change, with bright bursts of red, deep orange and bright yellow creating a vibrant rainbow of fall colors. Leaf spotters in Schenectady County expect near peak to peak conditions with plenty of bright yellow and red leaves. In Albany County, spotters at Thacher Park in the Helderbergs expect leaves to be at peak with bright red and yellow leaves predominating.

Central New York
In Central New York, foliage spotters in southern Herkimer County are calling for near complete leaf transition by the weekend with peak to past peak conditions and predominating colors of red, yellow and gold. Oneida County observers are also expecting peak conditions (along with some past peak areas in the northern part of the county), with orange, amber, gold and bronze leaves of average brilliance and vibrant yellow and red highlights. In Chenango County, most leaves will be changed by the weekend. Look for plenty of bright yellow, brilliant red and fiery orange leaves. Otsego County will also be at peak this weekend, with some areas a bit past peak, rain and wind having moved the season along. Peak foliage will be arriving in the Greater Binghamton area this weekend with 70-75 percent color change and bright yellow, orange and red fall shades. In Madison County, foliage spotters based in Morrisville are calling for near peak foliage with 65 percent color change and a nice display of bright yellow and orange leaves, along with touches of red.

Chautauqua-Allegheny Region
Foliage in the Chautauqua-Allegheny region will range from near peak to just past peak this weekend. At Allegany State Park in Cattaraugus County about 90 percent of the leaves will be changed by the weekend. Look for areas of near peak, peak and past peak foliage. Many of the leaves that changed last week have fallen already from this week’s rain, leaving hardier green leaves on the trees. Few of these leaves are changing. In Cattaraugus County, Little Valley foliage spotters are calling for 85 percent color change with muted shades of yellow, rust and orange. Strong winds have knocked the majority of leaves down. In Chautauqua County, foliage spotters are expecting near peak foliage this weekend with 50 percent color change and a mixture of muted orange and red leaves.

Finger Lakes Region
In the Finger Lakes region, Tioga County will have peak foliage this weekend with 80 percent color change and yellow, orange and green leaves of average brilliance. Cortland and Livingston counties also will be at peak this weekend. Chemung County foliage spotters in Elmira expect near peak foliage with 85 percent color change and vibrant orange, red and yellow leaves. Seneca County will also be near peak with 75 percent color change and bright shades of yellow, red, purple and orange. Near peak foliage will also be found in Cayuga County, which is expecting 75 percent color change and brilliant yellow, orange, gold and red leaves. Leaf peepers in Syracuse, in Onondaga County, expect 50-60 percent color transition by the weekend, but with many leaves knocked down by wind they are calling for peak conditions. Tompkins County spotters based in Ithaca expect midpoint of change by the weekend with 50 percent color transition and yellow, brown, red, orange and green leaves of average brilliance.

Wayne County expects 45-50 percent color change with yellow, orange and red leaves of average brilliance. In Ontario County, look for 50 percent color change and a nice painter’s pallet of golden and burgundy hues. Monroe County and the Greater Rochester area predict near peak conditions for the weekend with between 40-50 percent color change and predominating colors of yellow and red. Steuben County will be near peak with 50-60 percent color change with bright yellow leaves accompanied by bursts of orange and bright scarlet.

Thousand-Islands Seaway Region
In the Thousand Islands-Seaway region, look for peak conditions this weekend in Jefferson County where foliage spotters in Alexandria Bay predict near complete leaf change and a nice mix of bright yellow, orange and red leaves. In St. Lawrence County expect 90 percent color change by the weekend with just past peak conditions and predominating colors of orange, red and yellow. In Oswego County, the lush forests of the lower portion of the region continue their annual transformation, and should be midpoint to near peak by the weekend.

Adirondacks Region
In the Adirondacks region, near peak and peak foliage is arriving in southern Warren County. Look for vibrant shades of yellow and orange, along with touches of red and rust. The rest of the county will be past peak by weekend. In Essex County, Crown Point foliage spotters expect that conditions will range from midpoint to near peak, depending on the elevation. In Old Forge, conditions are now past peak with some bright yellow, gold and russet leaves remaining. Whiteface Mountain in Wilmington and Lake Placid will each be just past peak.

Catskills Region
In the Catskills region, Sullivan County will be at peak this weekend with near complete leaf change and stunning shades of orange and red, along with golden yellow. Look for peak foliage in Ulster County, where rain and wind have taken a toll. This weekend will probably the last chance of the season to experience the county’s best color. Bright orange, gold, red and yellow leaves abound according to spotters at Belleayre Mountain and in Saugerties. The towns of Highmount, Pine Hill, Phoenicia and Mount Tremper will see peak foliage conditions with many shades of red, orange and gold.

Foliage spotters in the Greene County town of Catskill expect to be just past peak by the weekend with predominating shades of brilliant red, yellow and orange. Spotters based in Lanesville expect peak to just past peak foliage with leaves of amber, yellow, gold, purple and red. Tannersville and Hunter are now reported to be past peak. Delaware County will be past peak.

Hudson Valley Region
Near peak to peak foliage is expected throughout much of the Hudson Valley this weekend. In Ulster County, spotters based in Highland expect 80 percent leaf change by the weekend with bright, beautiful leaves of crimson and yellow. In the Shawangunk Mountain towns of High Falls, New Paltz and Gardiner the full autumnal palette is brilliant with bright gold, vibrant orange, shimmery yellow and blazing red leaves predominating. Columbia County will be near peak to peak with 70-95 percent color change and yellow and orange leaves mixed in with some deep red. Rockland County spotters at Bear Mountain State Park expect midpoint to near peak foliage this weekend with 75 percent color change, and orange and yellow leaves, along with some red highlights. In Goshen, foliage will be near peak with 75 percent change and bright red, yellow, wine, copper, lemon, peach, gold and orange leaves. Dutchess County projects various amounts of color change, depending upon location. Areas along the Hudson River will be at midpoint of change, while other areas will be near peak.

Greater Niagara Region
In the Greater Niagara region, foliage spotters in Buffalo project 40-45 percent color change as more shades of orange are starting to emerge. Some areas closer to Buffalo are still seeing some green and shades of gold and yellow. In Niagara County, Niagara Falls observers expect 50 percent color change with shades of red and orange predominating. Wyoming County will also be at midpoint of change.

Long Island and New York City
On Long Island, observers in the Hamptons are calling for 50 percent leaf change with autumn shades of red, orange and gold. In Nassau and western Suffolk counties, look for around 40 percent color change and yellow, orange, purple and green leaves of average brilliance. Some isolated areas of trees are reported to be near peak. Trees are just starting to change in New York City. Foliage spotters in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens expect 20 percent leaf change with orange and yellow highlights appearing over the predominately green backdrop.

For More Information on Fall Foliage
The weekly foliage report, a detailed map charting fall color progress, vantage points for viewing spectacular foliage, suggested autumn getaways and weekly event listings are available by visiting the I LOVE NEW YORK web site at www.iloveny.com.

Reports are also available by dialing, toll-free, 800/CALL-NYS (800/225-5697) from anywhere in the U.S., its territories and Canada.

For additional New York fall foliage information including select sneak previews of the week’s I LOVE NEW YORK Fall Foliage Report, follow the hash tag: #LoveNYFall on Twitter. Simply type #LoveNYFall into the search box on Twitter and you can access all of the tweets about New York State’s fall colors and where to find the best places in the state to see them.

For information on becoming a volunteer Leaf Peeper, e-mail your name, address and phone number to foliage@esd.ny.gov.

See also:

A gal getaway hiking New York’s Hudson River School Art Trail and slideshow

Getaway on the Hudson River School Art Trail: Thomas Cole National Historic Site and slideshow

Getaway on The Hudson River School Art Trail: Frederick Edwin Church’s Olana and slideshow

The Thompson House is in best tradition of New York’s Catskill Mountains resorts and slideshow

For more travel features, visit:

www.examiner.com/eclectic-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

www.examiner.com/international-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate

‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Twitter: @TravelFeatures

New York State’s Path Through History Highlights Transportation Destinations, From the Erie Canal to Montauk Lighthouse

The Otisco, one of Mid-Lakes Navigation’s specially designed canalboats, journeys on the Erie Canal © 2012 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Two years ago, we took a houseboat on the Erie Canal to discover -by bike and boat – this fascinating and scenic destination, that brought us to charming towns that had helped turn America into an industrial and economic world power. It is one of the destinations that are part of the Governor’s Path Through History program, highlighting historically and culturally significant sites and events throughout New York State.

“From the untamed beauty of Niagara Falls, all along the Erie Canal, and on to the soaring peaks of the Adirondacks, New York State has a multitude of historic attractions that deserve a visit to experience,” Governor Cuomo said. “Our state has played a particularly important role in the development of transportation industries and technology, and the Path Through History program is a great way to appreciate them. Whatever your interests, New York is rich with incredible destinations that will make any trip around the Empire State an unforgettable experience.”

The Path Through History program makes it easy to explore the state’s canals and transportation history sites. Important in creating the Empire State we know today, Canals and Transportation is one of 13 themes that New York State is using to organize its 500-plus heritage sites. The program’s website provides additional information to plan an itinerary that includes site visits, and identifying markers on major state highways as well as local signage with a distinctive Path Through History logo to help point the way.

Here is a region-by-region sampling of the Canals and Transportation sites highlighted in the Path Through History program along with other fun ways to experience the history of transportation around the Empire State.

Central New York:
The town of Rome was the starting point for a canal system that eventually linked Manhattan with the developing American West. There the Erie Canal Village presents a reconstructed 19th century town complete with a schoolhouse, blacksmith and mule-drawn packet boat rides along the canal. In the town of Chittenango the sight of a 96-foot cargo boat under reconstruction at the Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum puts the scale of the canal’s traffic in perspective. And in Canastota, the Canastota Canal Town Museum brings the history, folklore and engineering achievements of the canal into focus with artwork, artifacts and activities.

Canal buffs will also love Schoharie Crossing State Park in Fort Hunter, where remnants of all three eras of Erie Canal development are visible including a two-mile long segment of the original “Clinton’s Ditch.” The Fort Plain Museum and Historical Park in Fort Plain spotlights life along the Erie Canal circa 1820-1850, while The Black River Canal Museum in Boonville features a full-scale canal boat replica and conveys a sense of the engineering accomplishment involved in building the 109-lock Black River Canal. For more about the Central New York region, visit www.nyfun4u.com.

The Finger Lakes:
Canal adventures continue just beyond Palmyra in the historic town of Montezuma, where the Cayuga-Seneca Canal shoots off to connect the Erie Canal with 92 miles of the region’s rivers and lakes, including two of the beautiful Finger Lakes–Cayuga and Seneca. The canal-connected waterways and trails provide a relaxed-paced way to explore this sophisticated, rural region, acclaimed for its fine wines, artisanal food and natural beauty, while a number of museums recreate the era when canals put the region on the transportation grid.

In Syracuse, the Erie Canal Museum, housed in America’s only remaining weighlock building, is a hub for narrated sightseeing tours and canal boat charters. In Seneca Falls, the Seneca Falls Museum of Waterways and Industry offers a thought-provoking look at how the commerce and industrial growth powered by the canals helped to foster and spread social reform movements, including women’s rights.

The Finger Lakes also played a key role in aviation. The Glenn H. Curtiss Museum in Hammondsport honors pioneer aviator Glenn Curtiss, who progressed from building bikes and motorcycles to planes, making the first official long distance flight in the U.S. He also built the first seaplanes for the U.S. Navy earning recognition as “the father of naval aviation.” Dedicated to the restoration of World War II and Korean War aircraft, the 1941 Historical Aircraft Group Museum features informational displays as well as air shows at the Geneseo Airport. And in Elmira, the National Soaring Museum explores the challenge and history of motorless flight such as gliders.

Additionally, Canandaigua’s Granger Homestead and Carriage Museum, home to 19th century Postmaster General Gideon Granger, features a carriage museum with more than 100 horse-drawn carriages and offers carriage rides through historic downtown Canandaigua. Transportation by sea is the theme at the Sodus Bay Lighthouse and Maritime Museum at Sodus Point, where a climb to the lighthouse tower offers stunning views of Lake Ontario. For more about the region, visit www.fingerlakestravelny.com.

Greater Niagara:
The hundred mile footpath between Tonawanda, just outside Buffalo, to Newark in the Finger Lakes, has become a popular destination for hiking and biking. This westernmost segment of the Erie Canal is the longest continuous section of the Canalway Trail. Whether biking, boating or traveling by car, it’s fun to explore the nostalgic small town Main Streets, farmlands, lift bridges and multi-tier locks. As an added attraction, Niagara Falls is just a ten minute drive from Buffalo. The Pierce-Arrow Museum offers a unique collection of bicycles, automobiles, and memorabilia – many of which have a story entwined with that of Western New York’s communities at the turn of the 20th century. In Lockport, the triumph of building the canal is apparent. The town is built around two impressive five-lock staircases that move boats up the steep Niagara escarpment, which visitors can learn about at the new Erie Canal Discovery Center & Flight of Five.

More transportation history beckons at the Historic LeRoy House in LeRoy, which features more than 100 historic vehicles ranging from an ox-cart and antique bikes to a 1908 Cadillac. Naval enthusiasts will want to see the decommissioned U.S. Naval vessels, including the Cleveland-class cruiser USS Little Rock, the Fletcher-class destroyer USS The Sullivans and the submarine USS Croaker, at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park. Rail buffs will also find plenty to explore in the region, starting with the Medina Railroad Museum, a beautiful wooden freight depot filled with memorabilia and model trains, which offers train rides along the Canal. The Arcade & Attica Railroad runs steam and World War II-era diesel engines from its historic station in Arcade. The station itself is a museum with everything from antique railroad lanterns to switch locks along with original photographs. For more about the region, visit www.greaterniagara.com.

The Hudson Valley:
Before paved roads and railroads became commonplace, rivers were America’s highways, as visitors learn at the Hudson River Maritime Museum in Kingston, which features visiting and resident steam tug boats, ice cutters and other vessels as well as the environmental-education vessel, the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater and a display on Hudson River lighthouses. The region also is home to Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park in Highland that crosses the Hudson atop the former Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge. When the 6,768-foot bridge opened in 1888 it was an engineering marvel thought to be the world’s longest bridge in its day. Today, visitors come to walk, skate or bike across the pedestrian bridge as they admire the stunning views of the river more than 200 feet below. Additionally, the Motorcyclepedia Museum in Newburgh offers over 400 historic motorcycles, some dating back as far as the beginning of the 20th century.

You can also retrace the footsteps of the artists who drew their inspiration from the Hudson River Valley and the Catskills, along the Hudson River School Art Trail.

For more about the region, visit www.hudsonvalley.org.

The Adirondacks:
This region of high peaks and whitewater rivers also had a brief brush with car manufacturing. Today, the Champlain Valley Transportation Museum in Plattsburgh is housed in a factory that produced exquisite Lazier Motor Company automobiles and race cars from 1905 to 1910. The museum has expanded its scope to celebrate the region’s rich transportation history through its collection of vintage automobiles, boats and trains. Kid-friendly exhibits include a Vulcan Locomotive that kids can climb around and more than 750 Diecast model cars, trucks, boats, airplanes, tractors and fire trucks. The museum also provides transportation on the replica Sail Ferry Westerwax to the Bluff Point Lighthouse, which still operates and includes displays about the lighthouse itself and the ecology and history of the area. For more about the region, visit www.visitadirondacks.com.

Capital-Saratoga:
The Capital-Saratoga region produced trains, and the ALCO Heritage Museum in Schenectady, currently closed for renovations, aims to share the history of the American Locomotive Company (ALCO), which built steam and diesel locomotives. The Saratoga & North Creek Railway boasts vintage cars that make multiple stops along the Hudson River and offers breathtaking views of the Adirondacks. The cars are also kitchen-equipped to provide fresh meals prepared to order.

Vintage car lovers will also enjoy the Saratoga Automobile Museum. For more about the region, visit www.capital-saratoga.com.

The Catskills:
About 150 years ago, before the era of cars, train service opened up the Catskills and spawned an era of grand hotels and friendly guest houses. Although roads have displaced trains as the route into the region, several vintage trains still operate as tourist attractions. The Esopus Scenic Train, which departs from Mt. Tremper, stops at a 1900’s railroad depot, now home to the Path through History’s Empire State Railway Museum. The important role of river travel is the focus of tours (reserve in advance) at the working Hudson-Athens Lighthouse, located between the towns of Athens and Hudson. For more about the region, go to www.visitthecatskills.com.

Chautauqua-Allegheny:
One of the brightest lights shining on Lake Erie emanates from the Dunkirk Historical Lighthouse in Dunkirk. The 61-foot tall lighthouse, established in 1826, continues to guide sailors navigating Lake Erie. The lighthouse was automated in 1960 but still uses its original 1875 Fresnel lens. Guides here tell tales of the many shipwrecks off the coast and take visitors up the Lighthouse’s spiral stairs to the upper observation level, the restored 1800 lighthouse keeper’s home and a museum with nautical displays and military memorabilia; new this year are ghost tours.

You can also enjoy the Salamanca Rail Museum in the town of Salamanca, where a restored 1912 passenger depot uses artifacts, photos and video to paint a picture of the days when rail was the main way to travel from city to city. The station’s rich red oak wainscoting and two-story skylit ceiling have been restored based on the original architectural plans and include authentic nostalgic touches such as the “Ladies Retiring Room” sign and the telegraph machine in the ticket office. For more about the Chautauqua-Allegheny region, visit www.visitwesternny.com.

New York City:
New York City can proudly claim the Brooklyn Bridge, the first steel-wire suspension bridge in the world and the longest of its day, and the landmark Beaux-Art Grand Central Terminal, celebrating its centennial this year with exhibits, events and an audio tour among its transportation icons. Not surprisingly, the city is also home to one of the world’s premier museums devoted to urban public transportation history. The New York Transit Museum, housed in a former 1936 subway station in Brooklyn Heights with an annex at Grand Central Terminal, explores the development and importance of public transportation. And for one of the best values in the city, residents and visitors can enjoy the views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and the Manhattan skyline on a free Staten Island Ferry ride between the tip of Manhattan and Staten Island. For more about New York City, visit www.nycgo.com

Long Island:
Authorized by Congress in 1792, the Montauk Point Lighthouse has been part of Long Island’s land and seascape for over 200 years and its 100-foot tall tower still serves as an active aid to navigation. Tours of this National Historic Landmark include a visit to the former keepers’ dwelling, containing the apartments of the head keeper and his two assistant keepers; the Fire Control Station, a tower built during World War II which served as part of the extensive East Coast Defense Shield and the lighthouse tower itself, completed in 1796. Long Island’s seafaring past is also vividly portrayed at two wonderful museums: the Sag Harbor Whaling & Historical Museum, set an 1845 Greek Revival whale ship owner’s mansion, and the Long Island Maritime Museum in West Sayville, where maritime history comes to life on a sail aboard a landmark historic vessel (reserve in advance) and visits to landmark homes.

Transportation also looms large at the Long Island Museum of American Art, History & Carriages in Stony Brook, which has over 200 horse-drawn carriages and other rare artifacts from the era. Admired for their beauty and craftsmanship, the carriages reflect an important part of America’s industrial and transportation history. Long Island also played key roles in aviation history, as visitors learn at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City. Here visitors learn how Long Island’s flat terrain at the edge of the nation made it a natural launch point for aviation pioneers including Charles Lindbergh, as well as a center for large commercial and World War II plane producers such as Grumman. For more about the area, visit www.discoverlongisland.com

The Thousand Islands-Seaway:
Boldt Castle, Singer Island and many of the region’s most famous sites date back to the late 19th and early 20th century when the area became popular with America’s wealthy industrialists. Then as now, many popular tourist destinations, including some eye-popping mansions-turned-museums, were accessible only by boat, conveying a sense of the importance of water travel to the region. More than 300 finely-crafted boats and thousands of boating artifacts can be seen at the Antique Boat Museum in Clayton. And the Tibbet’s Point Lighthouse in nearby Cape Vincent features its original working Fresnel lens along with a telescope for surveying. The lighthouse also offers hostel lodgings for those who want to overnight. In Oswego, the H. Lee White Marine Museum displays Native American dugout canoes and other boats. For more about the area, visit www.visit1000islands.com

About Path Through History
Path Through History highlights historically and culturally significant sites and events throughout New York State. The program, introduced by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, builds on New York’s already robust heritage tourism attractions. The initiative is currently focused on 13 themes including: Arts & Culture, Natural History, U.S. Presidents, Women’s Rights, Canals & Transportation, Civil Rights, Colonial History, Immigration, Innovation & Commerce, The Revolutionary War, Native American Heritage, Sports History and the War of 1812. Important heritage sites and events across the state were selected with input from leading historians. For more information, visit http://paththroughhistory.ny.gov/.

Each week, I LOVE NEW YORK social media channels will highlight one theme from Path Through History, featuring photos, videos, event itineraries and more to showcase the rich history of New York State. Follow I LOVE NEW YORK on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or use #LoveNYHistory to join us on the journey down New York’s Path Through History.

Follow I LOVE NEW YORK on social media:
Facebook: Facebook.com/ILOVENY
Twitter: @I_LOVE_NY
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For more information, visit http://www.iloveny.com.

See also:

A gal getaway hiking New York’s Hudson River School Art Trail and slideshow

Getaway on the Hudson River School Art Trail: Thomas Cole National Historic Site and slideshow

Getaway on The Hudson River School Art Trail: Frederick Edwin Church’s Olana and slideshow

Journey by boat and bike along the Erie Canal: Macedon-Fairport-Pittsford and slideshow

Erie Canal journey by boat, bike: Exploring canaltowns from Pittsford to Albion and slideshow

Erie Canal journey: Albion-Medina bikeride is most scenic, illuminating and slideshow

For more travel features, visit:

www.examiner.com/eclectic-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

www.examiner.com/international-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate

‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

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From Saranac Lake 6 to CATS Trails on Lake Champlain, Adirondacks of Northern NYS Offer Unparalleled Hiking

The Adirondack Region of New York, which boasts the largest trail system in the state, winding more than 2,000 miles through mountains, rivers and lakes, offers unparalleled hiking experiences for all abilities. From the newly crowned “Saranac Six,” to the Champlain Area Trails system (CATS), now is the time to get outside and explore in the Adirondack Mountains

The CATS trails, located along the coast of Lake Champlain, offer some new hiking experiences up Boquet Mountain, around Beaver Flow and through the Splitrock Wild Forest. Find easy-to-moderate hiking trails perfect for families with children. The Saranac Lake Six, a new hiking challenge for visitors to the Adirondacks, kicked off the summer hiking season in May, challenging hikers to conquer six of the highest peaks in the Adirondack Lakes Region. Complete all six and become an official “6er.” Climb all six and one day and earn one of the first spots on the “Ultra 6er” list.

With a total ascent of more than 18,000’, the Saranac Lake Six present a challenging hiking experience for a weekend or summer spent in the Adirondacks. They are:

  • McKenzie Mountain – the tallest 6er and the longest trail at 10.6 miles round-trip, begin at the trailhead located on NYS Route 86 between Lake Placid and Saranac Lake.
  • Ampersand Mountain – its bald summit offers panoramic views. Begin the 5.4 miles round-trip hike at the trailhead located on Route 3 between Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake.
  • Scarface Mountain – a moderate 6.8 mile round-trip hike, with great views of the lakes, the trailhead is located on Old Ray Brook Road, just 0.1 miles from Route 86 in Ray Brook.
  • St. Regis Mountain – offers a steep climb to the summit crowned by an old fire tower. Begin the 6.6 mile round-trip hike at the trailhead located on Keese Miles Road.
  • Haystack Mountain – located about half-way along the McKenzie Mountain trail, Haystack offers 180-degree views and is 6.6 miles round-trip.
  • Mount Baker – one of the quickest yet steepest trails at 1.8 miles round-trip. The trailhead is located on Moody Pond Road in Saranac Lake.

Experience the thrill of discovery on an Adirondack hiking trail and find unique attractions and family-friendly outdoor recreation. In each Adirondack Region, adventure can be found at trailheads, summits and on winding paths that lead into the unknown.

Some of this summer’s top hiking adventures in the Adirondacks include:

Canoe and Climb at Valcour Island on the Adirondack Coast of Lake Champlain. From the town of Peru’s boat launch on Lake Champlain, sea kayak for one mile across Lake Champlain to Valcour Island. Distinguished by the historic lighthouse that rises from its shores, the island was the site of the first naval battle during the Revolutionary War. More than 7 miles of hiking trails circle the island, winding along cliffs, around a heron rookery, stopping at sand beaches and sheltered bays. Crossing conditions can be dangerous for amateur paddlers, so consider joining a guided paddling trip to the island with the staff from The Kayak Shack in Plattsburgh.

Furry Fun for Families at Up Yonda Farm in the Lake George Region offers a different kind of hiking excursion, one that includes wildlife exhibits, nature programs, bee-keeping and more. Up Yonda is a 72-acre facility in Bolton Landing offering lessons on honey-bees, trees, butterflies, planets and constellations, as well as wild things like turtles and newts. Enjoy wildlife viewing and bird watching, and hike trails that wind through fields, meadows, old forests and even a cemetery. There is a small fee, around $4 per person, to join in any one of the public programs. Up Yonda offers visitors the chance to connect with the living animals and plants of the Adirondacks while enjoying the great outdoors.

The Waterfall Challenge in the Adirondack Wild Region takes visitors to the heart of the Adirondack Park and explores the cascading waterfalls of Hamilton County. Home to the greatest number of waterfalls in the region, the Adirondack Wild offers pristine hiking to some of the most breathtaking waterfalls on the east coast. To begin, download the waterfall hike guide for detailed trail instructions. Complete the waterfall challenge brochure and submit the information to Hamilton County Tourism to receive a waterfall challenge patch.

Horseback Riding and Hiking in the Adirondacks Tug Hill Region’s Otter Creek Trail System. One of the only recreational areas of its kind in the Adirondacks, Otter Creek is a series of interlocking horse and hiking trails that wind for nearly 65 miles through woodlands, around backcountry ponds and rambling rivers. Primitive camping is available at a designated assembly area located in the Independence River State Forest area. Accommodations for those traveling with horses include 100 roofed stalls, two stud stalls as well as a potable water system for everyone.

Bushwhacking the Backcountry in the Lake Placid Region takes skill and a fair bit of planning – though the rewards are expansive views and a notch in your belt for tackling some of the most remote peaks in the Adirondack Mountains. Bag a couple peaks in Wilmington – also home of Whiteface Mountain Downhill Bike Center – such as Morgan Mountain and Wilmington Peak. Both trails are less than 5 miles round-trip, yet challenge hikers to use orienteering skills, hack through underbrush and scramble across difficult and often steep terrain.

In the Adirondack Seaway Region, Stone Valley Recreation Area in Colton offers a moderate hiking trek across 7.5 miles of trails. Follow the historic Raquette River and glimpse whitewater rapids, waterfall gorges and rock ledges. Watch for adventurous kayakers shooting the rapids during the spring and summer months.

The Adirondack Region is a six-million-acre park offering limitless recreation amid 2,000 miles of hiking trails and 3,000 lakes and ponds. Part of the largest temperate forest in the world, the Adirondacks are also home to 103 towns and villages. Connect with the Adirondacks on Facebook.com/visitadirondacks or Twitter.com/visitadks. Search Adirondack events, attractions and Adirondack vacation packages at VisitAdirondacks.com.

For more travel features, visit:

www.examiner.com/eclectic-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

www.examiner.com/international-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate

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Twitter: @TravelFeatures