Ten best: New York Day Trips
Published 21/08/2010 | 05:00
Most visitors to New York never make it out of Manhattan. There's so much to see and do upstate, so ditch the bright lights and spread your wings
Best for vine hopping
Finger Lakes Region
After California, New York State is the second-largest wine-producing state in North America, with more than 240 wineries producing award-winning labels. Visitors can visit America's oldest continuously operating winery, the Brotherhood Winery, dating from 1839.
The Finger Lakes are synonymous with rolling hills, vineyards and spectacular views as far as the eye can see. Glacial lakes, deep gorges, sparkling streams and waterfalls combine with historic landmarks and quaint, canal-side villages to make this region a great escape from the heat of the city.
World-renowned museums and performing arts centres are found in vibrant cities, while sunlit vineyards snuggle up to unspoiled forests. Follow a scenic wine trail and discover why the Finger Lakes wins rave reviews.
Best for foodies
The Culinary Institute
At the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), Hyde Park, a world of diverse cuisines and enticing flavours awaits at the five award-winning, student-staffed restaurants.
Only one-and-a-half hours north of New York City and housed in an impressive campus in the Hudson Valley region, tomorrow's celebrity chefs battle it out today, churning out delicately flavoured dishes under the guidance of world-class chefs. Book a table at ciachef.edu.
Best place to bag a bargain
Woodbury Common, Hudson Valley
Just a short drive from New York City, Hudson Valley is a haven for shoppers with some of the largest malls and discount stores in the US.
Woodbury Common is the world's largest outdoor designer-shopping outlet, and you'll find impressive savings at Balenciaga, Burberry, Coach, Chloé, Dolce & Gabbana, Fendi, Polo Ralph Lauren and Prada.
For more information visit premiumoutlets.com.
Best for biking
The Catskills Region
This fabulous landscape boasts many attractive scenic byways and dedicated biking trails. Cyclists should not miss the journey from Grand Gorge in the northern end of the county through Roxbury, a historic town on the National Register of Historic Places, on to the village line of Margaretville. The on-road biking experience is a rewarding one, with picturesque mountain views and challenging uphill treks.
For a more relaxed journey, the Catskill Scenic Trail is a 19-mile trail constructed on the rail bed of the former Ulster & Delaware Railroad. This historic trail winds its way across the level terrain, over streams and through forests and farmland. It's a great ride for all ages and fitness levels. catskillscenictrail.org.
Best place to ride the rapids
Black River, Thousand Islands
The rapids along the Black River are considered some of the best in the eastern US.
With the spring snowmelt, more experienced and adventurous rafters can ride the Class IV-V white-water, squeezed into the Black River gorge.
When the water level drops in the summer, the Black River's rapids become slower and more accessible (Class III level), making it perfect for families and rafters of mixed abilities.
Best for culture vultures
Albany, capital of Saratoga Region
New York State's capital offers plenty of rich cultural heritage. Old meets new and stately 19th- century architecture blends dramatically with the modern Empire State Plaza, while Schenectady's Stockade preserves the era of the Dutch settlement. Enjoy the eclectic mix -- from world-class museums, unique galleries and stunning architecture to gourmet restaurants. There are also plenty of fairs, concerts and festivals throughout the year to keep everyone amused. Visit albany.org.
The slower water also leaves more time for sunbathing, water fights and relaxation during river trips.
Best winter resort
Whiteface, Lake Placid
Home to not one but two Winter Olympic Games, Lake Placid offers world-class facilities for almost any winter sport imaginable. With snow covering 98pc of the mountain, this world-class ski resort is as snow-sure as you can get. Off-piste, speed through the bobsled track, ice skate, shop 'til you drop on Main Street and then relax and unwind in a luxurious spa. For more details visit whiteface.com.
Best for families
The Erie Canal
The Erie Canal is enjoying a rebirth as a destination for serious family fun. Stretching from Albany to the terminus in Buffalo, where the canal empties into Lake Erie, the 363-mile waterway can be navigated by barge or pleasure boat and boasts miles of bike and hiking paths, in addition to parks and historic sites.
There are 136 miles of well-maintained trails stretching along the scenic canal towpaths. Find your slice of Americana along the towpaths that hug the historic Erie Canal as they make their way past charming villages and through forests. Works are underway to join the current paths into a 500-mile trail system. When it is completed, the path will be the longest multiple-use trail in the country. See eriecanalway.org.
Best village by the sea
Montauk, Long Island
Famed for its unpretentiousness and unhurried simplicity, and located only 125 miles from New York City, Montauk is on the eastern-most tip of Long Island. Both city types and internationals with a sense of adventure flock to Montauk to explore the six seaside state parks and view historic Montauk Lighthouse, constructed in 1796 on the order of President George Washington.
Like its ritzy sister South Hampton, Montauk does receive its share of rich and famous visitors, but discretion rules the day here, as does seafood and surfing. There are few luxury yachts docked in this thriving fishing village. Rather, visitors are more likely to find well-dressed bohemian types in flip-flops, sporting vintage Land Rovers with surfboards on the roof, all set to a soundtrack of Bob Marley or the Rolling Stones.
The Corning Museum of Glass, The Finger Lakes
This museum is home to the world's most comprehensive collection of glass.
Spanning the globe and encompassing more than 3,500 years of human ingenuity, the collection includes masterpieces from ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome; the great civilisations of Islam, Asia, Europe and the Americas; and the range of artistic movements beginning in the late 19th century and extending to the present day.