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  • Overlooking the site of the original Woodstock music festival in New York State
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    Woodstock and Bethel: Where Music History was Made

  • Strolling along Main Street in Cooperstown, New York
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    Cooperstown: Legendary Baseball Town

  • A group of kids examine colorful stained glass in the Finger Lakes, New York
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    Finger Lakes: Small Towns, Funky Museums

  • A nature education program at the Chautauqua Institution in New York State
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    Chautauqua: Idyllic Upstate Americana

A mural celebrates Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz near the museum that honors their work in Jamestown, New York
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Only in New York: Cruising to Small Towns and Cultural Centers

  • Route distance:
    1528.00 km
  • Suggested Time:
    1-2 weeks

Although the area that constitutes upstate New York is often up for debate, what you should know is that upstate is much more than simply “not New York City.”

The central and upper regions of New York are renowned for their natural beauty and endless outdoor recreation with historically significant sites that date back to the first European settlements. This road trip features must-see attractions, cultural hot-spots and historic places that can only be found in New York.

01
Overlooking the site of the original Woodstock music festival in New York State
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Woodstock and Bethel: Where Music History was Made

Fly into John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), rent a car and drive right out of the city into the Catskill Mountains, commonly called the Catskills. Dotted with quaint mountain towns, cultural attractions and year-round scenic beauty, it’s a popular vacation spot. Rural Woodstock has been an artist’s haven since the days of the Hudson River School painters of the late 1800s, but will forever be associated with the legendary 1969 music festival, which actually took place in Bethel about 90 kilometers southwest of Woodstock. Attend a show at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, an outdoor performance venue at the original festival site, and explore the Museum at Bethel Woods, full of groovy Woodstock memorabilia. Just across the road, tour the Catskill Distilling Company – bottles of the craft spirits make perfect gifts. Grab a bite to eat at the Dancing Cat Saloon before venturing to your next stop, Cooperstown.

151 km
2.25 hours by car
02
Strolling along Main Street in Cooperstown, New York
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Cooperstown: Legendary Baseball Town

Revel in the gorgeous mountain scenery on your trek into Central New York. With a population of around 2,000 residents, Cooperstown is small in size but big on quintessential Americana. James Fennimore Cooper, famous American author of “Last of the Mohicans,” grew up here and set many of his works in and around Cooperstown. Originally, Abner Doubleday was credited with inventing baseball in Cooperstown, but that urban legend has since been refuted. Yet, that hasn’t stopped the town from proclaiming itself the birthplace of baseball. Cooperstown’s crown jewel is the National Baseball Hall of Fame, a comprehensive repository of baseball memorabilia as well as the Hall of Fame Plaque Gallery. While you’re in town, catch a game at Doubleday Field. End your day on a sweet note: Sample ciders made with crisp New York apples at the historic Fly Creek Cider Mill & Orchard. Pick up farm-fresh preserves or hand-crafted sauces before you continue on to the Finger Lakes Region. After a day of sightseeing, wander into The Ostesago Hotel and head to The Hawkeye Bar & Grill for perfect lakeside views and stone-fried thin crust pizzas or comfort classics like homemade meatloaf or turkey pot pie.

240 km
2.5 hours by car
03
A group of kids examine colorful stained glass in the Finger Lakes, New York
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Finger Lakes: Small Towns, Funky Museums

The Finger Lakes are made up of 11 narrow lakes popular for water recreation and outdoor activities. For museum goers, there’s one place you can’t pass up. Visit “America’s Crystal City” in Corning, home to The Corning Museum of Glass, the world’s largest collection of glass art and artifacts. Watch live glassmaking demonstrations or test your skills and learn to make your own glass art. Be sure to visit the museum’s impressive latest addition, the Contemporary Art + Design Wing, housed in a modernist, sleek glass building with an all-glass ceiling. Situated in the middle of a lawn, it resembles an enormous glass cube and features a contemporary gallery of over 70 works of art. Wander to the Special Projects Gallery, an extraordinary space dedicated to revolving exhibits of large-scale installations. After your museum tour, venture over to The Cellar for a memorable meal with an extraordinary wine list to accompany it. A modern fusion menu offers diverse options from day boat sea scallops to local grass-fed beef sliders to sumptuous cheese boards. Desserts are house made – try the elevated version of an American classic – tableside Cellar S’mores topped with rich chocolate ganache.

208 km
2.25 hours by car
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A nature education program at the Chautauqua Institution in New York State
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Chautauqua: Idyllic Upstate Americana

Located over two hours from Corning, Chautauqua offers loads of outdoor activities, gorgeous seasonal scenery, a year-round calendar of events and activities for the whole family. On the northwest side of Lake Chautauqua you’ll discover the Chautauqua Institution, a historic educational center and summer resort destination offering lectures, art, music and theatrical performances. Nearby in Jamestown, “I Love Lucy” fans can admire stage props, costumes, set replicas and other Desilu memorabilia at the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Museum. Alternately, head to the east side of the lake to play midway games and ride traditional fair rides at Midway State Park, one of the oldest amusement parks in the country. Go skiing in the winter, or try zip lining and golfing in the warmer months, at the year-round Peek ’n Peak Resort. With a spa and on-site dining, it’s the perfect place to relax overnight before you fly out of Buffalo Niagara International Airport. While in Buffalo, don’t miss the chance to indulge in authentic Buffalo chicken wings at Anchor Bar, where the first basket of chicken wings was created back in 1964.