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New York Winter Getaways: 8 Best Destinations

While winter time may be the sole reason some travelers/locals flee New York from December to April, for some the winter scene is the reason they flock to NY! With snow covered mountains perfect for skiing, frozen lakes for ice skating, delightful Christmas festivals, thrilling Olympic sport experiences, snowtubing, and snowboarding, there are so many options for New York winter getaways!

With both the Adirondack Mountains and Catskills Mountains being located in New York, you will find plenty of ski resorts, snow tubing & sledding hills, and ice-covered lakes. From Lake Placid, sitting in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains, and home to some of the most thrilling winter adventures in New York to the annual winter carnival in Lake George, a snow dusted Central Park in the city, to a frozen over Niagara Falls it will not be hard to see why you should get out and explore New York this winter, despite the frigid temperatures!

8 Of The Best New York Winter Getaways

Lake Placid

Home to the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics, it is not hard to see why Lake Placid becomes a skier’s paradise and one of the best New York winter getaways. Whiteface Mountain, the highest vertical drop East of the Rockies, is a bucket list destination for experienced skiers as well as beginners with their family friendly terrain.

The best way to experience Lake Placid is by trying out their Olympic experiences that will give you a feel for what it is like being a part of the Winter Olympics. Take a ride down the 30ft. Toboggan Chute and out onto a frozen over Mirror Lake, where you may slide as far as 1,000 ft. The month of opening varies greatly depending on the weather and how well the lake freezes over, but is generally fully open by early February. ‘

Soar around a track at Mt. Van Hoevenberg on a classic Olympian bobsled. A bobsled can hold up to three passengers and you will be paired with a professional bobsled driver to enjoy your safety. This experience is designed for children 13 years and up who are at least 52″ tall. As an alternate option you can also enjoy a ride of the Cliffside Coaster designed to give you the feel of riding a bobsled.

For skiers and snowboarders, you just have to visit Whiteface Mountain. If you are an experienced skier/snowboarder you can hit the slopes and have the adventure of a lifetime. For newbie skiers and snowboarders, there are plenty of lesson options available for kids as young as four years old. They also offer private lessons and adaptive lessons available for individuals with disabilities.

For those who prefer not to hit the slopes, a gondola ride is the perfect alternate option for visiting Whiteface Mountain and taking in the stunning mountain views that surround. The Gondola will take you to the summit of Little Whiteface. You can hop off, go for a short hike around the summit, or enjoy the views of Lake Placid-both the lake and village-from the observation deck.

If you enjoy ice skating, head to the Lake Placid Olympic Center. Here you will find an indoor and outdoor ice-skating rink. An alternate option is to head to Mirror Lake, where you will find a two-mile long plowed trail around the edge of the lake that is free to access.

While you can’t ski down it, you can visit the top of the Olympic ski jump and look down for the same view the Olympic athletes got before venturing down. To see more of the Olympic grounds, you can tour the Olympic Center or head to the Lake Placid Olympic Museum to learn about the history in Lake Placid.

For more outdoor activities, head to Mt. Van Hoevenberg for some snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. Head to High Falls Gorge for an easy winter hike. Stroll down Main Street in Lake Placid and find some unique souvenirs for yourself or some crafty Christmas gifts for those on your shopping list.

Whiteface Mountain ski area covered in snow, one of the best New York winter getaways
Whiteface Mountain Ski Area. Photo Credit: Baombaom, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

New York Winter Getaways: Lake George

An outdoor lover’s paradise any time of year, Lake George is a great Adirondack village to visit for one of the best New York winter getaways. Lake George freezes over in the winter, making it possible to walk its entire length to the other side. It also makes it the perfect location for an on the ice winter carnival that is held annually.

The carnival generally takes place on weekends in February at Shepard Park. Exact events/ vendors vary from year to year, but you can expect several food and craft vendors set up on the ice, polar plunges, fireworks, ATV races, a bonfire on the beach, and plenty of kids activities. The park is located along Canada Street, Lake George’s shopping and dining hub. Take advantage and stroll down Canada Street, aglow with Christmas lights, and check out the quaint, local shops for unique items and souvenirs.

While you can normally find ice sculptures littered around Shepard Park during the winter carnival, new for 2022 you can enjoy ice castles. The ice castles attraction will feature sculptures, tunnels, ice slides, fountains, caverns with large icicles, and a maze. If visiting in December you can enjoy the village lit up with thousands of lights during the Holiday Festival of Lights. For the adults, check out the ice bars found throughout Lake George for a drink.

If you are brave enough to hit the trails during the winter you will find many hiking options in Lake George, ranging in difficulty from easy to challenging. For an easy winter hike check out Pilot Knob or Shelving Rock Mountain Summit, or for a more challenging hike check out Black Mountain or Sleeping Beauty Mountain.

The Natural Stone Bridge and Caverns is great for snowshoeing in the winter. The natural stone bridge that is the centerpiece of this location is accessible in the winter months with a snowshoe tour and for those looking for more of an adventure, there are 14.5 miles of snowshoeing trails.

After you have had you share of fun in the single digit weather, head into an 80 degree tropical paradise at the Six Flags Great Escape Lodge & Indoor Water Park. Tall Timbers Treehouse is perfect for the little ones, with kiddie sized water slides, water rifles, and an oversized water bucket at the top that spills over every now and then. You can also find a smaller area perfect for toddlers and babies.

There are two full sized single rider water slides and Avalanche, a 4-person large tube water slide. Soakum Spring, an indoor hot tub, will warm you up even more and you can grab a tube and jump into the lazy river for some relaxation. If you’re up for it, you can enjoy some simulation surfing.

Not only is the waterpark one of the best things to do in Lake George during the winter, but the resort itself is one of the best accommodation options! You will find many room and suite options, including themed suites with a separate cabin themed sleeping area for the kids. The lodge has two on-site dining rooms and an arcade.

A seagull sitting on a frozen over Lake George, best New York winter getaways
Lake George Frozen Over.

New York City

Winter time in New York City, especially Christmas time, is just magical! Along with all the great attractions, culture, and experiences New York City has to offer year-round, the city comes to life with holiday events, winter sports, festive lights and decorations, and even a Christmas market, making it one of the best New York winter getaways.

If visiting during the holiday period, you won’t want to miss ice skating in Bryant Park, seeing the jaw dropping Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, catching a live performance of the Nut Cracker ballet or the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall, or taking in the festive lights scatted across the five NYC boroughs. New Year’s Eve is also an exciting time to be in the city during the winter, with the traditional ball drop in Times Square.

Bryant Park transforms into a winter wonderland with free ice skating daily and the Winter Village, a food hall near the rink that is comparable to a Christmas market. Aside from the food vendors, you will find many selling crafts, jewelry, toys, games, wine, and more!

Central Park is a sight to behold in the winter as the normally lush green trees are transformed into bare branches dusted in fluffy white snow. You can wander the trails in the park, go sledding on the mini hills, or take a horse drawn carriage tour of the park. Other fun activities to be found in Central Park in the winter are snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.

Fifth Avenue is a popular spot to see extensive and festive storefront displays, including the popular Macy’s Christmas display. Fifth Avenue is home to some of the most upscale shopping options in the world, and prices certainly match up to that, but window shopping just to see the displays is worth the visit! For more Christmas light displays, head to Dyker Heights in Brooklyn on a self guided or guided tour for some remarkable Christmas light displays.

For some indoor winter fun visit some of New York City’s famous museums, where you will likely experience fewer crowds than the busier summer season and will escape the cold for a bit! The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, 9/11 Memorial and Museum, and American Museum of Natural History should all be on your list.

Central Park covered in snow with city skyline in the background, best New York winter getaways
Central Park covered in snow. Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

Watertown/ The Thousand Islands

The Thousand Islands make for a gorgeous summer retreat, but dig a little ad you will find no shortage of fun winter activities to make you fall in love with the area in the off season! From the traditional winter sports like cross-country skiing, snow tubing, and snowmobiling to the Winter Wonderlights festival at Zoo New York and wine tasting for the adults, the Thousand Islands are one of the best New York winter getaways!

Visit the Dry Hill Ski Area to enjoy skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing. The resort also has a terrain park for snowboarders looking to try out their skill. Not great at skiing/snowboarding or never done it before? The resort offers group and private ski lessons for all ages.

The Minna Anthony Nature Center, one of the largest nature centers in the state, located on Wessley Island has eight miles of hiking trails. In the winter, the nature center becomes a haven for skiers and snowshoers with rentals available onsite. When exploring the trails be sure to keep your eye out for bald eagles along Eel Bay.

At Keewaydin State Park, situated along the St. Lawrence River, you can enjoy ice fishing and cross-country skiing. Jacques Cartier State Park’s large open lawns and trails make for the perfect snowshoeing and cross-country skiing location.

Ice skaters can head to Springer Market Square for outdoor ice skating or for an indoor rink head over to the Watertown Municipal Arena. Snowmobilers can drive the 45 minutes to Flat Rock Inn in nearby Tug Hill Plateau for snow mobile rentals and access to over 800 miles of trails.

If your New York winter getaway involves kids, stop at Zoo New York for animal viewing and if visiting from late November to early January you can catch the Winter Wonderlights event. After Jack Frost has nipped at your nose enough, head indoors to the Clayton Opera House for live entertainment, try to find your way out of Alcatrez or see how you deal in a Zombie Apocalypse at the Mystery Room in Watertown, or put your mind to work at the Sci-Tech Museum in Watertown.

For the adults, head to some of the tasty Thousand Island wineries to taste some local wines, brews, and spirits! Follow the Thousand Islands Seaway Wine Trail with seven local wineries like the Busted Grape, The Cape Winery, Coyote Moon Vineyards, and Northern Flow Vineyards.

Three people cross-country skiing
Cross-Country Skiing. Photo by Polina Kirilenko on Unsplash

New York Winter Getaways: Niagara Falls

One of the most well-known water falls in the world, Niagara Falls is a pure beauty any time of year, but winter brings about some unique views of the falls. View the ice-covered rocks and ice in the Niagara River as the falls continue to roar, or if you’re lucky you may catch the falls when they are almost (or are completely) frozen over. Not only will you get some unique views of the falls, you will also be able to avoid the massive crowds seen in the summer months, making it one of the best New York winter getaways!

While you may not be able to enjoy the Maid of the Mist experience during the winter time, you can still get up close with the American Falls. Take a ride on the Cave of the Winds elevator down to the base of the falls to see them in all their snow-covered glory or walk out on the observation deck to view them from above. Illumination of the falls is another thing that doesn’t end with the coming of winter, so if you are visiting in the evening be sure to stop by the falls to see them aglow in a rainbow of colors, only adding to the beauty!

Niagara Falls State Park is another great space for outdoor winter fun. Enjoy snowshoeing in the park with free rentals available at the Cave of the Winds Pavillion, or build a snowman & have an epic snowball fight with the kids! If snowshoeing is your thing, be sure to check out the other great parks in the area where you can enjoy the activity like Fort Niagara State Park and Whirlpool State Park.

For some indoor fun in the winter time head to the Aquarium of Niagara to see a variety of sea creatures up close, including sting rays, sharks, penguins, and seals. The Niagara Falls Climbing Center is great for families and individuals alike, giving you the opportunity to try your hand at rock climbing. The Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center will take you back in time and explore the history of Niagara Falls and its role in the underground railroad.

Niagara Falls covered with snow and ice, base of the falls, best New York winter getaway
Niagara Falls covered with snow. Photo by Elvir K on Unsplash


Known as the Enchanted Mountains of Western NY, Ellicottville is the perfect combination of wintery beauty and winter adventure, making it one of the best New York winter getaways. With New York’s largest state park nearby and one of New York’s best ski resorts onsite, you are sure to have a blast!

Snowmobiling is a big winter sport in Ellicottville with over 350 miles of trails. Allegany State Park is a big spot for snowmobiling, but you can find a map of all the snowmobiling trails in the area. Other fun activities in Allegany State Park to try out include cross country skiing and snowmobiling. If you want to spend a weekend (or longer) in the park, check out the cabins along the trails that can be rented.

Lake Erie State Park is about an hour drive from Ellicottville and offers more opportunities for winter sports, including snowmobiling, cross country skiing, bird watching in an area that often sees rare migratory species, and a stroll beside the snow-covered lake.

Holiday Valley Resort is a must for families visiting Ellicottville with many family-friendly activities. Their snow tubing hill is perfect for anyone over 7 looking to enjoy the snow and with their “Little Tubers” hill even the younger kids can have a blast! If you are a snowboarder, check out Holiday Valley’s Terrain Park and practice some tricks!

If you are looking for something a little more thrilling, take on the slopes for some skiing at Holiday Valley. New to skiing? Don’t worry! Holiday Valley offers skiing lessons from kids as young as 4 all the way to adulthood. Go for a ride on the Sky Flyer Mountain Coaster and glide through twists and turns in snow covered woods. As you ride down the hill you will have control of the car and how fast you go, making it a great experience for people of all ages.

Another great ski resort in Ellicottville and the largest private ski resort in the US, Holimont contains 55 trails for snowboarding and skiing, with the highest vertical drop being 700 ft. The resort also offers lessons for kids and adults. For a change in pace head to the Crosspatch Horse Ranch, where you can go on a horse drawn carriage ride or go for a wintery horseback ride.

After you have had your share of snow and cold, visit one of Ellicottville’s three spas. Anew Beginning Massage and Spa, Ellicottville Oasis Day Spa, and Falling Waters Spa offer massages that will ease those sore muscles from all the days of running around.

cabins inside Allegany State Park, snow covered road, best new york winter getaways
Allegany State Park Cabins. Photo Credit: Benjamin D. Esham / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0 US

New York Winter Getaways: The Catskills

The Catskill Mountains are overflowing with adventurous winter sports for the whole family to enjoy, making it one of the best New York winter getaways. With iconic ski resorts and centers to choose from, including Hunter Mountain, Windham Mountain, and Plattekill Mountain, there is no shortage of outdoor adventure!

Skiing is a big winter sport in the Catskills which is home to some of the best ski resorts in NYS. Belleayre Ski Center boasts the highest peak in the Catskills that is skiable. Hunter Mountain, Windham Mountain, and Plattekill Mountain also offer a number of trails for skiing. Holiday Mountain is the perfect choice for beginning level skiers and those traveling with young kids. The trails are easier and programs are available to help new skiers develop skills.

The Catskills are also home to some of the best tubing hills in the state. The Hunter Mountain tubing hill is one of the largest at 1,000 ft. long. There is a lift that brings you back to the top, eliminating having to make your way back to the top each time. Plattekill Mountain is another option offering a similar experience.

The Windham Mountain tubing hill offers a 650 ft. hill with conveyer belt to bring your tube back to the top. If you choose this option, you will also want to check out their Adventure Park for ice skating and kids snowmobiling. Snowshoeing and skiing is another option to keep your trip adventure filled. If skiing, snowshoeing, and tubing isn’t enough adventure, be sure to add snowmobiling to your list! Bring your own or you can rent one at the Rip Van Winkle Ranch in Hunter.

For one of the most extreme ziplining experiences in the country opt for a ziplining adventure at Hunter Mountain, where you can choose from an extreme three-hour tour or a family friendly tour. For a winter hike choose the 1.4-mile Kaaterskill Falls trail and see one of the most well-known New York State waterfalls.

If you want to mix your winter wonderland with a little bit of tropical paradise the Kartrite Resort & Indoor Waterpark is just the place for you! Being New York’s largest indoor waterpark with 84 degrees “weather” year-round, this park will be a big hit for the whole family! You can race your friends on the Jiggerty-Jaggerty slides, brave a ride on the Nor’Easter, relax on the Lazy River, ride the waves on the Endless Summer Flowrider, or if with the toddlers visit the family-friendly kiddie areas.

Aside from the waterpark, the Kartrite Resort has a bowling alley, arcade, adventure rope course and zipline, a rock-climbing wall, laser tag, and 3D theater. If you get hungry the resort offers a range of dining options from an all you can eat buffet to fine dining options. And why not stay overnight? The resort has plenty of accommodation options, from junior suites to three bedroom family suites.

a person skiing down a mountain
Skiing. Photo by Maarten Duineveld on Unsplash

Saratoga Springs

The spa city is perhaps one of the last places you would consider for the best New York winter getaways, right? Wrong! While the mineral springs scattered throughout the city are one of the main draws during the summer months, it can be just as fun to visit them during the winter! You can still visit the springs and watch the flow of water squirt out past the snow-covered ground/fountains. To get a taste of their unique flavors be sure to bring a small cup or water bottle!

The Saratoga Spa State Park transforms from a lush green summer retreat to a winter wonderland with cross-country skiing trails that take you past the parks many mineral springs. Ski rentals are available in the park. Ice skaters will also delight in the ice-skating rink that appears in the park once the snow hits.

While skiing/snowboarding hills may not be available in Saratoga Springs, the options within driving distance are plentiful. The Gore Mountain area, about an hour North of Saratoga Springs, is perfect for downhill skiing and snowboarding. The area has 110 trails spread across four different peaks. The area also has 11 miles of cross-country skiing trails.

West Mountain is another great option, only a 20-minute drive from Saratoga Springs. West Mountain has skiing and snowboarding trails for all skill levels. Other fun winter activities to be found at West Mountain are snow tubing, alpine racing, and night skiing. Lessons are also available.  

If visiting during New Year’s, put the First Night Celebration on your itinerary. The evening will start out with the annual 5K race and fireworks display in the early evening. During the event you can find live performances from local and touring groups throughout historic downtown Saratoga Springs. The evening will end with a digital display created by Saratoga Arts at the Saratoga Springs City Center.

When planning your Saratoga Springs getaway, you will find no shortage of winter and holiday festivals. In late November and throughout December the Holiday Lights Spectacular will take place in Round Lake, just 20 minutes outside of Saratoga Springs. If visiting in early December, the Saratoga Festival of Trees, with 250 uniquely decorated trees on display, takes place.

Starting in January, the Saratoga Farmers’ Market will take place indoors every Saturday through April. If visiting Saratoga Springs in February, be sure to check out the ice bars that can be found around Saratoga Springs for a unique evening out on the town.

After a day (or two, or three!) of exploring Saratoga’s outdoor wintery adventures, head inside to the National Racing Museum, head to the Saratoga Casino and Raceway for a night of betting or entertainment, or head to the Gideon Putnam Roosevelt Baths & Spa for a day of relaxation and rejuvenation.

Oneida Spring in Saratoga Spa State Park, best New York winter getaways
Oneida Spring in Saratoga Spa State Park. Coasterlover1994, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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View the Manhattan Skyline: 10 Unique Ways

One of the most recognizable and well known skylines in the world, the Manhattan Skyline is definitely a sight to behold! Whether viewing during the day or at night when the city comes alive with countless numbers of lights, you will be dazzled by the beauty to be found!

When visiting New York City, you will find plenty of ways to view the Manhattan Skyline. You can ride to the top of some of the tallest buildings in the city, set out on a cruise in the NYC harbor, visit one of the small islands surrounding Manhattan, or take to the air with a helicopter ride above the city to experience the once in a life-time views!

The One World Observatory

One of the newer ride to the top experiences in New York City, the One World Observatory is one of the best ways to see New York City from above. With the ride to the top experience you will travel up 102 stories in 47 seconds. Once you reach the top you will step out first into a gallery area where you will watch a short film on New York City before the screen pulls back and you are treated to your first views of the skyline.

You will then be directed to a 360 room with views of Manhattan from the tip and Statue of Liberty all the way around and as far back as the Empire State Building and beyond on a clear day. If you’re brave enough you can walk over the 14ft. wide circular glass window built into the floor and watch as life in the city goes on below you.

If you’re hungry, you can stop by Illy Caffe & Gelateria for a quick snack or if you plan ahead, enjoy a full meal at ONE Dine.

view of the Brooklyn Bridge from the one world observatory, one of the best ways to view the Manhattan skyline
View of the Brooklyn Bridge from One World Observatory.

The Edge

The Edge is the newest and one of the best ways to view the Manhattan skyline. The outdoor sky deck is 100 stories up in the Hudson Yards neighborhood of Manhattan and suspended in mid-air. The Edge boasts 360 degree views of the city, including the Statue of Liberty, One World Trade Building, the Empire State Building, and Central Park. unobstructed by clear glass walls.

If you are looking for a thrilling experience, keep checking back to experience the City Climb, which is set to open in November of 2021. The City Climb will take you up a 45 degree angle staircase to the edge of the skyscraper, where you will lean out over the city! (This is not an experience for the faint of heart!).

The Empire State Building

The ride to the top of the Empire State Building is another one of the best ways to view the Manhattan Skyline and one of the most classic attractions in New York City. A ride to the top will take you to the 86th floor observatory with the option to include the 102nd floor observatory. When you reach the top you will delighted by 360 degree views of the city and its top attractions-Statue of Liberty, Central Park, and everything in between!

The Empire State Building is open for sunrise tours, daytime tours, sunset tours, and night time tours. If you are in the city long enough or plan on coming back multiple times, make it a mission to see it during the day and at night!

view the Manhattan skyline from the empire state building at night
View from the Empire State Building at night.

NYC Harbor Cruise

A NYC Harbor Cruise is a unique way to view the Manhattan skyline from ground level. The 1.5-2 hr. long circle line harbor cruises leave from Pier 83, pass Hudson Yards, and then continues to take you past many of the much anticipated sites. You will continue down past the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, High Line, the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Brooklyn Bridge, and Manhattan Bridge before swinging around and heading back to Pier 83.

Keep your eyes open throughout the entire journey as you will catch several unique views of lower Manhattan as you go. There are options for day time and night time cruises or specialized Christmas and New Year’s Eve cruises.

view of the Manhattan skyline from Ellis Island
Manhattan Skyline View from Ellis Island.

The Top of the Rock

The Top of the Rock observatory, standing 850ft. tall, boasts 360 degree views from Central Park all the way down to the Statue of Liberty in the distance. While not quite as tall as the other observation decks in New York City, being able to see the contrasting city views with the greenery of Central Park is well worth the trip!

The experience takes you up 70 floors to both indoor and outdoor observation decks. You will find a small gift shop at the top with plenty of shopping and dining options within the Rockefeller Center.

View of Central Park from top of the rock
Central Park from Top of the Rock.

Ellis & Liberty Island: Statue Cruise

The island that represented hope for so many passing through, Ellis Island, stands today as one of the best ways to view the Manhattan Skyline while also learning about the history of he United States and Immigration. The great views start as you enter the boat and head over to Liberty Island so get your cameras ready for views of both Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty.

When you arrive to Liberty Island, you will be free to wander the grounds. Stroll around the pedestrian walkway, where you will find views of the statue, NY harbor, lower Manhattan, and the Jersey City Skyline. After visiting Liberty Island you will move on to Ellis Island.

Visitors to Ellis Island can enjoy a tour of the main hall and other restored sections of the building while learning about the history of immigrants who passed through the area and what their experience was like. For one of the best views of the Manhattan Skyline from Ellis Island you will want to visit the abandoned hospital complex end of the island, which can be done on an Ellis Island Hard Hat Tour.

Manhattan Skyline from Ellis Island Hard Hat Tour.

The Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge makes for a great walk over the East River, but also boasts some great views of the Manhattan Skyline! The bridge connects lower Manhattan to the NYC borough of Brooklyn. The pedestrian walkway over the Brooklyn Bridge begins at the intersection of Tillary Street and Boerum Place. You can also access the walkway from an underpass off of Front Street, leading to a stairway that takes you up to the walkway.

The pedestrian and bicycle bridge is layered over the motor vehicle road on the top level of the bridge, offering nothing short of stunning skyline views. One of the best things about things about this way to view the Manhattan Skyline is you can go at your own pace, soak up the views, and enjoy some sunshine!

Manhattan skyline from the brooklyn bridge
Photo by Colton Duke on Unsplash

Liberty State Park

While this option is actually located outside of the city in New Jersey, it is one of the best ways to get a ground level view of the Manhattan Skyline. It is also perfect for those looking to experience some of New York’s top attractions-like the Statue of Liberty Cruise, without actually entering the city. Located in Jersey City, NJ, Liberty State Park is located directly across from the tip of Manhattan, giving you some great views of iconic New York buildings like One World Trade Center.

You can also join a Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island cruise from the park, which is often times less crowded than you will find when leaving from Battery Park in NYC.

A Helicopter Tour

Viewing the Manhattan Skyline from above is best done on a helicopter tour of the city. The tour will give you views of the skyline and many of NYC’s most well known buildings and landmarks all at once, from One World Trade Center, Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Yankee Stadium, the South Side Sea Port, and more!

With HeliNY you can choose from several tours ranging from 15 to 30 minutes and varying with which attractions you will see. You can opt to see the city with daylight shinning or choose the city of lights tour and see the city aglow.

FlyNYON is another great option for helicopter tours of NYC. This tour leaves from Kearny, NJ, so you will have to go outside the city to join. FlyNYON offers many flight options, including both doors on and doors off flight options. Their tours range from 15 to 40 minutes. If you are visiting on a special occasion, like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, July 4th Fireworks, or New Year’s Eve, you can find specialized trips (although it will cost you a pretty penny!).

helicopter view of Manhattan skyline
Photo by Andre Benz on Unsplash

Governors Island

Governors Island is another fairly new way to enjoy the beauty of the Manhattan skyline. The island can be accessed by a ferry service leaving from the Battery Maritime Building in Lower Manhattan. The ferry runs daily and is $3 per person (ages 12+).

The island has a long history of being a military fort/base location. In the early 1800’s two of the three historic forts was completed on the island. In 1911 the island was expanded by 100 acres, making room for an airfield, military housing, and warehouses. After its use as a military base, the island began to be transformed into a public park area in 2003 after being designated as a National Monument.

Today the island is a set of walkways, known as the Hills, large plaza, picnic areas, Slide Hill, and Outlook Hill, where you can capture great views of the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan Skyline.

view of Manhattan Skyline from Governors Island
Rhododendrites, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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Hiking the Eternal Flame Falls Trail

Are you looking for a hike with a little bit of a twist? A unique scene? The Eternal Flame Falls Trail fits the bill! A fairly easy hike will take you to the base of the Eternal Flame Falls. Although the falls itself is nothing to spectacular, especially when compared to nearby Niagara Falls, the small flame burning brightly behind the falls will make you fall in love with the scenery!

Geology of the Falls

The flame seen burning behind the waterfall is caused by natural gases that are emitted from the base of the falls. The gases contain methane, ethane, and propane that originate from the Rhinestreet shale located 400 meters below the surface. It is believed that tectonic activity led to movement and openings in the shale that allows the gases to escape.

Getting There

Located in the Shale Creek Preserve of Western NY, the trail leading to the falls lies within Chestnut Ridge Park. You will find a fairly large parking area at the trail head off of Route 277 in Orchard Park, NY. The parking lot is found about 1.5 miles South of the main entrance to Chestnut Ridge Park.

chestnut ridge park park map
The Eternal Flame Falls Trailhead Sign.

About the Trail

The Eternal Flame Falls trail is 1.4 miles out and back trail. The trail is considered moderate due to some steep and sometimes slippery areas heading down into the ravine and along the creek. The elevation gain for the trail is 137 ft.

Depending on when you visit, you can have a very different experience viewing the falls. If you visit after high rain fall, you may find a rushing waterfall, while other times it may be no more than a trickle. But either way, catching a glimpse of the flame burning bright makes for a beautiful picture!

Tip: Be sure to wear some good shoes or hiking boots because the trail can be wet and slippery in some spots. Depending on water levels, you may potentially have to walk through some deeper parts of the creek, so be prepared!

Hiking the Eternal Flames Falls Trail

Once you have reached the parking area head over to the trailhead sign marker. Here you will begin the hike along a gravel path that will quickly turn into a wooded area. Along the trail you will find small flames marking the trail.

blaze trail marker on the Eternal Flame Falls Trail
Trail Marker on the Eternal Flame Falls Trail.

Once you reach the wooded away you will find a mix of ascending and descending areas along the trail past hemlock trees that will quickly lead you to the descent into the ravine. As you walk through this section you will find the trail covered in tree roots poking out, so watch your step!

As you continue along the trail take note of the signs warning of the danger along the ravine. Staying on the trail will keep you perfectly safe, but there have been many instances where people who have fallen or climbed into the ravine have had to be rescued.

section of the wooded area on the Eternal Flame Falls trail leading to the descent into the ravine
Section of the wooded area leading to the descent into the ravine.

Once you have reached the bottom of the ravine you will find the Shale Creek, which you will follow to the until reaching the waterfall and flame. When you reach the creek, you will want to continue left towards the falls.

Shale Creek along the Eternal Falls Flame Trail
Shale Creek to Eternal Flame Falls.

There is a trail on the side of the creek, or if the water is low like it was on our visit you will be able to walk over the shale rock bottom of the creek.

Section of Shale Creek along the Eternal Flame Falls trail
A section along Shale Creek.

Along the way you will find small cascading waterfalls along the ravine walls, adding to the beauty of the trail.

waterfall on the ravine wall
Waterfall along the trail wall.

At the end of the trail you will find the much anticipated Eternal Flame. (If the flame is out, which does happen on occasion, you can relit it with a lighter).

Eternal Flame Falls.
The flame burning behind the falls.

If you are looking for more to do, be sure to check out the rest of Chestnut Ridge Park. You can enjoy more hiking trails and other outdoor activities like bicycling, disc golf, picnic areas, and in the winter skiing, sledding, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing.

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Prospect Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway in Lake George, NY: Drive to the Top

While not quite as extensive as the similar Whiteface Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway in Lake Placid, the Prospect Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway in Lake George is definitely worth the visit! Lake George is a small village in the Adirondack Mountains that is popular for its stunning mountain views, hikes, and quaint downtown.

When you reach the 2,030 ft. summit, you will be treated to the 1,000 mile view stretching from the Adirondack High Peaks to Vermont’s Green Mountains to the White Mountains in New Hampshire, and on clear days the Laurentian Mountains of Canada.

Prospect Mountain has a long history as a destination spot for great views and a relaxing atmosphere. In 1895 a railway to take people to the summit was built that would take visitors to the Prospect Mountain House, a hotel with dining options and a dance hall. After 1903 the railway failed for financial reasons and the area was sold to NY state. The hotel that sat at the top burnt down in 1932. The current highway was opened in 1969 to provide easy access to the summit and 100 mile view.

What to Know Before Visiting Prospect Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway

The Highway

The Prospect Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway is 5.5 miles and brings you to the summit of Prospect Mountain at 2,020 ft. On the way up you will find three pull of parking areas with overlooks. At the summit you will find a large parking area with a quarter of a mile walk up to the summit. There is also a large picnic area with tables and a bathroom next to the parking lot. You will find another picnic area on top of the summit, so make a day out of it and bring your lunch!

Access to the highway is off of US Route 9 and after a short distance you will come upon the entrance booth for the highway. As you begin your drive up the mountain, the first overlook you come upon is the Narrows. Here you will enjoy your first glimpse of Lake George and the village with towering mountains behind. You will also find binoculars for closer views (0.25 cents to use) and some fun rock formations to climb on.

view from the first overlook of Prospect Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway
Look out #1: The Narrows
the paid binoculars on the Prospect Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway
The binoculars at the Narrows Overlook.
kids climbing on the rocks on the Prospect Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway
Rocks at the first overlook.

The second overlook will bring you to some great views of Lake George Village below, the lake itself, and mountains in the background. There are more paid binoculars here and rocks to climb for better views.

view of the Lake George village from Prospect Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway
Lake George Village from Prospect Mountain.
view from the second overlook on Prospect Mountain
View from the second overlook area.

There is a third pull off area, but the views from this one are not great, so we continued on to the parking area just below the summit. Again, here you can get some views of Lake George and the village below, but you have to make the final climb to the summit to get the really great views!

section of road on the Prospect Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway
A stretch of the highway leading up to the summit.

The last section of the highway was closed to cars, so we had to walk the quarter of the mile up. It took less than 10 minutes and was well worth it! (The summit is handicap accessible and they were allowing drivers with handicap tags to drive the rest of the way to the summit).

view from the highway leading to teh summit
View from the highway leading up to the summit.
view from the summit of Prospect Mountain
View of Lake George from the summit.
View of lake george from the summit of Prospect Mountain
View from the summit.

At the summit you will also find the remains of the railway that once sat at the top and a sign with the history of the Prospect Mountain House.


The fee for entrance to the highway is $10 per car, $5 for motorcycles, and $50 for buses.


  • Late May to Labor Day: Daily 10am to 6pm
  • Labor Day to Veterans Day: Daly 9am to 5pm
view of Lake George from the first overlook of the Prospect Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway
View of Lake George from the Prospect Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway.

Alternate Ways to Reach the Summit

While driving to the summit of Prospect Mountain is the easiest and least strenuous way to reach it, there are alternative methods for those who are more physically inclined.

  • Hike: If you are a hiker, this may be the option for you! You can hike the 3.2 mile round trip hike to the summit of Prospect Mountain. The trailhead is found on Smith Street in Lake George. The trail is classified as moderate to difficult with some steep, rocky sections.
  • Bike to the top: Bikers can enter and bike the 5.5 mile highway to the summit for $2/person

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The Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science and Technology is found in downtown Syracuse in Armory Square. For those looking for a fun, educational, indoor experience in Upstate NY the MOST museum fits the bill! Kids will enjoy the many interactive and hands-on exhibits while learning about the natural environment!

How To Get There

Address: 500 S. Franklin St., Syracuse, NY 13202

Directions from the East/West: Take I690 to exit 11 (West Street), turn left on Fayette St., and right onto Franklin Street, continue until you reach the MOST.

Directions from the North: From I80 south exit onto Exit 20 to Franklin Street, and continue on Franklin Street until reaching the museum.

Directions from the South: From I81 North exit on Exit 18 to Adams Street, turn left onto Harrison Street, right onto Salina Street, left onto West Jefferson Street, and turn into the Armory Square circle.

Parking: Parking is available in the Trolley Lot public parking area which can be accessed by going through the tunnel behind the museum. Paid parking is also available on the streets with parking meters (free on Sundays and holidays).


Due to the Coronavirus pandemic hours are currently restricted and scheduled in two blocks: 9:30am to 1:00pm and 2:00pm to 5:30pm. Visitors who purchase tickets for the morning time block are permitted to return for the afternoon time block.

The museum is currently open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.


  • Adults: $12
  • Children (Age 2-11): $10
  • Seniors (65+): $10

The MOST Exhibits

A map of the museum is available upon arrival or can be found here.

The MOST view of the first floor
A view of from the second floor of the museum.

The Visiting Exhibit

The current temporary visiting exhibit (at the time of this writing) is the Nature’s Ninjas exhibit. I will only briefly mention this because it will only be available until April 2021, but if you are able to visit before then it is well worth the visit!

The exhibits includes various species of reptiles and small animals from the Little Rays Nature Center for viewing and a 30 minute show that will allow you and the kids to learn about the animals and get up close and even pet them as the show leader brings each of three animals around.

Nature's Ninja's Exhibit at the MOST
Nature’s Ninjas Visiting Exhibit.

Dino Zone

The Dino Zone is a permanent section of the museum with life size moving animatronic dinosaurs for viewing. Dinosaurs include Pachycephalosaurs, a Maiasaura with nesting babies, and a Albertosaurus. The exhibit also contains some interactive areas with a large remote control dinosaur and dinosaur skin/eggs.

Life Sciences Exhibit

The Life Sciences Exhibit takes you and your children through a giant heart, through the stages of embryo development, the tiny details making up the human eye, ear, and mouth, and some real preserved human organs.

human heart replica at the MOST museum
Large replica of the human heart.
preserved organs at the MOST museum
A preserved pig heart, human lung, and human brain.

The Rothchild Apothecary Shop

The Rothchild Apothecary Shop is a complete recreation of a 1900’s apothecary shop containing medicine, herbs, and medical supplies that were once used. Museum staff provide facts on the history of apothecary shops and the items found in the shop.

The shop is currently open Saturdays and Sundays from 11am-12pm.

The Apothecary Shop at the MOST museum
The Apothecary Shop.

Toothpick World

Toothpick World is a section of the museum that features famous buildings and highlights from around the world, including the Empire State Building of NYC, the Roman Colosseum, and London Bridge. Looking at the completed buildings definitely made me wonder how much time and effort must have gone in to creating them!

Toothpick World, at the MOST museum
A section of Toothpick World.

The Science Playhouse

The Science Playhouse is a large, 5 level indoor playground found in the museum (Unfortunately due to the pandemic the playhouse is currently closed except for private party reservations).

Other notable sections of the museum include the rocket ship, control center, technotown, planetarium (which is currently closed due to the pandemic), and the IMAX theater (which is not currently showing films due to the pandemic).

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Natural Stone Bridge & Caves

Natural Stone Bridge and Caves: A Walk Through Tour

The Natural Stone Bridge and Caves is a natural wonder located in the Adirondack Region of New York. The trail is a 3/4 mile loop trail that takes you past the Trout Brook, Stone Bridge, entrances to several caves, and a whirlpool and pothole.

Visitors can explore the trail on a self-guided tour or those looking for more thrill can join in on the Adventure Tour and climb and crawl through the caves and underground river.

Walking the Nature Stone Bridge and Caves Trail

The provided map of the area with # markers.

The trail through the Natural Stone Bridge and Caves is about 3/4 of a mile long. The hike is fairly easy and do-able for hikers of all levels and children. The trail does contain over 500 rock and wooden stairs.

After exiting the gift shop, begin the trail at marker one and follow the trail to the right. Along the trail you will find markers, which will match up with a provided map and some information about each site.

The trail will first take you through a garden area, adventure park, and the disc golf course. I bypassed this section and continued on to markers #4 and 5, which overlook the Trout Brook and the Sawmill Waterfall Site.

#4: The Trout Brook: The Trout Brook is the remains of the once rushing river that crafted the Natural Stone Bridge and Caves. The river was formed by the melting of the Wisconsin Glacier. The brook is now a small, calm stream that is home to trout, turtles, and beavers.

#5 Sawmill Waterfalls Site: A water wheel once stood at the site and provided power for the early Dutch pioneers that was used to cut lumber and grind grain.

Trout Brook at the Natural Stone Bridge and Caves
Trout Brook.
Brook at the Natural Stone Bridge and Caves
The brook.

After visiting the Trout Brook and Sawmill Waterfall Site continue on down the path to Meditation Isle at marker #6.

Wooden walkway at the Natural Stone Bridge and Caves
One of the many wooden walk ways through the area.
Path at the Natural Stone Bridge and Caves
The entrance to Meditation Isle.
Meditation Isle at the Natural Stone Bridge and Caves
Meditation Isle and the Stone Bridge.

Meditation Isle is a small island-like area that will bring you in front of the stone bridge and give you some great views. Next, continue back up the path (it is a round loop) and head to the right, which will take you over the Stone Bridge.

The Stone Bridge is the largest cave entrance in the East and leads to one of the two main cave systems within the park. Cross the bridge and pause as marker #7, Lookout Point. This will give you some great views of the brook, caves across the way, and the Stone Bridge from above.

Stone Bridge top
Walking across the top of the Stone Bridge.

After crossing the bridge you will come upon the Giant Slide at marker #8. The Giant Slide is a steep cave opening that when looking down will give you a view of the river flowing under the Stone Bridge.

Giant Slide statue at the Natural Stone Bridge and Caves
The Giant Slide.
Giant Slide at the Natural Stone Bridge and Caves
Looking down into the Giant Slide.

After visiting the Giant Slide, follow the signs towards the descending stairway, which will take you down to the foot of the cave system under the natural bridge.

Trail at the Natural Stone Bridge and Caves
Looking down on the Stone Bridge.
Trail at the Natural Stone Bridge and Caves
The path leading down to the Stone Bridge.
The Natural Stone Bridge
The Stone Bridge.

This will take you to stop #9, The Natural Stone Bridge. The Natural Stone Bridge cave entrance is believed to be the largest in the Eastern US. The caves were mapped between 2003 and 2010. You will be able to take the stairs down and follow the stone out to the fenced area below the bridge.

Natural Stone Bridge
The Stone Bridge from below.

Next, continue across the bridge where you will find several smaller cave entrances. Follow the stairs into the first cave, stop #10. This cave is known as Noisy Cave and is the start of the second main cave system in the area.

When you enter the cave you will quickly see why it is referred to as the Noisy Cave. The river flows through the cave and continues underground to the other areas of the park.

Noisy Cave entrance at the Natural Stone Bridge and Caves
The entrance of Noisy Cave.
Underground River at the Natural Stone Bridge and Caves
The underground river.
Noisy Cave at the Natural Stone Bridge and Caves
The Noisy Cave with lights to illuminate the river flowing underneath.
Noisy Cave at the Natural Stone Bridge and Caves
Entrance to Noisy Cave.
Natural Stone Bridge and Caves
View of the Natural Stone Bridge from the Noisy Cave area.

Next continue back along the path and you will come upon stop #11, Peter Pan’s Peephole. Peter Pan’s Peephole can be found at the bottom of a staircase. It is a small area, but will give a peek at the river flowing underground through the Noisy Cave.

Return back up the stairs and you will come up a great photo op spot, #12. You can continue past stop #12 to #13, Serenity Point. This section was closed on my visit for construction.

Next, continue along the path to stop #14, the Upper Nature Trail. This will take you along the upper path overlooking the cave systems and natural stone bridge. It will also take you to the next section of the park where you will find the natural potholes and additional cave entrances.

Along the trail you will come upon Inspiration Point, stop #15. Inspiration Point will give you some views of the cave systems while standing on top of Hemlock roots.

Echo Cave at the Natural Stone Bridge and Caves
Echo Cave.

Next, continue on to stop #16, the Indian Maidens Kettle. Indian Maidens Kettle is one of the largest potholes in New York. It measures over 30 feet across. This area is also a great viewing spot for the entrance to Echo Cave, which connects to the Garnet Cave.

Indian Maidens Kettle at the Natural Stone Bridge and Caves
Indian Maidens Kettle area.
Oyster Shell at the Natural Stone Bridge and Caves
The Oyster Shell.

Stop #17 is next and is known as the Oyster Shell. The Oyster Shell is the exit point for the water that flows under the Natural Stone Bridge. Also in this area if you look close enough you can see the shape of George Washington’s face in the rocks.

Stop #18 is also found in this area and represents the high water mark. The high water mark represents the line when the caves can no longer contain the water levels and it spills over into the pot hole area. This tends to occur in the spring time when the ice/snow is melting.

Stop #19 is known as the pothole area. Here you will find some smaller potholes steaming with their own biosystem. You can also view the Whirlpool, the spot where the water drains from the Noisy Cave.

Small Potholes at the Natural Stone Bridge and Caves
Small Pothole.
Small Potholes at the Natural Stone Bridge and Caves
Small Potholes.

The last stop is #20, the Lost Pool Cave. The water in this area is 30ft. deep. After this continue back up the stairway and towards the exit.

How to Get There

The Natural Stone Bridge and Caves is found at the end of Stone Bridge Road off of route 9. To reach the Natural Stone Bridge and Caves coming from the North, follow the Northway I-87 until you reach exit 26. The exit will take you to Stone Bridge Road, which you will follow for about 2 miles before reaching Natural Stone Bridge and Caves.

If you are coming from the South, again take the Northway I-87 to Exit 26. From there get on Route 9, which you will follow for 1/2 a mile. When you reach the intersection, take Stone Bridge Road and continue for another 2.5 miles until you reach Natural Stone Bridge and Caves.


There are a couple different options for touring the park. For those just looking to see the natural sights along the trail, a self-guided tour is a great option. The tour will take about an hour to complete (and that is with plenty of stops for photos).

The Adventure Tour: The Adventure Tour is a four hour rigorous tour that includes walking, climbing, crawling, kneeling, and walking through water. The Adventure Tour is recommended for those who are more physically fit and able to complete all tasks. Minimum age for the tour is 13.

Snowshoeing: In the winter time snowshoeing of the additional 14.5 miles of trails is available.


May through September: 9am to 6pm (Last ticket sold at 4:30pm)

September through October: 10am to 5pm(Last ticket sold at 3:30pm)

Adventure tours are available four days a week (Wed., Fri., Sat. and Sun.) in July and August. Self Guided Tours are available daily from May to October.

Winter hours: 10am to 4pm (Fri., Sat. and Sun.)


Self-Guided Tour: $16 for adults, $8.50 for children (ages 5-12)

Adventure Tour: $100 per person

Snowshoeing: $13.50 for adults, $8 for children (5-12) with an additional $5 fee for snowshoe rental.

Tips for Visiting

  • Wear sneakers. While the trail is fairly easy, there is quite a bit of uneven terrain that can get slippery when wet.
  • There will likely be no service in the area, so be prepared for that.
  • Be sure to leave some time for the other family friendly activities available at the Natural Stone Bridge and Caves. These include digging for dinosaur bones, rock climbing walls, disc golf, gemstone making, and jewelry making.
  • On your way out, or way in, stop at the Stone Bridge Ice Cream shop at the corner of Stone Bridge Rd and Rt 9 for your selection of over 40 flavors of soft serve ice cream, coffee floats, and vanilla chai tea freezes.

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Tour Boldt Castle

Boldt Castle is an icon of the Thousand Islands. Sitting on Heart Island on the St. Lawrence River, the architecture and beauty of the castle draws thousands of visitors in daily. Today you can tour Boldt Castle through a self-guided tour, visiting the castle, the grounds, and several other structures on the island. Pair up your visit to Boldt Castle with a Thousand Islands boat ride tour and see the islands, homes, and lighthouses along the St. Lawrence River.

About the Castle

The Boldt family purchased the island, previously known as Hart Island, and lived for a few years on a already standing home on the island. George decided to build a more extravagant home that resembled the castles in the Rhine River of Germany. Boldt Castle was to be constructed by George C. Boldt as a gift to his wife, Louise.

The design features many hearts in the design and George Boldt even blasted the island to make it resemble the shape of a heart, renaming the island from Hart Island to Heart Island.

Construction on the castle began in 1900 and continued for a couple years before an unexpected tragedy hit the family. Louise passed away, and George halted construction on the castle, leaving it only partially completed.

For 73 years the castle sat vacant on Heart Island. In the 1970’s the island was purchased by the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority and beginning in 1977, restoration work for the castle and Yacht house began.

Heart Island is a 5 acre island that contains the Castle and other structures, a public restroom, gift shop, concession stand, and several picnic areas.

How to Get There

The castle can be reached by boat only. There are options for private boats to dock on the island, but most reach the island through a tour. Tours leave from both the New York and Canadian sides, but since the island is on US grounds visitors from Canada must provide passports for entry to the island.

Uncle Sam Boat Tours is a great option for tours of the Thousand Islands and Boldt Castle and is the option that we chose for our visit.

****TIP: Always be sure to check before purchasing your tickets for a tour to make sure that there is a stop at Heart Island*****


Boldt Castle is open daily from 10:30am to 6:30pm.

The Yacht House is open daily from 10:30am to 5:30pm.


  • Admission to Boldt Castle: $10 for adults, $7 for ages 5-12, and 4 and under is free
  • Yacht House Admission: $5 for adults, $3 for ages 5-12, and 4 and under are free.
  • Combination packages are $13 for adults, $7.50 for ages 5-12, and 4 and under are free.

Tour Options

Uncle Sam Boat Tours

Uncle Sam Boat Tours offers many options for viewing the Thousand Islands and Boldt Castle.

For the cheapest option and if you don’t mind missing out on seeing the St. Lawrence River and islands, take the Boldt Island Shuttle. This shuttle will take you directly to Heart Island where you will be able to tour the castle. The shuttle is $9.50 for adults and $7 for ages 5-12. Separate admission to the castle is required.

For an in-depth tour of the Thousand Islands take the American Narrows tour (previously called the Two Nations Tour). This tour will take you through the heart of the Thousand Islands, by many of the islands and summer homes, and by (and to) Heart Island. During the tour you will be provided with the history and interesting facts about the area. The tour lasts about two hours and ends at Heart Island, where you will be able to enjoy your self-guided tour. This tour is $24.50 for adults and $12.25 for ages 5-12. Admission to Boldt Castle is separate.

There are also tour options for a luncheon cruise, Millionaire’s Row One Hour Tour, and the Singer Castle Tour.

Uncle Sam Boat Tours.

Clayton Island Tours

Clayton Island Tours offers multiple tour options. The Boldt Castle tour will take you through the Thousand Islands and St. Lawrence River, passing sites such as Rock Island, Devil’s Oven, and Millionaire’s Row. There is an option to hop off and take a self guided tour at Boldt Castle. The tour is $25 for adults, $14 for ages 5 to 12, and 4 and under are free. Boldt Castle admission is separate.

The Rock Island Lighthouse Tour will give you the opportunity to take a glass bottom boat ride through the St. Lawrence River to Rock Island, where you will be able to get off and wander the island. You will pass several famous sites, such as the shipwreck of the Schooner Elk, Eel Bay, and Isle of Pines. The tour is $27 for adults, $18 for ages 5-12, and 4 and under are free. Rock Island admission is included in the price.

Other tour options include a sunset cruise along the St. Lawrence River and an Islands, Lighthouses, and Castle tour.

Tour Boldt Castle

Exploring the castle is done as a self guided tour, giving you the freedom to explore the castle, grounds, and other buildings located on the island.

The first stop on the self guided tour is the Castle itself. Enter the castle from the front and you will be greeted with views of the grand staircase. Throughout the castle you will find plenty of signs describing the history of the rooms and images of what the rooms once looked like before restoration. On the second floor you will also find a short, fifteen minute film that will give you the history of the castle.

The first and second floors of the castle have been renovated and contain rooms that you can walk through. The rooms are beautifully decorated and contain furniture from the time period. On the first floor you will find the grand staircase, reception room, dining room, ballroom, billiard room, library, and the kitchen. On the second floor you will find many bedrooms and the gift shop.

The third and forth floors are unrenovated and appear as they did in the 1970’s when the castle was purchased by the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority. On the forth floor you will find a balcony that you can step out onto, giving you great views of the island, the roofs of the castle, and the St. Lawrence River.

You can also visit the basement, which has a pool, storage areas, and boiler room.

Be sure to check out the Italian Gardens that you will find between the Castle and the Powerhouse. The views are stunning with colorful flowers and beautiful fountains.

The Italian Gardens.

Next you will come upon the Hennery. The Hennery once contained a water tank that supplied the island with fresh water. At the top sits a Dove house.

Next visit the Boldt Castle Powerhouse. The powerhouse was once home to two generators that supplied power to the entire island. The interior of the powerhouse contains a museum on the history of the powerhouse.

The Powerhouse.

Next visit the Alster Tower, which is commonly called the playhouse. This tower is where guests on the island would be entertained. The tower contained a bowling alley in the basement, a billiard room, a library, cafe, grill, and kitchen.

The Alster Tower.

The Arch was the official entrance of the island/castle. The arch was modeled after Roman monuments. At the top of the arch sits sculptures of deer.

The Arch.

If you choose, you can also take a short ferry ride to the Boldt Castle Yacht House. The Yacht House contains several antique boats for you to view. You can also visit the apartment inside the building.

The Yacht House.

TIP: Be sure to download the Boldt Castle app to help you with on your journey! The app will give you information about the history of the island and castle, images, and maps of the grounds.

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Exploring the Cornish Estate Trail (Northgate)

The Hudson Highlands State Park is located in Cold Spring, New York. The Park consists of many separate pieces of land stretching from Annsville Creek in Peekskill and up North to Dennings Point in Beacon. The park offers visitors many different activities, including hiking, fishing, boating, and bird watching. The Cornish Estate Trail is perhaps one of the most interesting trails in the state park.

One of the hiking trails, the Cornish Estate Trails, will take visitors along an relatively easy, flat trail through a wooded area to the ruins of what was once the Cornish Estate.

Pond in the Hudson Highlands State Park.
Pond in the Hudson Highlands State Park.

The History

The once majestic Northgate Estate sits in Cold Spring, NY. The 650 acre plot of land and estate was purchased by Edward J. Cornish and his wife Selina in 1917. The estate was previously owned and built by Sigmund Stern, a Chicago diamond merchant. In 1938 the couple died within a couple weeks of each other and the estate was left to their nephew Joel.

In 1956, the estate was destroyed by a fire and all that was left is what stands today-the stone structure. In 1963 the land was purchased by Central Hudson Gas and Electric and there were plans to transform it into a powerplant. That didn’t happen and in the late 1960’s the estate was added to the Hudson Highlands State Park. Today, visitors can hike the many trails of the Hudson Highlands State Park and explore the ruins.

The sign marking an entrance to the Hudson Highlands.
The sign marking an entrance to the Hudson Highlands.

The Trail

The Cornish Estate Trail is an easy, mild trail with a gentle incline.

The Cornish Estate Trail is a 1.8 mile loop trail in the Hudson Highlands. Much of the trail is on a concrete road that once led to the estate, making for a flat, easy walk. It takes about twenty minutes (depending on your fitness level-it may take less) to reach the ruins.

The trail is very family friendly and I saw many younger children hiking the trail during my visit.

TIP: Parking is limited and fills up very quickly. I would highly recommend arriving early to start your hike, before 9am for your best chance to find a parking spot.

Alternative Trails

The Cornish Estate Trail is perhaps the easiest option for reaching the Cornish Estate Ruins, but if you are up for more of a hike (and more stunning views) there are other trail options that you can choose from.

The Breakneck Ridge Trail

Trail Length: 3.2 miles | Time: 3-4 hours

The Breakneck Ridge trail is a difficult trail with a steep incline. The trail is short, but considered to be one of the most strenuous in the Hudson Highlands. Many spots on the trail require you to climb up steep rock ledges. If you venture out to complete this hike, be sure to bring proper hiking boots and avoid the trail if it is wet, snowy, or icy as the ledges become very slippery.

Bull Hill

Trail Length: 6 miles | Time: 2-3 hours

The Bull Hill loop starts at the same parking area as the Cornish Estate Trail. The trail can become steep at times, but does not get as steep as the Breakneck Ridge trail. The first two miles are the toughest, and afterwards the trail evens off and is mostly a descent. The trail will give you great views of the Hudson River and in some spots you will be able to see the NYC skyline. The trail ends with the Cornish Estate Ruins.

Exploring the Ruins

The ruins of the estate are open to visitors to explore freely. If you are taking the Cornish Estate Ruins trail, the first thing you will come upon is the main mansion.

You will see the porte cochere, which one had a room sitting on top of it. The porte cochere passes through to what appears to have once been a small courtyard.

porte cochere at the cornish estate trail
The porte cochere is one of the first things you will see. A room once sat on top of it.

You will then continue on to the rest of the mansion. You will be able to circle the mansion entirely and in some spots walk through the stone structures.

Side view of the mansion on the cornish  estate trail
Side view of the mansion.
A view of the side of the mansion on the cornish estate trail
A view of the side of the mansion.

The stairs pictured above will take you to what was once the front porch of the mansion. You can see some colored tiles that were part of the decor of the porch. Looking forward from the porch you will be able to see the remains of the pool.

Looking through a window of the ruins at the center fireplace.
Looking through a window of the ruins at the center fireplace.
Front porch of the cornish estate trail
Front porch.
spider web on the cornish estate trail
spider web at the Spider Web sitting on the ruins.

There is a path to the side of the mansion ruins that will take you down to the pool and give you a great view of the front of the mansion.

The remains of the pool on the cornish estate trail
The remains of the pool.
The staircase near the pool at the cornish estate
The staircase near the pool.
View of the pool and mansion on the cornish estate trail
View of the pool and mansion.
Front view of the mansion from the pool area on the cornish estate trail
Front view of the mansion from the pool area.

From the pool you can take the path back up and past the mansion, where you will find the remains of another building and greenhouse.

Cornih estate greeenhouse
The Greenhouse.
The front of the greenhouse building at the cornish estate
The front of the greenhouse building.
Concrete wall standing near the greenhouse
Concrete wall standing near the greenhouse.

Find some images of the Northgate Estate in its early years!

Little Stony Point

After completing the hike back to the parking lot, take a quick stroll across the street to Little Stony Point. You can take the short hike up to the top of Little Stony Point or take the one mile long loop trail along the river’s edge. Along this trail you will find some small sandy beaches that you can sit on and enjoy, but it is advised not to enter the water because of pollution reasons.

little stony point trail
Little Stony Point Trail.
View of the Hudson from Little Stony Point.
View of the Hudson from Little Stony Point.
Small cave on Little Stony Point.
Small cave on Little Stony Point.

If you are looking for more adventure in the Hudson Highlands State Park, be sure to check out Bannerman Castle. Bannerman Castle sits on Pollepel Island and once served as a military surplus supply warehouse. Today you can visit the island and tour the grounds through guided tours.

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A Walk Through the Welwyn Preserve: A Photo Tour

The Welwyn Preserve is a 204 acre estate that was once home to Harold Irving Pratt, an oil industrialist, and his wife that lies on the Gold Coast of Long Island in Glen Cove, NY.

Today visitors can walk the grounds of the preserve along the 2.4 mile loop trail, following the cobblestone paths through the estate, across small bridges and streams, and down to the once private beach of the estate on the Long Island sound.

Getting There


100 Crescent Beach Rd
Glen Cove, New York
United States

The best way to reach the Welwyn Preserve is by car. There is a large parking area with free parking.

If you prefer you can arrive to nearby stations via train or bus. Be sure to check transit schedules to see when and where the bus/train will arrive. Bus lines N21 and N27 stop near the preserve.

The History

The Welwyn home was built in 1906 for Harold Irving Pratt and his wife. The landscaping of the estate was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. The couple lived in the home until both had passed in 1939 and 1969. After their passing the home was left to Nassau County and was left to the elements.

In the 1990’s the cement basements below the greenhouses were used as a training site for the Nassau County Sheriff’s Department. In 1993 Boris Chartan, a holocaust survivor, turned the home into a Holocaust museum. The main home still houses the Holocaust museum, which is open to visitors. The rest of the estate lies in ruin and visitors are free to wander the grounds.


The Welwyn Preserve is more than just a walk through the woods and some old, decaying ruins. The Welwyn Preserve is a great spot for those looking to do some bird watching, wildlife viewing, fishing, hiking through a wooded area, visit the Holocaust Museum, walk along the beach, go shell hunting, or fly a kite along the beach.

On our visit we saw many people there fishing and walking the beach with their families.

What to Bring

Depending on when you visit, the grounds may be very overgrown with weeds and plants or be festering with insects. I would suggest bringing these items with you to be sure you are protected:

  • Long pants
  • Strong sneakers or boots
  • Bug Spray
  • A hoodie or sweater
  • A picnic lunch (if you want to sit on the beach and enjoy some lunch)

***Also be aware that once you enter the grounds service is back and forth, so you may not be able to use your phone***

Walking the Grounds

We began our walk at the Holocaust museum. It is a small museum, but is definitely worth the walk through if you are visiting the area. Entrance is free, but they do accept donations.

After visiting the museum, we headed out to the left of the home (if you are facing the front door of the home) down a paved road. There are a couple different trail options you can take near the home. The other option to the right of the main home takes you down the cobblestone path to the greenhouses.

The paved road that we chose to take led us straight down to the private beach. We spent a while walking on the sandy beach, admiring the jettys, and side stepping over the shells that horseshoe crabs left behind.

One of the jettys along the private beach at the Welwyn Preserve
One of the jettys along the private beach.
The sidewalk along the beach at teh welwyn preserve
The sidewalk along the beach.
Some overgrown bush along the beach at the welwyn preserve
Some overgrown bush along the beach.

When visiting, be sure to pay attention to the signs marking protected areas and refrain from walking through them. You will find them scattered across the beach. This is to protect the wildlife and plants in the area.

The beach was full of horseshoe crabs and shells.

A shell sitting on the shore at the welwyn preserve
A shell sitting on the shore.

Walking East along the beach we came upon the trail that leads back into the woods and to the ruins of the estate. The first thing we came upon was the salt marsh, followed by a small pond, and several small streams.

Once we started on the trail through the woods we also came upon many other forms of wildlife.

A caterpillar enjoying the wooded trails at the welwyn preserve
A caterpillar enjoying the wooded trails.
A frog along one of the small streams at the welwyn preserve
A frog along one of the small streams.
The small pond on the property at the welwyn preserve
The small pond on the property.

Along the path you will see trees marked with graffiti, leading the way to the abandoned buildings. The Welwyn Preserve is the location of Graffiti art workshops and you will find tons of Graffiti throughout the buildings.

The first thing we came upon was the greenhouses and some adjacent buildings. The greenhouses were overgrown with mostly weeds and some colorful flowers, but at least they still see plants, right?

Some flowers inside one of the greenhouses.
Some flowers inside one of the greenhouses.
A greenhouse at the welwyn preserve
A greenhouse.
The interior of a greenhouse at the welwyn preserve
The interior of a greenhouse.

The buildings adjacent to the greenhouses were covered with graffiti. Some of it I would describe as artwork and other sections are just scribble. The area is very colorful and entertaining to look at.

The graffiti covered building near the greenhouses.
The graffiti covered building near the greenhouses.
An entrance into the greenhouses at the welwyn preserve
An entrance into the greenhouses.
Graffiti lining the walls at the welwyn preserve
Graffiti lining the walls.

After exploring the greenhouses we continued on along the cobblestone path to some more decaying buildings. The rock pictured below is found near the start of the path leading down to the greenhouses and will be one of the first things you see if you choose to go in the opposite direction than us.

A rock that marks the entrance to the path leading to the greenhouses.
A rock that marks the entrance to the path leading to the greenhouses.

The start of the path is a nice walk along a cobblestone trail, but soon after the trail starts to become overgrown and will make for a little bit more difficult of a hike (but still very doable even for beginners).

There is a little bit of an incline while going through the woods and back to the main house, but nothing to strenuous.

The cobblestone path leading down to the greenhouses.
The cobblestone path leading down to the greenhouses.

After coming up the path we came across a few more graffiti covered buildings and log cabin that we were able to walk through and explore.

A graffiti covered building at the welwyn preserve
A graffiti covered building.
A collapsing building at the welwyn preserve
A collapsing building.

Some of the buildings were in worse shape than the others, such as the one pictured above.

A log cabin  at the welwyn preserve
A log cabin.

After exploring these buildings we followed the trail back up to the main home.

***The property is an enter at you own risk. When it comes to abandoned buildings there is always a risk and chance of floors collapsing or ceilings falling in. Although the structures seemed to be sound when we visited, there is always a risk. Find some safety tips here!***

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The Wild Center: A Walk Among the Tree Tops

Sitting in the heart of the Adirondacks in the quaint village of Tupperlake sits an outdoor treetop adventure where young and old explorers alike can step out and take a walk on the wild side. The Wild Center is the perfect destination for family friendly hikes, animal encounters, and exploration! The Wild Center is located just 40 minutes outside of the Olympic famed village of Lake Placid.

The outdoor course takes visitors across bridges, inside an actual tree, inside a giant bird’s nest, and across a giant spider web to explore nature in the Adirondacks from a different angle.

How To Get There

If heading to the Wild Center from Lake Placid, take route 86 into Saranac Lake and to route 3. Route 3 will take you into Tupper Lake and a left onto Hosley Ave. at the first traffic light will take you to the Wild Center, which will be on the left.

If heading to the Wild Center from Old Forge you will want to take Route 28 to Route 30 in Blue Mountain Lake. Route 30 will take you into Tupper Lake and you will take a right onto Hosley Ave. The Wild Center entrance will be on the left.


45 Museum Drive
Tupper Lake, NY 12986


The Wild Center is generally open daily from 10am to 5pm. Hours may vary, however, so be sure to check before your visit. In the winter months the Wild Center is open Friday through Sunday 10am to 5pm.

Reservations are currently required for admission to the Wild Center


  • Adults aged 18-64: $20
  • Seniors (65+)/Military: $18
  • Youth ages 5-17: $12
  • Age 4 & Under: Free

Sections of the Wild Center

The Wild Center Map
A Map of the Wild Center. Photo Credit: New York Discovered

The Wild Walk

The Wild Walk is perhaps the most popular attraction at the Wild Center. The Wild Walk resembles a boardwalk, but with bridges, wooden pathways, staircases, and some special treats (read on to find out what!)

From the parking lot you will find a booth marking the entrance to the Wild Walk on one side and the entrance to the indoor exhibits on the other side. You can choose which you would like to do first (***indoor exhibits are currently closed due to COVID***).

The trail leading to the Wild Walk has many interactive areas the kids can explore before reaching the walk. The walk from the parking lot to the beginning of the Wild Walk takes about five minutes and is along a paved, flat path.

A Balancing Beam Along the Paved Path at the Wild Center
A Balancing Beam Along the Paved Path. Photo Credit: New York Discovered
A Tree Swing Along the Paved Path at the wild center
A Tree Swing Along the Paved Path. Photo Credit: New York Discovered.

You will soon come upon the start of the Wild Walk. The Wild Walk is a wooden boardwalk that takes you up into the tops of the trees through gradual incline and stairways.

the wild walk
The Wild Walk. Photo Credit: New York Discovered

One section near the beginning of the Wild Walk takes you through an actual tree that has been carved out. Inside the tree you will find a staircase and some exhibits with interesting facts about wildlife and trees. You will come out at the top and head back over the bridge to continue on to the giant bird nest and spider web.

the tree at the wild center
Climb up an actual tree. Photo Credit: New York Discovered
the interior of the tree at the Wild Center
The interior of the tree. Photo Credit: New York Discovered.

Walking across the many bridges like the ones pictured above were a great hit with my daughter. After all, what kid doesn’t like to bounce?

Continuing on you will some come upon the giant spider web and bird’s nest.

The Giant Spider Web is one of the major draws of the Wild Walk. Visitors can climb out onto the spider web and look below at the lively woods. (This is not for me and my daughter couldn’t get up the courage to do it-but for those of you who may be a bit more adventourous-this can be a lot of fun!).

The giant spider in the background makes for a great photo op!

the spider web at the Wild Center
The Giant Spider Web. Photo Credit: New York Discovered.

Adjacent to the spider web is the giant bird’s nest. Climb into the nest for some great views of the surrounding woods and mountains in the distance.

the giant bird's nest at the wild center
Giant Bird’s Nest. Photo Credit: New York Discovered.

Located in the section around the nest you can find markers noting the location of surrounding mountains and pipes that you can glance to to guide you to views of the mountains.

Marker for whiteface mountain
Marker For Whiteface Mountain. Photo Credit: New York Discovered.

After enjoying this section, continue along the boardwalk heading back towards the entrance and many other great areas of the Wild Center!

section of the wild walk
A section of the Wild Walk. Photo Credit: New York Discovered.
section of the Wild Walk at the wild center
A section of the Wild Walk. Photo Credit: New York Discovered

Plan on reserving 30-45 minutes for exploring the Wild Walk.

The Nature Trails

Another feature of the Wild Center is the nature trails located throughout the center. Along the paved path that leads to the Wild Walk you will come upon a fork that will direct you to the nature trails and down towards Raquette River. While you walk along the trails you will be treated to a variety of “forest music,” a combination of music and natural sounds such as birds chirping and buzzing insects.

Otter Falls Exhibit

An indoor/outdoor exhibit, you can watch as Otters play, swim, and if you time it right eat in their habitat.

otter falls at the wild center
Otter Falls Exhibit. Photo Credit: New York Discovered

The Pines Wild Play Area

The Wild Center also has an outdoor play area for the kids to enjoy. The Pines Wild Play Area is a natural playground area made of tree trunks, brances, and logs that bring out the creativity in the kiddos!

pines play area at the wild center
“Tea Time.” Photo Credit: New York Discovered.
pines play area at the wild center
A balancing beam in the Pines Wild Play Area. Photo Credit: New York Discovered

My daughter had tons of fun creating this Princess Castle, made entirely out of log and pine cones. The play area is the perfect spot for the kiddos to use their imaganation!

pines play area
The “Princess Castle”. Photo Credit: New York Discovered.

Canoe Trips

Guided canoe tours are available daily at 1pm on Raquette River’s Oxbow. Along the tour you can expect to see marshes and plenty of wildlife while enjoy the tree lined shores. In the fall months you will be even more delighted with stunning blends of colors.

The dock is reached along the nature trails and is about a half mile walk from the parking lot. The canoe experience is suited for ages 5+.

Photo by Josh Hild on

Indoor Exhibits

***The indoor exhibits are currently closed due to COVID***

The Wild Center has two main exhibitions indoors and behind the scenes tours.

Ways of Knowing

Ways of Knowing includes four exhibits that focus on the indigenous people of the area through art and storytelling.

Hall of the Adirondacks

This section contains live animal exhibits, including a variety of fish species, turtles, and plant species.

The Naturalists Cabinet

The Naturalists Cabinet is a section of the indoor Wild Center that allows visitors to explore different natural exhibits.

Flammer Theater

The Flammer Theater features films throughout the day. A Matter of Degrees explores the history of the Adirondacks and The Wild Adirondacks features high quality images of locations within the Adirondacks that are not commonly visited.

Animal Encounters

Animal Encounters are offered throughout the day in the Big Wolf Great Hall (normally) and on the outdoor patio currently due to COVID. Animal encounters may include snakes, turtles, blue jays, owls and porcupines.

Planet Adirondack

Planet Adirondack is an interactive display that brings to life the planet from a bird’s eye view. Visitors can watch as airplanes take off, watch storms, and explore other planets in the solar system.

Behind the Scenes Tours

Behind the Scenes tours are available of the Wild Center, which will walk you through several areas of the center’s operation. This includes the center’s green energy system, the wild life ambassadors, and the systems that maintain the habitats of the otters and trout. The tour is one hour long and involves a half mile walk. Reservations are needed and can be made here. (***These may not be available currently due to the pandemic***).

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