11 Best Small Towns to Visit in Central Upstate New York

Best small towns & villages to visit in central upstate New York! A veritable Travel Dashboard - of Where to go, What to do, Where to stay, Where to eat, average monthly Temperature and Interesting Facts & Trivia about some of the most quaint & picturesque towns & villages in New York state!

11 Great little towns & villages to visit in the central part of upstate New York!

Author’s Note (October 14th, 2021): This post is a work in progress! This became a MUCH bigger project than we initially expected at the outset. However, we wanted to publish it here in October – since it is such a beautiful time to visit upstate New York – because of the magnificent fall foliage & color that washes over this part of the country with the changing color of the leaves! So please forgive us for some of the incompleteness of the post at the present time!


Here is our list of the 11 most beautiful, quaint & unique little towns in upstate NY that you should visit!

Introduction – Upstate New York is Indeed Beautiful!

Looking to explore upstate New York with your family, or just escape the urban life of New York City, Philadelphia or any number of nearby cities for a long weekend getaway? These are 11 of the best & most unique small towns in upstate New York to visit for a relaxing, yet invigorating break from the monotony of everyday life!

These destination towns in upstate New York offer a slower pace of life with a distinct rural appeal. They also offer a wide range of fun activities, both outdoor & indoor, that include hiking, watersports, museums, wine tasting, adventure courses, camping, fishing and many more. Regardless of the season – there is always something to do, see and experience in these amazing towns!

Even just driving to many of these cute towns offers a spectacular experience with awe inspiring views – especially during peak fall foliage or in the winter immediately following a wet snow. These beautiful upstate towns are blessed with an explosion of color on the hillsides during autumn – courtesy of the slow-motion fireworks of the leaves changing color! I love seeing the varied and vivid leaf colors on a clear & sunny day – both on the sloping hills and their rippling reflection in the lakes and rivers. We have been to all of these quaint, yet charming little towns in upstate New York – most of them, multiple times.

The closest one of these central upstate towns to New York City is Saratoga Springs at 164 miles. The furthest is Lake Placid at 296 miles (with Inlet a close 2nd at 291 miles). Most of the towns/villages are located on, or in very close proximity to a lake (Montour Falls, Watkins Glenn, Penn Yan, Lake George, Inlet, Lake Placid, Cooperstown, Saratoga Springs & Skaneateles) or river (Owego). The only town that is NOT is Norwich.

The OLDEST village/town on this list is Cooperstown – being formed in 1786 (with Owego being a close second at 1787)

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1) Norwich

Norwich, NY (Courtesy of Google Maps)

Overview of Norwich, NY:

Norwich is not necessarily a destination town for tourism. However, you can make this cute little upstate NY town a destination – and it will give you a good idea of how small-town upstate New York really lives! And that is one of the best things about Norwich!

If you want to make Norwich a destination – we would recommend visiting the Northeast Classic Car Museum, the Bullthistle Model Railroad Society, and probably also visiting neighboring Oxford & Waterville – for a small-town experience bonanza! Oxford & Waterville are also pretty quaint little villages in their own right with center of town gazebos and a very welcoming feel! So head up Route 12 to sample how small-town NY lives!


Norwich Facts & Links
Established/Incorporated: 1793Website
Population = 6,644 (2018)Wikipedia
Distance from NYC =214 MilesPictures
Elevation: 1,014 feetWebcams: None Found
WeatherGoogle Street View: Courthouse Center Town
Trip Advisor – Norwich
Norwich, NY Fast Facts, Info & Links
JanFebMarchAprilMayJune
30°32°41°55°67°75°
JulyAugustSeptOctNovDec
79°78°71°59°47°36°
Average Monthly Temperature of Norwich, NY – Data from Weather Trends
HotelDistance from
Classic Car Museum
Notes
Super 8 by Wyndham.7 Miles3.5/5 on Trip Advisor | Phone # (607) 296-0524
Splendor Inn B&B.8 Miles5/5 on Trip Advisor | Phone # (607) 336-5003
Other Options from Trip Advisor
Hotels near Norwich, NY


Where to Eat in Norwich:

Wild Owl Cafe – A wonderfully quaint little cafe in a quaint little town! There is some outdoor seating available for the warmer months.

Garf’s Deli We have stopped here for lunch a few times, and they sure do make delicious & creative sandwiches. A good ol’ deli! We especially love the Reuben! They are located to the front-right of the Court House.

Nina’s Pizzeria & Restaurant – Established in 1975, Nina’s has been a mainstay of the Norwich community for decades! Traditional Italian food.

Bohemian Moon – Interesting and varied menu.

Fred’s Inn – Steakhouse & All-you-can-eat buffet. 


What to Do Norwich:

Northeast Classic Car Museum – The evolution of automobile transportation in America – as told by over 160 automobiles from 1899 to the early 1970’s.

Bullthistle Model Railroad Society–A model train museum with various exhibits & displays, and a gift shop.

Chenango County Historical Society & Museum – Hosted in an old community school, here you can learn all about the history of Chenango county.

Chenango Arts Council (Website)(Virtual Tour) – Supporting all the fine arts in Chenango county.


Other Interesting Facts & Things About Norwich:

There is a sister city (Norwich) in England, that is, ironically, located right on a river. You can learn more about Norwich England HERE.

Calista Flockhart – lived in Norwich, NY for a period of time when growing up. Her father was Kraft Foods executive and his job required him to relocate often. One of those relocations resulted in a stop at Norwich.


2) Owego

Owego, NY (Courtesy of Google Maps)

Overview of Owego, NY:

Owego is a really cute upstate village that is perched on the shore of the Susquehanna River. If you enter the village from the southeast – the historic courthouse is one of the first things you will see as you will come across the bridge spanning the Susquehanna River.

The historic courthouse is at the center of the village – and is surrounded by an eclectic mix of interesting shops & cafes. The old mansions of the village are right down the street, and there is the wonderful riverside park, Hickories Park, just a little over 2 miles south-east of the village.

Owego Facts & Links
Established/Incorporated: 1787 Website
Population = 3,888 (2018)Wikipedia
Distance from NYC =197 milesPictures
Elevation: 814 feetWebcams: None Found
Weather Google Street View: On bridge looking towards courthouse
Trip Advisor – Owego
Owego, NY Fast Facts, Info & Links
JanFebMarchAprilMayJune
33°35°44°57°69°78°
JulyAugustSeptOctNovDec
82°80°73°61°49°38°
Average Monthly Temperature of Owego, NY – Data from Weather Trends
HotelDistance from Tioga County Court HouseNotes
Belva Lockwood Inn.3 miles5 Stars on Trip Advisor | Phone # (607) 223-4367
Hampton Inn Owego1.8 miles4.5 Stars on Trip Advisor | Phone # (607) 687-4600
Pumpelly House Estate.4 miles4 Stars on Trip Advisor | Phone # (607) 687-0510
Hotels near Owego, NY


Where to Eat in Owego:

The Owego Kitchen-Breakfast & lunch is served with a smile here daily- bagels, sandwiches, salads, soups, desserts, coffee, tea and more. Located in the heart of historic Owego.

Las Chicas Taqueria-A west-coast style taco shop with riverview seating , Taco Tuesday and Happy Hour specials.

The Farmhouse Brewery-Farm-fresh from ground to glass, is their motto.

Glen Park Vineyards, Trip Advisor Review


What to Do in Owego:

Hickories Park–This park is located right along the Susquehanna River. It is a great place for boating, fishing, walking, bike riding, and viewing wildlife. Some amenities include RV camping, a state-of-the-art dog park, pavilions, and a bandshell. It also has a dog park!

Shopping Downtown

Strawberry Festival – An Owego tradition since 1980! Usually the 3rd weekend in June.


Other Interesting Facts & Things About Owego:

John D. Rockefeller, the famously wealthy oilman, industrialist & philanthropist, lived in the Owego area as a child & attended Owego Free Academy.

In 2009 Owego was named the “Coolest Small Town in the United States” in a poll conducted by Budget Travel magazine.

A large fire (now known as “The Great Fire of Owego”) wiped out 104 buildings in the town on September 27th, 1849.

1813 the villages of Tioga & Owego switched names. Prior to that the village of Owego was in the Town of Tioga.


3) Montour Falls

Montour (Shequaga/Chequaga) Falls Memorial Day 2021

Overview of Montour Falls, NY:

Beautiful waterfalls – with a picturesque bridge spanning the falls at the top. The falls are visible right from Main street. Very charming & quaint – especially when there is enough rain the prior days or melting snow to ensure ample water is tumbling down the falls!

Montour Falls is just 2.4 miles south (South-East) of Watkins Glen State Park – so if you are going to one – you really should go to the other!

The drive from Owego to Montour Falls (through Candor, Spencer Van Eten) is a beautiful drive!


Montour Falls Facts & Links
Established/Incorporated 1836Website
Population = 1,619 (2018)Wikipedia
Distance from NYC = 249 milesPictures
Elevation: 449 feetWebcams:
WeatherGoogle Street View:
Trip Advisor – Montour Falls
Montour Falls, NY Fast Facts, Info & Links
JanFebMarchAprilMayJune
33°35°44°57°69°78°
JulyAugustSeptOctNovDec
82°80°73°61°49°38°
Average Monthly Temperature of Montour Falls, NY – Data from Weather Trends
HotelDistance from Shequaga
(Chequaga) Falls
Notes
The Falls Motel.2 miles4/5 Stars on Trip Advisor | Phone # (607) 535-7262
Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel3.0 miles4.5/5 Stars on Trip Advisor | Phone # (607) 535-6116
Gorgeous View Motel4.1 miles4.5/5 Stars on Trip Advisor | Phone # (607) 535-2081
Hotels near Montour Falls, NY


Where to Eat in Montour Falls:

Jerlando’s Ristorante & Pizza Co.

Paradiso’s Village Bakery–a cafe that offers breakfast and lunch, along with fresh baked goods 7 days a week, and Italian specials Thursday and Friday from 4-7.

Montour House Cafe and Tapas Bar


What to Do in Montour Falls:

See the falls

Stroll down Main Street


Other Interesting Facts & Things About Montour Falls:

The waterfalls are 165 feet in height.

Montour Falls are also known as She-qua-ga Falls & Che-qua-ga Falls. These are two spelling variations of the Seneca Indian tribe name for the falls.

The steel-arch bridge at the top of the falls was originally built in 1949 & rehabilitated in 1991. For more information about the bridge, see HERE.


4) Watkins Glen

Watkins Glen Memorial Day 2021

Overview of Watkins Glen, NY:

Watkins Glen is just 3 miles north of Montour Falls! It is also home of the Watkins Glen International race track – which hosts the NASCAR Cup series.

Watkins Glen boasts of a great state park Watkins Glen State Park – known for some awesome hiking, gorges & waterfalls!


Watkins Glen Facts & Links
Established/Incorporated: 1854Website
Population = 1,899 (2018)Wikipedia
Distance from NYC = 252 milesPictures
Elevation: 1,056 feetWebcams: Sheep Barn, Watkins Glen, USA Live HD Webcam (webcamtaxi.com)
WeatherGoogle Street View:
Trip Advisor – Watkins Glen
Watkins Glen, NY Fast Facts, Info & Links
JanFebMarchAprilMayJune
34°36°45°58°70°79°
JulyAugustSeptOctNovDec
83°81°74°62°50°39°
Average Monthly Temperature of Watkins Glen, NY – Data from Weather Trends

As with many small towns, the number of hotels actually in the town, is few. For a wider variety of accommodations, look to drive around 18 miles to get to Ithaca.

HotelDistance from Watkins Glen State ParkNotes
Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel .6 miles 4.5/5 Stars on Trip Advisor | Phone # (607) 535-6116
The Blackberry Inn B&B.4 miles5/5 Stars on Trip Advisor | Phone # (607) 535-2300
Idlwilde Inn.7 miles 5/5 Stars on Trip Advisor | Phone # (607) 535-3081
Hotels near Watkins Glen, NY


Where to Eat in Watkins Glen:

Thai Elephants During our visit to Watkins Glen, we enjoyed take-out from this restaurant. We ate it at a park across the street. We thought the green curry and the red curry were delicious!–Some of the best we have eaten!

Ben and Jerry’s Be sure to visit the gift shop next door for coupons, first!

Nickel’s Pit BBQ


What to Do in Watkins Glen:

Hiking

Watkins Glen International race track.


Other Interesting Facts & Things About Watkins Glen:

The racetrack was also the scene of the 1973 Summer Jam at Watkins Glen rock festival with an estimated 600,000 people in attendance–nearly twice the crowd as Woodstock, and a world record for the most number of people at a pop music festival.


5) Penn Yan

Penn Yan Memorial Day 2021

Overview of Penn Yan, NY:

Penn Yan is a quaint little lakeside village located on the north end of Keuka Lake (one of the Finger Lakes), stretching almost to scenic Seneca Lake. Penn Yan was named for its early Pennsylvania and Yankee settlers, and has a main street that will take you back to a slower and simpler time in America. It is the home of many wonderful vineyards and wineries along the Keuka Wine Trail and Seneca Wine trail.

Horses and buggies are a common sight in Penn Yann, a village with distinct Amish and Mennonite communities. You can find many delicious homemade baked goods and beautiful quilts, crafts, and wooden furniture for sale.


Penn Yan Facts & Links
Established/Incorporated: 1799 Website
Population = 4,936 (2018)Wikipedia
Distance from NYC = 277 milesPictures
Elevation: 794 feetWebcams:
Weather Google Street View:
Trip Advisor – Penn Yan
Penn Yan, NY Fast Facts, Info & Links
JanFebMarchAprilMayJune
32°33°43°56°68°77°
JulyAugustSeptOctNovDec
81°79°73°60°48°37°
Average Monthly Temperature of Penn Yan, NY – Data from Weather Trends
HotelDistance from Historic DistrictNotes
Los Gatos Bed & Breakfast2.4 miles5/5 Stars on Trip Advisor | Phone # (315) 536-0686
Best Western Plus Vineyard Inn & Suites.7 miles4.5/5 Stars on Trip Advisor | Phone # (800) 823-0612
Hampton Inn Penn Yan1.3 miles 4.5/5 Stars on Trip Advisor | Phone # (315) 536-8202
Hotels near Penn Yan, NY

HotelDistance from Historic DistrictNotes
Los Gatos Bed & Breakfast2.4 miles5/5 Stars on Trip Advisor | Phone # (315) 536-0686
Best Western Plus Vineyard Inn & Suites.7 miles4.5/5 Stars on Trip Advisor | Phone # (800) 823-0612
Hampton Inn Penn Yan1.3 miles 4.5/5 Stars on Trip Advisor | Phone # (315) 536-8202
Hotels near Penn Yan, NY


Where to Eat in Penn Yan:

Timmy G’s

The Lakeside Restaurant

The Switzerland Inn

Top of the Lake

Village Tavern


What to Do in Penn Yan:

Keuka Lake Outlet Trail This runs alongside the canal, stretching close to seven miles from Penn Yan to Dresden. Visitors can walk, bike, or ride horseback through the scenic route. Along the trail there are two waterfalls to see and enjoy–Cascade Falls and Seneca Mills Falls, and there are many other breath-taking views, too.

The Quilt Room

The Windmill Farm & Craft Market

The Wizards of Clay

Saunder’s Store

The Keuka Candy Emporium

MacKenzie-Childs

Apple Barrel Orchards

Oak Hill Bulk Foods A wide selection of affordable unique snacks, spices, and fresh baked goods. There is a deli and butcher counter, plus a cafe. Located in an Amish neighborhood. There is even a playground where kids can play.

Grapevine Country Tours

Keuka Lake Wine Trail

Seneca Wine Trail

Penn Yan Sewing Machines

New York Wine & Culinary Center

Fox Run Vineyards

Keuka Spring Vineyards

Climbing Bines Hop Farm



Other Interesting Facts & Things About Penn Yan:

Penn Yan is home to the world’s largest pancake griddle, measuring 28’1″. You can see it at Birkett Mills, as it is mounted on the side of the Birkett Mills building.

Birkett Mills has been continuously running since 1797, making Penn Yan the buckwheat capital of the U.S..


6) Saratoga Springs

Horse Races @ Saratoga Springs NY – Photo by Joshua Adams on Unsplash

Overview of Saratoga Springs, NY:

Located just minutes from Albany, this historic cultural center is known for the Saratoga Race Course, mineral springs, golf courses, museums, and wonderful restaurants and shops. This is a place where you can walk pretty much anywhere! Take a stroll along the quaint tree-lined streets and admire the beautiful Victorian houses and bed and breakfasts, pop into an antique shop, and explore a battleground straight out of history. Saratoga Springs is one of the oldest tourist destinations in the United States.


Saratoga Springs Facts & Links
Established/Incorporated: 1826 Website
Population = 28,005 (2018)Wikipedia
Distance from NYC = 164 milesPictures
Elevation: 305 feetWebcams:
Weather Google Street View:
Trip Advisor – Saratoga Springs
Saratoga Springs, NY Fast Facts, Info & Links
JanFebMarchAprilMayJune
32°35°44°57°70°78°
JulyAugustSeptOctNovDec
82°81°74°61°49°38°
Average Monthly Temperature of Saratoga Springs, NY – Data from Weather Trends
HotelDistance from Congress ParkNotes
Homewood Suites by Hilton Saratoga Springs 5/5 Stars on Trip Advisor | Phone # (518) 580-1500
Saratoga Dreams Bed & Breakfast 5/5 Stars on Trip Advisor | Phone # (518) 514-4534
Saratoga Casino Hotel 4.5/5 Stars on Trip Advisor | Phone # (518) 514-0686
Hotels near Saratoga Springs, NY

HotelDistance from Historic DistrictNotes
Los Gatos Bed & Breakfast2.4 miles5/5 Stars on Trip Advisor | Phone # (315) 536-0686
Best Western Plus Vineyard Inn & Suites.7 miles4.5/5 Stars on Trip Advisor | Phone # (800) 823-0612
Hampton Inn Penn Yan1.3 miles 4.5/5 Stars on Trip Advisor | Phone # (315) 536-8202
Hotels near Penn Yan, NY


Where to Eat in Saratoga Springs:

Mrs. London’s–Come in and try delicious pastries, desserts, as well as soups, sandwiches, and salads.

Olde Bryan Inn–For an authentic Saratoga restaurant experience, make a point of eating at this historic inn. The menu is impressive. It is said that you’ll come as a guest, but leave as a friend.

Druthers Brewing Company–The people here strive to make the comfort food of your dreams.


What to Do in Saratoga Springs:

Saratoga Spa State Park Listed as a National Historic Landmark–Included on the grounds are the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, the Spa Little Theater, the National Museum of Dance, the Saratoga Automobile Museum, the Gideon Putnam Resort and Roosevelt Baths and Spa. The park also offers a wide variety of traditional recreation opportunities, such as the Peerless Pool.

Peerless Pool Located within Saratoga Spa State Park–Free of charge with park entrance fee ($10 per vehicle). This complex consists of 3 pools (Main Pool–zero depth entrance, Kiddie Pool–with mushroom-shaped fountain, and Water Slides–19 foot winding double water slide)

Children’s Museum at Saratoga Exhibits geared for children ages zero to eight. $10 admission fee per person. A place where learning and play go hand-in-hand.

Saratoga Race Course Sports Illustrated named it one of the world’s greatest sporting venues. First opened over 150 years ago.

Waterfront Park

Geyser Creek Trail


Other Interesting Facts & Things About Saratoga Springs:

The first Saratoga race was in 1863, over 150 years ago, making it the oldest sporting venue in the U.S..

The cold and hot mineral springs located here were originally believed to cure almost any medical condition.


7) Lake George

Lake George, NY Top of the World Golf Course

Overview of Lake George, NY:

Lake George is DEFINITELY a vacation destination town! And it is a GREAT vacation destination at that!

Lake George is located at the south eastern edge of the 6.1 million acre Adirondack Park. Suggested Activities: Outlet shopping, hiking, Mini golf. How far is Lake George from Saratoga Springs?


Lake George Facts & Links
Established/Incorporated: 1810Website
Population = ~1,034 (Village)Wikipedia(Lake), (Town), (Village)
Distance from NYC = 218 milesPictures
Elevation: 318 feetWebcams: EarthCam – Lake George Cam
WeatherGoogle Street View:
Trip Advisor – Lake George
Lake George, NY Fast Facts, Info & Links
JanFebMarchAprilMayJune
31°33°42°56°69°77°
JulyAugustSeptOctNovDec
81°80°73°60°48°36°
Average Monthly Temperature of Lake George, NY – Data from Weather Trends
HotelDistance from Notes
Country Inn and Suites
by Radisson
right in Lake George (Queensbury)4.5/5 stars on Trip Advisor | Phone # (518) 745-0180
The Inn @ Erlowest4.5/5 stars on Trip Advisor | Phone # (518) 668-5928
Tea Island Resort4.5/5 stars on Trip Advisor | Phone # (518) 668-2776
Marine Village Resort4.5/5 stars on Trip Advisor | Phone # (518) 668-5478
Adirondack Diamond Point Lodge4.5/5 stars on Trip Advisor | Phone # (518) 668-4499
Courtyard Lake George4.5/5 stars on Trip Advisor | Phone # (518) 761-1150
Hampton Inn & Suites Lake George4.5/5 stars on Trip Advisor | Phone # (518) 668-4100
Hotels near Lake George, NY

HotelDistance from Historic DistrictNotes
Los Gatos Bed & Breakfast2.4 miles5/5 Stars on Trip Advisor | Phone # (315) 536-0686
Best Western Plus Vineyard Inn & Suites.7 miles4.5/5 Stars on Trip Advisor | Phone # (800) 823-0612
Hampton Inn Penn Yan1.3 miles 4.5/5 Stars on Trip Advisor | Phone # (315) 536-8202
Hotels near Penn Yan, NY


Where to Eat in Lake George:

Adirondack Pub and Brewery

Caffe Vero


What to Do in Lake George:

Shelving Rock Falls – The entire hike – from the parking area to the top of the falls is about 1/2 mile. The trail itself is wide & scenic. We really enjoyed this hike as a family!

Adirondack Extreme Adventure Course – Zip lining & ropes courses, etc. Tripadvisor Review (5 Star)

Six Flags Great Escape and Hurricane Harbor

White Water Rafting the Hudson and Sacandaga Rivers


Our Lake George post HERE


Other Interesting Facts & Things About Lake George:

Lake George contains approximately 186 islands. 154 of the islands are state-owned, about 50 of those are available for camping, and over 30 are privately owned.

Lake George is often referred to as the “Queen of American Lakes” because of its clear, sparkly waters and beautiful vistas. It is the largest lake in the Adirondacks.

The Submerged Heritage Preserves is a series of shipwrecks at the bottom of the lake. To avoid capture, the British purposely sank hundreds of their boats here during the French and Indian War. The park is a popular site for divers today.


8) Inlet

Inlet, NY Arrowhead Park & Dock

Overview of Inlet, NY:

This is a very small & quaint little town! If you are driving through the Adirondacks from Utica to either Lake George or Lake Placid – we would highly recommend stopping here! There is a big community parking lot right at the center of town, public restrooms, numerous little shops & eating establishments and town hall all right there within easy walking distance.

Many years ago we launched from Inlet and canoed to Alger Island to camp. Old Forge & Thendara are just south of it and offer a lot of things to do like the Rail Bikes, Enchanted Forest… Compared to Old Forge & Thendara, Inlet seems more authentic and to offer much more of a community feel. Distinguishing Features: Sense of community, centralization.


Inlet Facts & Links
Established/Incorporated: 1901Website
Population = 333Wikipedia
Distance from NYC = 291Pictures
Elevation: 2,444Webcams: Inlet Snow Cams
Weather – Inlet Google Street View: Arrowhead Park, Beach, Souvenir Shop
TripAdvisor – Inlet
Inlet, NY Fast Facts, Info & Links
JanFebMarchAprilMayJune
23°25°35°49°62°70°
JulyAugustSeptOctNovDec
74°73°66°53°41°39°
Average Monthly Temperature of Inlet, NY – Data from Weather Trends
HotelDistance from Arrowhead Park Notes
Marina Motel.2 miles4.5/5 Stars–Excellent Trip Advisor | (315) 357-3883
The Woods Inn.2 miles 4/5 Stars Trip Advisor | 1-315-903-0000
Hotels near Inlet, NY

HotelDistance from Historic DistrictNotes
Los Gatos Bed & Breakfast2.4 miles5/5 Stars on Trip Advisor | Phone # (315) 536-0686
Best Western Plus Vineyard Inn & Suites.7 miles4.5/5 Stars on Trip Advisor | Phone # (800) 823-0612
Hampton Inn Penn Yan1.3 miles 4.5/5 Stars on Trip Advisor | Phone # (315) 536-8202
Hotels near Penn Yan, NY


Where to Eat in Inlet:

The Caboose–Serving delicious paninis, chili, and soup out of a real caboose in May-October. Conveniently located on the main street next to souvenir shops.

Mary’s White Pine Bakery–Stop in for one of their famous half-moon doughnuts! There is usually a line to get inside!

Red Dog Tavern–Grab a quick bite to eat or stay for a relaxing meal in this comfortable Adirondack atmosphere. They serve homemade soups, ribs, salads, and chicken wings in a variety of sauces. If you dare, try the Armageddon wings–if you finish, your picture will be one of the few on their Wall of Flame.

The Laughing Loon Tavern–Located on the ground floor of the Woods Inn, serves an upscale menu, including fish tacos, grilled chicken wings, and artisan pizza until 10:30 pm during the summer.


What to Do in Inlet:

Rail Bikes – Ride multi-person recumbent style bikes on closed portions of old railroads! Adirondack Scenic Railbike – Thendara, NY (Just a few miles from Inlet)

Old Forge Hardware Store in Inlet New York. For a little trip down memory lane & nostalgia. Take yourself back to a simpler time!

Arrowhead Park – Right in town and adjacent to the town offices. Clean rest rooms, lake view, small beach, and a playground for kids!

Town of Inlet Challenges

Waterfall Challenge

Outdoor Family Challenge

Firetower Challenge

Fulton Chain Trifecta

Blue Mountain Firetower – Adirondacks, NY

Other Interesting Facts & Things About Inlet:

Inlet derives its name from its location being the “head of Fourth Lake” – the fourth lake of the Fulton chain of lakes named after Robert Fulton – the American inventor & engineer credited with creating the first commercially viable steamboat.

Inlet has a Catholic church – St. Anthony (dedicated in 1913) – of which inspired our youngest daughter Sophie to name her newly bought stuffed animal giraffe wristband Anthony (which she bought @ High Falls Gorge gift shop – outside of Lake Placid).

Inlet is sometimes called “The Little Town That Could” – since it has been able to set/regain the record for the “largest raft of canoes” – most recently in 2014.  On September 13th, 2014 over 3,150 paddlers came together to form a 1 square mile raft of canoes at Inlet on Fourth Lake, held together only by hands, for at least 30 seconds to benefit breast cancer research. This raft was deemed 1 square mile of hope.  High resolution photos taken from a seaplane allowed the charity organizers to identify at least 3,150 boats – and submit such documentation to Guinness World Book of Records for confirmation for the world record.


9) Lake Placid

Mirror Lake / Lake Placid, NY

Overview of Lake Placid, NY:

Lake Placid has hosted the Olympics not just once – but TWICE! There have been only 11 cities that have hosted the Olympics more than once. (London is currently the only city that has hosted 3 times!) See Wikipedia HERE for more details.


Lake Placid Facts & Links
Established/Incorporated: 1900Website
Population = 2,303Wikipedia
Distance from NYC = 296 milesPictures
Elevation: 1,857 feetWebcams: Mirror Lake, Whiteface Mountain
Weather – Lake PlacidGoogle Street View: Post Office Near Beach, Looking Down Main Street
Trip Advisor – Lake Placid
Lake Placid, NY Fast Facts, Info & Links
JanFebMarchAprilMayJune
22°24°34°48°62°71°
JulyAugustSeptOctNovDec
74°73°66°53°40°28°
Average Monthly Temperature of Lake Placid, NY – Data from Weather Trends
HotelDistanceNotes
Crowne Plaza 4/5 Stars Trip Advisor | (518) 523-2556
Mirror Lake Inn4.5 /5 Stars Trip Advisor | (518) 523-2544
The Whiteface Lodge4.5 /5 Stars Trip Advisor | (518) 523-0505
Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort4.5 /5 Stars Trip Advisor | (844) 209-8080
Hotels near Lake Placid, NY

HotelDistance from Historic DistrictNotes
Los Gatos Bed & Breakfast2.4 miles5/5 Stars on Trip Advisor | Phone # (315) 536-0686
Best Western Plus Vineyard Inn & Suites.7 miles4.5/5 Stars on Trip Advisor | Phone # (800) 823-0612
Hampton Inn Penn Yan1.3 miles 4.5/5 Stars on Trip Advisor | Phone # (315) 536-8202
Hotels near Penn Yan, NY


Where to Eat in Lake Placid:

Big Mountain Deli and Creperie (46 Sandwiches)

Bazzi’s Pizzeria, Green Goddess

Wyatt’s Tex Mex BBQ


What to Do in Lake Placid:

Suggested Activities: Cloud Splitter Gondola Ride, hiking, Olympic village

Olympic Sites, Olympic village

Olympic Ski Jump ComplexTripadvisor Review (4.5 Stars)

Mirror Lake Public Beach

The Wild Center (29.3 miles from Lake Placid) Tripadvisor Review (4.5 Stars)

Hiking Ideas

High Falls Gorge (Easy family hike) This is a privately owned nature park – so there is an admission fee of ~$13/adult.

Mirror Lake Loop 2.6 mile loop trail around the lake. This is heavily trafficked and good for all skill levels. Beautiful lake views, though hidden for much of the trail. The lake homes in the residential areas are interesting to look at. Part of the trail is through the business district in town, so you can go souvenir shopping in the middle of your hike! Great way to spend an hour in Lake Placid!

Mirror Lake Public Beach

Experience OutdoorsTripadvisor Review (5 Stars) Treetop Adventure Park–34 physical obstacles and 3 zip lines in the beautiful setting of the Adirondack forest, Zip Line Tours–6 ziplines totaling over 2,000 feet, with views of the Great Range Mountains (including the Olympic bobsled track) the whole time. Both the Adventure Park and Zip Line Tours include 2 experienced guides who are with you through the entirety of the experience.

Avalanche Lake hike


Other Interesting Facts & Things About Lake Placid:

Travel & Leisure and Conde Nast Traveler voted Lake Placid as one of the best places in the country to see autumn leaves turn every shade of red and gold, better than both Vermont and Maine.

Lake Placid was voted the best town in America for Halloween by Travel & Leisure.

Lake Placid is one of only three places in the world to host the Winter Olympic Games twice–in 1932 and 1980.


10) Cooperstown

Notable Person: James Fenimore Cooper – raised and lived there as adult.  Author of The Last of the Mohicans

Cooperstown, NY (Courtesy of Google Maps)

Overview of Cooperstown, NY:

Nestled among the rolling hills of upstate New York on the shores of Otsego Lake, Cooperstown has been called one of the coolest small towns in America! And when you see all that it has to offer – you are likely to agree!

People know of Cooperstown because of the baseball hall of fame – but Cooperstown also offers many other fascinating museums, places to eat, a wonderful small town America main street and fantastic scenic views of the surrounding hills & Otsego Lake.


Cooperstown Facts & Links
Established/Incorporated : 1786Website
Population = 1,762 (2018)Wikipedia
Distance from NYC = 198 milesPictures
Elevation: 1,226 feetWebcams: Otesaga Resort
Weather Google Street View: National Baseball Hall of Fame, Otesaga Resort, Main Street, DoubleDay Field
Trip Advisor – Cooperstown
Cooperstown, NY Fast Facts, Info & Links
JanFebMarchAprilMayJune
29°31°40°54°66°74°
JulyAugustSeptOctNovDec
78°77°70°58°46°35°
Average Monthly Temperature of Cooperstown, NY – Data from Weather Trends
HotelDistanceNotes
Landmark InnA Boutique Hotel–promising luxury amenities in a premier location. Traveler’s Choice 2020 Best of The Best, 5/5 stars Trip Advisor
The Whitehouse InnA premier retreat bed and breakfast with just a short walk to all the prime destinations. 5/5 stars Trip Advisor
The Inn at CooperstownListed on the national register of historic places–this inn has character and charm. Traveler’s Choice winner 12 consecutive years 2009-2021 4.5/5 stars (excellent) Trip Advisor
The Otesaga ResortTrip Advisor 4.5 Stars
Hotels near Cooperstown, NY

HotelDistance from Historic DistrictNotes
Los Gatos Bed & Breakfast2.4 miles5/5 Stars on Trip Advisor | Phone # (315) 536-0686
Best Western Plus Vineyard Inn & Suites.7 miles4.5/5 Stars on Trip Advisor | Phone # (800) 823-0612
Hampton Inn Penn Yan1.3 miles 4.5/5 Stars on Trip Advisor | Phone # (315) 536-8202
Hotels near Penn Yan, NY


Where to Eat in Cooperstown:

Doubleday Cafe–located right down the street from the Baseball Hall of fame, this place has a variety of foods sure to please everyone. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served here.

New York Pizzeria–This is the Leatherstocking region’s most popular pizza place. They serve a wide variety of Italian dishes and a full beer and wine list.

Council Rock Brewery–Priding themselves on using the best ingredients, they serve up quality brews, burgers, and plenty of warm sandwiches, comfort food, and delicious desserts!

Cooperstown Diner–Right on Main Street, this small-town diner offers big, hearty home-cooked meals. Breakfast is served all day. This diner is so small, that they only have half an address! They promise to always make room for you, though.


What to Do in Cooperstown:

National Baseball Hall of Fame

The Farmers’ Museum

Doubleday Field

Fly Creek Cider Mill

Brewery Ommegang

Beautiful & quaint main street!


Other Interesting Facts & Things About Cooperstown:

Notable Person: Abner Doubleday – Attributed in the past with the creation of baseball (but now debunked by historians)

Notable Person: Samueal F. B. Morse – Co-creator of morse code

Once known as the Village of Museums – because of the number of museums located there.

Otsego lake has been nicknamed Glimmerglass Lake in the novels of James Fenimore Cooper because of its smooth & clear surface.

One of the most famous hoaxes in American history, the Cardiff Giant, is on display @ the Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown.

Cooperstown Scenic Tour

11) Skaneateles

Skaneateles, NY (Courtesy of Google Maps)

Overview of Skaneateles, NY:

Skaneateles is a beautiful & quaint Finger-lake village! It has a bunch of notable / “famous” people that own homes around the pristine lake, including Tim Green & Adam Weitsman, that you might just run into around town. I actually went to law school with Tim Green back in the 1990s and had a negotiation class with him.

One of the best times to visit Skaneateles might just be right before Christmas. Every year – the village hosts a Dickens Christmas – an old fashion Christmas tradition inspired the novella “A Christmas Carol” by the English writer Charles Dickens.

The tradition kicks off right after Thanksgiving and runs until the 23rd of December. “Charles Dickens” & a cast of over 40 characters roam the village streets and interact with shoppers & visitors. Oh, and yes – those are chestnuts roasting on an open-fire there on the corner and watch out for the horse drawn carriage going down main street!


Skaneateles Facts & Links
Established/Incorporated: 1830Website
Population = 7,176 (2018)Wikipedia
Distance from NYC = 244 milesPictures
Elevation: 863 feetWebcams: Skan-Cam (Doesn’t always work…)
Weather Google Street View: The Pier, Intersection of Jordan & E. Genesee Streets (Route 20)
Trip Advisor – Skaneateles
Skaneateles, NY Fast Facts, Info & Links
JanFebMarchAprilMayJune
31° 32° 41° 55° 67° 76°
JulyAugustSeptOctNovDec
80° 79° 72° 59° 47° 36°
Average Monthly Temperature of Skaneateles, NY – Data from Weather Trends
HotelDistanceNotes
Skaneateles Suites Boutique Hotel 4.5/5 stars Tripadvisor |
Phone # (315) 685-2333
Mirbeau Inn and Spa 4/5 stars Tripadvisor |
Phone # (877) 647-2328
2W Lake–The Luxury Lakeside Boutique B&B 5/5 stars Tripadvisor |
Phone # (315) 685-7997
Hotels near Skaneateles, NY
HotelDistance from Historic DistrictNotes
Los Gatos Bed & Breakfast2.4 miles5/5 Stars on Trip Advisor | Phone # (315) 536-0686
Best Western Plus Vineyard Inn & Suites.7 miles4.5/5 Stars on Trip Advisor | Phone # (800) 823-0612
Hampton Inn Penn Yan1.3 miles 4.5/5 Stars on Trip Advisor | Phone # (315) 536-8202
Hotels near Penn Yan, NY

HotelDistanceNotes
Skaneateles Suites Boutique Hotel 4.5/5 stars Tripadvisor |
Phone # (315) 685-2333
Mirbeau Inn and Spa 4/5 stars Tripadvisor |
Phone # (877) 647-2328
2W Lake–The Luxury Lakeside Boutique B&B 5/5 stars Tripadvisor |
Phone # (315) 685-7997
Hotels near Skaneateles, NY

Where to Eat in Skaneateles:

Doug’s Fish Fry

Sherwood Inn

The Krebs


What to Do in Skaneateles:

Another quaint lakeside town!

Carpenter FallsPictures. A pretty waterfall – but parking is very limited and the trail is not very family friendly – especially those with younger children. The overall access to this area should be improved in the near future – as it is currently under construction. (DEC indicates completion summer of 2022)

Charlie Major Nature Trail (Rail-Trail) – about 2 miles out & back (total). Nice stroll through the woods on an abandoned train right-of-access route. Not as scenic as Carpenter Falls – but an easier hike that is suitable for the entire family.

A Dickens Christmas: Every year – the village hosts a Dickens Christmas – an old fashion Christmas tradition inspired the novella “A Christmas Carol” by the English writer Charles Dickens. The tradition kicks off right after Thanksgiving and runs until the 23rd of December. “Charles Dickens” & a cast of over 40 characters roam the village streets and interact with shoppers & visitors. Oh, and yes – those are chestnuts roasting on an open-fire there on the corner and watch out for the horse drawn carriage going down main street!


Other Interesting Facts & Things About Skaneateles:

The lake & town get their name from the Iroquois term “long lake”.

Neilia Hunter Biden was born in Skaneateles – the first wife of now President Biden, and mother to both Beau Biden & Hunter Biden. She was killed in a car accident in Delaware with their daughter 2 weeks before Joe Biden was sworn into the US Senate. Beau & Hunter were in the car too – but survived the crash.

Several Underground Railroad sites have been identified & documented in Skaneateles

Skaneateles lake is higher in elevation than the other Finger Lakes @ 863 feet and is sometimes referred to as “The Roof Garden of the Lakes”.

Skaneateles lake is one of the cleanest lakes in the United States – so much so that the city of Syracuse & other municipalities use it unfiltered. It is second only after Crater Lake in Oregon, as measured by dissolved nitrogen


Conclusion

There are many more quaint little towns in upstate NY – these are just some of our favorites!

If you are looking for MORE fun things to do in the upstate New York area – please check out our other post on 111 Fun Things to Do in the Adirondacks & Upstate New York!

Sincerely,

Melani signature
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Melani

Mother to 4 wonderful children, wife to one witty, but extremely nerdy husband.
Aspiring super-mom - who is still anxiously awaiting the arrival of her homemaker skills & superpowers of organization to arrive from Amazon Prime....
(Seems like I placed that order a looOong time ago...)_

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