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  • Writer's pictureSarah S.

Upstate New York Attractions

Are you thinking of traveling to New York, but want to get off the beaten path? Why not give Upstate a try? When you think of the big apple you picture Times Square, Central Park, Greenwich Village, Lady Liberty, museums, shopping, attractions, you get the idea. I love that part of the city, too. But maybe you are looking for a different experience.

Here are a few of the favorites that we’ve visited.

Mohonk Mountain

Mohonk Mountain Preserve is nestled in the Shawangunk Ridge, a section of the Appalachian Mountains, in New Paltz, NY. You’re looking at a 2 ½ hour drive from New York City. It is a quaint town with a population of about 14,000. A great little place to recoup after a day of hiking, biking, running, or horseback riding.

My son loved the Lemon Squeeze trail. You have to climb over and through mountainous rocks, up and down ladders, crawl through tight spaces, balance on tight ledges, and squeeze in between gigantic boulders.

The views are majestic and photo-ops here are bountiful. Clear some storage space and a safe place to tote your phone or camera while hiking you are going to want to document it!

To get to the Lemon Squeeze plan on a 2.7-mile easy warm-up hike to the trailhead from the parking lot. Unless you happen to be staying at the resort (which puts you in the direct route of the trail).

If you can go during the off-season you will avoid the crowds.

Visit the website in advance to plan your visit. It helps to know the fees, conditions, and rules that may apply.

While there, you will want to stop and look at the beautiful Mohonk Mountain House. It is not part of the preserve, but the hotel and grounds are breathtaking. It is a historical and truly magical place.

Vincent, Pop-Pop, Paul Sr., Sarah, Anthony, & Uncle Vinny

Orange County Choppers

When I mention Orange County Choppers a lot of you are probably thinking of the reality show American Choppers that aired on the Discovery Channel back in 2003. Sadly it ended in 2008 when a lawsuit ensued and the father/son team broke apart.

Fast-forward to the present day. Though American Choppers may be a thing of the past, you can go visit the Orange County Chopper showroom and cafe. It is about 40 minutes away from Mohonk Mountain. My father-in-law wanted to check it out while we were upstate.

Needless to say, we had a great time! The showroom was awesome. My son loved it!

The showroom consists of themed motorcycles, accessories, clothes, souvenirs, memorabilia, everything OCC. Not to mention, for a fee, we got to take a VIP tour of the garage. The highlight was meeting Paul Sr., who chatted with us and even posed for pictures.

Afterward, we headed to the adjacent cafe. The food served is your traditional American fare. I had the ahi tuna wrap for lunch, very tasty. Everyone else had burgers. Overall, would recommend stopping for a bite! We were pleased with the food and the service. The restaurant had a weekday lunch crowd, but nothing too crazy.

Lake George

Another cool place we visited was Lake George in the Adirondack mountains. We camped there and had a great time. It is pretty far north, about 2 ½ hours from Mohonk. The air is fresh and crisp and the wilderness is vast and beautiful.

The quaint downtown is known as Lake George Village. It is a happening place packed with people having a great time. According to Wikipedia, the lake is 2.5 square miles. It is, also, where celebrity chef Rachel Ray was raised.


There is an endless array of activities such as whitewater rafting, hot air ballooning, boating waterskiing, tubing, parasailing, and amusement parks.

If a beach setting is more your speed, look no further than the lake. Sit back, relax, swim, and take in the majestic mountains.

Additionally, there are golf courses, campgrounds, hiking, and local events.

If you are looking to deviate from the norm, give Upstate New York a shot. Now you know NY isn’t just New York City. Get out there and explore!

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