The Great American Road Trip: Destination Empire State


Few states are as geographically diverse as New York, with landscapes that range from vast, rural farmlands with apple orchards as far as the eye can see to the relatively small island of Manhattan, where elbow room is at a premium.

Curious travelers who want to escape the hustle and bustle of New York City can explore the state’s natural wonders and cultural heritage via the Empire State Road Trip, a fun-filled adventure designed to showcase three of New York’s most diverse and popular regions. Visitors of all ages will enjoy a diverse itinerary that includes stays at a variety of accommodations in waterfront properties.

Located in western New York, Chautauqua County has been treasured by generations as a year-round destination for adventure-seekers. Lovers of arts and entertainment, history buffs and leisure learners flock to the Chautauqua Institution, a community of artists, educators, thinkers, faith leaders and friends dedicated to exploring the best in humanity. Enriched by the beauty of five lakes, the region is enjoying added attention with the opening of the National Comedy Center in nearby Jamestown, the first state-of-the-art museum dedicated to telling the vital story of comedy in America, and the newly available luxurious accommodations of Chautauqua Harbor Hotel.

Right on the way to Watkins Glen from Chautauqua, about 45 minutes east on I86, is the northern portion of Allegany State Park in Salamanca. This 65,000-acre gem has scenic views, hiking trails and restaurants. Located within the park is Red House Lake, where visitors can enjoy swimming, boat rentals and the Red House Restaurant. Before arriving at the hotel, make a pit-stop in the charming town of Corning, located just 20 miles from Watkins Glen. Visit the Corning Museum of Glass where visitors can watch glass take shape during a demonstration, learn the history or even try glassmaking.

Nestled on the shores of Seneca Lake, Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel is the perfect vantage point from which to explore this vibrant destination. Showcasing some of Mother Nature’s most spectacular work, New York’s Finger Lakes Region is known for its award-winning wineries, unmatched outdoor recreation, historic attractions and more. Experience breathtaking natural beauty while exploring one of New York State’s treasures, Watkins Glen State Park, where the dramatic landscape features water sculpted rock and 19 cascading waterfalls. The park recently underwent a $6.5 million renovation that saw the creation of a new welcome center, small outdoor amphitheater, improved educational displays and new viewing areas.

Sample a wide variety of wines by following the Seneca Lake Wine Trail. Comprised of 34 wineries situated around the glacially-formed lake that provides an ideal climate for growing grapes, the area is filled with wineries offering tastings of locally-produced wines such as Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir and other notable varieties. Also dotting the landscape are craft breweries and distilleries where the public may sip and savor the area’s local flavors. Quench the need for speed by visiting Watkins Glen International, home to automobile racing including NASCAR’s only appearance in New York State. Affectionately known as “The Glen,” this storied venue is also home to concerts and festivals.

Explore the pristine waters of Seneca Lake, the largest of New York’s 11 Finger Lakes. Set sail with Schooner Excursions aboard the True Love or Remedy, travel under power with Captain Bill’s & Seneca Lake Cruises, troll for salmon and trout aboard a Reel Stories Fishing Charter, or practice fly fishing or rent a kayak through Summit to Stream.

A paradise for sightseers, outdoor enthusiasts, anglers and history buffs, 1000 Islands is a stunningly beautiful archipelago region of the St. Lawrence River that stretches from the northern tip of the Empire State to southeastern Ontario, Canada. Check in to 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel and discover a region with a storied past shaped by trade on the mighty St. Lawrence, War of 1812, Gilded Age and Prohibition. Spend a relaxing day exploring the charming town of Clayton, home to shops, restaurants, and the Clayton Opera House. Explore Thousand Islands Seaway Wine Trail, which features eight unique wineries, or enjoy spirits at the Clayton Distillery.

Tour the Antique Boat Museum, the premier freshwater nautical museum in North America with galleries overflowing with over 300 unique and beautifully-preserved boats and thousands of artifacts. Explore the secret passages within Singer Castle, located on Dark Island, or visit Rock Island Lighthouse, complete with keeper’s quarters and museum. Experience the majesty of Boldt Castle, a turn-of-the-century castle rivaling those of Europe, built on the St. Lawrence River, in the heart of the 1000 Islands.

When planning your road trip, take note that a three-hour ride separates Chautauqua Harbor Hotel from Watkins Glen and from Watkins Glen to 1000 Islands. It takes six hours to drive from 1000 Islands to Chautauqua.



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