I suppose many people, like I used to, when they hear the words New York, think the Statue of Liberty, skyscrapers, the Empire State Building, Broadway, Manhattan, Central Park, Greenwich Village…
And sure, because of all these things and many more, the Big Apple is justifiably about the most famous place on earth,
which is why so many people choose to live, work and holiday there.
But if you’re going for a visit, I suggest you consider hiring a car for a day or two, maybe longer, and see the wider New York State.
Most tourists will only see the familiar sights that they’ve already seen in TV shows and films a hundred times, but there is plenty to see and do beyond the borders of New York City.
Here are some great examples:
These mountains in upstate New York unusually form a dome, rather than a range of peaks.
None of them present an especially difficult challenge to climbers, and there are many that can be tackled by enthusiastic amateurs.
You can also hunt, fish, hike or mountain-bike here, staying overnight in gorgeous old cabins and hunting lodges either in the mountains or by lakes and rivers.
And every September the Adirondack Balloon Festival takes place, when you can see hundreds of the colourful hot air balloons take to the skies.
Cooperstown is just a small village about a four hour drive from Manhattan.
If you’re a fan either of baseball or opera (few are both it would seem), then it’s worth dropping by.
Here is the National Baseball Hall of Fame where you can learn about the history of the game, its greatest players including the legendary Babe Ruth, and see fascinating memorabilia of all kinds.
And every summer, on beautiful Otsego Lake, the Glimmerglass Opera Company puts on a season of musical events, showcasing classic opera, and many smaller lesser-known works.
These lakes, which resembled the fingers of a human hand to mapmakers, naturally, are a particularly popular attraction for American tourists.
Gorgeous scenery of course, but the region is also widely-regarded as among the best for wine production.
People contemplating USA holidays should consider including a lazy weekend in upstate New York, a spot of boating on the lake followed by a blissful picnic on the shore, then a spot of wine-tasting in the afternoon.
Beats the hustle and bustle of Time Square any day of the week.
The Hudson Valley, and along it the Hudson River, passes some iconic places – West Point, where the famed military academy is housed;
Poughkeepsie, New York’s second-city and where the industrialist Vanderbilt chose to build his mansion,
now a National Historic Site, and the Catskills Mountains, where activity-holidaymakers can tube, hike and ski to their hearts’ content.
Actually comprised of three separate waterfalls, the largest of which, the Horseshoe Falls, is located on the Canadian side of the border, brought together the flow rate of water is the highest of any waterfall in the world.
It’s one of the most amazing sights to see, sheer size of Niagara and the noise and mist rising from the foaming water below.
Interestingly, although going over the falls has often been presented as a thrilling stunt by daredevils,
who usually face prosecution if they survive, the first known person ever to go over the side and survive was a forty-three year old schoolteacher named Annie Taylor.
She was actually preceded a few days earlier by a cat in a barrel, as a test. The cat also survived, thankfully.
Rob’s ambition is to one day cross Niagara Falls by high wire. This is an ambition that will sadly never be fulfilled.