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Feeling at Home Even on the Road
New York City often takes first place for places to visit with lots to do when people think of New York, but Upstate has plenty of small towns packed with great food, entertainment, shopping, charm and more! Small town visits can be a great way to fill out a road trip and experience something new.
Find unique activities and history just waiting to welcome you at any of these great stops:
Located at the North end of Seneca Lake the options for fun are unlimited. Founded more than 200 years ago, the area is scattered with historic buildings and antiques, the perfect way to take a piece of history home with you! Plus, best known for its local wineries, you can stop and sip along wine tours year round here.
A community focused village that is home to unique shops and restaurants along the canal. Built around the Erie Canal, the village pays tribute to its heritage through preservation of special elements including its fully operational lift bridge. Whether it’s Canal Days in the summer or pond hockey, in the winter, there is always something happening!
No other town or village has as long of a history as Angelica. Founded in 1802, the town is the oldest in the region and even predates Allegany County itself. With a full line-up of calendar events there is no off season in Angelica. From Shakespeare in the Park, Civil War Weekend, and Halloween Donuts and Cider, to Holly Days, this quaint town has attractions for all. At the peak of small town charm, is the picturesque Angelica Park gazebo in the center of downtown.
Since we are thinking small, it’s worth mentioning that the total population here is only 513 people! Known as the “Gaslight Village” as a result of being an early natural gas development location, the Village provides gas for street lights and to heat homes to this day. Staying true to small town tradition Wyoming celebrates the fall harvest in its own way with Appleumpkin Festival, a 32 year tradition.
Lily Dale, NY
Founded with the purpose to further science, philosophy and religion of Spiritualism this is definitely one of the quirkier spots in Upstate New York. A place of pilgrimage for many spiritualist there is a constant stream of visitors. Many people take the opportunity to schedule readings with mediums and healers while here.
This area thrives in the winter season when great skiing and snowboarding opportunities turn it into a large playground, but that isn’t all it has to offer. Throughout the warmer months there is still outdoor fun to enjoy through hiking, kayaking, golf, and more. The village uses its strong community base to create events all year long including the Rock ‘n’ Roll Weekend and Holiday Valley Beer and Wine Festival.
Many places are famous for being the birthplace of something, but few are as sweet as the treat that came from LeRoy. This is the site of where Jell-O was invented in 1897 and today the Jell-O Gallery Museum tells the story of its creation and journey to a national stage. Additionally, this town is rich in history and is a legacy for women’s education and the underground railroad.
The Latter Day Saints movement gained a great deal of attention after the musical Book of Mormon opened, but the original movement founder, Joseph Smith lived in Palmyra. The first Book of Mormon was even published in the village in 1830. Along with that history are the town’s Main Street development and architecture, recognized as historical places by the National Register of Historic Places making this a great spot to shop and stroll.
With just over 4,500 people this town was built on giving back and community growth. The first American Red Cross chapter was established in the village in 1881 and is still located there today. The village is now comprised of many social and civic organizations such as Rotary, Lions Club and the American Legion that help maintain the villages roots of helping others. The village also provides area residents with a weekend of excitement during the New York State Balloon Festival that scatters the sky with pops of color.
Along with the history and other basics like interesting shops and dining, Albion has perfectly placed cobblestone buildings unlike any other group of buildings in the Upstate New York region. The area was at one time densely filled with cobblestones and as a result several structures including a house, church and school were built using millions of the small round stones. Marvel at the masterful creation and visit the Cobblestone Museum to learn more.
Upstate New York is packed with charming small towns and villages filled with welcoming friends and faces. You don’t always need the glitz and glam to have a memorable time. Escape the everyday hustle and relax along this endearing road trip through the simple pleasures of small town life.