Upstate NY Destinations for the Winter

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Winter is here for us now, albeit not *officially* until late December. We had our first substantial snowfall yesterday (28 inches in northern Oneida County!). It caught me by surprise last night. The girls and I had driven to Clinton, to attend a meeting. By the time we got out, snow was falling heavily. My van doesn't have snow tires yet (we're running late on our winter prep!) and the roads were unplowed and insalted when we were in them. Needless to say, it was a slippery ride home and took twice as long. 

Well, winter season need not be a dull time where you have to stay home all the time! A lot of attractions are closed during the winter (heating all those historical homes would be too expensive, not to mention the snow cleanup!), but there are some really nice places still open. It's a good excuse to yank the kids away from the PS3 and get then out to enjoy the fresh air and see some good sites.
Here is a small list of places we intend on seeing/have enjoyed during the winter: 

Glenn H. Curtiss Museum in Hammondsport, NY

Dog Sled Races in the Adirondacks!

Lights on the Lake in Syracuse, NY, is a lovely winter evenings' drive and there are various amusements for the kids. Syracuse/Onondaga County also has one of the best tourist websites I've ever seen-- you can find more stuff to do here

The Farmer's Museum in Cooperstown, NY, is closed although they do have special programs available during the winter season. 

Most zoos are open, and some, like the Utica Zoo, offer free admission during the winter season.

Children's museums, found in many large cities, are usually open all winter long. The one here in Utica has so much to do that the kids could spend an entire day there. 

Fort Stanwix in Rome, NY, one of our favorite places, is open all winter (free, too!). It's a great way to see first-hand how the militia survived during the winters here. 

Finally, check with your local Chamber of Commerce or check your state's tourism website for other winter activities. If you live in New York State, I Love NY has a great and searchable website listing all sorts of activities, here

Sometimes it's hard to know exactly what's going on in your local area. I think communities really need to put a little effort in getting the word out. But local newspapers, online websites, and other resources can help. There's really no need for the winter doldrums, not when there are so many interesting places to see!

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