From Rolling Farmlands to Race Cars, Apple Orchards to Amish, this Empire State Road Trip Has it All


Mention New York and most people think the Big Apple  They picture the massive, iconic urban center of skyscrapers, Broadway shows, the Statue of Liberty, and countless other attractions.

But upstate, to New York City's north and northwest, lies a very different side of NYS which, while less well known, lies a sprawling region of countryside - rolling farmlands, dense forests, and tiny towns - is equally inviting in other ways. 

And it's a destination with a long, diverse list of sightseeing and activities. One afternoon during a recent visit, my wife Fyllis and I were tooling around an automobile race track behind a pace car.  On another, we slowed down to pass a horse-pulled Amish buggy (for non-Americans who may be reading this, the Amish are a sect of traditionalist, German-speaking Protestants, scttered across the U.S. Northeast and Midwest, who eschew most modern living and conveniences). Then there were hikes through otherworldly environments; visits to intriguing museums;  and opportunities to become acquainted with the opulent lifestyle of the wealthy.

We were following an itinerary that links some of the most enticing things to see and do with inviting accommodations along the way. The trip was laid out by the Harbor Hotel Collection, with three properties about a three-hour drive from each other in Chautauqua (pronounced "Sha-taw-qua"), Watkins Glen, and Clayton, in New York’s 1000 Islands district. Each of these places offers its own unique reasons to visit, while also sharing appealing traits and treats. 

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