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What's New in New York State

  • Written by Richard Butler

Fall is certainly a vivid time for the Empire State and the perfect time to explore its wealth of natural beauty, restaurants, accommodations and attractions. Fly down a nearly 1,000-foot vertical drop at 50 miles an hour, superman-style, on a zip line or indulge in the latest spa treatments. Sample new craft brews and see if you can discern local ingredients such as raspberries, lavender and cherries that create their distinctive flavors, or savor a five-course tasting menu by a master chef. Dr. Seuss said it first: “There is fun to be done.” And, these are just some of the new ways for locals, families and friends to have fun in New York State this fall.

To help map your fall getaway, I LOVE NEW YORK has checked in with all 11 vacation regions and compiled a sampling of the Empire State's newest attractions and eateries. 


The Adirondacks:

Glide 125 feet above the autumn foliage and speed down a nearly 1,000-foot vertical drop at 50 miles an hour before gliding in for an incredibly smooth landing on the new Eagle Zip Flyer Line, introduced this summer at Wild West Ranch, located just south of Lake George Village. Riders can choose either sitting or superman flying positions and there are four side-by side-lines so that friends can race each other to the platform below. All flights include a 12-minute ride to the top of French Mountain in a vintage Pinzgauer Australian military vehicle and spectacular views of Lake George and the Adirondack Mountains. 

Capital - Saratoga:

The Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook pedestrian bridge, a walkway over the Mohawk River that connects the City of Amsterdam's north and south sides, recently opened with fanfare and a ribbon cutting ceremony just before Labor Day. The bridge took two years to build, and sits next to the city's new 9-11 memorial in Riverlink Park.

The Catskills:

Launched as a spin-off of Brooklyn Flea, Smorgasburg Upstate, Kingston, is a weekly market. Located at the Hutton Brickyards along Kingston's Hudson River waterfront, the market showcases some of the Hudson Valley and Upstate's most talented chefs, food purveyors and craft brewers alongside handmade items, vintage clothing and antiques. There will also be several Brooklyn vendors, as well as child- and family-friendly activities and music. Open Saturdays through October.

The Bramley Mountain Trail in Delhi, created via collaboration between Catskill Mountain Club and Department of Environmental Protection, provides hikers with a loop trail to the 2,817 foot summit of Bramley Mountain, one of the highest peaks in the western Catskills. The approximately 4-mile trail winds through dense forest, small stretches of open meadows, an abandoned bluestone quarry, two large caves, rock outcroppings and beautiful hardwood forests. It includes some steep segments. Those who reach the summit are rewarded with panoramic views. They'll also see some foundation stones--all that remains of the Bramley Mountain Fire Tower that was dismantled and removed several decades ago. Access to the trail is free of charge and does not require a DEP Access Permit. The trailhead is located on Glen Burnie Rd., about 0.7 mile south of CR 18 in Delhi and is open year round.

Tours at Hanford Mills Museum in East Meredith now include the chance to see traditional wood roof shingles produced on the water powered 1890s Chase Shingle Mill. This "automatic" shingle mill was considered the state of the art in its day. Visitors can help the Mill staff peel bark from the bolts of Catskill's white cedar, and bundle and package the shingles in the vintage shingle buncher. The shingle machine is one of more than a dozen vintage machines powered by the Mill's waterwheel, water turbine and steam boiler. Visitors are also invited to hunt Pokemon and participate in special workshops.

Finger Lakes:

The Spa at the Strathallan, a new full-service day spa at the Strathallan, a Doubletree by Hilton, in Rochester, is slated to open November 2016.

“America at Play,” a new permanent exhibit at The Strong National Museum of Play tracing the history of 300 years of play in America, from the introduction of mass-manufactured toys through the video game revolution, will open on December 10. Displays include rare artifacts and national treasures, including the first handmade Monopoly set by Charles Darrow, who popularized the game and rotating exhibits featuring themes such as Dungeons and Dragons, Japanese video games, and miniature rooms. Visitors can also play a two-person toy trivia game, watch oral histories of play memories, and enjoy books about toys and play.

Supported by the Community Arts Partnership of Tompkins County's (CAP) Public Art Grant, three new public-art murals will be installed on the Department of Public Works building, the Tompkins County Public Library, and the NAPA Auto Parts store located on Main Street in Trumansburg. The three works are expected to be completed by September.  Design selection criteria included the quality of the artist's work, the appropriateness to the subject matter's location, originality, and feasibility. For more information, call: (607) 273-5072.

The Cherry Artspace, a new nonprofit art space on the banks of the Cayuga Inlet in Ithaca's West End, is opening this fall. In addition to The Cherry's own innovative plays, the space will host music, dance, opera performances, art exhibits and installations, film screenings, poetry and book readings, jam session, and any other forms of artistic expression. 

Greater Niagara:

The new four-season, 5,000 square foot Humphrey Nature Center in Letchworth State Park uses interactive activities and exhibits to educate visitors on the natural history, flora and fauna of the park. A short informational tour explains the striking rock formations that earn it the nickname of “Grand Canyon of the East” along with sustainable practices, invasive species, erosion and more. The Center even has a butterfly garden and research labs. Guided walks and hikes, scavenger hunts and other programs are designed to connect visitors of all ages with nature at Letchworth, which won the USA TODAY Readers' Choice Award for Best State Park in the United States.



Aviator Restaurant at The Floyd Bennett Airport describes its menu as “global cuisine meets comfort food.” The dining room serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and cocktails with an extensive selection of locally-crafted beverages. At this runway-side restaurant, diners can watch the occasional small plane or helicopter sweep by with the mountains as a backdrop.


Chef Gray Kunz, former chef at Lespinasse, has returned from about 10 years in Hong Kong to open the Salt and Char in Saratoga. Offering a modern twist on the American steakhouse, Salt and Char features sustainable local ingredients and handpicked cuts of grass-fed dry aged meats, Black Angus and American Wagyu. 

Fresh day-boat caught seafood is the big draw at Fish at 30 Lake, located at the corner of Lake Avenue and Pavilion Place in downtown Saratoga Springs. The menu also includes hardwood grilled fish and pizza, a free-standing raw bar, and plates to share—all with an emphasis on fresh, local ingredients. There's also a mixologist led bar program with hand-crafted cocktails, local spirits and an approachable wine list.

The Catskills:

Chef James Chapman from Rhinecliff Event Catering is the new owner of Cassie's Cafe in Roxbury. While the name won't change, the menu will be bringing in some Rhinecliff Event Catering favorites. The restaurant also will be open for dinner and is adding a full bar.

The Bull & Garland, an inn in Hobart, features an English style gastropub. Newly opened in early September, the restaurant will offer pub classics and seasonal cuisine in a historical country inn

Wayside Cider has made a great name for itself with its delicious small batch cider made from foraged apples. This fall, the Wayside Cider Tasting Room will open to the public, featuring weekend tours and outdoor

Central New York:

In Utica, old fashioned is reimagined at The Local Farm to Table, a 103-year-old former public library that has been transformed into a local market and farm-to-table restaurant. They offer grass-fed beef, pastured chicken and organic vegetables – all from Central New York farms, fresh from one of their coolers or prepared in the café. Patrons are invited to stop by, grab a book and enjoy a delicious cup of coffee while soaking in the rich history and ambiance.

Finger Lakes:

Two years after a car carrier collided with the restaurant, Simeon's on the Commons will reopen its doors this fall. The interior of the restaurant has been completely updated and will feature three new dining experiences, including the casual Oyster Room, a more lively Tavern Room and a balcony dining

Dining as a social experience is the focus at Mix Social Dining in Ithaca. A multi-ethnic share-plate menu encourages diners to experience diverse dishes and flavors. The menu features tapas, a daily tasting menu, creative cocktails and a full raw bar as well as pasta specialties. Owners Chef Shayne Johnson from Mahogany Grill and his wife Mix worked with Matt Torchia, Mahogany Grill's owner on the new  

The Rook, located in Ithaca's West End, offers a modern take on old favorites with dishes that combine quality ingredients and classic techniques in innovative ways. Early evenings highlight inventive cocktails and small plates; diners can also enjoy a full dinner or stop by for the late night menu, served until midnight.

Greater Niagara:

The Chef's Table at the River Spring Lodge, is curated by Chef Dave Hamer, a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America with 15 years of experience around the world. His exclusive tasting menu is a single-seating, five-course event, served at 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday for up to 20 guests. The meals feature premium game, meats, poultry and seafood such as American Kurobuta Pork Loins and Cervena Venison Tenderloins, complemented by homemade yeast breads and signature desserts that are prepared in-house daily. Guests should plan on spending at least two hours and advance reservations are required.

Hudson Valley:

Glenmere Brewing Company in Florida has a tasting room, open Friday through Sunday, which showcases its changing craft beers, brewed onsite using water from its namesake Glenmere Lake. The brewery produces two to three craft beers at a time and changes them seasonally.

Angry Orchard in Walden has a tasting room where visitors can sample exclusive ciders available only at the orchard. Set amid acres of apple trees, the Innovation Cider House also offers a self-guided tour where visitors can learn about the history and process of making of hard cider via displays and interactive exhibits.



Surfside on the Lake, an iconic Lake George lodging property, has been rebuilt with modern amenities while still retaining its vintage feel. Within walking distance of Lake George Village's shops, restaurants and attractions, the new property offers 40 spacious rooms, ten 2-bedroom suites, private balconies, conference facilities, elevator access and indoor corridors as well as a roof-top cabana bar with gorgeous views of Lake George. 

The Catskills:

A $6 million renovation at the Emerson Resort & Spa in Mt. Tremper brings new guestrooms, remodeled public areas and a new restaurant, Woodnotes Grille that features locally-sourced foods and handcrafted cocktails. In addition, its renovated spa offers integrative treatments using high-grade essential oils. The hotel's nature-inspired redesign reflects the surrounding mountains and the resort's namesake poet Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Capital Saratoga:

In its $40 million expansion, the Saratoga Casino Hotel incorporates a modern interpretation of the community's historic Victorian architecture. The 117-room hotel includes a Morton's® The Steakhouse, Perks Café, which serves Starbucks® products, an indoor resort pool with spa whirlpool, 13 premium suites, an outdoor terrace, fitness center, lobby bar and a grand ballroom that offers more than 3,000 square feet of meeting and event space. Also on tap are over 1,700 slots, electronic table games, simulcast wagering and live entertainment. Plus, during the summer, a horse drawn carriage will take hotel guests to and from the races.

Finger Lakes:

Under new ownership, The Inn at Taughannock in Trumansburg, formerly Taughannock Farms Inn, is being reinvented as a hip, happening destination. Its lakeside dining room featuring an updated menu that adds seasonal fine dining options and shareable plates to traditional favorites. Located near Ithaca, the inn overlooks Cayuga Lake and Taughannock Falls State Park and is next to the tallest waterfall east of the Rocky Mountains. Among the planned enhancements are an event space for banquets and weddings, a full service spa, bocce courts, a huge outdoor dining space with fire pits, and daily yoga for guests.

Hudson Valley:

This year, The Castle Fun Center in Chester, has added a Dragon Frenzy 360 spin ride, Spin Zone Bumper Cars, and Swing Ride to its existing line-up of miniature golf, rock climbing, Free Fall, roller skating, Ballocity, arcade, laser maze, and more.

More tasting bars, an expanded outdoor loft deck and a separate Reserve Tasting Room which offers guests sit-down tastings of the winery's top wines are part of the recent expansion at Millbrook Vineyards & Winery in Millbrook. A new second floor four-season room, adjacent to the existing loft with a fireplace, creates a lovely year-round setting to enjoy a glass of wine and appreciate the surrounding vineyard and Catskill Mountain views. 

Thousand Islands-Seaway:

Tailwater Lodge, on the banks of the Salmon River in Altmar, is adding an indoor/outdoor event venue and a tasting room. A former elementary school, the existing 42-room luxury hotel offers a restaurant, conference center and 2,000 feet of private access to the legendary Salmon River. The new “Barn” venue will host weddings, parties, conferences and other events in a rustic setting that can accommodate up to 300 guests indoors and up to 450 guests using its covered outdoor space. The Tasting Room will offer artisan products from New York State and other areas, including 24 beers on tap, an extensive wine list and sampling of gourmet meats and cheeses. The new additions feature timber-framed construction and are scheduled to open in late August.

About New York State

New York State features 11 beautiful vacation regions. New York's attractions span from landmarks such as Niagara Falls to the wine trails of Hudson Valley and treasures like the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Whether it's wide-ranging outdoor activities for the whole family like hiking, kayaking, snowmobiling, skiing and snowboarding, culinary wonders and farm-to-table fresh foods, or exploring the rich history and culture of one of the 13 original colonies, New York State offers diverse activities for all travelers. For more information, visit Media can find press releases and more at

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