I grew up in upstate New York, but it wasn’t until I moved away that I began to appreciate the little things I overlooked while living here. Coming back to the area where my husband grew up reminded me that fall is an especially magical time to visit. Here are eight reasons to love upstate New York in Autumn.
1. Fall Foliage: There is nothing more spectacular than the colorful changing leaves in the Northeast, and none more breathtaking than in upstate New York. Dry days and crisp nights bring a kaleidoscope of red, yellow, orange and purple to the maple, aspen, tamarack, hickory, and oak trees that populate the many trees throughout upstate New York.
2. Apples: New York is the second largest apple-growing state in the US, just behind Washington State. Over 29.5 million McIntosh, Rome, Gala, Idared, Crispen, Red Delicious, and other variety of apples are harvested in New York annually, with most of those grown in upstate New York. A trip to one of the many upstate New York apple orchards will yield not just bushels of apples, but fresh apple cider, apple dumplings, apple cider doughnuts, and apple pie.3. Farm Stands: Upstate New York is known for its hearty fall harvest, especially Schoharie County, which was known as the “breadbasket” of the Revolutionary War for its wheat, corn, apple, and other vegetable crops. Today, people come from all over the Northeast to get harvest-fresh produce from Schoharie County. You can’t get any fresher than farm stand to table with vegetables, fruit, and dairy from upstate New York.
4. History: New York played a pivotal role in the formation of the United States, with many important Revolutionary War battles fought in upstate New York. Destinations such as Fort Ticonderoga, Saratoga National Historical Park, and The Old Stone Fort in Schoharie offer a peek into the life and battles of people during the Revolutionary War.
5. Shopping: You think New York has a monopoly on shopping? Think again! Some of the best specialty shops and boutiques, such as Beekman 1802 (Sharon Springs), are located in the tiny hamlets of upstate New York. These shops offer things you can’t always find in the big city, such as unique artisan gifts, farm-fresh canned goods, and custom-made clothing and accessories. As you drive from town to town, make certain you take time to shop until you drop!
6. The Quilt Block Trail of Schoharie County: After the 2011 floods of Hurricane Irene devastated Schoharie County, a group of local residents raised money to paint quilts on the old barns and historical structures that remained. These buildings represent the tenacity of Schoharie County residents, as well as homage to the quilters who lived in this area. Today, sixty buildings are a part of the Quilt Barn Trail throughout Schoharie County, many with quilt designs that compliment they structure they represent.
7. Farm-to-Table Cuisine: Get your fresh-from-the-fields fruits and vegetables from the farm stand to take home, but be sure to enjoy the best of local farm-to-table gourmet cuisine at many of the upstate New York restaurants and inns. Restaurants such as Friends Lake Inn (Chestertown), The Bear Cafe (Woodstock), The Otesaga Hotel (Cooperstown) and The American Hotel (Sharon Springs) offer hearty American fare in rustic and traditional settings.
8. Small Town Charm: The country roads and off-the-beaten path towns of upstate New York celebrate the spirit of small town charm, with treasures such as wooden bridges, front porches decorated with the splendor of fall, and people who still believe in hard work, family, and love of country.