There’s More to NY than NYC

New York’s Finger Lakes region is a beautiful destination filled with history, adventure, and the great outdoors. Hikers, historians, artists, and literary buffs alike can find numerous attractions to draw them to the area. From Mark Twain’s time spent writing in Elmira, to the Corning Museum of Glass, and the natural splendor of forests and lakes, this is a truly inspirational trip.

NY State vacation

Mark Twain Country

One of America’s greatest writers, Mark Twain, was a regular visitor to Elmira NY. He summered there for over 20 years, his words flowing as he looked out over the countryside, penning such works as Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. Now tourists can have their own adventures in the very same surroundings.

You can visit the octagonal study where Twain wrote, which he called “the loveliest study you ever saw.” USA Today list it as the “number one literary attraction in America”. Now located at Elmira College, tours of the study are offered. Or perhaps a trip to Woodlawn Cemetery to see the author’s final resting place. Don’t be surprised to see a cigar or two, a common offering to the memory of the great Mark Twain.

In July and August the hour long Trolley into Twain Country Tour is available. Starting at the Chemung Valley History Museum the narrated tour hits multiple historic stops in Elmira touching on Twain, Civil War Sites, the restored Powers Theater, and Dunn Field, “home of the Elmira Pioneers baseball team”.

Tanglewood Nature Center even features a Mark Twain trail. Quotes from the author are posted along the trail. His voice still resonates surrounded by the very places he too visited. Twain’s appreciation of the natural world is reflected in all of his work, and though he traveled all over the world this is the countryside he returned to time and time again.

Younger visitors may find the Children’s Trail more up their alley. This path includes some obstacle courses while following “a disassembled nature-themed book along the way.” The Nature Center is home to more than 40 species of live animals most notably their birds of prey. They have ongoing education programs and events for kids and families.


Soaring Above Harris Hill

Searching for a loftier view? Try a trip above the tree tops. Soaring is a familiar word, but what does it mean when you are entering the “Soaring Capital of America”? An opportunity to take to the skies in a glider, high above the terrain that inspired some of America’s greatest literary works.

You can visit the National Soaring Museum to learn about these motorless planes or head over to Harris Hill Soaring Corporation in Elmira NY for a ride in the passenger seat. Weather can be an issue with gliding, but on a clear day there are no prettier view for your silent 15-20 minute flight across the sky.

For those of us happier to hug the ground Harris Hill Amusement Park offers some family fun and thrills at a lower altitude. A carousel, go-karts, and games right by the museum combines learning and play time in one stop. If mini-golf is your game than this is the place, or the driving range where you can see how far your golf balls soar.


Visiting Watkins Glen

Watkins Glen State Park is famous for its beauty and perfect for a day trip or as a camping stop. The Gorge Trail is nature at its most amazing and unexpected. Over a two mile stretch the glen’s stream forms 19 waterfalls as it descends 400 feet. The path goes over, under, and around the waterfalls or “rim trails overlook the gorge”. A suspension bridge 85ft. above the creek offers a birds eye view or you can go down and feel the water on your face while standing behind two waterfalls at Cavern Cascade. Swimming pools, fishing, hiking, and biking make the State Park ideal for anyone of any age that enjoys nature.

If you take the Gorge Trail be prepared for a workout. Over 800 stone steps await you as you hike. Also remember to bring lots of drinking water, you’ll get thirsty staring at the stream as you make your way through the gorge.

family vacation

Must See Museums

The Corning Museum of Glass is more than a gallery of glass art. It is dedicated to the history of glass, and home to historical glass pieces an amazing “35 centuries of glass art”. From the Romans and the origins of glass blowing to modern day innovations there is more to learn than you could ever have imagined and always more to see amongst the huge collection. If you want to feel the heat there are  demonstrations of glass blowing (Hot Glass Demo), or the Flameworking Demo where glass rods are shaped. Optical Fiber and Glassbreaking Demos are also offered so you can watch them make it or break it depending on your mood.

“Make Your Own Glass” Classes are offered at the Museum for all ages, which seriously fun and offer a sense of accomplishment when finished, and we highly recommend trying. You can make items such as flowers, ornaments, and other objects that will also serve as a unique souvenir of your time in NY State.

glass rabbit

The Rockwell Museum located in Corning NY, is the only Smithsonian affiliate in Upstate New York. The name comes from collectors Bob and Hertha Rockwell who gifted their art and artifacts to start the museum. Their goal to “make art accessible to kids” reads loud and clear. Visit the Family Exploration Studio to draw on a light board or take part in the Art Hunt by matching partial images to the full artwork throughout the galleries. To add to it’s draw, kids and teens visit free.

NY museums

The Glenn H. Curtiss Museum is dedicated to the local and international legend who became the “fastest man on earth” when he raced a motorcycle at 136.4 MPH. He went on to be a pioneer in early flight being awarded the very first pilot’s license ever issued. The first to take off and land on water, Glen Curtiss pushed the limits of flight and plane design. The museum houses motorcycles, planes, boats, antique tools, and a Restoration Shop where you can see volunteers working on historic aircraft.

From museums, to wildly beautiful natural scenery, to high flying adventures and more, NY has it all. Visit the Finger Lakes to make memories that will last a lifetime (and take some of the most “Instagram Worthy” photos you will ever post).

new york vacation

One Thousand Nights and One Day,” a new musical at ART/NY Mezzanine Theatre

One Thousand Nights and One Day will play the ART/NY Mezzanine Theatre (502 West 53rd Street between 10th and 11th Avenues) and is produced by Prospect Theater Company (Cara Reichel, Producing Artistic Director.)
In mythic Persia, a daring young woman spins tales to save the kingdom and her life. In modern-day New York, a Jewish man and Palestinian woman fight to find love in a fractured world.  This world premiere musical, adapted from Jason Grote’s critically-acclaimed play 1001, reinvents “The Arabian Nights,” colliding the contemporary and the ancient.  Through a genre-bending score, it questions past and present images of the Middle East, exploring the power of story in our everyday lives.
One Thousand Nights and One Day features Sepideh Moafi (“The Deuce”, “Falling Water”), Ben Steinfeld (Fiasco Theatre Company’s Into the Woods), Ashkon Davaran (The Great Comet – Ars Nova), Yassi Noubahar (The Body Politic), Chad Goodridge (Passing Strange), Gabriella Pérez (Anything GoesNational Tour), and Graham Stevens (Peter and the Starcatcher).
One Thousand Nights and One Day features choreography by Karla Garcia(Regional: In The Heights; currently performing in Hamilton), scenic design by Jason Ardizzone-West (The Royale, Illyria), costume design by Becky Bodurtha (The Strangest; The Wife), lighting design by Carolyn Wong (This Was Written In Water; The Oracle) and sound design by Jeremy J. Lee (Tamar of the River; Broadway Associate: Superior Doughnuts; Mary Stuart). Kurt Crowley (currently the musical director/conductor of Hamilton on Broadway) serves as musical director and co-orchestrator with Marisa Michelson.

Photo: One Thousand Nights and One Day PHOTO CREDIT – Richard Termine

In Prospect Theater Company’s new play One Thousand Nights and One Day, a musical adapted by composer Marisa Michelson and librettist Jason Grote from the 2007 play 1001. Based loosely on a retelling of the Arabian Nights story of King Shahryar (Ben Steinfeld) and his wife, Scheherazade (Sepideh Moafi), who tells stories in order to delay her own execution and to save other women in her kingdom, the play then tells a more modern tale of Alan and Dahna (same actors). These students, a Jewish man and a Palestinian woman, go through the trials of a relationship in current New York City.

The new musical has been developed with the support of New Dramatists, Montclair State University’s New Works Initiative, Theatreworks Palo Alto, the York Theatre Company, and the Weston Playhouse.

Tickets can be purchased by visiting or calling (212) 352-3101.

The Five Best Self-Led Bike Tours in NYC

New York City is the largest city in North America in terms of both population and land area. As such, it’s no wonder that tourists rarely get a chance to see everything on their wish list during their stay in the Big Apple. Most citizens have yet to see it all.


Taking a self-led bike tour allows tourists to see the city on their own time while avoiding the often confusing subway routes and expensive cab fares. So reserve an affordable rental bike from Blazing Saddles, grab a map, and check out these five iconic areas for a self-led tour.


Brooklyn Bridge


Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most recognizable bridges in the world. It’s unique Gothic architecture, and hybrid design of cable-stayed and suspension style bridges make it wondrous to behold before you consider the view from the East River. Crossing the 1,500-foot bridge by bicycle gives you a stunning view of the Manhattan skyline and the Statue of Liberty in the distance. Cycling across the bridge at sunset will only enhance the view but is also, unfortunately, the busiest time for tourists.


The Hudson River Greenway


If you like the idea of seeing the city while avoiding the infamous traffic jams and honking yellow cabs, the Hudson River Greenway offers an enjoyable way to do so. Along this path, you can see the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, the 9/11 Memorial site, Battery Park, the Hudson River, and the Intrepid Air and Space Museum.


This option is perfect for those who wish to see the various tourist attractions without diving too deep into each experience. If you choose to take a separate tour through one of the sites, be sure to secure your bike accordingly.

Central Park


You could easily spend a day or two touring through Central Park alone. Riding a bicycle is undoubtedly the most effective way to travel through the expansive green space while taking in the hidden gems of the park. Be sure to ride through The Mall, an iconic lane seen in numerous films and television shows, and stop by the carousel and Alice in Wonderland statue.


If possible, save this trip for a nice day, so you get to enjoy the park in its entirety. Bike rentals often come with a back rack on which you can secure a picnic to enjoy by the lake or on the Great Lawn, a 55-acre field that sits at the heart of Central Park.


Ocean Parkway


While the Ocean Parkway bike path isn’t the most glamorous tour option, it is one of the most historically significant bike paths in the world. Originally built in the 19th century to separate cyclists from foot traffic, this path is the safest way to bike from Brooklyn to Coney Island. Coney Island is a huge attraction in the summer months for tourists and New Yorkers alike.


Coney Island is home to a public beach, theme park, the New York Aquarium and a museum full of weird and wonderful exhibits. In the summer, visitors swarm to Coney Island for the Mermaid Parade. Cycling is a quick way to get around and see everything.


Bike the Boroughs


If you’re an avid cyclist or just want to be able to say you came, you saw, you conquered, try biking the five boroughs. This journey could be as much as forty miles or longer, depending on the routes you take, but will offer you experiences in each unique borough of New York City.


Before you go, you’ll want to make sure you have the route mapped out and know that it is safe to cycle in that area. Create your route so that you pass by many of your bucket list items as you travel. Also, make sure you have a hotel with a hot tub to soak in after! New York may be the city that never sleeps, but you’re sure to rest well after this journey.

In a New York State of Mind

Looking to spend some time in The Big Apple with the family? Here are some great places to visit while you are there.

LEGO’s are fun for kids of all ages, and the LEGOLAND Discovery Center in NY is a great place to spend the day for LEGO lovers of all ages.  The adventure begins by learning how Lego bricks are made and a kiddie-version of the history of  little plastic bricks. After this interesting introduction, its time to ride some rides and visit some attractions. The first ride (one that brings you into the main area) is a sit down guided laser shooting tour, where you save the castle by defeating tons of baddies. After your victory, you head into a mini-brick version of New York City and the LEGOLAND area. Push buttons for lights and sounds, and well as mini-animations. The details are pretty amazing, and the spoofs will keep everyone giggling. Fans will find quite a few “Easter Eggs” as they walk around the town.

There are also a bunch of other attractions to check out, like the racing course where you build your own racecar to pit against everyone else- there are several tracks to choose from. There is also a magic couch ride where you jaunt around on a flying couch. Really.  You move it up and down by pedaling, and it goes around in a circle. Make sure you check out the 4D movie, a must for all LEGO Movie fans. Of course, there are tons of LEGO to build, Masterclasses to take (and you can take your creations with you for a fee), and obstacle courses to try out. LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester is located at 39 Fitzgerald Street, Yonkers, NY 10710

No visit to NYC would be complete without visiting the Statue of Liberty. Statue Cruises, the National Park Service providing ferry and related services to the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island. You can get there both from Battery Park in lower Manhattan and Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey. This is the best ways to see the statue in my opinion. Cruises begin at 8:30 am (instead of 9:30 am), with the last boat departing Battery Park and Liberty State Park at 3:30 pm daily- last leaving the statue and Ellis Island at 4:30. Tickets to the crown and pedestal can be booked at the same time, or just the grounds of the statue.  It is both an incredibly moving and educational experience, to see the statue and Ellis Island- for Americans and tourists alike. I’d recommend this experience for absolutely everyone- and leave the entire day for it, this is not one you should rush through.

Tickets to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island can be purchased online, by visiting the Statue Cruises ticket office inside Castle Clinton at Battery Park, or by calling (877) LADY-TIX.

For more information on Statue Cruises, including schedules or reservations to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, please visit or follow Statue Cruises on Twitter –, Facebook – or Instagram –

And of course, there is Madison Square Garden. A New York City institution, you can see all sorts of shows and sporting events here. No matter the ages or preferences of your family, there is a show (or shows) that you are sure to enjoy.  We recently saw WWE’s Road to Wrestlemania while in NYC, and the kids and my partner had a great time- the crowd was a lot of fun, and the show was fast paced and exciting. There are a wide variety of shows to choose from- rock shows like Pink or Billy Joel, comedy acts like Kevin Hart, favorites come to the stage such as Sesame Street Live or Peppa Pig Live for the little kids, and tons of sporting events like the New York Knicks, WWE, UFC, and Monster Jam. MSG has a ton to choose from, head to to see the full lineup.

A Visit to Cooperstown NY

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and MuseumNatural Beauty and our National Pastime!

Baseball fans you have heard the name because Cooperstown NY is home to the The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, but there is so much more to this area for visitors to enjoy. Museums, breweries, farmers markets, and historical locations are all attractions just a few hours drive from NYC. These fun destinations are surrounded by nature that will inspire you to get out and get moving!

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

Learn more about the game, the history, and the players all in one place with exciting exhibits, and displays that will capture baseball fans and newbies alike. Then let the action really come to life with the Heroes of Baseball Wax Museum. Stand next you favorite players and see what they look like outside of their baseball cards. Maybe even take in a game at the birthplace of America’s pastime, Abner Doubleday Field.

The Fenimore Art Museum & The Farmers’ Museum

Fenimore Art Museum Court yard

If you are looking for more museum options Cooperstown is loaded with interesting stops to keep your visit filled with learning and culture. The Fenimore Art Museum is a collection of American fine and folk art, Native American art, and photography as well as visiting exhibitions. Considered one of the nation’s premier art institutions this is a must see for everyone from the views on the walls to the lovely grounds of the museum.

The Farmers' Museum

The Farmers’ Museum, New York State circa 1845. What does that look like for families in their day to day life? You can find out and even try your hand at some of these activities while visiting this living history museum. See demonstrations, learn about trade, enjoy the farmstead, the historic village, and the carousel!

Cooperstown Beverage Trail

Brewery Ommegang

Beer enthusiasts, wine sippers, and cider lovers will not want to miss these stops on your trip. Cooperstown Beverage Trail is New York State’s first official cuisine trail made up of eight stops, Bear Pond Winery, Cooperstown Brewing Company, Brewery Ommegang, the Fly Creek Cider Mill, Butternuts Beer & Ale, Rustic Ridge Winery, Cooperstown Distillery and Pail Shop Vineyards. Take tours, enjoy tastings, and take some goodies home from their shops. You can find out all the details and a map of locations here to get going on your tour.

Get Out in Nature!

Otsego Lake and Cooperstown NY

Hike, bike, or get out on the lake! There is camping, fishing, winter recreation, and so much more to show off the gorgeous countryside. Enjoy the delicious food that grows locally by visiting the farmer’s market or visiting the wide variety of eateries in Cooperstown.

For the indoor or outdoor portion of your vacation planning, Cooperstown has everything to appeal to all interests. Be sure to visit their website to get tips for your time in the area. See more on social media and get inspiration for a trip to Cooperstown. FacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube

The Top Tours in NYC

hop on hop off

Traveling can be exhausting enough without having to do all of the planning to make sure every minute of your tour is perfectly prepared. A lot goes into creating a successful trip, and sometimes it’s best to leave the planning to the experts. Luckily, there are a lot of great tours in New York City that take the stress out of traveling and let you focus on the fun. Here are the top tours in NYC for travelers visiting the city!

Hop On / Hop Off Tours

New York City Hop-On / Hop-Off tours are the best way to see everything in a short amount of time. If you’re only visiting New York City for a limited amount of time, a sightseeing tour that allows you the flexibility to hop on and off as you please is the best way to make the most of your short time in the Big Apple. The biggest advantage of these guides are that they are led by a knowledgeable guide who provides a much-needed commentary while you explore the city free from crowds.

Food Tours

New York City is one of the top foodie destinations in the world for a reason. With a strong international culture, there are top eateries in this city representing cuisine from around the world. There really is something for everyone, and there are tours that take out the guessing when it comes to choosing the best place to eat. It doesn’t matter what kind of food you like to eat because you can choose anything from chocolate tours to Chinese food tours.

Street Art Tour

New York City is home to a lot of different street art, and you’d be surprised with the story behind it. While it is often overlooked, there is much to learn about the street murals and designs around the different neighborhoods. In recent years, street art tours have become increasingly popular as locals are sharing the unique history of this urban art. See the city in a different way with a street art tour!

Boat Tour

Sometimes the best way to see a city is from the outside. You can find great views of Manhattan by boat, and there are a number of tours available for all budgets and itineraries. For budget savvy travelers, the Staten Island Ferry is a free option which departs every half-hour and connects Manhattan and Staten Island. Sights include the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and more! Be sure to have your camera ready!

Pub Crawl

There’s a reason the Big Apple is known as the city that never sleeps! Much of NYC culture can be found in its local pubs and breweries, and there are a lot of tours and pub crawls which highlight the best nightlife spots in the city. Whether you want to take in the high life at the hottest night clubs or explore the local, dive bars, there are pub crawl options for everyone! You might even discover some hidden speakeasies or hidden gems in Hell’s Kitchen.

Top Tours in NYC

Planning a trip is stressful enough! Sometimes you just want to let someone else take the reins while ensuring you’re going to have a great time. Booking one of these top tours in NYC is an easy way to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to experiencing the best of the city. There are different tours for all budgets and styles of traveling, whether you prefer to take things slow or travel quickly with a big group. Make the most of your trip with a great tour!

A Family Vacation to New York: Things To See and Do

new york city

Planning a family vacation to The Big Apple? With plenty to see and do for all ages you’ll be spoiled for choice. A general itinerary of the things you hope to get through can be helpful to make the best use of your time. Here are just a few of the attractions that should be on your list!

Children’s Museum of Manhattan

The Children’s Museum of Manhattan features five floors of interactive literature, science, media and art exhibits. There are various programs, workshops and lots of things to do and see. There’s even a section for under fives, as well as things to do right up to teens. An ideal attraction to visit as a family and something you’re all sure to enjoy.

Broadway Theater

Seeing an epic Broadway show is a must while you’re in New York. There are over forty professional theaters to choose from, offering a selection of incredible world class shows. You could see Aladdin, Matilda, Wicked, The Lion King and much more. Vibrant, colorful and exciting, it’s the perfect family evening out in New York. You could consider booking your Broadway tickets in advance as shows can fill up quickly.

Highline Park and Walking Path

This stunning elevated park would make a fantastic family afternoon out in New York. There are often events on for kids including things like crafts, face painting, scavenger hunts and live performances. If you fancy a break from the big, bustling city on your vacation, a trip to the park is always good. Especially when it’s one that’s this awesome.

American Girl Cafe

There’s family dining aplenty in New York, but one quirky place to consider is American Girl Cafe. Your children can bring their American Girl dolls who will be given their own seat at the table, where you’re able to have fun tea-party style lunch. It’s something entirely different, and especially great if you have a lover of American Girl dolls in the family. As well as just dining you can choose hairstyles, piercings and pampering services for the dolls. Then watch as the looks are created in front of you by expert stylists. There’s even a station where you can design clothing items. A dream experience for a little girl (or boy!) who is into this kind of thing.

Dylans Candy Bar

Dylan’s Candy Bar features a whopping three floors of candy treats, pretty much most children’s idea of heaven! It’s fun, brightly colored and exciting to walk around as well as offering a ton of variety if you’re looking to buy some sweet treats. A fantastic place to buy souvenirs for your trip, but also an experience within itself that kids will love. There are often events and things on so have a look before your trip to work out the best time to visit. Dylans Candy Bar has been successful in a number of states, but New York is the flagship store, so you get to see where it all began.

Have you ever been on a family vacation to New York? What was your favorite thing about the trip?

The Top Five Hotels in New York City

In a city that’s known for having exemplary everything like New York, it can be hard to make decisions based on quality. Is the dinner menu better at Cipriani or Le Cirque? Should you spend the day at MoMa or the Guggenheim? Yankees or Mets? While you may be hard-pressed to find a consensus on any of the aforementioned subjects, when it comes to lodging, the city has cultivated a class of exemplary hotels that that deliver more than just a restful night’s sleep. Check out the following top-tier hotels before you check in:

Hotel Elysee: Midtown Manhattan may be replete with terrific shopping and world-class restaurants, but when it comes to spending your trip in comfortable luxury, there’s no place like the Hotel Elysee. The building, built in the 1920s, has a history as vibrant as the city itself, and is perhaps best known as the former home of playwright Tennessee Williams. While you’re enjoying your stay here, you’ll have all New York has to offer within a stone’s throw, including some of the city’s most magnificent views, with Rockefeller Center to the west, and, to the south, the city’s newest standout skyscraper, 432 Park Avenue, which holds the distinction of being the tallest residential building in the entire western hemisphere.

Gansevoort Park Avenue: If you want to stay in the center of the city’s action, book yourself a room at the midtown branch of this elegant boutique hotel. Centrally located on 28th Street and Park Avenue South, the Gansevoort provides a perfect home base for foodies. Just a few blocks from some of the city’s chicest bars and eateries, including ABC Kitchen, Eleven Madison Park, and The Cannibal, this neighborhood’s recent boom is attracting countless new residents, many of whom are finding their new home at some of the chic luxury buildings going up in this dynamic section of town, like Park Avenue’s Huys, which combines the airy, sun-drenched style of downtown lofts with the convenience of living right in the heart of the city.
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