Fall Getaways

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Longer distance – good for a long weekend

By vikki moran the Grateful Traveler

Fall Getaways are really becoming very popular in the Northeast. Fewer crowds, majestic views, cooler comfortable temps and a super time for a family break. Whether you travel short distances and return home at night, long distance for an overnight or a nice long relaxing weekend, we have some great ideas for you!

cn_d9fjwcaefd5j1,000 Islands Harbor Hotel
200 Riverside Drive • Clayton NY
315.686.1100; www.1000islandsharborhotel.com
The 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel is located on the St. Lawrence River in the charming town of Clayton, New York. This Four Diamond status distinction holder from AAA is one of only 24 hotels in Upstate New York to earn this merit. Special packages are always available, offering outstanding special benefits like overnight accommodations with rose petal turn-down service, chocolate covered strawberries, champagne and a generous breakfast credit. Planning a vacation in the fall to 1,000 Islands should be constructed around the Harbor Hotel where you can relax after a day of leaf peeping or exploring one of the gorgeous waterways or streets. There is an indoor pool for the chilly nights and a Jacuzzi to unwind. The availability of a very proficient concierge to call for assistance further sets the tone for a top-notch getaway resort property Overlooking the St. Lawrence River, this stylish hotel is a short walk from Clayton Opera House and the Antique Boat Museum, as well as from Grass Point State Park where the fall colors can be awesome. The accommodations all have wooden floors— very important to many who experience allergies brought on by hotel carpets. There also are flat-screen TVs and—guess what—they don’t charge for Wi-Fi, which is a big deal for me when paying for a great hotel. If you don’t get enough exercise strolling and peeping, there is a nice exercise facility as well. Enjoy the relaxed grill restaurant and a bar serving light bites, as well as an indoor pool in the fitness center. The hotel includes some pretty terrific suites with balconies and river views. Suites feature separate living areas, whirlpool tubs, and wet bars with microwaves and mini-fridges. Clayton Island Tours can take you on a relaxing boat ride for the best views of the St Lawrence River and certainly Boldt Castle Tour. The best three hours of the fall season can be spent enjoying the sites on the water. www.claytonislandtours.com If you cannot make a fall getaway to 1,000 Islands Harbor Hotel, then definitely do a winter escape to visit its outstanding Ice Bar. The Ice Bar will be open February 16-18, 2017

The Pocono Mountains in neighboring Pennsylvania
To begin your trip there is a great fall foliage forecast site (Live link: www.poconomountains.com/fallfoliageforecast) put together by local forecasters in the three color regions. Find out the percentage of leaves on trees, percentage of full color, projected dates for peak color and a detailed description of which trees are changing colors throughout the season. This is updated weekly every Thursday into early November so you can plan as early or as late as you wish. The report is on the Pocono Mountains’ website, promoted on social media and recorded on the Fall Foliage Hotline, 570.421.5565. Even a live camera network on www.poconomountains.com/live, shows real-time views of the changing landscape to help visitors plan. How easy can you make travel when you can learn more about the anticipated trip by following the Poconos Mountains Visitors Bureau social media venues. These include the Pocono Mountains Blog, @PoconoTourism, #PoconoMtns and seeing virtual picture and video tour of the four-county region.

About the Pocono Mountains
With 2,400 square miles encompassing Pennsylvania’s Carbon, Monroe, Pike and Wayne counties, the Pocono Mountains region is home to gently sloping mountain terrain, astonishingly beautiful waterfalls, forests and miles of meandering rivers. For the fit and adventurers, there are 261 miles of hiking and biking trails, over 30 golf courses, and waters for whitewater rafting and boating. Even the most discerning traveler will find comfortable accommodations in the Pocono Mountains, which offers an eclectic mix of resorts, distinctive properties and quaint, country inns and bed and breakfasts.

Within a few short hours— great for a night stay or a day trip

Historic Hudson Valley’s Halloween Season Buy tickets online at www.hudsonvalley.org or by calling 914.366.6900

Irving’s Legend
Featuring the Headless Horseman, Ichabod Crane, Brom Bones, and Katrina Van Tassel and flavored with live spooky organ music by Jim Keyes, Jonathan Kruk’s spellbinding storytelling captivates all audiences. Performances last about 45 minutes. This Historic Hudson Valley event takes place at the Old Dutch Church, just across the street from famous Philipsburg Manor. Irving’s “Legend” dates are October 7-9, 14-16, 21-23, and 27-31. Seating is very limited and there are three performances each evening and one performance on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Online tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for children under 18. Historic Hudson Valley members receive a $5 per ticket discount.

hh_horseman_jmHorseman’s Hollow
Taking the tale of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow to its darkest extremes, Horseman’s Hollow returns to the village for 14 evenings of highly entertaining haunted mayhem. Philipsburg Manor transforms into a terrifying landscape ruled by the undead, the evil, and the insane. Visitors begin walking a haunted trail, stumbling upon scary scenes of a town driven mad by the Headless Horseman. The Hollow’s unfortunate inhabitants are all too ready to keep visitors from ever leaving. Creatures, human and otherwise, lurk in the shadows, ready to terrify the unsuspecting while incredible special effects disorient and unsettle. Those who survive the trail enter the terrifying ruins of Ichabod’s Schoolhouse, where they must endure a twisted maze of horrors too terrible to describe, only to end up in the lair of the Horseman. WARNING: This event is NOT suitable for adults who are claustrophobic, have heart or respiratory conditions, are prone to seizures, or have other chronic health conditions. Enter at your own risk! Heads will definitely roll—maybe even your own! This is Sleepy Hollow’s premier haunted attraction, right in the heart of the village. Most nights sell out in advance. Horseman’s Hollow dates are October 7-9, 14-16, 21-23, and 27-31. Online tickets are $20 ($25 on Saturdays). Fast Track lets visitors skip the line in their time slot and is a $15 per ticket upgrade. Historic Hudson Valley members receive a $5 per ticket discount.

Legend behind the ‘Legend’ and the Sunnyside
Estate Sunnyside celebrates its connection to Washington Irving’s classic tale, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, at this family friendly daytime event at Irving’s Sunnyside homestead in Tarrytown.The Legend Behind the “Legend” includes tours of Irving’s home, a colorful blend of architectural styles which showcase numerous objects from Historic Hudson Valley’s collection related to Irving’s famous story. In addition to learning about the author, visitors can enjoy a shadow puppet performance of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and experience one of Irving’s spooky tales on a walk through the woods. The Legend Behind the “Legend” is an all-ages event. Sunnyside is on West Sunnyside Lane, off Route 9 in Tarrytown. Legend Behind the “Legend” dates are October 1-2, 8-9, 15-16, 22-23, 29-30. Online tickets are $16 for adults, $12 for seniors, $8 for children 3-17, and free for those under 3 and for Historic Hudson Valley members.

The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze
The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze, which drew more than 130,000 visitors last year, features more than 7,000 illuminated, individually hand-carved jack o’ lanterns. Elaborate single-pumpkin carvings and huge multi-jack o ’lantern constructions are professionally lit throughout the landscape of Van Cortlandt Manor in various themed areas. Favorite installations, such as the Undersea Aquarium and Jurassic Park, are joined this year by new creations including an 80-foot-long Pumpkin Zee Bridge, a plus-sized Pumpkin Planetarium, and the “Main Street” scene of the Pumpkin Promenade, all made of jack o ‘lanterns. Blaze dates are September 30-October 2; October 7-10; October 13-16; October 19-31; November 3-6; and November 10-13. Online tickets are $20 for adults ($25 on Saturdays), $16 for children 3-17 ($20 on Saturdays), and free for children under 3 and for Historic Hudson Valley members.

Day trips with benefits

Hudson Valley Berkshires Beverage Trail
Berkshire Mountain Distillers 356 South Main Street, Sheffield, MA 413.229.0219; www.berkshiremountaindistillers.com – Berkshires’ first legal distillery since Prohibition; award-winning artisanal spirits including Ice Glen Vodka, Greylock Gin, Ragged Mountain Rum, Berkshire Bourbon and New England Corn Whiskey.

Brookview Station Winery  Goold Orchards, 1297 Brookview Station Road, Castleton, NY 732.7317; www.brookviewstationwinery.com – Rensselaer County’s first winery has been voted the “Best Winery” by Capital Region Living readers. Brookview Station wines and their Joe Daddy Hard Ciders are made using estate produced grapes and fruits grown at Goold Orchards, their century-old family farm.

Cascade Mountain Winery 835 Cascade Mountain Road, Amenia, NY 845.373.9021; www.cascademt.com – Cascade Mountain was founded in the spring of 1972 by Bill Wetmore who pioneered the production of premium table wines on the eastern side of the Hudson River.

Clermont Vineyards and Winery 241 County Route 6, Clermont, NY 845.663.6611; www.clermontvineyards.com – Clermont’s is the perfect place to enjoy a glass of wine and a beautiful Hudson Valley sunset. Their wines are handcrafted using grapes grown on premises.

Furnace Brook Winery Hilltop Orchards, 508 Canaan Road/Route 295, Richmond, MA 413.698.3301; 800.833.6274; www.furnacebrookwinery.com – Set on a 200-acre century farm, Furnace Brook Winery at Hilltop Orchards creates it award-winning wines from select Northeast varietal grapes and estate-grown apples.

Harvest Spirits Golden Harvest Farm, 3074 US Route 9, Valatie, NY 253.5917; www.harvestspirits.com – Distilling only 100 gallons at a time, but flexible and precise enough to create some of the country’s very best vodka; includes flavored vodkas and brandies.

Hillrock Estate Distillery 408 Pooles Hill Road, Ancram, NY 329.1023; www.hillrockdistillery.com – One of the few “field-to-glass” whiskey producers in the world and the first US distillery since before Prohibition to floor malt and hand craft whiskey on site from estate-grown grain. Tours by appointment.

Hudson-Chatham Winery 1900 Route 66, Ghent, NY 392.9463; www.hudsonchathamwinery.com – The Hudson-Chatham Winery is Columbia County’s first winery and has been voted the “Best Winery” by Capital Region Living readers. Hudson-Chatham is proud of its multiple award-winning wines and high scores, received from Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast magazines.

Hudson Valley Distillers 1727 Route 9, Clermont, NY 537.6820; www.hudsonvalleydistillers.com – Creating small batch vodka, applejack and whiskey from local ingredients; Cocktail Grove with innovative cocktails and light, local fare.Hudson Valley Distillers has been awarded 2016 Best of Class Vodka by the American Distilling Institute.

Tousey Winery 1774 Route 9, Germantown NY 567.5462 ; www.touseywinery.com – Overlooking the Hudson River and the Catskill mountains; 15 acres of Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot Noir under production.


 

Williamstown, Massachusetts Idyllic college town and cultural hot spot

By Rachel Spensieri

williamstownNestled in the foothills of the Berkshires, between two state forests and at the confluence of the Green and Hoosic rivers, Williamstown, Massachusetts is a picture-perfect college town.
One of the nation’s top-ranked liberal arts colleges, Williams College–founded in 1793–is at the heart of this vibrant community, and the esteemed institution draws a diverse array of people and cultural events to this charming hamlet of 8,000 residents.

Art
The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute (aka The Clark; www.clarkart.edu; 225 South Street) is both a world-renowned art museum and a research and education center for the arts. It houses the Clarks’ founding collection of priceless artwork, as well as more recent acquisitions, visiting exhibits, and an acclaimed art history library, all on a bucolic 140-acre tract. Enjoy the likes of Cassatt, Renoir, Monet, Homer, Sargent, Rembrandt, Degas, Rubens, and more. With works from the Renaissance to t2he early 20th century, The Clark boasts numerous French Impressionist paintings, in addition to British oil sketches, drawings, and silver, and pieces by famous American artists, too. The Clark also hosts entertainment programs, as well as education about art and the natural world. Visit the museum website for programming details and dates. One of the top colleges in the country also is home to one of the finest collegiate art museums in the nation. The Williams College Museum of Art (wcma.williams.edu; 15 Lawrence Hall Drive) contains over 14,000 works that span much of the history of art, ranging from ancient Assyrian reliefs to modern-day photography. Best known for its collection of American art from the late 18th century to the present, the college’s museum houses the world’s largest collection of works by brothers Charles and Maurice Prendergast, famous for their post-Impressionist styles. The Williams College Museum of Art offers a variety of year-round programs, free and open to the public, including lectures, tours, workshops, and even dance and cooking classes!

Music and dance
Built in 1896, historic St. John’s Episcopal Church (www.saintjohnswilliamstown.org; 35 Park Street) offers free concerts year round, performed betwixt the building’s awe-inspiring stained glass windows. The church’s acoustics lend themselves perfectly to the classical sounds of cello, organ, harpsichord, viola, and piano, as well as vocalists. If it’s a smaller concert venue you crave, The BarN (1401 Green River Road) offers acoustical performances by local and international singers and musicians–like the fierce folk duo Long Journey–in an intimate 55-seat music hall. You may BYOB to The BarN, and while you enjoy the tunes, grab a Vietnamese bánh mi sandwich or other delicacies from Bon Tricycle, a local food tricycle (not to be confused with a passé food truck!). Visit The Barn’s page on Facebook (@barnshows) to learn more and review the schedule of upcoming musicians.

The big screen
For big screen fans, historic Images Cinema (www.imagescinema.org; 50 Spring Street) is a unique nonprofit, independent cinema, offering discount memberships to locals. The classic single-screen movie theater shows films daily, including popular classics and newer independent films.

For the foodies
When you start feeling a bit peckish in Williamstown, Spring Street is the place to be. This picturesque college town main street is lined with a variety of restaurants, bars, and coffee shops, as well as several stores and art galleries. A few spots to check out: Pera Mediterranean Bistro (www.perabistro.com; 60 Spring Street) features scratch-made dishes with the rich flavors of Greece, Italy, and Turkey. Enjoy savory falafel, hummus, wraps,

The Log

The Log

pasta, and kabobs in a comfortable, bright atmosphere. The Log (thelog.williams.edu; 78 Spring Street) is owned by Williams College but open to the public, with food service provided by Hops and Vines, described below). This newly refurbished building presents a menu of well-prepared comfort foods, “adult” beverages, and lots of space for great conversation between friends. Tunnel City Coffee (www.tunnelcitycoffee.com; 100 Spring Street) is everything you want in a local coffeehouse: fresh java and teas, tasty pastries, muffins, and cookies, cozy ambience, and friendly service. Just a

Tunnel City Coffee

Tunnel City Coffee

stone’s throw from Spring Street, you will find several other dining options of note in Williamstown: Hops and Vines (www.hopsandvinesma.com; 16 Water Street) offers both a casual beer garden and more formal dining with a menu that melds the cuisine of the French brasserie with modern American fare. Mezze Bistro & Bar (www.mezzerestaurant.com; 777 Cold Spring Road) sources farm-fresh, local ingredients to create expertly prepared American cuisine that is then paired with small-batch microbrews, locally distilled spirits, and seasonal, small-production wines. Chef’s Hat Diner (www.chefshatdiner.com; 905 Simonds Road) is a popular spot for breakfast or lunch with the kiddos. Breakfast all day, plus burgers and melts from the grill make this classic menu a family favorite! Only 40 miles and 60 minutes from the Capital District, Williamstown, Massachusetts makes for a great day trip or weekend getaway, especially for the art lover and devotees of the performing arts. Visit www.destinationwilliamstown.org for a full list of events and attractions in the area.

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