Neon to Nature, Culinary to Culture, New York State has it all...
Monday 04 February 2013
Whenever people think of New York, they’re likely to think of the skyscrapers and boulevards of New York City, and of Wall Street, the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty. But magnificent as it is, NYC is just a small part of what is a large, vibrant and varied state – New York State.
From the raw natural beauty of the Hudson River and the Catskill Mountains, to the other major urban centres Buffalo, Rochester and Albany, New York State is full of all the things that make America great.
There’s fabulous culture wherever you look; it’s a state packed with inspiring architecture, art museums stuffed with important works and jaw-dropping performances.
Its history is everywhere, with huge mansions standing in testament to the wealth of the Gilded Age, the famed Underground Railroad that propelled escaped slaves to freedom in Canada, and many wonderful national monuments dotted all over.
‘The Empire State’, as New York State is known, is renowned for its breathtaking scenery. It packs beaches, lakes, wilderness and mountain ranges into its 140,000 square kilometres. There’s golf, hiking, boating, riding and even skiing, and you may just have heard of a little waterfall called Niagara Falls…
And all of that is reckoning without the cuisine – from New York classics like pizza and pastrami, to some of the best restaurants in the world and a thriving wine scene. Not to forget Buffalo wings, Waldorf salad and Thousand Island dressing – as well as the notorious Long Island Ice Tea – all of which were invented right here in New York State.
New York City is the undisputed cultural capital of the world, but there’s a vibrant art scene shot right through the entire state, from the Parrish Art Museum on Long Island to the Chautauqua Institution out west. Then there’s the Albright-Knox Gallery’s renowned collection of works in Buffalo, by artists from Renoir to Jackson Pollock – and his home on Long Island – and the Corning Museum of Glass in the Finger Lakes. And you owe it to yourself to explore Boldt Castle, an architectural work of art set on a heart-shaped island in Alexandria Bay. Created in 1900 as a monument of love, it’s decorated with carvings of cupids and roses and surrounded by Italian gardens and stone walkways.
Then there are the performances. Beyond NYC’s Broadway, there’s the legendary St. George Theatre on Staten Island, decorated in grand baroque style, and in the Catskills, Bethel Woods Centre for the Arts was built on the hallowed grounds of the 1969 Woodstock Music Festival.
Beyond that, there’s architecture galore, with many of that genius of modernist architecture Frank Lloyd Wright’s greatest creations scattered across the state, and much more besides.
In many ways, the history of New York State is the history of the USA. It was one of the founding states of the Union, and the Sons of Liberty were first organised there. There’s history everywhere, from Montauk Lighthouse on the tip of Long Island to Old Fort Niagara near Niagara Falls. There are grand Victorian estates and sweet model villages showing how life was like for the Americans of yesteryear, as well as battlefields and forts which stand in monument to the wars of independence and 1812 – in short, there’s a little bit of history for everyone.
Standout sites include Springwood, the impressive Roosevelt estate, and Kykuit, the even grander Rockefeller estate. Just outside Rochester, meanwhile, you can step into the past at Genesee Country Village, one of the nation’s largest living history museums. Then there are the forts, from Saratoga Battlefield which saw the turning point of the American Revolution, to Fort Ticonderoga and Stanwix.
Most importantly of all, some would say, is the Underground Railroad, which once ferried escaped slaves across the border to Canada, and which now stands as dramatic testimony to the struggle these brave people faced. Tour the former homes of abolitionists, retrace the routes taken by freedom-seekers, and explore related sites and museums on the Underground Railroad Heritage Trail.
New York State truly enjoys a wealthy of hardy outdoor pursuits, with terrain that ranges from sunny beaches to imperious mountain ranges, with shimmering lakes and dramatic waterfalls in between.
There’s an outdoor experience for everyone, with more than 20 state and national scenic byways tracing routes past landmarks, natural wonders and charmingly hidden wayside towns. Visitors can hike, boat, bike, climb, fish and white-water raft; there’s beautiful wildlife to watch; huge, rolling farmlands; and famed Great Lakes.
Fish in legendary Catskill trout streams, boat in Lake Ontario, or take a luxurious river cruise on the Hudson river.
Sports fans are catered for too, with sun-dappled mountain bike trails lacing the Catskills, as well as skiing on Bear Mountain for the power fanatics, and an Extreme Adventure Course in the Adirondacks that’ll sort the best from the rest.
What visit to the States would be complete without sampling the food? New York State is a global melting pot, with a culinary scene unrivalled across the world. There are celebrated restaurants all over, rubbing shoulders with cooking schools, farmers’ markets, wineries and craft breweries, each with something tasty to pique your palate.
New York City is rightly considered the discerning foodie’s mecca, from its street food culture to the haute cuisine of its many Michelin-starred restaurants, the Big Apple’s huge influence on the rest of the state can really be tasted. There are more than 20,000 restaurants in the big city alone, serving New York classics like pizza and burgers to die for, to experimental dishes on the cutting edge of foodie fashion.
Further afield lie the farmers’ markets and artisanal cheesemakers of the Hudson Valley, which bursts with family-owned wineries and specialises in hearty, farm-fresh produce. The Empire State’s wines are to be especially savoured, counting amongst their number international medal-winners in Pellegrini and Clovis Point Vineyards. There are nearly 30 wineries on the North Fork of Long Island alone.
In Central New York, meanwhile, to whet beer lovers’ whistles, tours of Saranac Brewery finish with fine-crafted beers and sodas served in their 1888 tavern, while Chautauqua-Allegheny’s Ellicottville Brewing Company wins international awards creating small batch brews with their all-natural brewing system. Check out their Brewer for a day course; you just might become a brewmaster!
You see, there really is so much to see and do throughout New York State. It’s far more than Manhatten Island.
Fly to New York with Air France
Air France offers convenient departures from 17 UK airports to
Paris where travellers can take advantage of frequent services to
Additionally, Air France operates the mighty Airbus A380 to New York. Onboard the quietest long-haul aircraft of its kind, benefit from even more spacious cabins with additional comfort and relaxation areas. Passengers can also enjoy a new in-flight entertainment system with large individual video screens in each cabin.
Choose between four cabin classes on Air France operated flights to New York:
No detail has been overlooked in La Première. This cabin offers a feeling of space and privacy in a luxurious setting.
- Generous baggage allowance
- Lounge access
- 2m bed
- Choice of four hot dishes
- Extra baggage allowance
- 40 per cent more space than Economy
- Seat enclosed within a fixed shell
- Seat recline of up to 118°
- Complimentary food and drinks
- Audio/video on demand
All information correct at 31.01.2013 subject to changes.
* Including service operated by partner DELTA
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
- 4 Make your voice heard: Sign The Independent's petition to welcome refugees
- 5 Refugee crisis: Aylan's life was full of fear - in death, he is part of 'humanity washed ashore'
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
£25000 - £28000 per annum + 24 days holiday, bonus, etc.: Ashdown Group: Print...
£20000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in London, Manches...
£30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer and Brand Manager required for ...
£25000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator A...