“Wow, that’s a change of scenery!”
The comment popped up on my Instagram within moments of me posting my first snap from back in the USA. Looking up from my iPhone, I surveyed my surroundings. A calm lake broken only by a few slow kayaks, a crisp glass of local white wine, an American flag stirring in the breeze. A change of scenery indeed. Less than forty-eight hours prior, I’d been dangling my feet in the pool at the Hamilton Princess, my last stop on a Caribbean island hop that had brought me from Roatán to Grand Cayman to Bermuda. Landing back in my home state of New York, I swapped my passport for a set of car keys and hit the road again after just one night in my childhood bed.
Normally, I like to give myself a little more turnaround time between trips. But when the opportunity to explore three new corners of my home state came up, I just couldn’t say no. Which is what brought me to my current backdrop, a particularly scenic stretch of the Finger Lakes. My companions were more than half the fun — I started the trip with my sister Margaret and halfway through we headed to Rochester, where we were met by Bearded Bartender. After a weekend of family fun I swapped travel buddies and Bearded Bartender and I traveled on.
My week-long road trip would bring me to Hammondsport on Keuka Lake, Corning on Seneca Lake, Ithaca on Cayuga Lake, and my older sister Margaret’s home city of Rochester. With the exception of Rochester they were all new destinations for me, and I marveled at how long it took me to uncover these hidden gems (hidden from me, anyway) in my own backyard. I swelled with pride at each of them, excited they were all part of the state I call home. It was quite a week! I went kayaking, I took a glass blowing class, I vineyard hopped, I hiked to waterfalls, I browsed museums, I sampled fantastic restaurants and one kick-ass spa, and I glamped in one of the most beautiful tents I’ve ever seen.
I can’t seem to get this video to autoplay in best quality! Click through to Vimeo to see in all its HD glory, Song is New York by Cat Power.
I have many a post coming up from this trip — prepare for some Empire State overload, guys! — so I thought we’d kick things off with a little trailer. Hope it gets you in a New York state of mind.
Have you been to New York beyond the five boroughs? Where? If not, I hope I’ll have convinced you to soon! Tell me what you’re most excited to hear about first…
Glamping! Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy camping. But I think I could really be on board with glamping.
Yeah, I’m more a glamping girl than a camping one 😉
looking forward to reading about it!
Would love to see more about travelling in the USA!
Glad to hear it Janice, as there are plenty more USA posts coming your way!
Loved the video of you, Margaret and BB. Been to the Corning museum. Loved it too.
I need to start doing more videos! Glad you enjoyed this one 🙂
Love upstate New York. I’ve been to the gorges & waterfalls in Ithaca/the surrounding area and all along the Finger Lakes… it’s all so pretty! I love this side of New York.
Me too! I don’t think this will be my last time in the area by a long shot…
It’s always nice to play tourist in your own city/province/country. Looking forward to your posts!
It is, isn’t it? That element of pride comes in and is a nice boost while traveling locally 🙂
Love this! It really is a change in scenery– upstate is so beautiful! The furthest I’ve been is to Tarrytown, which is really not far from the Bronx, but it has a charming New England appeal to it.
I’ve never been to Tarrytown! So much still to explore in my own backyard…
Even without seeing the rest of the scene in that wine / American flag photo, the photo screams relaxation! I can just imagine sitting in the sun in that scene…ahh, bliss.
Nothing like wine and sunshine to chill the brain 🙂
Yeah!! You did the glass blowing! Awesome. New York is so beautiful – I literally know nothing about the state itself, and the only stuff I know about the city is from Home Alone, so I should probably come visit and get schooled.
You definitely should come visit! I love playing host in Upstate New York!
It is amazing how much you can discover in your home state and home country. I started hosting couchsurfers a couple of years ago and I’d take them to all of the amazing places I had taken for granted as a kid- the beautiful beaches I practically lived on, the koala dense island we used to have picnics on, the national park we camped at every summer. I always realised they were beautiful and great places to go- but you get a different perspective when you put on the glasses of a tourist/traveller.
That sounds awesome! It’s a hard sell sometimes to convince people to come to Albany but I think I have the hosting thing down pat when I do. I love showing off my hometown.
Yay, I have such a fondness for road trips, and I’m so excited to read more. I have done so little traveling in the US so I’m particularly excited to get educated about NY travel! Judging from your video there is so much amazingness to do and see!
And this was just one tiny corner! This trip definitely got me fired up to do and see so much more in my home state…
Very nice video! If I ever get up that north again, the countryside would so be on my list. That city seems impossible to me unless I had a local tour guide- so intimidating!
It is indeed — you can never really feel like you’ve conquered New York City. These smaller towns are easier to wrap your head around 🙂
I’m currently planning a (Canadian) Thanksgiving trip to Finger Lakes from Toronto! Soooo…You can guess how excited I am for your upcoming posts! Bring on the tips and tricks, Lady! 🙂
Yay! That makes me happy… hope you’ll love them (my posts and the lakes, of course 😉 )
Great video! Was that shot with a GoPro? Need to start using mine for videos again…musn’t…be afraid…of editing time.
Yup, all GoPro! I haven’t been using mine barely at all lately for the same reason. This one was fairly quick and fun to throw together — which was encouraging!
I love the idea of this and have been planning to do some similar exploring in my home state of Texas. You also just reminded me that I need to plan my “Fall Leaves” road trip through the northeastern states. I’ve been so caught up in the thought of international travel that I almost forgot about it!!
Ahhh, nothing like the northeast in the fall. It is actually magical!
I’ve never been to New York at all (it’s on my list)! But your trip sounds lovely. I understand that local pride. I’m from Washington State, and I love reading about other people’s visits to that gorgeous region! I can’t wait to read more about your trip. 🙂
Thanks Beth! Plenty of posts coming your way 🙂
I visited NYC a few years ago and even had a chance to stay there for two months, but unfortunately those two months were not even enough to explore all five boroughs /i never stepped on Bronx land/. Hope I’ll return soon so I can make it up next time and visit the rest of the state for sure.
I’ve spent very little time in the Bronx, but I do love the zoo and need to get to the botanical garden one of these days! Two months is a nice long stay 🙂
I’m heading to the Catskills this weekend, actually! I grew up in upstate NY and I’m introducing my boyfriend to the area. Unfortunately it’s a quick trip, so we’re only going to be able to hit up the Woodstock site, the Blue Hole in Peekamoose, and the Minnewaska state park! 🙂
Three places I’ve never been. And the list grows on!
I can’t wait to read about it all, especially the glamping! I really want to check that off my list in the coming year.
I can’t quite get enough of it… hoping to make some form of glamping an annual event!
I think growing up in Upstate New York I didn’t really start appreciating its beauty until a year or two ago when I escaped NYC and realized just how beautiful it is (I especially appreciated the fresh air). Looking forward to your upcoming posts!
Thanks Chanel! Just a few more left 🙂
I’ve always wanted to visit the Finger Lakes region, just haven’t made time for it yet! Seems like a great fall road trip destination from Chicago!
It would be a bit of a drive, but damn… it would be a gorgeous one! I’m sure you’d love it! Please take lots of photos if you do…