We all know that this time of year is filled with holiday festivities. Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving, holiday parties, cookie exchanges, cocktail parties, etc. But this year, consider treating yourself to your own festive escape to get in the spirit while enjoying the crisp country air! Sip warm local cider, cut down your own tree, shop for gifts from artisanal local vendors, and enjoy time with friends and families outside the hustle and bustle of the city chaos. We have lots of ideas for day trips and weekend getaways all across New York State this holiday season. Check them out below!
11/16 – 11/18: Make a festive holiday getaway up to the beautiful Finger Lakes and check out all that Ithaca and the rest of Tompkins County has to offer! Be the thrifty multitasker that you are and treat yourself while shopping for others! Cross items off your gift list and sample before you by at the 25th Annual Cayuga Lake Wine Trail Holiday Shopping Spree. Participating Cayuga Lake Wine Trail wineries include Long Point, Montezuma, Six Mile Creek and more. Get your tickets early — some include perks and takeaways like a souvenir wine glass, a grapevine wreath, an ornament at each stop, a shoppers card, wine and food!
Spend a whole week in the gorgeous Finger Lakes and stick around through Dec. 6 – Dec. 8 for The Ithaca Ice Fest, an annual tradition in Downtown Ithaca! No holiday season is complete without a celebration of cold weather and cold weather sports…like Ice Carving! Witness the nation’s finest ice carvers during 3 rounds of breathtaking competition. The festival features impressive display sculptures, fire demonstrations, a tasty Chowder Cook-off, and the ever-popular Ice Bar, an outdoor bar made entirely of ice, which serves Bacchus Beer, wine, and hot cocoa. The Ithaca Ice Festival ice carving competition is a National Ice Carving Association sanctioned event. Road trip upstate via Zipcar or book a seat on Amtrak to Syracuse, rent a car and meander around the gorgeous Finger Lakes! Spend the weekend exploring the chilly and festive outdoors in Ithaca, lodging info here.
Dec. 1 – Dec. 2: Get in the holly jolly spirit at the Bethel Woods Holiday Market in the beautiful Catskills Mountains in Sullivan County. Artists, crafters, and specialty food vendors gather in the Market Sheds and Event Gallery at Bethel Woods for the 9th Annual Holiday Market, providing guests the opportunity to shop a wide selection of unique holiday gifts. The Event Gallery and Market Sheds provide a warm and festive atmosphere for this special opportunity to shop local. Take advantage of a Zipcar road trip up through the gorgeous Catskill mountains! More on lodging here.
Nov. 28 – Dec. 31 (weekends): Take the train up to the Hudson Valley to experience Westchester‘s 5th annual Winter Wonderland! Fun for the whole family, you can ice skate, ride rides in FUNderland Village, enjoy the largest light show in the Hudson Valley, shop, chow down on local food truck eats and more! Get your tickets online for any Thursday – Sunday from the end of November through the new year. On Friday, 11/23, join in a tree-lighting ceremony. On New Year’s Eve, enjoy a fireworks display and a ball drop. No car? Hop on Metro-North Railroad to Valhalla. Take the fam for a full weekend getaway, more on lodging here.
Taste fresh Wassail and learn how to create this festive holiday beverage that warms your home and soul at Fly Creek Cider Mill & Orchard‘s Wassailing Weekends. The Earliest reports of wassail date back to the 1300s. The drink, steeped in tradition and legend, is Old English. The Central New York celebrations will take place from 10am – 4pm most weekends in November and December (Nov. 10-11, 17-18, 24-25, Dec. 1-2, 8-9, 15-16, 22-23)! While you’re in the area, check out another great stop on CNY’s Brew Central craft beverage trail, Critz Farms Brewing & Cider Co. All December long, the farm will be open for cut-your-own Christmas trees and Holiday Traditions. Enjoy wagon rides, shopping, local eats and the Critz Brewing & Cider tasting room most weekends in December (Dec. 1-2, 8-9, 15-16). There’s nothing that warms you up from the inside out around the holidays like the taste of cider (fresh-pressed, hot, mulled or hard) made from the incomparably delicious New York Apples. Make a weekend out of it — more on lodging here. No car? Grab an Amtrak up to Schenectady, NY and rent a car for a gorgeous 1.5 hour drive to the Mill.
Celebrate the coming holidays select weekends in November and December (Nov. 17-18, Dec. 1-2, 8-9) on the gorgeous Shawagunk Wine Trail! Jump into the holiday spirit and do your holiday shopping with Wreath Fineries at the Wineries, the Shawangunk Wine Trail’s memorable holiday event! Pick a winery for your starting point. Then the event begins when you check-in at your starting winery, where you’ll receive a souvenir wine glass, a grapevine wreath, and a Shawangunk Wine Trail ornament. Then you’ll travel along the Wine Trail, receiving a wine tasting and a beautiful ornament to decorate your wreath from each winery you visit. Get your tickets in advance and stay the whole weekend long. More on lodging here.