With its varied seasons and landscapes, chances are you can craft your dream getaway somewhere in New York state. Look at a New York map and you’ll find lakeside destinations, quaint mountain ski towns and bustling upscale villages with unique experiences around every bend. So why aren’t you on your way there already? Head to these five must-see small towns to make bona fide Empire State memories.


This riverside destination offers a respite from the hustle and grind of the New York City area. It’s equal parts calming and spontaneous, with unique diversions to settle the mind and stimulate the creative side. The town extends to the banks of the Hudson River, where 19th-century landscape painters depicted romantic river scenes, making the region famous nationwide.

A great day: Visit Bread Alone Bakery, a local favorite for breakfast, where you can get artisanal bread products. If you’re in town on a Sunday, don’t miss the Sunday jazz brunch at The Rhinecliff Hotel on the river, where you’ll sway to live music while digging into locally sourced fare. Rent bikes at the Rhinebeck Bicycle Shop and pedal to Ferncliff Forest Game Refuge and Forest Preserve, which boasts miles of trails and a huge fire tower that offers panoramic views of the area. Come back to town to peruse the shops, or pop into nonprofit theater Upstate Films for an intimate showing of an independent or foreign film. Grab dinner at Terrapin, a former church where a restaurant and bistro share space and offer formal fare on one side and comfort food on the other. Stay at the Beekman Arms and Delamater Inn, one of the oldest inns in the U.S. If you have more than a day, spend a weekend at The Omega Institute, where yoga, tai chi and cellphone restrictions will help you renew and recharge.

Claim to fame: The river is the source of much of the original development and commerce in this region of the state. Take a quick drive to the riverside to explore the waterway and observe wildlife with multiple tour and rental agencies, such as Atlantic Kayak Tours.

Easy day trip from…

New York City — Two and a half hours by car, hour and a half by train

Albany — One hour away

Details: Enjoyrhinebeck.com


Who knew a small, off-the-beaten-track town in New York would become a hub of one of America’s most beloved…