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Author: Erin Faherty

Erin Faherty is the Digital Editorial Coordinator of I LOVE NEW YORK. She is obsessed with traveling and always up for an adventure.

St Patricks Day Parade- Photo by Joe Buglewicz

You don't have to get on a flight to Dublin to feel Irish in the middle of March, and New York State is a fantastic place to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day. In fact, NYC’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade is the largest and oldest in the world, started in 1762. But what if you want to feel like you’re in Ireland all year long? Well then, New York State is also a great place for that, as many Irish immigrants have settled in the state over the last 400 years. More than 2 million current New York State residents have reported Irish ancestry. From Irish food to immigrant history to cozy wool sweaters, read on to see where in New York State you can get your craic on. May the road rise up to meet you on your travels!

Fire Island Lighthouse
Credit: Sean Mills

You’re probably most familiar with Long Island as a summer vacation destination, and we don’t blame you for that. After all, Long Island’s gorgeous, award-winning beaches attract summer visitors from around the world, city-dwellers looking for a weekend escape, and celebrity-moguls such as Robert DeNiro, Kelly Ripa, Steven Spielberg, Jay-Z, and Beyoncé. But there are three other seasons of the year, and this region of New York State shines through them all, even when the sun doesn’t. Off-the-beaten-path destinations on Long Island offer surprises for all kinds of visitors, from families looking for relaxing nature or enriching cultural experiences to travelers looking to explore one of the first LGBT communities in the country.

Troy
Credit: @troyinnovation

Troy sometimes gets overlooked as a suburb of Albany (just 20 minutes up and across the Hudson River from the capital), but it has come into its own in recent years as enterprising newcomers aim to put this city of 50,000 on the map. A former steel and textile manufacturing center, Troy once produced detachable collars for men’s shirts, thus you’ll see the nickname “Collar City” around town. At the peak of the Industrial Revolution in the late 1800s, Troy was the 4th-richest city in the United States. Today, another revolution has arrived as Trojans passionate about revitalizing their hometown have gone all in on farm-to-table dining, trendy breweries, unique shopping, and performing arts, all while preserving a mix of Victorian, Greek-Revival, Gothic-Revival, and Georgian architecture. Here’s how to enjoy a weekend in an emerging enclave that’s on the verge of evolving from hidden gem to hip destination.

Snowmobiling at Allegany State Park

While you may be familiar with other regions we’ve written about in this series like the Adirondacks, the Catskills, and the Finger Lakes, there’s a chance you’ll be a pioneer among your friends as you explore the westernmost region of New York. You’re in the right spot, because we are revealing some of the region’s best secrets. In fact, the name Chautauqua is actually a secret itself. It’s said to be from the long-forgotten Erie language of the Erie Iroquoian people, but no one alive today knows what it means—or if they do, they’re better at keeping secrets than we are.

Long Island City

If you visit New York City without visiting at least one outer borough, you’re not really seeing New York City. While Brooklyn gets a lot of attention, we’d like to introduce you to Queens. Queens is the most culturally diverse county in the US so you can bet your taste buds will be pleased. The borough is also home to world-class museums, exciting sports, and excellent views. Here's how to spend a weekend in this diverse, appealing borough!

View of Brooklyn Bridge over the Hudson River at Brooklyn Bridge Park

Path Through History Weekend is October 6–8 and if you think you're just not that into history, it’s a good time to rethink what you believe history to be. Below, we’ve selected 11 fun events featuring early transportation, stops on the Underground Railroad, stargazing around a bonfire, and petting dalmatians while learning about fire safety. Check out the Path Through History event site for all of the historical and educational sites hosting something special over the weekend!

Miles Wine Cellars
Miles Wine Cellars, Credit: @Amityphotos.com

The Finger Lakes are a treasure trove of secrets and stories. Did you know that at one time, Native Americans told the story that the Finger Lakes themselves were created when a spirit put his hands on the earth, leaving indentations at each of his fingers? Or that there are 11 Finger Lakes and not 10, as one might suspect from their name? Or that the ice cream sundae was invented at an ice cream fountain in Ithaca in 1892? (By the way, we recommend Purity Ice Cream if you’ve got a craving.) The secrets don’t end there. But here are some you can visit today:

Watkins Glen State Park-Photo-Courtesy of Beautiful Destinations

Watkins Glen in the Finger Lakes is a wonderful example of a small town in upstate New York with a big story (other good examples are Seneca Falls and Cooperstown). While there may be fewer than 2,000 year-round residents, Watkins Glen is also home to world-class attractions like gorge-ous Watkins Glen State Park and Watkins Glen International, the only place to watch NASCAR in the state. Don’t worry about the planning, we’ve done it all for you:

Chocolate Workshops at New York Kitchen

You know about the M&Ms store in Times Square, we’ve told you where to get some of the best chocolate-covered donuts in the state, and we’ve even spilled the (chocolate) beans on where to find world-winning chocolate in the Catskills, but there’s even more to New York’s chocolate scene than what we’ve already shared. You can have some pretty unique chocolate adventures in New York State, and we’ve rounded up some of our favorites.