• Accessibility
Menu Close
Author: Erin Faherty

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

family of four on maid of the mist boat tour

The Greater Niagara region has been a hot spot for travelers for a loooong time. After all, if Niagara Falls isn’t on your bucket list, you probably don’t have a bucket list. The region is also full of art, culture, history, flora-and-fauna-and-Americana, and signature sandwiches oozing with flavor. You’re about to find out that this region is much more than waterfalls and wings—but definitely get in on both of those during your visit!

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 LGBTQ communities in the country.

Griffis Sculpture Park - Photo Courtesy of Griffis Sculpture 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.

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:

Tompkins Falls

While well-known spots are well-known for a reason, sometimes the most fun you'll have on vacation is straying from the beaten path and exploring those locals-only insider secrets. Kicking off a new series on the I LOVE NY blog, we're diving into the Secrets of the Catskills.