Make the most of the beautiful fall season by taking a break from everyday life and immersing yourself in history across the state. Discover historical and cultural attractions that tell the story of New York’s unique people, places and heritage at these amazing historic sites that offer magnificent views for fall foliage. Remember to social distance and wear a mask as required by state guidelines. Call ahead and check websites and social media to make sure attractions are open and available.
Griffis Sculpture Park
(East Otto, Chautauqua-Allegheny)
Credit @kevin_lesika on Instagram
Wondering how a sculpture park can be considered a historic site? It is when it’s considered one of America’s oldest sculpture parks! Since the early 1960’s, the steel sculptures of Larry Griffis, Jr. and other international artists have been residing in the woods, fields, and even ponds of Griffis Sculpture Park. With a collection of 250 unique works of sculpture by more than 50 artists, walk the trails and enjoy the unique experience of art and nature’s radiant colors of autumn.
Old Fort Niagara
(Youngstown, Greater Niagara)
Time travel to the 17th century with a trip to Old Fort Niagara, a royal French castle built by New France to protect its interests in North America, including frontier access between the Niagara River and Lake Ontario. Over the past 300 years, the fort has been occupied by France, Great Britain, and the United States. Today, Old Fort Niagara offers a fantastic look at the history of this location and the military conflicts that shaped the early years of the United States with living history programs, exhibits, exhibits, and a view of breathtaking fall colors along Lake Ontario.
Ganondagan State Historic Site
(Victor, Finger Lakes)
The Ganondagan State Historic Site is the only New York State Historic Site dedicated to a Native American theme. The original site of a 17th century Seneca town from more than 350 years ago, come to Ganondagan to see what life was like for a typical 1600s Seneca family, as well as Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) customs and contributions to art, culture, and society. Go for a hike where you’ll find trails where you can marvel at autumn splendor while learning about the significance of plant life to the Seneca.
(Chippewa Bay, Thousand Islands-Seaway)
Take a boat tour on the St. Lawrence River to Dark Island to explore the famous Singer Castle known for its secret passageways and beautiful architecture. Built for Frederick Gilbert Bourne, the fifth president of the Singer Sewing Machine Co., it is the only castle in the Thousand Islands to be completed, fully furnished and resided in during the heyday of the "great builders" and industrialists in New York. This century-old castle provides a perfect vantage point to view fall colors on the St. Lawrence River.
Crown Point State Historic Site
(Crown Point, Adirondacks)
Credit @shancroix3 on Instagram
With expansive panoramic views across Lake Champlain, step back in time, long before the American Revolution, when the British and French both laid claim to the Champlain Valley and this strategically important peninsula known as Crown Point. Wander the ruins of two Revolutionary War era forts where the Adirondack Mountains and Lake Champlain provide the perfect backdrop for spectacular fall color.
Ulysses S. Grant Cottage National Historic Landmark
Credit @grantcottage on Instagram
On the slope of Mt. McGregor, time is frozen still where Ulysses S. Grant, the 18th president of the United States, spent his final weeks with his family. Today, the cottage where Grant completed his memoirs, considered some of the most significant works of American non-fiction, remains essentially the same as it did back in 1885. On Saturday afternoons in the fall, guided hiking tours are offered, perfect for those who want to dive into the fascinating history of the mountain while enjoying the splendid colors of this beautiful location.
Hyde Hall Mansion and Covered Bridge
(Cooperstown, Central New York)
Credit @csi518 on Instagram
There is nothing like the charm of an old covered bridge and a country estate surrounded by spectacular fall foliage. Hyde Hall covered bridge on the north end of Otsego Lake is the oldest in America. You can find it on the grounds of Hyde Hall mansion, considered the finest example of neoclassic country mansion anywhere in the United States. Designed by architect Philip Hooker for George Clarke, a wealthy landowner, the grounds of this country estate provide unspoiled views of Otsego Lake.
Thomas Cole National Historic Site
Credit @thomascolesite on Instagram
The Thomas Cole House, also known as Cedar Grove, was the home and the studio of painter Thomas Cole, founder of the Hudson River School of American painting. His home provides the perfect palette for the autumn colors in the lush and magnificent mountain landscapes he painted in the Catskills.
Olana State Historic Site
(Hudson, Hudson Valley)
If you’re feeling adventurous, walk or bike across the Hudson River using the Hudson River Skywalk, a pedestrian walkway that connects the Thomas Cole National Historic Site with Olana State Historic Site, the home of fellow painter and Cole’s pupil, Frederic Church. Enjoy the splendid fall colors, while you marvel at this impressive castle-like home with its mixture of Victorian architectural elements, Middle-Eastern decorative motifs, and awe-inspiring views of the Catskill Mountains across the Hudson River. Step inside for a tour of the home to learn even more about this must-see attraction.
Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve
(Huntington, Long Island)
Credit @simonrussellphoto on Instagram
On a scenic peninsula extending into the Long Island Sound, Caumsett State Historic Park offers miles of paths through woodland, meadows, shoreline and salt marsh to view colorful fall foliage. The park is also home to the Henry Lloyd Manor House, an English-style estate built in 1711.
Hamilton Grange National Memorial
(New York, New York City)
Credit @anettelovesny on Instagram
Completed in 1802 for Founding Father Alexander Hamilton and his wife Elizabeth Schuyler, Hamilton Grange is one of only three former country mansions from the Federal period left standing in Manhattan. Beautifully restored to its original splendor, Hamilton Grange, located within St. Nicholas Park on land that was once part of the Hamilton estate, overlooks the park providing a pleasant location to view changing foliage in NYC.