How do you spend a 3-day weekend? Winter brings long holiday weekends, so don't spend them at home, get out and explore! Here are 6 weekend getaways that bring out the best in winter.    

Montauk Lighthouse - Photo by NYS ESD

Where: Montauk
Why it's better: Open beaches, hotel discounts, wine & craft beer.

If you've delayed a trip out East because of prices and crowds - I get it. Luckily, the off-season deals at Montauk Manor or Gurney's Inn Resort & Spa make vacation a reality, without breaking the bank. Whether you explore the seaside beauty of Montauk Point State Park or hike Camp Hero, it's clear that "The End" is something special. Must-see spots include Montauk Lighthouse and Montauk Brewing Company where visitors enjoy craft brews like the Wave Chaser IPA. Plus, the off-season offers the pleasure of LI vineyards without the summer crowds--get a taste at Wölffer Vineyard or Channing Daughters Winery.

Carrier Dome at Syracuse - Photo Courtesy of the Carrier Dome

Where: Syracuse
Why it's better: ‘Cuse basketball, skating, the MOST

Known as the Official Home of Winter, downtown Syracuse is the place to be this year. Sporting fan or not, Syracuse Basketball is legendary and their games at the Carrier Dome have everyone at the edge of their seats. Destiny USA can fill a whole day on its own - check out Pole Position Raceway, WonderWorks and The Amazing Mirror Maze. And for the kids, let them find their inner science wiz at the MOST or ice skate on Clinton Square, because whatever you do, 'Cuse is all about winter fun.

Whiteface Mountain - Winter Gondola

Where: Lake Placid
Why it's better: Olympic skiing, bobsleds & downtown
Anything is possible here, just ask witnesses to the 1980 Miracle on Ice hockey victory. Home to Whiteface Mountain, Lake Placid takes winter beyond the ski slopes to beer sampling at Lake Placid Brewery, spa therapy at Mirror Lake Inn and hiking past frozen waterfalls at High Falls Gorge. For your fix of Olympic glory, ice skate the Oval, shred at the Olympic Bobsled Experience or, on a clear day, ride the Cloudsplitter Gondola to the Olympic Jumping Complex where freestyle ski trips are as jaw-dropping your view of the Adirondack Mountains.

Mohonk Mountain House

Where: New Paltz
Why it's better: Mohonk Mountain House, The Gunks, XC skiing

The Shawangunk Ridge has a peculiar gravity, one that speaks to all travelers, through its boundless might. Snowshoe or cross-country ski Mohonk Preserve and you'll see why. Nature is reflected in every inch of Mohonk Mountain House where its 19th century architecture and luxurious spa only adds to the cultural richness of the village.

Buffalo Sabres - Photo Courtesy of Buffalo Sabres

Where: Downtown Buffalo
Why it's better: Canalside, spicy wings and Shea's

Do not fear the lake-effect snow you've likely heard about - winter is when this city shines brightest. Canalside's revitalization brings out the best in art, food and fun - think ice bikes, skating and free events including artistry courtesy of Albright-Knox. When you're going inside, cozy up at Shea's Performing Arts Center where you can catch live musicals, plays and films.

Skiing at Holiday Valley - Photo by NYS ESD

Where: Ellicottville
Why it's better: Holiday Valley, downtown & craft brews

The exceptional thing about Ellicottville is that it makes winter fun--well, fun--for skiers and non-skiers alike. Thrill-seekers get their kicks on Holiday Valley's ski slopes, tubing chutes and mountain coaster. While others who prefer the peace and tranquility of the great indoors, find their niche at Oasis Spa, Ellicottville Brewing Co., or any of the art galleries, boutiques and eateries lining downtown. And with ski discount packages from the Inn at Holiday Valley, it's safe to say you'll want to stay awhile.

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