Plan your winter getaway in New York: Festivals, skiing and more fun events

If you are looking for an escape to a winter wonderland, you don't have to look any further than the Empire State.

News 12 Staff

Nov 26, 2021, 9:15 PM

Updated 932 days ago

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Plan your winter getaway in New York: Festivals, skiing and more fun events
Looking for a winter escape this year? You might not have to leave the state.
Gov. Kathy Hochul's office has released some fun getaways for New Yorkers to enjoy.

Skiing

Grab your skis or board for an amazing getaway at one of over 50 ski areas across the state. Third and fourth graders ski free at many of these mountains, and be sure to check the latest Ski Association of New York Snow Report for the most up-to-date conditions.   
  • Windham Mountain invested more than $4 million in capital improvements, including snowmaking upgrades, an environmentally friendly groomer, the redevelopment of the Children's Learning Center and a new "Magic Carpet" conveyor lift.  
  • Holiday Valley in Ellicottville installed the Yodeler Express, a high-speed detachable quad chairlift that helps beginners, allowing for increased efficiency - transporting 2,400 people per hour to the 2,000-foot summit.  
  • Catamount Mountain Resort in Hillsdale made significant upgrades to their snowmaking system, installed two new chairlifts and added new food and beverage options to the base area.  
  • Whiteface in Wilmington has a new SkyTrac quad, continued into phase II of their three-phase snowmaking improvement project (including almost 30,000 feet of replacement snowmaking pipe) and finished renovating their Cloudsplitter Gondola.  
  • Bristol Mountain in Canandaigua added a new trail called Polaris to their Galaxy Lift Pod, improved their snowmaking capabilities and installed Axess Smart Gates on all lifts so skiers and riders can access the mountain with their Bristol Gateway Cards.  
  • Oak Mountain in Speculator doubled their snowmaking capacity, replaced their Bunny Hill T-Bar with a Sunkid surface lift, and added new skis and snowboards to their "Rossignol Rental fleet."  

Celebrate Winter and History  

Winter festivals are some of the most popular annual events across New York:
  • Celebrate Harriet Tubman's 200th birthday by visiting her home in Auburn, along with the surrounding communities in Cayuga County. Special activities during Harriet Tubman Week, scheduled for March 10-15, 2022, will be held at various sites, including her home at the Harriet Tubman National Historical Park, Seward House Museum, and Fort Hill Cemetery where she is buried. More commemorations will be announced.  
  • In Seneca Falls, join the 75th Anniversary Celebration of "It's a Wonderful Life" from Dec. 8-12 where many of the cast members will reunite, including the Bailey children and their friends.  
  • Ice Castles comes to New York State for the first time, featuring ice displays with LED lights and colors at the Festival Commons at Charles Wood Park in Lake George. This new winter event is expected to be open from early January to early March, depending on weather.   
  • Also in Lake George, Lake George Winterfest is held mid-December to March, and the Lake George Winter Carnival is held every Saturday and Sunday in February.   
  • LuminoCity Festival is coming to Long Island for the first time this winter. The immersive light display will be at Whitney Pond Park in Manhasset through Jan. 9.   
  • Also on Long Island, the Shimmering Solstice will take place at Old Westbury Gardens through Jan. 9, transforming the grounds into stunning light displays with music. This new seasonal event is ideal for the whole family.  
  • The Holiday Market, a new series of outdoor community events, will take place on the grounds of Gallery North and the Three Village Historical Society in Setauket on Saturdays from Nov. 27 to Dec. 18.   
  • Zoo New York, the "only zoo dedicated to the animals of New York State," is hosting Winter Wonderlights on weekend evenings from Nov. 26 to Jan. 2. Explore the zoo at night to see it illuminated with multicolored lights.  
  • See even more lights, holiday animations and new displays at Westchester's Winter Wonderland Drive-Thru Holiday Light Extravaganza at Kensico Dam Plaza, Nov. 26 - Jan. 2.  

HOLIDAY EVENT GUIDES

BREAKFAST/MEALS WITH SANTA

CHRISTMAS TREE FARM GUIDES

Cozy Eateries & Craft Beverage Spots  

Enjoy comfort food, taste classic New York bites and sip locally produced craft beverages this winter season.  
  • Southern Tier Brewing Company opened a new location in the Harborcenter in Buffalo, offering a full tasting room and a "beer-inspired" food menu.   
  • Brick & Ivy is a newly opened BIPOC-owned restaurant in Rochester that features a unique mix of dishes, such as fried cauliflower, jerk seared salmon, and confit duck leg.  
  • Embrace the chilly temperatures at one of Lake George's ice bars, including The Sagamore's famous Glacier Ice Bar, Adirondack Pub & Brewery's Funky Ice Fest and Winterfest at Erlowest.   
  • Newly opened Willa's Bakery in Catskill offers a wide variety of scratch-made baked goods, along with seasonal breakfast and lunch dishes made using locally sourced ingredients.  
  • DisBatch Brewing Company, slated to open this December in Macedon, is Wayne County's first brewery. It was started by first responders who wanted to provide the community with a place to gather and relax.  
  • In Albany, Skinny Pancake, scheduled to open soon, plans to feature various crepe dishes that utilize local ingredients.   
  • Recently opened Nova Kitchen & Bar in Blauvelt, Rockland County, uses locally sourced seasonal ingredients to create innovative daily specials and is the brainchild of a couple that worked their way up in the industry from busgirl and dishwasher to manager and head chef.  

New Lodging  

After a full day of exploration, rest for tomorrow's adventures at one of New York State's newest or newly renovated lodging properties.   
  • Set to open in 2022, Grand Adirondack Hotel in Lake Placid will offer a classic Adirondack stay with a sense of luxury, and distinct culinary experiences at on-site restaurants.  
  • Located in the heart of downtown Saratoga Springs, the Spa City Motor Lodge recently finished major renovations and a rebrand, adding a more modern décor with an artistic flare.   
  • Newly opened Piaule Catskill features cabins set in a forest, ideal for the ultimate escape, plus hiking trails and an on-site restaurant and bar.   
  • Looking beyond winter, Auberge Resorts Collection is slated to open Wildflower Farms in late 2022 amid 140 serene acres in the Hudson Valley.  

Exciting New and Recently Opened Attractions  

With both indoor and outdoor attractions, visitors of all ages can participate in seasonal excitement.  
  • Schenectady's Mohawk Harbor is hosting a new winter experience featuring a 60x100 foot ice skating rink, Holiday Pop-Up Shop by Beekman 1802, and food options from Druthers Brewing Company, Shaker & Vine and the restaurants at Rivers Casino & Resort.  
  • Rochester's Memorial Art Gallery will feature the Renaissance Impressions: Sixteenth-Century Master Prints from the Kirk Edward Long Collection exhibit until February 6. The exhibit includes 82 masterworks by diverse artists, highlighting the visual culture of the Renaissance.  
  • Lark Hall in Albany was recently restored and repurposed as a concert venue, hosting a diverse mix of bands and performers.  
  • The Earl Cardot Eastside Overland Trail system in Gerry, Chautauqua County, expanded in 2021 and features more than three miles of groomed cross-country ski trails.  
  • At Niagara Falls State Park, witness the splendor of the frosted Falls from all angles. For a unique perspective, Cave of the Winds takes visitors down an elevator into the Niagara Gorge to get an up close and personal view of Falls from one of the two open observation decks. 

On the Horizon  

Mark your calendars for this exciting upcoming event.  
  • The FISU World University Games will be held in Lake Placid and the surrounding communities from January 12-22, 2023, featuring competition among exceptional international collegiate athletes. It is the second largest multi-sport winter event in the world. For those inspired by the upcoming Winter Olympics, they can head to Lake Placid to experience Olympic history at the Olympic Museum, the recently opened Cliffside Coaster or ride the only Olympic bobsled east of the Rockies.   
For more information on new developments and other happenings in New York State, visit iloveny.com.  


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