Posts Tagged ‘New York State tourism’

Fine Arts & Festivals in the Great Northern Catskills

May 30, 2019
Olana National Historic Site

Hudson River Skywalk, a walking path on the Rip Van Winkle bridge, is viewed from artist Frederic Edwin Church’s Olana, and connects to the Thomas Cole historic site, on the Hudson River School Art Trail © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Where can you see Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts, Little Big Town, and Brooks & Dunn all in one place? At the Taste of Country Music Festival at Hunter Mountain, June 7-9! One of the Catskill’s premier summer festivals, country music fans flock to this three-day event each year. Camp out for the complete experience and you’ll be rewarded with special concerts, great food, and craft beer from a wide variety of amazing vendors.

If you prefer banjos and stand-up basses, the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival is for you. Held at Walsh Farm from July 18-21, Grey Fox’s who’s who of bluegrass line-up boasts 40 bands playing on six outdoor stages over four days. It’s non-stop, family-friendly, toe-tapping fun. Combine your bluegrass experience with a visit to the Annual Catskills Irish Arts Week, held concurrently from July 14-20 in East Durham. It’s a week-long celebration of Irish culture that includes live music, traditional Irish dancers, workshops, lectures, art, and more.

A festival on two wheels, the 12th Annual Tour of the Catskills Pro-Am Bicycle Road Race will be held in Tannersville on August 3. One of the nation’s top cycling events, this Pro-Am race draws over 250 racers each year from throughout the world. Considered one of the toughest cycling courses in the country for amateurs and professionals alike, racers will give their all just to get through the ‘Devil’s Kitchen Climb,’ a grueling uphill portion of the course. Cheer the athletes on, or register and see if you have what it takes!

Rev up the fun and watch daring riders kick up the dirt and reach serious speeds at Diamondback Motocross of East Durham. With three Sunday race days this summer – June 16, July 7, and July 28 – there’s no excuse for missing this thrilling event. Landing big-air jumps and racing around tight corners, it’s an adrenaline junkie’s dream come true for riders, and a heartpounding spectacle for those on the sidelines!

The Catskill Region has long been a place where poets, painters, writers, and photographers have found artistic inspiration. The stunning natural surroundings and ample opportunities for reflective solitude make it a haven for creative minds. As a result, it also holds incredible appeal for those who appreciate the fine arts.

There is no better place to begin your Catskills arts and culture exploration than at the Thomas Cole National Historic Site. There, the former home and studio of Hudson River School of Art founder Thomas Cole still stands, now serving as a museum of Catskills art history and a working gallery and studio.

Exchange traditional for contemporary when you visit the LUMBERYARD Center for Film and Performing Arts. This modern-day studio and performance center is a wonderful place for audiences to enjoy unique theater, dance, and film productions, and a place for budding artists to hone their craft and blaze their own artistic path. Browse their upcoming events or learn more about their leading-edge artist-in-residence programs.

With so many incredible performance spaces and galleries to choose from, it’s easy to make the arts part of any visit to the Great Northern Catskills. Check the performance schedules of the Bridge Street Theatre in Catskill and the Orpheum Film and Performing Arts Center in Tannersville to find world class concerts, theater productions, and one-of-a-kind shows, or stop by a local art gallery to see breathtaking works by talented local artists.

What is it about the Great Northern Catskills that is so inspiring to artistic minds? Take a walk along the new Hudson River Skywalk to see for yourself! Hundreds of feet in the air, the mile-long Skywalk connects the homes of two famed Hudson River School painters, Thomas Cole and Frederic Church. Spanning a picturesque portion of the Hudson River, several outlooks along the path provide panoramic views of the water below and the surrounding mountains. It is a view that has inspired countless photographs, paintings, and written works, including the famous fable of Rip Van Winkle. While pets are not allowed, sketch books, cameras, and easels are encouraged!

Greene County Tourism, 800-355-CATS, 518-943-3223, www.greatnortherncatskills.com..

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National Comedy Center in Lucille Ball’s Hometown Close to Being Officially Designated by United States

February 23, 2019
NYS-Natl Comedy Ctr Jamestown

The National Comedy Center in Jamestown, New York – iconic comedian Lucille Ball’s hometown – is close to being designated the official “National Comedy Center” of the United States.

The National Comedy Center in Jamestown, New York – iconic comedian Lucille Ball’s hometown – is close to being designated the official “National Comedy Center” of the United States.

US Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer included a provision in the 2019 Lands Package that called on The Comedy Center, located in downtown Jamestown and built in-part to honor the massive national impact of Jamestown native Lucille Ball, to serve as America’s official center of comedy and its rich history in our nation. Schumer said this official congressional designation will help solidify the facility as a civic landmark and cultural institution, and the premiere “National Comedy Center” of the United States, and called on his colleagues in Congress to pass the Lands Package as soon as possible.

“Comedy is an art form, and it’s a part of our rich cultural history in America. I am proud to stand here today, in front of the revolutionary National Comedy Center, to continue my push to pass legislation that will officially designate it as the National Comedy Center of the United States,” Schumer said. “As the birthplace of the iconic Lucille Ball, and home to the Annual Comedy Festival, Jamestown has rapidly become an epicenter for comedy in the nation, and is the perfect home for the National Comedy Center. This organization is becoming a cultural institution, attracting visitors from far and wide, creating jobs, and injecting millions of tourism dollars into the region. I vow to do everything in my power to shuttle this legislation through Congress and on to the president’s desk, because I know that this institution has become a national attraction and a smash hit!”

The 2019 Lands Package includes legislation from Senator Schumer that will formally designate the National Comedy Center as the ‘national’ comedy center. Schumer noted that this designation will allow the center to build on the success of other Upstate New York tourist attractions like the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, NY. The National Comedy Center employs 38 people and has created nearly 200 spin-off jobs and is projected to have a $23 million impact on the region. Currently, the annual comedy festival hosts about 20,000 people and has been visited by famous comedians like Jerry Seinfeld, Joan Rivers, Jay Leno, and Nick Offerman. Schumer said this designation is vital to the center’s continued growth, and pointed out that Jamestown’s National Comedy Center is the only museum of its kind with the mission of preserving, protecting, and showcasing the art of American comedy and its role in our culture.

“The Jamestown Comedy Center is a celebration of talent and has quickly become a must-see location in New York. When I toured the museum, I was amazed by the incredible job done to transform an old train station into a state-of-the-art center dedicated to preserving the history of comedy in our nation,” said Senator  Kirsten Gillibrand. “This museum is a destination for families, tourists, and comedy lovers from all over the country, and it has played in important role in Jamestown’s revitalization. That’s why I fought to make sure that this year’s Land’s Package would designate the museum as the National Comedy Center, and I urge my colleagues in the Senate to pass this bill.”

“The National Comedy Center is committed to Lucille Ball’s vision for her hometown of Jamestown, New York to honor comedy’s great minds and unique voices in ways that educate, engage and inspire future generations. With visitors who’ve already come from all 50 states since our opening last August, we truly are the nation’s museum for the celebration of comedy. We thank Senator Schumer for everything he’s done to make the National Comedy Center a reality, and welcome this official Congressional designation in 2019,” said Tom Benson, Chairman, National Comedy Center.

“As the country’s first national-scale museum and cultural institution dedicated to presenting, preserving and celebrating the art form of comedy, the National Comedy Center — and Comedy — is deserving of this important recognition by Congress. We are grateful to Senator Schumer for his tremendous support and look forward to the bill’s passage in both the Senate and the House in the coming weeks,” said Journey Gunderson, Executive Director of the National Comedy Center.

The National Comedy Center, located at 203-217 West Second Street in Jamestown, New York, pays tribute to the art of American comedy through all eras, mediums, and genres. The 37,000 square foot, $50 million facility tells the story of comedy from its origins through the present, with more than 50 immersive, interactive exhibits. As of January 2019, the National Comedy Center has already attracted visitors from all fifty states and nine countries total. It was also recently named the second “Best New Attraction in America,” by USA Today.

Each visitor experiences a personalized trip through the Center as exhibits reflect one’s personal comedic sensibilities via use of a bracelet fitted with an RFID chip worn throughout the stay. Highlights of the collection include George Carlin’s massive personal archives that provide a glimpse into one of comedy’s most prolific minds, a hologram theater that presents performances of some of comedy’s most notable figures, and experiences that allow visitors to step into the shoes of a stand-up comedian. Additionally, the National Comedy Center features rare artifacts from some of comedy’s greatest names. In 2018, Senator Schumer helped deliver one such artifact, as a customs snag threatened to delay the arrival of a vintage Harley-Davidson motorcycle that was donated to the NCC by Dan Aykroyd.

Design of the museum and the repurposing of Jamestown’s original 1930 art-deco Gateway Train Station was provided by some of the most prominent cultural and interactive design firms in the world, whose portfolios collectively include the award-winning 9/11 Memorial Museum, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, the College Football Hall of Fame, Saturday Night Live: The Experience, Universal Studios, and more. The Center celebrates comedy in all of its forms, educating and engendering in visitors an appreciation for the art form and its artists.

The National Comedy Center opened in 2018, and ground was first broken on the project in 2015. Schumer noted he pushed a resolution in March of 2018 to formally recognize the National Comedy Center. Schumer also noted his successful push for $1.7 million from the Economic Development Administration, and $5M in net benefit due to New Market Tax Credits. In addition to this federal funding, the National Comedy Center has also received $10M from NYS, and private donations from the Gebbie Foundation, the John R. Oishei Foundation, the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation, the Lenna Foundation, Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, the Ralph C. Sheldon Foundation, the Johnson Foundation, and the Jessie Smith Darrah Fund. Schumer said the National Comedy Center shines a spotlight on Jamestown as a global comedy destination.  

 

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National Comedy Center in Jamestown NY Hosts 2019 Lucille Ball Comedy Festival Aug 7-11

February 22, 2019
NYS-Natl Comedy Ctr Jamestown

The National Comedy Center opened August 1, 2018 in Jamestown, New York as the nation’s first state-of-the-art museum dedicated to sharing the vital story of comedy in America. Based on the vision of Jamestown native Lucille Ball for her hometown to become a destination for the celebration of comedy, the National Comedy Center showcases comedy’s great minds and unique voices, from Charlie Chaplin to David Chappelle.

Jamestown, New York –The National Comedy Center, the nation’s first museum and visitor experience dedicated to the comedic arts, announced today that Sebastian Maniscalco and John Mulaney will headline the 2019 Lucille Ball Comedy Festival, August 7-11. Tickets for their performances are now on sale at www.ComedyCenter.org.

Many festival events have yet to be announced, in a lineup that will celebrate comedy’s contemporary stars, rising voices, and historic legacies.

Sebastian Maniscalco and John Mulaney are two of the most popular and acclaimed comedians in the country in 2019 — Maniscalco breaking several comedy box office records over the past year, and Mulaney named “one of the best stand-up comics alive” by Entertainment Weekly.

John Mulaney will be performing on Friday, August 9 and Sebastian Maniscalco will be performing on Saturday, August 10 in Jamestown’s Northwest Arena, adjacent to the National Comedy Center, a $50 million museum experience dedicated to comedy.

“We could not be more pleased to announce that two of the most in-demand stand-up comedians touring today — Sebastian Maniscalco and John Mulaney — will be performing as we mark the first anniversary of the National Comedy Center this August,” said Journey Gunderson, National Comedy Center Executive Director. “This is a great opportunity to experience the best of live comedy by night, after experiencing the story of comedy –- across all eras and genres –- by day, with a trip to the National Comedy Center and the Festival.”

Comedian, actor and best-selling author Sebastian Maniscalco has been called “one of the funniest comedians working stand-up today,” by Esquire Magazine, “one of the hottest comics,” by Newsday and “the comedian’s comedian” by People Magazine.

Maniscalco can currently be seen with Viggo Mortensen in the Oscar-nominated “Green Book,” winner of three Golden Globes including Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. Last November, Maniscalco won Billboard’s inaugural Comedian of the Year award. In 2019, Maniscalco will be starring in Martin Scorsese’s new film “The Irishman,” with Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci.

Before Emmy Award-winning comedian and writer John Mulaney was called “one of the best stand-up comics alive” by Entertainment Weekly, he began writing for “Saturday Night Live” in 2008, where he also appeared as a “Weekend Update“ correspondent and co-created memorable characters such as “Stefon” with Bill Hader. He has spent the past year touring the United States with his most recent show, “Kid Gorgeous,” which was released as a Netflix original special last year and won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing in a Variety Special.

Mulaney has starred three previous stand-up specials. He has performed stand-up on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” and “Comedy Central Presents.” In 2016, Mulaney starred in the Broadway hit “Oh, Hello” on Broadway alongside Nick Kroll. He can also be heard in the 2018 film “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” which recently won the Golden Globe for best Animated Feature Film and has just been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film.

Additional Lucille Ball Comedy Festival events, including more than five comedy showcases, Late Night Comedy events, National Comedy Center Dialogues, and Lucy legacy events will also be announced atwww.ComedyCenter.org in the coming months.

“This festival is a celebration of all things comedy” says Malachi Livermore, the National Comedy Center’s Director of Programming and Guest Experiences. “It offers something for everyone – from a free kids’ comedy show and a series of discussions about the comedic arts, to some of the best stand-up comedians that the nation has to offer, and the opening of an Ernie Kovacs Centennial exhibit featuring never-before-seen archives.  And there is still more to come.”

As an enhancement to this year’s Lucille Ball Comedy Festival, the National Comedy Center is once again partnering with the world-renowned Chautauqua Institution, located on nearby Chautauqua Lake, New York, for a comedy-themed week during the Institution’s summer season, which will run prior to the festival: July 29 through August 3. Events and speakers will explore how comedy changes us and, in turn, society, and the potential of comedy to change minds and influence decision-making. Programming details will be released in the coming months. For more information and reservations, visit CHQ.org.

Last year’s Lucille Ball Comedy Festival featured the grand opening of the National Comedy Center and featured Amy Schumer, Lily Tomlin and a panel of original “Saturday Night Live” performers and writers including Dan Aykroyd, Laraine Newman and Alan Zweibel.

The Lucille Ball Comedy Festival is presented by the National Comedy Center and embodies Lucille Ball’s vision for her hometown — Jamestown, New York, to be a destination for the celebration of the comedic arts and to showcase new comedic talent from around the country. The festival attracts over 15,000 attendees annually from nearly every state in the country, who come together to share laughter while honoring the craft and contributors on stage at dozens of venues throughout Jamestown, including the National Comedy Center and the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum.

Now in its 28th year, the festival has featured comedy’s greatest stars and rising young comedians, including Jerry Seinfeld, Ellen DeGeneres, Trevor Noah, Lily Tomlin, Jay Leno, Amy Schumer, Brian Regan, Lewis Black, W. Kamau Bell, Jim Gaffigan, Paula Poundstone, Dan Aykroyd, Joan Rivers, Bob Newhart, the Smothers Brothers and more than one hundred other comedic artists.

National Comedy Center Named a ‘Best New Attraction’

The National Comedy Center recently took second out of twenty “Best New Attractions” in the country, in USA TodayCondé Nast Traveler called the National Comedy Center “One of the best museums in the country,” while comedy website The Interrobang named the design team of the National Comedy Center second on its list of “Innovators Who Changed Comedy” in 2018. Visitors from all 50 states and nine countries have given the Center a rare 5/5 rating on TripAdvisor in just its first six months of operation.

The National Comedy Center opened August 1, 2018 in Jamestown, New York as the nation’s first state-of-the-art museum dedicated to sharing the vital story of comedy in America. Based on the vision of Jamestown native Lucille Ball for her hometown to become a destination for the celebration of comedy, the National Comedy Center showcases comedy’s great minds and unique voices, from Charlie Chaplin to David Chappelle. As a non-profit cultural institution, the National Comedy Center was created with a $50 million investment, funded by a mix of federal, state and private philanthropic support, including partnership with I LOVE NEW YORK ™, Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York State’s Empire State Development.

The National Comedy Center features exclusive collections and world-class exhibits that give comedy fans an unprecedented, behind-the-scenes look at the time-honed creative processes that have elevated comedy entertainment to an art form. Over 50 innovative exhibitions across 37,000 square feet of space enable visitors to take an interactive journey through comedy history, from early vaudeville to the latest viral memes. Cutting-edge personalization technology makes the entire experience unique. Throughout the experience, visitors gain a profound appreciation for comedy icons and innovators, as well as for the tremendous influence of humor on how we think, live and laugh.

Design for the National Comedy Center was led by the most prominent cultural and interactive design firms in the world, whose portfolios collectively include the award-winning 9/11 Memorial Museum, The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, The College Football Hall of Fame, SNL: The Experience, and more.

The National Comedy Center also operates the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum, which explores the lives, careers and legacy of the “First Couple of Comedy,” and the incredible impact they had on the world.

Stay connected to the National Comedy Center:

Website: www.comedycenter.org

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nationalcomedycenter/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LucilleBallComedyFestival/

Follow on Twitter and Instagram at @ntlcomedycenter

 

National Comedy Center, 203 W. 2nd Street, Jamestown, NY, 716-484-2222, www.ComedyCenter.org.

 

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New York State’s 524-Mile Canal System Reopens for Navigation; Tolls Waived for Second Year

May 15, 2018
Erie Canal

Explore the Erie Canal on a Mid-Navigation Lakes Lockmaster canalboat. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Navigation has reopened for the 2018 season along the 524-mile New York State Canal System, as it celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. The eastern Erie Canal, stretching from Brewerton to Waterford, opens today. The remainder of the system, including the Erie Canal, from Brewerton to Lockport, and the Champlain, Oswego and Cayuga-Seneca canals, opens on May 18.

For the second straight year, the Canal Corporation has waived tolls for recreational vessels to encourage more boaters to visit. The canals will remain open to recreational boaters through Oct. 10.

“New York’s canal system helped build the Empire State and it remains a key economic and tourism driver,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said. “I encourage New Yorkers and visitors alike to come and experience this great New York resource for themselves.”

This is the 194th year vessels have traversed the Erie Canal. The first boats of the year began their journey on the system following a ceremony this morning in Waterford, the Erie Canal’s eastern terminus.

“The Erie Canal is an integral part of New York history and has always been one of my favorite summertime destinations,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “For many years the Canal System was an essential part of our transportation economy and today is a significant driver of tourism across upstate, supporting jobs and small businesses. I look forward to another great season on the canal.”

New York State Canal Corporation Director Brian U. Stratton said, “This is always a special time of year because we once again get to show off our great New York State canals, which have become an increasingly important economic engine as more tourism and recreational assets become available.”

A study commissioned by the Canal Corporation found there is nearly $400 million annually of direct tourism and recreational spending tied to the canals and Erie Canalway Trail. The Canal System also has an estimated $6.3 billion economic impact from non-tourism spending tied to hydropower, irrigation, providing water to golf courses and factory operations as well as commercial traffic.

The state Canal System, formerly known as the Barge Canal, was first championed at the end of the 19th century by then-Governor Theodore Roosevelt, who wanted to enlarge New York’s canals and make them more competitive with railroads to attract freight shipments. The Erie Canal had first opened in 1825, but it had lost traffic because it was deemed too narrow and shallow to accommodate large shipments.

Instead of relying exclusively on manmade channels, as the first two versions of the canals did, engineers “canalized” large lakes and rivers and installed locks, movable dams and guard gates to regulate water flow and enable safe navigation channels.

The Barge Canal was built starting in 1905 and officially opened in Waterford on May 15, 1918.

Compared to the Panama Canal, which was built in roughly the same time frame, the Barge Canal is 10 times longer, has nearly 10 times as many locks, and yet was built for one-third the cost using only state money.

Major events on the Canal System this year include a four-month journey by the Corning Museum of Glass GlassBarge, to mark the 150th anniversary of when the Flint Glass Company moved its operations from Brooklyn to Corning and shipped its equipment on the Erie Canal. The GlassBarge, which will have a mobile glass-blowing theatre with 150 seats, will open to the public in Brooklyn on May 17 and make 28 public stops through September.

This is also the 20th year of the Cycle the Erie Ride run by Parks and Trails New York. The eight-day sojourn from Buffalo to Albany starts July 8. Last year, the event attracted more than 750 cyclists. (See: Cycle the Erie: 400 Miles & 400 Years of History Flow By on Canalway Bike Tour Across New York State)

Don’t have your own boat? You can rent a houseboat and travel along the canals wherever whimsy takes you, tying up and using the facilities that are all along the canals, having the delight of going through the locks and under the lift bridges.

Mid-Lakes Navigation, a family-owned company operating out of Skaneateles, New York, offers its specially designed lockmaster canalboats which are easy to maneuver, delightful to stay (galley, shower and toilet facilities), operating when the Erie Canal is open. They provide bikes (but you would do well to bring or rent your own) so you can spend the day riding on the Canalway and exploring the canaltowns. (Mid-Lakes Navigation, 11 Jordan St., PO Box 61, Skaneateles, NY 13152, 315-685-8500, toll-free: 800-545-4318, info@midlakesnav.com, https://midlakesnav.com/).

(See: Journey by boat and bike along the Erie Canal)

For a list of events on the canals, go to https://eriecanalway.org/explore/events. For more information on the Canal System, including hours when locks are open, go to www.canals.ny.gov.

 

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Windham Mountain to Install High Speed 6-Passenger Lift & Implement RFID Ticketing for 2018-9 Season

March 12, 2018
NYS-Windham-9N9A4322e2

Windham Mountain in New York’s Catskill Mountains, will have a new high speed six- passenger lift as well as RFID ticketing for the 2018-19 season.

A new, high speed, detachable six passenger chairlift will be installed at Windham Mountain Resort, in New York’s Catskills, this summer. The new Doppelmayr lift will run from the base area to the summit, replacing the current Whistler Triple, better known as “F Lift”.  It will have a slope length of 5,105 feet, and an uphill capacity of 3,000 people per hour. The ride from base to summit on the new lift will be just under five and a half minutes.

Removal of “F Lift” will begin in April and installation of the new lift in May.  Whirlwind Express (A Lift), the high speed, detachable quad that runs alongside “F Lift”, will remain in place and will run this summer, servicing the Windham Mountain Bike Park and skyrides.  The Bike Park opens for the season Memorial Day Weekend and will be unaffected by the construction.

The new lift will be accompanied by state-of-the art lift access, with the addition of RFID ticketing and gates for the 2018/2019 season.  The “Axess” radio-frequency identification technology will eliminate the need for guests to present their lift ticket or season pass to a lift attendant prior to loading all base area lifts.  RFID Cards can be reloaded via a home computer or smartphone, and can be used season after season.

“RFID ticketing is essentially ‘EZ-Pass for skiers’.  It will provide easier access to lifts and more accurate scanning of tickets and passes, helping skiers and riders get on the mountain faster, skipping the ticket windows and lift line scanning process.” said Chip Seamans, General Manager of Windham Mountain Resort.

All guests will now have the option to sign up for Resort Charge, by attaching a credit card account to their RFID card. This eliminates the need to carry cash or a credit card on the mountain. Resort Charge is accepted at all Windham Mountain Resort operated restaurants, eateries and retail locations.

The new chairlift and RFID system represent $6.5M in capital already invested toward the 2018/2019 Winter Season at Windham Mountain Resort.  More details on installation progress and a name for the new lift will follow.

Guests are invited to become a 2018/2019 Season Passholder at the annual Season Passholder Party on Saturday, March 17th, when the best rates on passes will be offered for one day only.  Passholders will enjoy a complimentary buffet and live music at the party.

Windham Mountain Resort is a year-round destination in the Great Northern Catskills of Greene County, NY, about two and a half hours north of New York City.  With 285 skiable acres, Windham offers 54 trails serviced by 12 lifts.  The Resort includes six terrain parks, learn-to packages, ski and stay packages, dining options, an Adventure Park, the full-service Alpine Spa, night skiing, and much more.  In the summer months, Windham Mountain Bike Park is famous for its World Cup course, but also features a three-mile-long beginner trail.  Windham Mountain Country Club is an 18-hole public golf course with a private club atmosphere.  

Windham Mountain Resort, 19 Resort Drive, Windham NY, 12496, 800-754-9463, info@windhammountain.com, www.windhammountain.com.

 

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Registration Opens for 5th Annual First Day Hikes in 38 New York State Parks, Sites

December 18, 2015

 

 

Jones Beach, Long Island

Jones Beach State Park in winter. Registration is now open for First Day hikes in 38 New York State parks and historic sites © 2015 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Registration is now open for the fifth annual First Day Hikes program taking place at 38 state parks and historical sites on January 1. First Day Hikes give people of all ages an opportunity to kick off the New Year and enjoy nature during guided walks.

First Day Hikes offer a great way to connect with the outdoors, exercise and enjoy nature on New Year’s Day. Participants can expect to be surrounded by the quiet beauty of the season and spectacular vistas, and benefit from the company of a knowledgeable guide. State park staff and volunteers will lead these family-friendly walks and hikes, which average one to three miles or longer depending on the location.

This year, 41 hikes are being offered at 38 New York state parks and historic sites. The programs include a seal walk, winter woodlands, a walking history tour, a snowshoe waterfall hike, pet-friendly treks, crossing one of the world’s longest pedestrian bridges, and more. If weather conditions permit, some First Day Hikes may include snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. Many hikes will be offering refreshments. Last year, over 2,100 participants took part in celebrating First Day Hikes across the state.

 

In New York, hikes will be offered at the following locations:

Western New York

  • Allegany State Park- Red House, Salamanca, anytime 10 a.m.- 2 p.m.; 716-354-9101 x.236
    · Buffalo Harbor State Park, Buffalo; 10 a.m.-12 noon; 716-549-1050
    · DeVeaux Woods-Whirlpool State Park, Niagara Falls; 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; 716-285-5154
    · Fort Niagara State Park, Youngstown; 1:30 p.m.–4 p.m.; 716-285-5154
    · Genesee Valley Greenway State Park, York; 10 a.m.; 585-493-3600
    · Knox Farm State Park, East Aurora; 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; 716-549-1050
    · Letchworth State Park, Castile; 1 p.m.; (two hikes – one for families with young children); 585-493-3600
    · Niagara Falls State Park, Niagara Falls; 1 p.m.-3 p.m.; 716-285-5154

Finger Lakes & Central New York

  • Betty and Wilbur Davis State Park, Westford; 1 p.m.; 607-638-5421
    · Catharine Valley Trail, Watkins Glen; 10 a.m.; 607-535-4511
    · Chenango Valley State Park, Chenango Forks; 12:30 p.m.; 607-648-5251
    · Clark Reservation State Park, Jamesville; 1 p.m.; 315-492-1590
    · Fort Ontario State Historic Site, Oswego; 10 a.m.; 315-343-4711
    · Taughannock Falls State Park, Trumansburg; 1 p.m.; 607-387-7041
    · Two Rivers State Park, Waverly; 10:30 a.m.; 607-273-3440

North Country & Greater Capital District

  • Mine Kill State Park, North Blenheim; 11 a.m.; 518-827-8690
    · Moreau Lake State Park, Gansevoort; 10 a.m.-12 noon; 518-793-0511
    · Peebles Island State Park, Waterford; 10 a.m.; 518-268-2188
    · Point Au Roche State Park, Plattsburgh; 1 p.m.; 518-561-4213
    · Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site, Sackets Harbor; 12 noon; 315-489-3642
    · Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga Springs; 10 a.m.; 518-584-2000
    · Schodack Island State Park, Schodack Landing; 1 p.m.; 518-732-0187
    · Thacher State Park, Voorheesville; 10 a.m.; 518-872-0800
    · Wellesley Island State Park, Fineview; 1 p.m.; 315-482-2479

Hudson Valley

  • FDR State Park, Yorktown; 11 a.m.; 914-245-4434 x8
    · John Jay Homestead State Historic Site, Katonah; 1 p.m.; 914-232-5651 x 105
    · Minnewaska State Park Preserve, Peter’s Kill, Kerhonkson; 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. & 2 p.m.-5 p.m.; 845-255-0752
    · Minnewaska State Park Preserve, Sam’s Point, Cragsmoor; 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. & 2 p.m.-5 p.m.; 845-255-0752
    · Olana State Historic Site, Hudson; 11 a.m.; 518-828-0135 x303
    · Rockefeller State Park Preserve, Pleasantville; 9 a.m.; 914-666-6503
    · Sterling Forest State Park, Tuxedo; 11 a.m.; 845-351-5907
    · Taconic State Park – Copake Falls, Copake Falls; 1 p.m.; 518-329-3993
    · Walkway over the Hudson State Historic Park; Poughkeepsie; 2 p.m.; 845-454-9649

New York City and Long Island

  • Bethpage State Park, Farmingdale; 10 a.m.; 516-249-3560
    · Clay Pit Ponds, Staten Island; 11 a.m.; 718-605-3970 x201
    · Connetquot River State Park, Oakdale; 1:30 p.m.-3 p.m.; 631-581-1072
    · Jones Beach State Park, Wantagh; 1:30 p.m.-3 p.m.; 516-785-3614 or 516-780-3295
    · Montauk Point State, Montauk; 1 p.m.-3 p.m.; 631-668-2554

“The natural beauty of New York State makes the perfect backdrop for welcoming in 2016 with family and friends,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said. “I encourage everyone to start a new tradition and take a First Day Hike at their local state park or use the occasion to discover a new favorite.”

New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Rose Harvey said, “We are proud to once again host the First Day Hikes and offer these popular outdoor events for the New Year. For 2016, we’re offering more inspiration than ever for people of all ages and interests from lakeside trails to spellbinding views of a gorge, centuries of military history, and treks through woods or waterfronts. So start off the year with a healthy hike and set the stage for enjoying the parks year-round.”

Details about hike locations, difficulty and length, terrain, registration requirements and additional information are listed at nysparks.com.

 

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New York State Parks Celebrate Season with Tree Lightings, Holiday Markets, Historic Tours

December 5, 2015

 

 

Holiday Spectacular at Jones Beach, Long Island © 2015 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Holiday Spectacular at Jones Beach, Long Island © 2015 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Celebrate the holiday season at more than 40 parks or historic sites across New York State.

Holiday celebrations at New York State parks range from tours of the lavishly decorated Staatsburgh Mansion in the Hudson Valley, to candlelight tours of Old Fort Niagara overlooking Lake Ontario, to family-friendly tree-lighting celebrations at state parks on Long Island. Events will also include making holiday snacks for black bears at Trailside Zoo in Bear Mountain State Park, holiday cookie decorating at Green Lakes State Park and a gingerbread house contest at Philipse Manor Hall State Historic Site.

Some events require pre-registration and/or an admission fee;  check http://nysparks.com/events for more details.

Central

Long Island

New York City

Palisades

  • Christmas with the Ellisons – Knox’s Headquarters State Historic Site; Dec. 12 & 19, 4 – 7 p.m.
    · Festival of Lights – Senate House State Historic Site; Dec. 12, 5 – 8 p.m.
    · Warm Up at the Washingtons – Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site; Dec. 13, 1 – 5 p.m.
    · Berry Merry Holiday – Bear Mountain State Park; Dec. 19 at 10:30 a.m.
    · Open House – Knox’s Headquarters State Historic Site; Dec. 27, 28 & 29, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Saratoga/Capital Region

  • Holiday Craft Bazaar – Thacher State Park Nature Center; Dec 5, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. & Dec. 6, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
    · St. Nicholas Day Open House – Crailo State Historic Site; Dec. 5, 12 – 4 p.m.
    · Sweater Mitten Mania – Thacher State Park Nature Center; Dec. 12 at 10 a.m.

Taconic

Thousand Islands

  • Pine Bow Wreath Workshop – Minna Anthony Common Nature Center, Wellesley Island State Park; Dec. 5 at 10 a.m.
    · Holiday Bonanza – Minna Anthony Common Nature Center, Wellesley Island State Park; Dec. 12, 10 a.m.– 3:30 p.m.

Western NY

“This year, I encourage New Yorkers to start a new tradition: visit a state park or historic site and participate in our many family-friendly activities that run throughout the year,” said Rose Harvey, Commissioner of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. “Holiday-themed events across the state have something for everyone.”
“New York’s parks and historic sites offer unparalleled natural beauty, countless opportunities for outdoor recreation, and family-friendly fun no matter what time of year it is,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said. “I urge New Yorkers and visitors alike to see for themselves all that our parks have to offer this holiday season.”

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees 180 state parks and 35 historic sites, which are visited by 62 million people annually. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit www.nysparks.com, connect on Facebook, or follow on Twitter.

 

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Great New York State Fairgoers Can Take Advantage of New Interactive Services

August 31, 2015

Besides family-friendly activities at the Great New York State Fair this year, visitors will be able to take advantage of many new services including the opportunity to order a new “I Love NY” State Fair license plate, a new E-ZPass and search for job openings.
“Each year we strive to make the Great New York State Fair better than the last and by providing more educational activities and convenient access to state services, we are seeking to enhance the experience and provide more value for attendees,” Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said. “I urge every New Yorker to plan a trip to the Fair and experience the very best this state has to offer.”

State agency displays, as well as the Governor’s exhibit, will be located in the Center of Progress Building, the Science and Industry Building, and at many other locations on the Fairgrounds. The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets’ tent will be located in front of the Administration Building. The displays will be open all twelve days of the Fair from Thursday, August 27 to Labor Day Monday, September 7.

Some of the interactive and informative state agency booths include:

Made in New York food products will be at the Taste NY tent, including samples of New York cheese, maple syrup, honey, granola, sauces and dips, wine, beer and spirits. There will be 70 vendors participating throughout the 12 days of the Fair, with dozens of food and beverage vendors who are new to the Fair this year. The tent is just inside the main gate.

Visitors can take a new license photograph at the DMV exhibit in the Center of Progress building, which will also offer services such as vision tests, booking reservations to visit a local office, enrolling in the organ donation program, and renewing a registration or driver license. Fairgoers can even order a custom State Fair license plate right at the booth (view a sample here ).

Jobseekers can search for employment through the Department of Labor’s Jobs Express program. Large, interactive TV monitors will allow fairgoers to search through more than 125,000 job across the state. Additionally, they can learn more about the Governor’s Exploited Worker Task Force and Nail Salon Enforcement Task Force.

E-ZPass will be available for purchase at the Thruway Authority and Canal Corporation booth. After a quick transaction, customers can register the new tag immediately on site via an iPad. Fairgoers can also learn all about New York’s canal and Thruway system by perusing a historical timeline and illuminated map.

Children can meet Captain America and Iron Man on September 4 and 5 at the Department of Health booth.

Learn about skin damage from the sun at the Dangers of Tanning exhibit by the Department of Health. Use the VISIA Skin Analysis System, which will photograph various aspects of the face, including pore size, brown spots, sun damage, and bacteria and provide great information on the quality of your skin.

A three-acre State Park right inside the Fair will be open for visitors to enjoy. A grassy oasis will be include a reconfigured layout, colorful welcome banners, signage, exhibits, and a new kiosk, all of which add to the lush plantings, tree-lined reflecting pool and shaded picnic area. While there, fairgoers can participate in a demonstration of 18th century chocolate making, interact with the lively Birds of Prey show, and get up close and personal with nature and the different species that live in State Parks across the state. View full schedule here .

Children can take a hands-on lesson on the dangers of germs , thanks to glow-in-the-dark Glo Germ™, a fun and safe product that casts a revealing glow when exposed to U.V. light, turning the invisible into “germs you can see.” Demonstration times are 10-11am, 12:30-1:30pm, 4:30-5:30pm, and 7pm-8pm daily.

The New York State Police will be in action , with opportunities for families to watch the State Police Dive Team work underwater, the Canine and Bomb Disposal Unit display their skills, and the Special Operations Response Team demonstrate rappelling techniques from a 50-foot tower platform. Take an up-close look at a Bell 407 helicopter, and talk to a real pilot. Children can even sit in a patrol car and turn on the lights.

Drivers can learn about the dangers of texting and driving with the AT&T It Can Wait game simulator at the Department of Health display, available daily from 11am-7pm.

Ideas for eating healthy on a budget will be available from nutrition experts, as well as a video game focused on making good food choices. Located at the booth for the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, USDA-developed “myPlate” interactive healthy meal and snack choice computer games will be available on two large touch screen monitors. The display will also include fun, nutritional-based activities led by experts from the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP). Representatives will also be available to answer questions about obtaining child support or making child support payments.

Learn more about why bees are vital to New York’s agriculture at the Department of Agriculture and Market tent, where a beekeeper will be on-hand to give visitors an up-close look at the pollination process by displaying a glass observation hive of honey bees. Other divisions will feature engaging displays on different days of the fair that will attract fairgoers of all ages. An interactive EMriver model will be on display August 27 and 28 which lets fairgoers get their hands dirty as they learn about the basic principles of river behavior and erosion, while Milk Control and Dairy Services staff will offer an inside look at how our milk is processed into cheese and yogurt on August 30 and August 31.

Get involved in the fight against drug abuse. Fairgoers can pick the best message about preventing heroin use from a display of billboards designed by South Colonie High School students. The most popular message will be displayed on the NYS Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse social media each day.

Visitors can connect with resources to improve mental health with four free mobile apps that will be demonstrated at the New York State Office of Mental Health booth. The apps can help teens reduce anxieties and stop bullying, promote veteran and service member resilience and positive mental health. On September 3rd and 4th, visitors can shake the paw of Tommy, a therapy dog who provides services to children in Western New York. Farmers and other agricultural workers can stop by on Dairy Day, August 31 and Grange Day, September 5 to meet with New York State FarmNet clinicians, who provide referrals and resources to farmworkers throughout New York.

Learn about clean energy projects in communities statewide using an interactive map at the exhibits for the Department of Public Service, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the New York Power Authority. Input a New York State zip code and view a map highlighting clean energy projects across the State and gain insight into how Governor Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision is building a cleaner, more resilient and affordable energy future for all New Yorkers.

Families can learn how to prepare for disasters and emergencieswith experts from the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services. By taking a brief survey, visitors will be able to assess their own personal preparedness and will receive a free flashlight or emergency hammer, as well as information to enhance their personal safety from disasters and emergencies.

Learn about Fire Safety at the House of Hazards , an interactive exhibit for adults and children to learn about fire safety, created by the NYS Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Office of Fire Prevention and Control. The House of Hazards has five stations, each with their own important fire and life safety messages about common fire hazards such as a kitchen fire and other home fire hazards.

Bridge engineers will be at work and visitors can use design software as a realistic, engaging introduction to engineering. Fairgoers will learn about truss bridges and how New York State Department of Transportation engineers use computers as a problem-solving tool to build and maintain safe bridges.

Plan a nature trip and take a fun photo at the Department of Environmental Conservation booth. The State Land Interactive Mapper will be available at the Log Cabin for fairgoers to plan and map their trips to state forests, parks and other public space, and there will be photo opportunities in front of the cabin to have pictures taken as a logger with a real log skidder tire and an angler with a huge fish on the line. There will also be interactive exhibits at which fairgoers will learn how DEC measures air and water quality and they can learn about the effects of acid rain.

Buy a sporting license from a full team of license sales agents who will be on hand each day from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. for the thousands of sportsmen and sportswomen who annually buy their hunting, fishing and trapping licenses at the DEC aquarium building at the fair. This year, fairgoers’ license-buying experience will be enhanced thanks to the streamlined licensing system enabling sales agents to more easily access current licenses, privileges, permits and tags held. License-buyers can also purchase lifetime sporting licenses at the fair, eliminating the need for annual renewals and presenting the opportunity to display the license on their NYS ID or driver’s license.

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New York State Fair Gets New Mobile App, Enhanced Website

August 31, 2015

A new mobile app and updated website for the Great New York State Fair, which runs daily through September 7, allow users to purchase tickets online, create a custom schedule with reminders for events throughout the day, and features a GPS-enabled map that allows visitors to know where they are on the fairgrounds. The mobile app, made by Persource, is available at nysfair.org/app .

“This new app and website will bring one of the state’s most treasured traditions into the 21 st century,” Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said. “With new tools on the website and on mobile phones, it has never been easier to plan a day at the fair and see the very best this state has to offer. I encourage all to use these tools and take a trip this year to the Great New York State Fair.”

The new app is available for free in the Apple and Google Play marketplaces. Within the app, users can scroll through hourly events and musical shows to build a custom itinerary. When an event is added to the itinerary, fairgoers will get a reminder 5 minutes before it begins. The app also features the “Food Finder,” which uses GPS to pinpoint a user’s exact location and shows the location of Fair food vendors.

Communication is another important function in the app. Buttons for Facebook and Twitter allow users to see posts and tweets from the Fair in real time, while the Messages section gives the Fair the ability to push important or urgent information to all app users at once.

The app is tied directly to the new website, www.nysfair.org , which allows content changes to happen instantly across both platforms. The website had not been updated since its last renovation in 2012. Since then, web browsing has moved to phones and tablets. Today, more than half of all visits to the State Fair website are from mobile devices. In response to this, the new website is now mobile-responsive — adjusting its design based on its screen size, whether the site is being accessed on a desktop computer with a widescreen monitor or on a cellphone with a narrow screen.

Troy Waffner, Acting Fair Director, said, “We are always looking for new ways to improve our visitors’ experience at the Great New York State Fair and that starts long before they walk through our gates. By providing a newly streamlined website with high-functioning compatible app, we’re making sure fairgoers have available the latest information on the fair and its year-round events at the touch of a button.”

The new website was built to handle large volumes of traffic during State Fair season, with upwards of 50,000 visitors each day. Other improvements include a more vibrant color scheme, the color-coded navigation bar floating at the top of each page as the user scrolls down the screen, and the ability to deliver shortcuts to users based on keywords to make searches successful more quickly.

The website’s longtime feature that helps people build an itinerary for their Fair visit is also enhanced. Thousands of events take place during the 12-day run of the Fair, including more than 500 free musical performances. It can be daunting to try to plan a day at the Fair, so improved website tools present the Fair’s events in several different ways to make planning easier and help build an itinerary: by day, time and venue.

The website integrates all content related both to the 12 days of the Fair and also to the year-round use of the fairgrounds for hundreds of events, ending the practice of changing the entire website for each season.

 

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New York State Rite of Spring: Maple Sugaring Weekends Let You Experience How Syrup is Made

February 18, 2015

Syracuse, NY – Tap into one of the sweetest events of the year, New York State’s Maple Weekend, which will be celebrating its 20th year in 2015. The event takes place March 21-22 and March 28-29 from 10am-4pm each day. During both weekends, producers from across the state will welcome families to their farms to experience firsthand how real, mouthwatering maple syrup and other related maple products are made. Visitors will have the opportunity to enjoy fun, family-friendly activities, taste New York’s freshest syrup and purchase maple products directly from the source.

Each year, New York ranks as one of the top maple producing states in the U.S. As spring temperatures begin to rise in late February and early March, maple trees and sugar bushes come alive with activity. In Northern New York, when sap begins to drip through sugaring lines, it’s a sure sign that maple sugaring season has begun.

Maple Weekend offers visitors and residents alike the opportunity to taste this “liquid gold” in all its forms.

During Maple Weekend producers from across the state welcome families to their farms to experience firsthand how real, mouth-watering maple syrup and other related products are made. You’ll also have the opportunity to enjoy fun, family-friendly activities, taste New York’s freshest maple syrup and purchase your favorite maple products.

Plan your own Maple Weekend trip at mapleweekend.com and join the conversation on Facebook at facebook.com/mapleweekend.

 

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