Active adults do not need to hibernate just because winter is here. Anyone who is itching to get out of the house and embark on an exciting adventure can find some extraordinary options in Upstate New York.
Its breathtaking landscapes and top-rated resorts offer 55+ retirees and their families many opportunities for winter retreats. Skiing, snow tubing, ice skating, and other outdoor recreation are offered at most every turn. Those who prefer romantic getaways, fine dining, and cultural attractions will find much to swoon over.
There are different regions of Upstate New York, with resorts for every budget and taste. The Hudson Valley is closest to New York City, stretching from Westchester County up towards Albany. The Catskill Mountains are in this area, encompassing close to 6,000 square miles of mountains, trails, wildlife, and historic sites.
The Finger Lakes region has miles of wine trails, lakes, and farmlands. Further north, the Adirondacks boasts some of the most stunning scenery in the world. And if that weren’t enough, Niagara Falls and the 1000 Islands also turn into winter wonderlands when temperatures drop. Working from north to south, here are some of the best winter resorts north of The Big Apple.
Riveredge Resort – 1000 Islands
If you really want to get away from it all, head up to The 1000 Islands. Its 1,800+ islands border Canada and it was a chic resort area back in the late 1800s.
1000 Islands is rich in history, with War of 1812 battle sites, Singer Castle on Dark Island, and Boldt Castle and Yacht House. Outdoor winter activities like cross-country skiing, hiking, and ice fishing are available. Indoor-types will appreciate the Ontario Aquatarium, local craft beers and wines, live music, restaurants, and art galleries.
The Riveredge Resort was constructed onto a wharf and all of its rooms have water views. A standard room for a weekend in January runs around $225 while a private suite with a Jacuzzi is only around $40 more. There is an indoor fitness room, indoor pool, hot tub and sauna open until 9 p.m. nightly. There is also a masseuse and beauty salon. Riveredge has four restaurants, although not all are open in the winter. Their Windows on the Bay steak and seafood house offers fine dining with spectacular views.
Sterling Inn & Spa – Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls may not be one of the Seven Wonders of the World, but in wintertime it certainly comes close. Though the falls do not actually freeze, they appear to do so, creating an amazing spectacle.
Wintertime fun in Niagara Falls includes visiting Goat Island to search for wildlife, checking out Old Fort Niagara, gambling at Seneca Niagara Casino (you can also stay here), and shopping at Fashion Outlets Niagara Falls.
The four-star Sterling Inn & Spa is a luxurious boutique hotel that caters mostly to couples. A king room with air jetted tub, sitting area, and fireplace runs around $210 per night in January. Their exquisite spa offers massages, skin care treatments, body wraps, and rejuvenating spa packages. Sterling’s award-winning restaurant, AG Inspired Cuisine, uses local produce to create entrees like Lake Huron Whitefish, and Juniper Dusted Venison Loin.
Geneva On The Lake – Geneva
Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes Region has a fantastic wine trail, and the city of Geneva is on its northern end.
The town is home to Geneva On The Lake, a AAA Diamond Award-winning hotel. With just 30 rooms, this boutique resort hotel is right next to the town’s historic district. Each room is different with tastefully appointed, traditional décor. Nightly rates are in the $500 and up range and include breakfast, two free tastings at nearby wineries, and Friday night wine and cheese parties. Guests dine at the hotel’s Lancellotti’s Dining Room and Parlor Bar and enjoy dishes like rack of lamb and filet mignon. And for true pampering, in-suite massages services are offered.
Nearby venues like The Smith Center for the Arts and the Geneva Ice Skating Rink provide year-round entertainment.
Whiteface Lodge – Lake Placid
It may have rustic décor but the Whiteface Lodge is one of the most elegant resorts in the Adirondacks. Located in Lake Placid just outside of the city’s center, it is styled after the region’s Adirondack Great Camps, the sprawling family compounds that were built in the area towards the end of the 19th century.
The property has 94 suites, with kitchens, jetted tubs, and balconies. Winter nightly room rates start at around $500. There is a world-class spa, outdoor hot tubs, heated indoor and outdoor pools, a fitness center, a movie theater, and an ice rink. There are several restaurants including KANU, which offers three courses of delicacies like arctic char, venison ragout, and tiramisu.
Lake Placid hosted the Olympics two times, and has outstanding opportunities for skiing, skating, snowshoeing, bobsledding, and more. The downtown village area has more restaurants and Alpine-themed shops.
The Point – Saranac Lake
When money is no object, The Point (about 40 minutes from Lake Placid) offers the definitive resort experience. This resort is also in the Adirondacks, outside the smaller but equally charming town of Saranac Lake. It was originally built by the Rockefellers and is a Forbes Five Star property now run by the Relais & Châteaux hotel chain.
The Point’s all-inclusive prices include opulent, plush rooms, food and drink, and on-site activities. They start at around $1,700.00 per night. Guests may partake in skiing, hiking, snowshoeing, archery, curling, outdoor snow barbecues, and more. FYI, because the experience is positioned as a true getaway, there are no televisions in the rooms.