Kayak on the lake at Mohonk Mountain House.

Kayak on the lake at Mohonk Mountain House. Credit: Mohonk Mountain House

When you think about vacationing near one of New York’s 7,600 freshwater lakes or 70,000 miles of rivers and streams, it’s usually all about boating, swimming and fishing. But there’s so much more. Take a break from the water with a visit to a historical site, take a scenic hike, tour a vineyard or brewery, shop in a quaint downtown or simply find a great spot to eat. From grand resorts to charming B&Bs, here are five lodgings that will put you in the center of the action.

Mohonk Mountain House

There’s more than one way to explore the grounds surrounding the Mohonk Mountain House. Founded in 1869 and listed as a National Historic Landmark, the resort has 85 miles of hiking trails. Most days there are at least two scheduled hikes, leisurely in the morning, brisker and more challenging in the afternoon. Depending on the daily schedule, there might also be a bird or wildlife walk, or a naturalist might show you the path of the glacier that formed the scenic Lake Mohonk. Paddleboards and kayaks are available starting Memorial Day weekend and you can get on the water. Among other activities: fishing (the lake is stocked with trout every spring), biking, rock climbing, archery, tomahawk throwing, along with a golf course, fitness center and spa. One of the few all-inclusive destinations in the state, a stay includes most activities and three meals plus afternoon tea in either the main dining room, the more casual Carriage Lounge or the seasonal Granary for fun barbecues. A weekend room mid-May for two adults and two kids under 13 starts at $1,577 a night (slightly lower midweek).

INFO 1000 Mountain Rest Rd., New Paltz, mohonk.com; 855-883-3798

Saranac Waterfront Lodge

Take in the waterfront views or have fun on the...

Take in the waterfront views or have fun on the lake at Saranac Waterfront Lodge. Credit: Saranac Waterfront Lodge

Get away from the commercial bustle of Lake Placid and Lake George in this quieter, quirkier Adirondacks location. The 93-room Saranac Waterfront Lodge on Lake Flower offers rentals from its boat slip of kayaks, paddle boards and fishing boats starting June 1. Take a morning or afternoon boat ride where a captain will point out local landmarks and wildlife. In nearby Tupper Lake, visit the Wild Center (wildcenter.org), where visitors can hike above the trees. And Lake Placid is less than 10 miles away, so you can easily take a day trip to explore popular destinations like the Olympics Museum (lpom.org), the Ski Jumping Complex (lakeplacidlegacysites.com) and the John Brown Farm State Historic Site. Stop for lunch at the Big Slide Brewery & Public House (bigslidebrewery.com) before heading back to Saranac Lake, where you can explore the lively arts scene at one of the many galleries or attend a concert in Riverside Park. For dinner, try the Lodge’s lakefront restaurant, the Boathouse Saranac Lake Pub. A double room mid-May starts around $199 midweek, $269 weekends.

INFO 250 Lake Flower Ave., Saranac Lake, saranacwaterfrontlodge.com; 518-619-4000


Start the day with a meal made with locally produced...

Start the day with a meal made with locally produced ingredients at BrickInn. Credit: BrickInn

Near the northern entrance to Letchworth State Park, the charming, five-room BrickInn is the perfect place to base your stay. The park (known as the Grand Canyon of the East) boasts three magnificent waterfalls on the roaring Genesee River. There are trails for hiking, biking, bird watching and horseback riding, but to really get on the river, Adventure Calls Outfitters (adventure-calls.com) offers 2.5-hour trips on the Class I and II rapids. For a great view, ride a hot-air balloon (balloonsoverletchworth.com) and on June 4, the park hosts the New York State Yoga Festival, with classes offered all day (nysyogafestival.com). Outside the park, nearby towns Mt. Morris, Geneseo and Perry, offer antiques and specialty shops and historical sites. Guests won’t want to miss the inn’s ample three-course breakfast, included in your stay. A room mid-May starts at $205 midweek; $220 weekends (when a two-night stay might be required).

INFO 32 State St., Mt. Morris, brickinn.com; 585-658-1198

Geneva on the Lake

Stroll the grounds and nearby lake at Geneva On The Lake.

Stroll the grounds and nearby lake at Geneva On The Lake. Credit: Neil Sjoblom

Modeled on an Italian villa, this elegant boutique hotel on the shores of Seneca Lake has 25 guest suites and studios as well as four two-story town houses. Most visitors to the region, recognized as one of the world’s primary wine destinations, will want to include a day on the Seneca Wine Trail (senecalakewine.com), stopping at several of the more than 35 vineyards along the way. And, yes, there’s a Beer Trail as well. Or drive over to Cayuga Lake and do it by water on Bianconi’s Wineries by Water tour (bianconitours.com), stopping at three wineries. Or head to the southern tip of the lake for a hike through Watkins Glen State Park, where a 2-mile gorge trail takes you near 19 waterfalls. End your day at Watkins Glenn with a sunset wine-and-cheese sail on the “True Love,” the schooner used in the 1940 classic film “The Philadelphia Story” (sailtruelove.com). Head back to the hotel and have a glass of wine in the formal gardens before dinner at the lakeside restaurant, Lancellotti’s. A one-bedroom suite mid-May starts at $343.

INFO 100 Lochland Rd., Geneva, genevaonthelake.com, 315-789-7190

Buttermilk Falls Inn & Spa

Have a relaxing getaway at Buttermilk Falls Inn & Spa. 

Have a relaxing getaway at Buttermilk Falls Inn & Spa.  Credit: Grace Licalsi

Overlooking the Hudson River, the Buttermilk Falls Inn date to the 1700s, though the spa, with its indoor pool, is housed in a modern steel and glass building (currently undergoing renovation, but services are available in an alternate facility facing the river). The 75-acre property, across the river from Poughkeepsie, was once owned by famed soprano and Black activist Dorothy Maynor. It has a working farm where you can roam among the goats, llamas and alpacas, along with an aviary for the resident chickens and peacocks. Venture off property to The Walkway Over the Hudson (walkway.org), once a railway bridge, now open to pedestrians who walk the 1.25 miles across the river. Also nearby in Hyde Park are the home of Franklin D. Roosevelt, open for tours Thursday-Monday (nps.gov), and the Culinary Institute of America (ciachef.edu), which has its own restaurant row, from fancy French and Italian to a casual Café. Back at Buttermilk, Henry’s at the Farm gets rave reviews with its seasonal farm-to-table menu. A double room mid-May, breakfast and tea included, starts at $314 midweek, $419 weekends.

INFO 220 North Rd., Milton, buttermilkfallsinn.com; 845-795-1310

An early version of the story referred to Cayuga Lake as Lake Cayuga.


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