Enjoy Memorial Day Weekend In New York State
Summer shine is here and everyone is planning where to celebrate Memorial Day Weekend for a long weekend vacation. This holiday weekend unofficially marks the start of summer after arguably the longest winter of all time. New York State comes alive over Memorial Day and below are a few standout events and attractions in several regions.
There is plenty of fine wine and activity to enjoy at the Thousand Islands this Memorial Day weekend. To kick it off, the Thousand Islands Winery will launch its first festival, the Grape Blossom Festival, on May 26 from 2:00–8:00 p.m. Join the festivities with your family for local artisan and craft vendors, live music and hayrides overlooking the scenic St. Lawrence River. For casual dining surrounded by water views and the magnificent Boldt Castle in sight, grab a bite at the Holland Street Bistro.
This is the perfect place to kick back and enjoy your meal to the sounds of the bustling Alexandria Bay harbor. If you’re looking for more of an experience, take a boat tour with Clayton Island Tours to the top of the Lighthouse on Rock Island or get on one of their glass-bottom boats for an “in depth” look at the beauty beneath the surface of the River.
The Finger Lakes
The Chinese Lantern Festival held at the NYS Fairgrounds in Syracuse begins on May 25. Open every day except Monday, visitors can expect to experience a festival of color, light and Chinese culture. New York State’s 2nd annual Chinese Lantern Festival will be open until July 1 and have life-sized hand-crafted lighted lantern sculptures of dragons and gondolas displayed overhead and along the path around and in the lake.
There will also be live traditional Chinese performances showcased by dancers, musicians and acrobats with decades of experience, including martial arts, jar balancing, and Chinese theatre. For more culture, explore 3,500 years of glassmaking history at theCorning Museum of Glass. It is the world’s largest collection of classic and contemporary glass art and features live glassblowing demonstrations, as well as daily “Make Your Own Glass” workshops to experience the craft for yourself! The Museum is open until 8:00 pm starting Memorial Day weekend and kids 17 and under are admitted for free.
Looking for some fun in the sun? The world-famous Jones Beach has 6.5 miles of white-sand beach for the whole family to enjoy. The beach offers more than just the beachfront, including a two-mile boardwalk, outdoor pool, Jones Beach Theater for concerts by the waterside, fishing piers and an 18-hole golf course. There is also the Theodore Roosevelt Nature Center with marine habitat exhibits and nature programs for kids to have a hands-on learning experience.
For more history, travel back 250 years in time at the William Floyd Estate on Fire Island. William Floyd was one of the four New Yorkers to sign the Declaration of Independence and his “Old Mastic House”, in which he was born in 1734, is the only house still standing and open to the public. Opening for the season on Memorial Day, the 25-room house contains architectural features and historical artifacts from three centuries of American life.
Skiing season may be over in the Catskills, but there is much more to explore this Memorial Day weekend. Hunter Mountain in the summertime is perfect for golfing, hiking, mountain biking and fly fishing. You can also find a scenic skyride that takes you to the 3,200-ft summit for amazing views of the northern Catskills or be adventurous by riding on North America’s longest and highest zipline. If you look just 90 miles from NYC, you can find a different adventure with the Rail Explorers: Catskills Division.
Opening May 26, the Rail Explorers offers a scenic ride through the nature and woods of the Catskill mountains. Experience the beauty of the historic Ulster & Delaware Railroad along the Esopus Creek and get fit while you pedal 8 miles round trip. For true tranquility, visit the Kadampa World Peace Templefor guided meditations, prayer and peaceful gardens. They also offer guided tours of the Temple, explaining the imagery and symbolism displayed on its walls, and the option to stay overnight for spiritual inspiration.