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Aurora, Seneca Falls, and Skaneateles make list for best places to visit in Upstate NY

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While New York City often captures the spotlight, the state is home to numerous picturesque historic towns that boast a rich heritage and scenic beauty. A new list from World Atlas spotlighted three local communities as some of the best to visit.


From Cooperstown’s quaint streets and its renowned National Baseball Hall of Fame to Skaneateles with its pristine lake and historic architecture, these destinations provide a unique glimpse into America’s past. Each town features significant landmarks and museums, such as Cooperstown’s Fenimore Art Museum and the Revolutionary War sites, or Skaneateles’s John D. Barrow Art Gallery.

There were several local editions to the list – including Seneca Falls and Aurora, in addition to Skaneateles, which is a frequent flyer on these types of lists.

Here’s what World Atlas said about each:

Seneca Falls

“The town of Seneca Falls is located in the Finger Lakes district on the Cayuga-Seneca Canal. The downtown’s water views, Victorian architecture and canal, make it a charmer. First settled in 1787, Seneca Falls became a center for feminism in America. Amelia Jenks Bloomer, a progressive women’s dress designer and abolitionist and suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton called the town home. The Seneca Falls Convention for Women’s Rights was held there in 1848. Today, the village is the site of the National Women’s Hall of Fame (https://www.britannica.com/place/Seneca-Falls). Other landmarks include the Seneca Falls Historical Society and the Elizabeth Cady Stanton House. For an excellent wine tasting, consider Montezuma Winery.”

Aurora

Located on the eastern edges of Cayuga Lake, the town of Aurora boasts water views and lush rolling hills. The downtown features handsome historic buildings and many well-preserved attractions of another era. Part of the Finger Lakes region, Aurora is a delightful summer vacation spot. Pleasant Rowland of American Girl fame has poured money into gentrifying the downtown. In the distant past, Aurora was once home to six Native nations. The American Revolutionary War caused a rift in their relations. In the late 1700s land tracks in the area were dispersed to war veterans and by 1795 Aurora was founded and later incorporated (https://auroranewyork.us/about/history/). Must-see landmarks are Wells College (a historic college for women), the Aurora Inn, and Mackenzie-Childs (the ceramics and home décor retailer). Don’t forget to check out the Village Market and Fargo Bar and Grill. 

Skaneateles

The town of Skaneateles is enveloped by gentle hills and a picture-perfect lake, of the same name. The charming downtown is marked by its tree-lined streets, Greek Revival, Federal, Italianate, and Romanesque revival architecture. The lake was created by glacier movement millions of years ago and its name, Skaneateles, is Iroquois meaning ‘long lake.’ Part of the Finger Lakes region, the area is a tourist attraction. The town has a rich history. At the end of the Revolutionary War, plots of land in the area were awarded to soldiers. By 1833, the Village of Skaneateles was incorporated (https://www.townofskaneateles.com). Historical landmarks include the John D. Barrow Art Gallery and The Sherwood Inn (established in 1807). The Mirbeau Inn and Spa with its French bistro, along with the lake are additional must-see attractions.