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    New York State is blessed with plenty of charming towns and villages, nestled among fields and forests. Offering lovely lakeside walks, quaint family restaurants, pristine natural scenes, and some fascinating historical and cultural landmarks too, these small towns offer a quiet contrast to the lights and sounds of the Big Apple.

    If you’re looking to get away from the big city and enjoy a more peaceful slice of New York life, there are a lot of great options to choose from. We’ve narrowed the list down to our favourite small towns in New York State.

    1

    Saugerties

    Ideal for outdoor enthusiasts

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    Saugerties sits beside the Hudson River and stretches into the Catskill Park. It’s a prime location for outdoor enthusiasts, thanks to many wonderful walks, hikes, and camping opportunities nearby.

    The village itself is well worthy of exploration too, being home to some stunning 19th-century buildings, including antique stores and local family-owned shops. Local landmarks include the Opus 40 sculpture park and the Clermont State colonial mansion. Every year, Saugerties hosts a fun garlic festival that’s great for families.

    Adresse: Saugerties, New York 12477, USA

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    2

    Cold Spring

    A village with loads of history

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    Cold Springs is one of the most historic villages in Upstate New York, featuring more than 200 entries on the National Register of Historic Places. Thanks to some terrific preservation efforts, many of the buildings look as beautiful today as they did over a century ago.

    The town is home to some particularly pretty churches, including Our Lady of Loretto and Saint Mary's in the Highlands, and the free-to-enter Magazzino Italian Art. For outdoor enthusiasts, Breakneck Ridge and the surrounding spaces offer plenty of opportunities for hiking, kayaking, and camping.

    Adresse: Cold Spring, New York 10516, USA

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    3

    Ithaca

    Great for a romantic getaway

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    Ithaca is a hugely popular vacation town among NY locals, renowned for its fantastic dining and arts scenes. It's home to some of New York State's best restaurants, as well as plenty of galleries and live musical shows running regularly throughout the year.

    Local landmarks like the Cornell Botanic Gardens and Ithaca Falls provide picturesque backdrops for romantic escapades and family outings, while the nearby Finger Lakes and Buttermilk Falls State Park have plenty of opportunities for woodland walks and wildlife spotting.

    Adresse: Ithaca, New York 14850, USA

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    4

    Lake Placid

    A small town in the heart of nature

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    Lake Placid sits among the awe-inspiring Adirondack Mountains, surrounded by areas of unparalleled natural beauty. It's the sort of place that helps you feel a million miles from big city life, with authentic small-town charms and some incredible local landmarks.

    Those who choose to stay in the town itself can visit the Lake Placid Winter Olympic Museum or Historical Society Depot Museum. Key locations like Mirror Lake and nearby mountains are great for boating, fishing, and skiing.

    Adresse: Lake Placid, New York 12946, USA

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    5

    Aurora

    For an authentic small-town experience

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    Aurora is one of the smallest towns in New York State, regarded as one of the state's true hidden gems. It sits on the shores of Cayuga Lake, providing breathtaking views in every direction, though it’s best known as the location of Wells College.

    The Aurora Village–Wells College Historic District has over 50 beautiful old buildings, while the surrounding Cayuga Lake area is home to some wonderful wineries offering tours. There are also plenty of charming countryside restaurants for couples and friends to enjoy.

    Adresse: Aurora, New York 13026, USA

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    6

    Cooperstown

    For fans of sports, art, and music

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    Cooperstown is best known as the home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, so sports fans will find a lot to love here. The town is also a great spot for history and art. Local attractions include the Farmers' Museum and Fenimore Art Museum.

    Each year, Cooperstown hosts the Glimmerglass Festival, in which various operatic performances take place at the Alice Busch Opera Theater near Otsego Lake, drawing in music lovers from far and wide.

    Adresse: Cooperstown, New York 13326, USA

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    7

    Beacon

    Adored by art lovers

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    Beacon stands out for its art scene, playing host to the 300,000-sq-ft Dia Beacon, a museum of contemporary and modern art. This town is filled with intriguing independent boutiques and highly rated eateries.

    Nicknamed "Tree City", it offers a beautiful blend of natural and manmade sights, including charming parks like Mt. Beacon Park and Hudson Highlands. The town also has historical buildings like the Madam Brett Homestead and United States Post Office, which date back to the 1930s.

    Adresse: Beacon, New York 12508, USA

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    Billede taget af Jon Platek (CC BY-SA 3.0) Redigeret

    8

    Greenport

    A coastal paradise near NYC

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    Greenport sits on the northern tip of Long Island, not far from New York City. A far cry from the wealthy mansions of the nearby Hamptons, this coastal town is best known for its country homes, family-friendly farmers’ markets, and world-class wineries.

    There are some lovely coastal walks to enjoy in Greenport, along some soft and sandy beaches. Local attractions include the East End Seaport Museum and an antique carousel that has been running for over a century.

    Adresse: Greenport, New York 11944, USA

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    9

    Saratoga Springs

    Home of healing waters

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    Saratoga Springs has a history dating back to the 1600s and has been a popular vacation location for over 2 centuries. It's well-known for its horse racing scene, with events taking place at the Saratoga Racecourse. There are several venues around town that host world-class ballet, opera, and musical performances throughout the year.

    As the name implies, Saratoga Springs is also home to a wealth of natural springs, which can be found all over the town. The natural waters are said to have healing powers, which can vary wildly depending on which spring you visit.

    Adresse: Saratoga Springs, New York 12866, USA

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    10

    Albany

    The New York state capital

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    Albany, the state capital of New York, is well worth a visit for such significant landmarks as the New York State Capitol and the New York State Museum. Nature lovers will enjoy Washington Park, while history buffs can head to notable sites like the Schuyler Mansion.

    The thriving city has plenty to offer in terms of nightlife and dining too. Lots of lively bars, clubs, and restaurants are found in downtown areas like Pearl Street and Madison Avenue. In summer, you can enjoy free weekly ‘Alive at 5’ concerts and the city's Independence Day celebration – said to be one of the biggest in New York State.

    Adresse: Albany, New York 12201, USA

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    11

    Sleepy Hollow

    Make sure you’re in bed by midnight!

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    The legendary village of Sleepy Hollow lies in the bosom of one of those spacious coves which indent the eastern shore of the Hudson, about 40 minutes’ drive from Manhattan. Made famous by Washington Irving’s 1820 short story of wandering schoolteacher Ichabod Crane and his encounter with the Headless Horseman, the village itself is small, historical and decidedly quaint.

    A must-visit in Sleepy Hollow is Irving’s final resting place, just a short walk from an old church and nearby bridge, both of which played important roles in his story. On the other side of the bridge is a modern sculpture of the “Galloping Hessian of the Hollow”. Check out the old lighthouse on the river and Kykuit (John D. Rockefeller Estate) – both attractions aren't related to the legend, but worth a visit. 

    Adresse: Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591, USA

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    Khadija Bilal | Freelanceforfatter

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