Each one of New York’s small towns has something intriguing that makes our residents want to visit. Some of us look for adventure when we seek out new destinations, keeping our eyes peeled for outdoor attractions that we’ll never forget. While others like to keep things simple by taking a more leisurely experience that leaves us feeling adventurous in other ways. Wherever your interests may lie, you’re going to want to visit these historic towns at one point or another to dive into the Empire State’s fascinating history.
Right along the shores of Lake Champlain where Vermont is close you can see our friendly neighbor, visiting the town of Ticonderoga is nothing short of stepping back in time. With stunning views of the water, its historic locations like Fort Ticonderoga that bring people to this town. Known for being America's Most Historic Landscape, taking a trip to this fort will be exactly like stepping into the 18th century.
2. New Paltz
You may know New Paltz as being one of New York's best adventure towns, but you'll find that many people come here to learn more about the local history. Head over to the Huguenot Street Historical District, where you can find stone houses from the 18th century that are still in their original setting. Seen in the photo above, Abraham Hasbrouck House is just one of several houses that have stood the tests of time.
3. Lake Placid
With the large Olympic Ski Jumps towering over the tree line of the Adirondacks, it's hard not to instantly feel like you've been thrown back into time when visiting Lake Placid. The historic town has hosted the Winter Olympics
twice and surrounds visitors with beautiful scenery and pieces of the past. Home to less than 3,000 residents, there's nothing like taking a getaway to this secluded town to learn more about its history.
One of the many historic towns you'll find lining the banks of the Hudson River, Rhinebeck is one place that you'll find yourself visiting time and time again. Home to less than 8,000 residents, the small town features New York's oldest operating inn that was built back in 1766. One of many historical buildings that you can find in town, the nostalgic charm that Rhinebeck has to offer will make you never want to leave.
5. Oyster Bay
The largest town to make our list, Oyster Bay is home to a variety of historical locations that showcase New York's incredible history. Those making the trip out to this town will generally come here to visit that national historic site Sagamore Hill, the former home of America's 26th President. Those who take an adventure to Sagamore Hill will get a presidential peak into the past, keeping important pieces of our history well-preserved.
Unfamiliar with the town of Washingtonville? One of the many reasons why we love visiting Orange County, this town is home to quite a few historical destinations that will keep your ears perked. If you're feeling thirsty, you can take a trip to America's oldest winery or if you're looking to dive even further into history you can visit the Moffat Library that's on the National Register of Historic Places! In this town, there's something for everyone to enjoy.
Just east of the southern shores of Cayuga Lake between Ithaca and Cortland is the quaint town of Dryden. Home to roughly 14,000 residents, Dryden has a unique history that you may not be aware of. Shown in the photo above is the Southworth Library, a building that had possession of an original manuscript of the speech that was given by Abraham Lincoln at the Whitehouse after his re-election. The library had the fascinating piece of history from 1926 until 2009 when it was sold for more than $3 million dollars. Wow!
For many of us growing up in the Upstate or Central New York area, we remember diving into history in Cooperstown with field trips to the Farmers' Museum. But if you didn't live close enough to the area and have yet to explore this fascinating museum? Then you'll want to plan a trip here ASAP. The museum that feels like you've stepped into a vintage town focuses on preserving the history of rural America. The land has been part of a working farm since 1813 and now features over 23,000 artifacts!
Not only is the small town of Tappan home to New York's oldest restaurant The '76 House, it's also where you can find the famous DeWint House that once served as George Washington's temporary headquarters during the American Revolutionary War! Located in Rockland County, the town now has a population of just over 6,000 residents.