10 Best Places to Visit in New York State in Winter

10 Best Places to Visit in New York State in Winter. While we may grumble and groan about snow sometimes, those of us who live in New York State know that it is a fabulous place to live and play during the winter.  Whether you are a New York resident, or you are visiting for a week or two during the winter, you can find some pretty amazing places to visit here in the Empire State.


Winter does not need to stop your travels. Just consider new adventures that take advantage of playing in the snow, such as skiing, sledding, skating or even cross country skiing. How about building a snowman on the same grounds where the United States won a gold medal in men’s hockey? Or, touring New York’s wine region, but in addition to checking out the local wines, maybe go ice fishing, too. You can also visit your favorite wineries while in the Finger Lakes region. Whatever you decide to do, do not let the snow prevent you from having fun, embrace and enjoy all that winter has to offer in beautiful New York State! Here are a few spots around the state that make for great winter getaways.

10 Best Places to Visit in New York State in Winter

Live in New York State and looking for a winter day trip, or weekend trip to enjoy with your family or significant other? Or perhaps you live south of the Mason-Dixon and would like to experience a great northern ski and snow season?

If you are ready to have a fantastic winter vacation, here are the top Winter Vacation Spots in New York State to visit this year:

10 Best Places to Visit in New York State in Winter. While we may grumble and groan about snow sometimes, those of us who live in New York State know that it is a fabulous place to live and play during the winter.  Whether you are a New York resident, or you are visiting for a week or two during the winter, you can find some pretty amazing places to visit here in the Empire State.


1. Adirondacks

From winter skiing to summertime hiking, the Adirondack Mountains and their communities offer outstanding experiences year-round. During the winter, explore the mountains with a hike via snowshoes or cross-country skis. With about 200 miles of trails, snowmobile enthusiasts will find plenty of space to enjoy speeding along snow-covered lanes, including Lake George and Lake Champlain.

With festivals taking place throughout winter, winter is party time with Adirondacks towns and villages. Lake George celebrates its winter carnival throughout February. Ice sculptures, great food, and a polar plunge highlight the events. Other communities celebrating winter include Brant Lake, Indian Lake and Inlet.

Don’t forget to check out shopping opportunities at Adirondacks outlets and boutiques, such as Lake George Outlets with its variety of shopping opportunities. Small town shops feature unique foods and products, including maple syrup, cheese, meats, and crafts.
Check out the area’s bed and breakfast inns for your winter getaway.

10 Best Places to Visit in New York State in Winter. While we may grumble and groan about snow sometimes, those of us who live in New York State know that it is a fabulous place to live and play during the winter.  Whether you are a New York resident, or you are visiting for a week or two during the winter, you can find some pretty amazing places to visit here in the Empire State.


2. The Catskills

The Catskills can look like a pristine white quilt as snow covers its rolling hills, mountains and forests. Yet, that beauty invites you to be part of the winter fun. With outstanding ski resorts, as well as lodges and bed and breakfast inns, the area is ripe for a winter getaway. From fantastic skiing and snowboarding spots to trails for fun cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, the Catskills is a winter enthusiast’s paradise. Rev up the snowmobile and enjoy racing along mountain trails.

But, if you are not in the mood for winter sports, how about farm life? The Catskills are home to farm stays, where people can spend a weekend staying on a working farm and help with chores, such as milking cows and feeding animals. It provides an opportunity to learn firsthand what goes into farm living.

3. Chautauqua County

Hugging Lake Erie along in western New York, Chautauqua County sees lake effect snow often during the winter (when you hear “Buffalo got snow” on the national weather station, it is usually here in ski country), creating a white canvas waiting to be explored via snowmobile, cross-country skis or snowshoes. With more than 25 ski slopes and trails available, as well as five challenging terrains, Peek ‘n’ Peak Resort offers great winter activities such as skiing and snowboarding. With hiking trails giving way to snow-covered paths, cross-country skiing fans and snowshoe enthusiasts will find the trails inviting for their winter adventures.

At the end of the day, you will want to relax and enjoy the evening. Find your way out of a locked room experience with Escape Rooms Jamestown. A locked room experience challenges you to solve puzzles and answer clues that lead your team to a safe exit from your room within the allotted time limit. You can also unwind with a glass of beer or sip a wine at Jamestown’s wineries or breweries.

4. Cooperstown

Winter may be the best time to visit the National Baseball Hall of Fame as you can reserve a custom tour that focuses on your favorite team. The tour features memorabilia and exhibits specific to your team. New York Yankee fans may have to plan a whole day to tour their team’s accomplishments. Don’t forget a visit to the Fenimore Art Museum and its beautiful courtyard looking out to Lake Otsego.

Otsego Lake is beautiful no matter the time of year. During the winter, grab some skates and go ice skating on the lake (weather permitting, of course). Cooperstown may be best known for baseball, but the area is home to outstanding areas for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and snow tubing.

Cooperstown is home to some excellent lodging options, such as the Inn at Cooperstown, Tunnifliff Inn, Rose and Thistle B&B and the Holiday Inn Express and Suites.

5. Finger Lakes

With lakes in the region’s name, you know that ice fishing has to rank as one of the fun things to do in Finger Lakes during winter. Drilling a hole in one of the frozen lakes and taking part in a favorite winter activity is perfect for the Finger Lakes. Rainbow trout, bigmouth bass and perch are the fish most commonly caught during winter. Do not forget your New York State fishing license. You can print it out online (I have done this before) if you decide on a last-minute trip and do not want to wait for it in the mail.

Ganondagan State Historical Park features about 500 acres that are perfect for snowshoeing. As you walk across the snow, be on the lookout for wildlife such as fox or deer. You may also want to explore the park’s history, including the Seneca Bark Longhouse, a 17th- century tribal home.

Since the Finger Lake area is known for its wine, create your own winter wine trail, with stops at any of the dozens of wineries open year-round. Pair your favorite drink with cheese or chocolates, and you have an impressive winter outing.
While you are in the Finger Lakes, if you would like to do some winery exploration, I’ve been to more than a few:
* Estate Wineries on Seneca Lake
* Wine Tasting On Canandaigua Lake
* Wine Tasting On the West Side Of Seneca Lake
* Wine Tasting On the east Side of Seneca Lake
* Wine Tasting On Cayuga Lake

10 Best Places to Visit in New York State in Winter. While we may grumble and groan about snow sometimes, those of us who live in New York State know that it is a fabulous place to live and play during the winter.  Whether you are a New York resident, or you are visiting for a week or two during the winter, you can find some pretty amazing places to visit here in the Empire State.


6. Letchworth State Park

Known as the “Grand Canyon of the East,” Letchworth State Park offers a bounty of outdoor activities to warm you up during winter. Situated about an hour south of Rochester, the park has more than 60 miles of trails that can be used for snowmobiling and cross-country skiing. Or even snowshoeing. The park also features excellent terrain for snow tubing. Considered one of the nation’s best state parks, Letchworth State Park’s trails are perfect for exploring nature year-round.

Stay in the park at the Glen Iris Inn or consider one of the area’s hotels, only a few miles from the park’s main entrance.

7. Lake Placid

Of course, the spot of the USA’s 1980 Olympic gold-medal winning hockey team must be visited. Located in the Adirondacks, does any other place really say winter in New York better than Lake Placid?

Home to the Lake Placid Olympic Museum, you can learn about the history of the winter sports. Possibly even more fun would be taking a luge or bobsled ride down the same runs as Olympians. If Olympic sports may be too fast or challenging, grab a pair of skis and head out for some cross-country skiing or try snowshoeing area trails. The Lake Placid area is perfect for the activities. Sledding is fun anytime, but there is something special about sledding at Lake Placid. Avid skiers and snowboarders can enjoy a challenging course down Whiteface Mountain.

If you just want a relaxing weekend at Lake Placid, check out area spas, museums, and art galleries.

The snow may cover the mountains, but it doesn’t stop Lake Placid from offering a great winter getaway. Click here for lodging options.

10 Best Places to Visit in New York State in Winter. While we may grumble and groan about snow sometimes, those of us who live in New York State know that it is a fabulous place to live and play during the winter.  Whether you are a New York resident, or you are visiting for a week or two during the winter, you can find some pretty amazing places to visit here in the Empire State.


8. Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls is beautiful in the winter. Here are some of the photos I have taken of its frozen, beautiful wintertime majesty.

Niagara Falls State Park is simply breathtaking in the wintertime. Enjoy the lightshow, the view from the Observation Tower, and walk the trails on Goat Island and Three Sisters Island. After a half-day spent walking the park, you can enjoy some of the Niagara County regional wines, including New York State Ice Wines! Yum!

10 Free Things to Do in Niagara Falls
Here is a great place to find a Niagara Falls hotel: Niagara Falls hotels.

10. Syracuse

When you’re considered the snowiest city in the United States with more than 100 inches annually, you can either hide away for three months or embrace all-things snow. Syracuse grabs winter by the horns and owns it. The home of Syracuse University basketball is also home to Winterfest. For 10 days and nights Feb. 13-23, the city welcomes locals and visitors to celebrate the area’s food, cocktails, and attractions such as ice sculptures, skating, and a treasure hunt! With local attractions open for visits, including the Erie Canal Museum and the Onondaga Historical Association museum, where you can learn about the area’s history as well as enjoy special exhibits.

Of course, with all that snow, Syracuse has to be a great spot for winter sports, right? Try ice skating at Clinton Square or Meacham Park. Located about a 30-minute drive south of the city, Song Mountain Resort offers excellent skiing options. Strap on your skis and enjoy cross-country skiing or snowshoeing along trails in Syracuse parks, including Beaver Lake Nature Center, Highland Forest, and Onondaga Lake Park. Snowmobiling fans will enjoy zipping along Highland Forest Park, as well as nearby Oneida Shores Park and Erie Canal towpath.

During your visit, Syracuse hotels offer several options for comfortable stays.

With some of the snowiest cities in the United States in Syracuse, Rochester, and Buffalo, not to mention the fabulous ski slopes of Chautauqua County and the beautiful Adirondacks, New Yorkers truly enjoy winter and revel in playing in the white stuff. From snowmobiling to snowshoeing, as well as festivals and wine trails, there is plenty to do and places to explore in New York State during the winter.

So come and embrace the winter and enjoy a fun and adventurous winter getaway in New York.

Looking for more New York State seasonal delights? Here are some great New York State getaways for you and your family to enjoy:

10 Best Christmas Towns in New York State – While we may take it for granted sometimes, those of us who live in New York State know that it is a magical place to live during the holidays. Whether you are a New York resident, or you are visiting for the holidays, you can find some pretty amazing places to visit here in the Empire State.

10 Fabulous New York State Springtime Getaways – While we may take it for granted sometimes, those of us who live in New York State know that it is a wonderful place to live and play during the springtime. Whether you are a New York State resident, or you are just vacationing in this beautiful region, you can find some pretty amazing places to visit here in the Empire State.

Best Summer Family Getaways in New York State Summer means vacation time! New York State is home to many inviting spots to spend a long weekend or a full week (or two) with the family. From retracing the steps of great Olympians to camping and fishing outdoors to checking out some of the scary and fun attractions at amusement parks, New York State invites you to enjoy some great quality time with your loved ones on a terrific family getaway.


• For more New York State Travel posts on Ann’s Entitled Life, click here.

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Christmas Tree Farms in New York State

Christmas Tree Farms in New York State. The state of New York is one of the best locations for finding amazing Christmas Tree Farms for cutting your own holiday tree.  There are many great farms that are ideal for taking your family along for a fun holiday adventure. Build a great new family tradition by planning a weekend to visit one of the many amazing Christmas Tree farms located throughout New York State.


The state of New York is one of the best locations for finding amazing Christmas Tree Farms for cutting your own holiday tree. There are many great farms that are ideal for taking your family along for a fun holiday adventure. Build a great new family tradition by planning a weekend to visit one of the many amazing Christmas Tree farms located throughout New York State.

Christmas Tree Farms in New York State

When you plan your family trip to cut down a holiday tree, make sure to check in advance regarding policies the individual tree farm may have regarding cutting down the trees and payment. Some locations ask you to bring your own saw, but most will provide a cutting tool or go with you to pick and cut a tree. Most will accept a credit or debit card, but there are still some small farms that prefer cash only. Take a moment to research and even call in advance.

Note: One acre of Christmas trees produces oxygen for eighteen people daily!

Bailey Family Christmas Trees

Their tagline says they are the finest trees around, and who are we to say otherwise? Bailey Family Christmas Trees are located in Cambridge, New York. Trees are available to tag starting in October with just a $20 fee. Trees are all priced at $59 and they do accept cash as well as all major credit cards.

Battenfeld’s Christmas Tree Farm

Head to Red Hook, New York and Battenfeld’s Christmas Tree Farm for a true holiday experience. Not only can you cut your own tree, but you can pick up centerpieces, wreaths, and even meet Santa while at this location. Prices on trees are in the $70 range, but the experience on select days even includes holiday bagpipers. This is a perfect place to make it a full family event.

BJ’s Christmas Tree Farm

In Pleasant Valley, New York, you will find BJ’s Christmas Tree Farm that takes you back in time. Eastern White Pine, Douglas Fir, and Concolor Fir are the variety of choices at this farm. You’ll find not only cut your own trees but options for homemade wreaths and swags that are perfect for decorating your home. Pricing is not listed on their website, but the link to social media has options for asking questions and checking out past reviews and seasonal offerings.

Chengerian’s Tree Land

This is an award-winning Christmas tree farm located in Fulton, New York. Chenergian’s Tree Land has a superior variety of Frasier Fir for you to cut with your family. Grown with no chemicals, these are definitely a popular choice for those who prefer a green option. While pricing varies, you will want to check out their website linked above to download a coupon for your purchase before you arrive.

Carter Christmas Tree Farm

Miller Place, New York is the home of the Carter Choose & Cut Christmas Tree Farm. Offering White Spruce, Scotch Pine, Blue Spruce, and Norway Spruce, they are another great farm that allows pre-tagging the week prior to Thanksgiving most years. This helps you secure your pick ahead of time to pick up when the holiday is near. There is no information on their website currently regarding pricing or forms of payment.

Christmas Tree Farms in New York State. The state of New York is one of the best locations for finding amazing Christmas Tree Farms for cutting your own holiday tree.  There are many great farms that are ideal for taking your family along for a fun holiday adventure. Build a great new family tradition by planning a weekend to visit one of the many amazing Christmas Tree farms located throughout New York State.


Emmerich Tree Farm

Located in Warwick, New York, the Emmerich Tree Farm is more than just a holiday tree destination. This location hosts weddings, year-round events, and has an amazing tree farm that provides you and your family with a choice of Spruce or Fir varieties ranging in price from $42 up to $120 for larger options. Accepting all major credit cards or cash, this is an ideal location to take your kids and enjoy the tree cutting experience and a complimentary cup of hot chocolate on a cold winter evening before Christmas.

Evergreen Farm

Douglas and Fraser Fir are the featured options alongside Spruce at the Evergreen Farm in the Hudson Valley area. Accepting only cash or checks, the prices here range from $25-$65.

Evergreen View Farm Christmas Trees

For only $30 you can pick up a great cut your own Christmas tree at the Evergreen View Farm located in Lowville, New York. They only accept cash, but that will get you a great tree, a cup of hot cocoa, and an amazing experience with your children and family.

Fox Ridge Christmas Tree Farm

Another great option in Warwick, New York is the Fox Ridge Christmas Tree Farm. The biggest selling point here is that all trees are only $45. If you are on a budget, this is a perfect experience but they are only open two days per season and only accept check and cash.

Jurek Plantations

Near Buffalo, New York the Jurek Plantations is a family-owned operation that has been supplying local fresh Christmas trees for eons. Cut-your-own trees are available to 12′ high and are priced starting at $45.99 (pre-cut are less expensive). This is a great operation – you can borrow a saw, your tree is baled for free, you can get help loading and tying down your tree! There are three locations one in Clarence (which also offers wagon rides on weekends), Franklinville (this farm provides the pre-cut trees they sell, pre-cut only), and Akron.

Use this coupon to save $5 off a cut-your-own (or pre-cut) Fraiser Fir, White Fir, Douglas Fir, Canaan F‏ir, Balsam Fir, Noble Fir, Grand Fir, Austrian Pine, White Pine, Colorado Blue Spruce, or White Spruce Christmas Tree! (Check the website for what location sells which type of tree).

Kelly’s Tree Farm

Balsam and Fraser Fir are the choices available at Kelly’s Tree Farm in Croghan, New York. One of the top features of this farm is the ability to go in October to pick your tree and tag it prior to the official cutting season beginning after Thanksgiving. While their website does not show prices or information about whether they accept credit cards, it is easy to contact them using their online form or social media with questions.

Moore Tree Farm

Moore Tree Farm in Groton, New York has been a popular choice for over 30 years. Average trees are priced at $49.95, with smaller options in the $27.95 range and larger options priced at $149. They do also offer lower-cost pre-cut versions if that is of interest. Accepting cash, and most major credit cards, they are a convenient location to those in the Ithaca region.

Mountain Ash Tree Farm

Near Rochester, New York, you will find Mountain Ash Tree Farm offers 11 varieties of fir and spruce trees to choose from for your holiday tree. Pricing varies here but all major credit cards and cash are accepted.

Nitsche Tree Farm

Lindley, New York is the home of Nitsche Tree Farm. There aren’t a lot of details online about this farm, but the images on their social media show great trees from the 2017 season. It is well worth checking them out if you live in the area.

Pine View Farm

A historic farm turned Christmas tree farm, Pine View Farm is a great destination to take your family to cut your own tree if you are near the Hudson Valley. This beautiful farm offers Balsam Fir, Blue Spruce, Canaan Fir, Concolor Fir, Fraser Fir, Meyer Spruce, and White Spruce. All trees are priced at $63 and they only accept cash and personal checks as of the 2017 season information. This is a rustic location, and does not offer the gift shops and other experiences of other tree farms, but does offer amazing trees.

Christmas Tree Farms in New York State. The state of New York is one of the best locations for finding amazing Christmas Tree Farms for cutting your own holiday tree.  There are many great farms that are ideal for taking your family along for a fun holiday adventure. Build a great new family tradition by planning a weekend to visit one of the many amazing Christmas Tree farms located throughout New York State.


Saltsman Tree Farm

The Saltsman Tree Farm is a smaller location that has been family owned and operated for over thirty years in Rhinebeck, New York. Prices vary depending on the size of the tree and they only accept cash and checks as of the end of their 2017 season. As they have run out of trees early in December in the past, it is recommended you visit as soon as possible in the season to pick your family tree.

Santa’s Christmas Tree Farm

The name says it all! Head to Cutchogue, New York for Santa’s Christmas Tree Farm and a wonderful family-friendly tree cutting experience. Santa Claus and live reindeer are on the premises throughout the holiday season to help make the experience more fanciful for your family. Trees are $85 and up, but the experience and free hot cocoa make this more than reasonable for those wanting to really help their children get into the Christmas spirit.

Wilbert’s Christmas Tree Farm

One of the best Christmas tree farms in New York for the budget is Wilbert’s Christmas Tree Farm located in Williamson, New York. Prices range from $35 for an average sized tree you cut on your own. For pre-cut or larger trees, you may pay between $45-$60. They accept cash, Visa, and MasterCard.

Note If you live in Western New York, there is a WNY Christmas Trees website with more information. There are a lot of Christmas Tree farms listed for Erie County. There is also a telephone number you can call to inquire about a Christmas Tree farm near you!
(I am not certain how old the site is, I picked up the pamphlet at an outdoors show I went to with Hubby.)

Don’t see a Christmas Tree Farm listed here near you? Check out the Christmas Tree Farmers Association of New York for a Christmas Tree Farm in your area! I needed to take a photo for this post, put in my zip code and got 20-something farms within 25 miles. There are a LOT of Christmas tree farms in NYS! My nearest one used to be within walking distance. For the photo, I had to drive 10 minutes to their next closest location (the closest one got sold a few years ago as urban sprawl took over).

There are so many amazing Christmas tree farms in the state of New York. This list includes a wide variety around the state and also has a good variety of budgets represented. Make new memories this year by using this list to create a family outing just in time for the holidays.

If you are looking for more things to do in New York State, check out these posts:

10 Best Christmas Towns in New York State – While we may take it for granted sometimes, those of us who live in New York State know that it is a magical place to live during the holidays. Whether you are a New York resident, or you are visiting for the holidays, you can find some pretty amazing places to visit here in the Empire State.

15 Family Friendly Spooky Places in New York State – Halloween is a spooktacular time of year! Ghosts and goblins abound everywhere – and most especially in New York State. Spooky and fun family attractions your entire clan will love abound in this great state, so I have gotten together a list of my favorite 15 Family Friendly Spooky Places in NYS for you to visit and explore. Have a haunting good time.

300 Things To Do In Niagara Falls and Buffalo, NY – This is a long list of events, places, and things to do in Buffalo, and Niagara Falls, New York. This includes things to do in all of the 8 counties of Western New York. From touristy things to do, to things only locals know about, this great list of 300 Things to do in Niagara Falls and Buffalo, NY has something for everyone on it!


Disclosure: the links in this post may be affiliate links.

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Six Weeks in Italy

Six Weeks in Italy. Hubby and I just spent the last six weeks in Italy. It was an amazing trip with lots of wine, food, and a few archeological sites thrown in. This is a compilation of what we did, where we stayed, and the food and wines we enjoyed while traveling from Turin in the north to Sicily in the south, and across Italy to Venice in the east. In all we visited 11 major cities in Italy, and took a plethora of trips to the Italian countryside.


Hubby and I just spent the last six weeks in Italy. It was an amazing trip with lots of wine, food, and a few archeological sites thrown in. This is a compilation of what we did, where we stayed, and the food and wines we enjoyed while traveling from Turin in the north to Sicily in the south, and across Italy to Venice in the east. In all, we visited 11 major cities in Italy and took a plethora of trips to the Italian countryside.

Six Weeks in Italy

Last year, after Mr. Max passed away, Hubby and I were considering places to travel. We had not been anywhere out of the country in years; our last trip without Max was to Italy and France in 2015. Max was a rabies titer as well as on a lot of daily medications, so anywhere we went, he needed to go with us or we needed Sonny-boy to take care of him.

Hubby asked me how I felt about a trip to Italy, and since I loved our last trip there, I was completely on-board. He spend a few weeks looking into it, came back to me and asked how I felt about SIX WEEKS in Italy.

After a nanosecond of thought, I said, “yes!”

Hubby spent a lot of time planning this trip. He used mainly bookings.com (which we later learned from a tour guide is the #1 way to book travel in Italy), and Viator (for excursions).

We decided to once again travel with only carry-on luggage. It is very convient when transfering trains to only have a small piece of luggage to drag around. I took a carry-on (same one that I used before), and the same pac-safe “purse”.

I decided to forgo my camera and lenses, and purchased a travel camera (the Canon PowerShot) which weighed next to nothing. I used that and my phone this time for photographs.

Hubby used a carry-on, a back-pack, and for every day walking around, he packed a small bag that he used to carry water, suntan lotion, and some snacks.

Since we were gone for six weeks, we, of course, needed to do laundry. I purchased some laundry detergent sheets. They worked very well, were lightweight, and were fabric softening too. We did find laundry sheets on display in several grocery stores in Italy. I am not sure if I would chance it, but it is possible to purchase them there at select grocery stores.

When Hubby was selecting places to stay, we had criteria that included an elevator, no stairs, and a washer. This worked quite well as all the Airbnbs had washers except for Sorrento and Rome (we used a laundromat), all the places that said had an elevator did have an elevator, but for stairs? We got stuck once in Florence as it was not disclosed that there was a set of stairs up to the apartment after the elevator. It worked for us, but if we had been handicapped or elderly, it might not have worked quite as well (these were some very, very steep stairs).

One of the first things Hubby did when we got to Italy was get us each TIM sim cards for our phones. The cost was cheap (about 20€ a month) with 30GB of data… more than we could ever use!

So, where did we go? What did we do?

We landed in Nice, France. Hubby got a deal on La Compagnie (a business seating only plane) that flew from Newark to Nice. We decided to drive to Newark – after our last European plane disaster I was not chancing a connection! – and we stopped midway to watch the Bills game. It worked out great!

In Nice, we took a day to visit Hubby’s aunt and uncle, and then we were off to Italy.

Since the trains from France to Italy didn’t line up well at the time of the day we were traveling, we spent the evening in Ventimiglia and then took a train the next day to Turin.

Six Weeks in Italy. Hubby and I just spent the last six weeks in Italy. It was an amazing trip with lots of wine, food, and a few archeological sites thrown in. This is a compilation of what we did, where we stayed, and the food and wines we enjoyed while traveling from Turin in the north to Sicily in the south, and across Italy to Venice in the east. In all we visited 11 major cities in Italy, and took a plethora of trips into the Italian countryside.


Some of the food for sale during a Turin market tour.


Turin, Italy

In Turin we checked into our airbnb – located in the middle of the city center. We have been told Turin is a big city, yet it felt very small and compact to us.

What did we do in Turin?

Well, our first tour was supposed to be a city center walking tour. We booked with Viator, and we were to meet our tour guide in front of the church where they keep the Shroud of Turin (not on display now) at 6 pm. At 6:15 pm, Hubby called the agency who was giving the tour and got the old “we were just going to call you.” Uh-huh.

This was not an auspicious beginning. Our first tour was canceled! And even worse, they immediately issued a refund and called it “canceled” on Viator. Why worse? We couldn’t leave a review to warn others!

So, we went to the store, wandered around a bit, and then went to sleep. The next day we went on a chocolate tour where I uttered the words, “no more chocolate!”. Turin is known for its chocolate, and it was very good.

We took a very nice wine tour out of Alba, where I bought of few bottles of Barolo wine and expanded my vino taste buds!

Six Weeks in Italy. Hubby and I just spent the last six weeks in Italy. It was an amazing trip with lots of wine, food, and a few archeological sites thrown in. This is a compilation of what we did, where we stayed, and the food and wines we enjoyed while traveling from Turin in the north to Sicily in the south, and across Italy to Venice in the east. In all we visited 11 major cities in Italy, and took a plethora of trips into the Italian countryside.


The port was absolutely beautiful.


Rapollo, Italy

Before Hubby and I left home, we looked at the historical temperature highs and lows of our destination cities to determine what to pack. We saw nothing was much above 75°F, so I packed jeans and a pair of black slacks. Well, starting in Rapallo, the temperatures for the entire month of September ran 10-15° higher than normal. Rapallo is a beautiful little town that led to more beach communities and was about 90°F and sunny outside.

Hubby and I checked into the Best Western Plus – absolutely like no Best Western you have ever stayed in. This was a beautiful hotel with a magnificent view; it was truly lovely. It is also situated well for the beach, boats, and shopping.

Six Weeks in Italy. Hubby and I just spent the last six weeks in Italy. It was an amazing trip with lots of wine, food, and a few archeological sites thrown in. This is a compilation of what we did, where we stayed, and the food and wines we enjoyed while traveling from Turin in the north to Sicily in the south, and across Italy to Venice in the east. In all we visited 11 major cities in Italy, and took a plethora of trips into the Italian countryside.


Guard tower in Rapollo.


Good thing on the shopping. The next day Hubby had us go to a nearby port town, and I was completely miserable. Having only jeans to wear in that type of heat and sun led to an extremely grumpy Ann. The second morning Hubby hustled me into a store for a pair of lightweight slacks which I wore and wore and wore and wore. Best 25€ I spent on the trip (they were so lightweight, they did not last to bring home, but they were still worth the price!!)

We did very little (well, Hubby ate a lot of gelato) in Rapallo, but the town sure was purdy!

Six Weeks in Italy. Hubby and I just spent the last six weeks in Italy. It was an amazing trip with lots of wine, food, and a few archeological sites thrown in. This is a compilation of what we did, where we stayed, and the food and wines we enjoyed while traveling from Turin in the north to Sicily in the south, and across Italy to Venice in the east. In all we visited 11 major cities in Italy, and took a plethora of trips into the Italian countryside.


This is mosaic art in Florence.


Florence, Italy

After that, it was on to Florence!

Our time in Florence was nothing like the last time we went there. We ignored all the art (well, mostly). We used it for a starting point for tours. Hubby had really wanted to stay in Tuscany, but that would have meant renting a car and he was not quite prepared to do that. There were few tours originating in the Tuscan countryside, so we set up base in Florence, and then took the tours from there.

Hubby picked a fabulous spot in Florence on the river Arno. Our airbnb had a private terrace overlooking the river, and a nice little washer set-up.

We did an artisan tour that I swear was trying to kill me. Hubby and I walked 5-10 miles per day every day while in Italy. Some of the walking was easier than others. Some of the cobblestone streets look fantastic, but can contain tripping hazzards. Mentally, this gets to me (I fear falling). The artisan tour started out wonderfully at a Musivo Lastrucci a mosaic artist that is nothing like any mosaic you have ever seen! We wandered over to a shoe maker, furniture restorer, leather artist, and walked and walked and walked. Honestly? We could have gone to the mosaic place, the paper maker and been done and I would have been very happy.

While in Florence we took several trips out into the Tuscan wine country where I bought several cases of wine from Marchese Gondi. This was actually the winery I purchased the most wine from, and I will continue to do so in the future. Our tour guide, Matt, was also a sommelier, and even Hubby learned new things from him. Our other regional wine tour I do not recall the particulars. Oops.

We took one of the best food tours we had while in Italy in Florence, too. Our guide Sarah lived in the neighborhood and really knew what was what.

Six Weeks in Italy. Hubby and I just spent the last six weeks in Italy. It was an amazing trip with lots of wine, food, and a few archeological sites thrown in. This is a compilation of what we did, where we stayed, and the food and wines we enjoyed while traveling from Turin in the north to Sicily in the south, and across Italy to Venice in the east. In all we visited 11 major cities in Italy, and took a plethora of trips into the Italian countryside.


No kitches in Pompeii, so this is a “restaurant”.


Sorrento, Italy

Hubby and I went back to Sorrento as we liked it very much. We didn’t do many tours – well we went to Pompeii since we missed it last time, and did a food agrotourism excursion that was absolutely fantastic!

We went to a wine tasting, then on to visit a guy who was making liqueurs in a still (seriously!) in a tiny little town of about 35 people, and then off to a magnificent experience at a B&B farmhouse up in the hills. The couple cooked for us, and then cooked for us, and then cooked for us. We were a party of eight and all groaning after the first course. Hubby made the “mistake” of asking if they made calzones, so as we were all stuffed to the gills after the third course, we got calzones too! This was one of the best tours (if not the best) we took in Italy, I would do this tour again if I was ever back in the region. It was truly unique and something you will not find just anywhere.

Sicily

There are two ways to get to Sicily – train or boat. And even the train is transferred via boat. Hubby booked us on an overnight boat out of Naples, Italy to Palermo, Sicily, and the question was how to get to Naples from Sorrento. We could take the local train, and then a taxi to the docks, but that was not something we were keen to do.

We ended up going to Capri and spent the day there. Boats from Capri to Naples ran constantly, so it was a pretty obvious choice. We also never went to Capri itself (the town), instead we spent time in Marina Grande and Anacapri (which we liked last time).

Once we landed in Naples, we had to walk over to the second port, but it was an easy half-mile walk and customs was very nice to us showing us how to board the boat without walking all the way around. The ship was very interesting; there were a ton of loaded semi-trucks on the first three floors, and we boarded by escalator. Our cabin was very small, but more than adequate for the evening, and it included a small bathroom with a shower. They had a cafeteria, a lounge, a children’s playroom, etc. We had read some reviews that were not thrilled, but for the price? This was the way to get to Sicily.

Six Weeks in Italy. Hubby and I just spent the last six weeks in Italy. It was an amazing trip with lots of wine, food, and a few archeological sites thrown in. This is a compilation of what we did, where we stayed, and the food and wines we enjoyed while traveling from Turin in the north to Sicily in the south, and across Italy to Venice in the east. In all we visited 11 major cities in Italy, and took a plethora of trips into the Italian countryside.


This Greek amphitheater is in fabulous shape!


Palermo, Sicily

Palermo is a very gritty town. It reminded me of NYC in the 70s (Hubby specifically said Brooklyn circa 1970s). We stayed in a nice airbnb that didn’t have an elevator, but was easy stairs.

We took several food tours, saw the Opera house where scenes from the Godfather were filmed (there were Godfather tours offered all over Sicily, but since I have never seen the movie(s) they would have been wasted on me), and then took more food tours.

Six Weeks in Italy. Hubby and I just spent the last six weeks in Italy. It was an amazing trip with lots of wine, food, and a few archeological sites thrown in. This is a compilation of what we did, where we stayed, and the food and wines we enjoyed while traveling from Turin in the north to Sicily in the south, and across Italy to Venice in the east. In all we visited 11 major cities in Italy, and took a plethora of trips into the Italian countryside.


Our room had a beautiful view!


Taormina

Hubby booked us for a few days in Taormina and wow did I like this place. Very small, quite touristy, it was high up in the hills with a magnificent view. We took a few tours including a wine tour up Mt Etna to the Gambino Winery. I swear this was the most modern winery I have ever been in! The ash and weather on Mt Etna forms a microclimate with great soil, and the wines were very good. They already have a distribution center in New York, so the cost was the cost (they simply shipped across the state) instead of having to deal with a shipping company and duty (it is actually a simple process, but it is an additional cost).

We also took a tour to Erice, and to see Trapani sea salt drying.

The most interesting (to me) thing about Sicily? We went to a lot of Greek ruins (saving Hubby a trip to Athens). Apparently, Sicily has a great quantity of ancient Greek ruins! And, I was thrilled to tour them.

Six Weeks in Italy. Hubby and I just spent the last six weeks in Italy. It was an amazing trip with lots of wine, food, and a few archeological sites thrown in. This is a compilation of what we did, where we stayed, and the food and wines we enjoyed while traveling from Turin in the north to Sicily in the south, and across Italy to Venice in the east. In all we visited 11 major cities in Italy, and took a plethora of trips into the Italian countryside.


Trevi fountain. My SIL & I were able to get right up to it and toss in our coins.


Rome, Italy

After Sicily, we headed to Rome.

After taking a boat down to Sicily, we decided to take the overnight train to Rome. Big, big, BIG mistake. I have taken a lot of sleepers in the United States in my lifetime. My father was a train-nut, and we went all over the country via train. I had no problem going on an overnight train in a sleeping compartment up to Rome, or so I thought.

Hubby booked us on the slower overnight train after I said I did not want to transfer to the train with the Excelsior Sleeper at midnight. I take full responsibility for the awfulness of this train ride. The sleeping compartment was so small we could not both stand up when the ladder was in place for the top bunk. There was no water (they provided a few bottles), there was no way to regulate temperature, it was loud, and horrible, and when we got to Rome we were more exhausted than when we flew from the States!!

In Rome we stayed at this very nice airbnb which had a great location for our purposes. We were close to the train station, embassies (ha!) and the salon where I got my hair done. Priorities!

This location had a set-up that we needed, which was at least two bedrooms as my sister-in-law joined us. It was her first time in Rome so we went to the Trevi Fountian, Spanish Steps, and the Vatican (just as fantastic the second time), Palentine Hill, the Forum, and the Coliseum (OMG we LOVED the Forum), and then on day 3 Hubby and my SIL went back to the Trevi fountain and some church with a tour guide, and they went on a food tour. They did 10 miles that day, and since walking in the Coliseum really pooped me out, I passed. And, after I saw they did 10 miles walking? I was glad I did.

Six Weeks in Italy. Hubby and I just spent the last six weeks in Italy. It was an amazing trip with lots of wine, food, and a few archeological sites thrown in. This is a compilation of what we did, where we stayed, and the food and wines we enjoyed while traveling from Turin in the north to Sicily in the south, and across Italy to Venice in the east. In all we visited 11 major cities in Italy, and took a plethora of trips into the Italian countryside.


Burano was beautiful.


Venice, Italy

After Rome we took a train over to Venice. It was the most expensive city we went to in Italy. I understand why. There are no cars or bikes allowed so things are unloaded at the wharf and placed on carts where men walk the supplies in. Getting around is stairs, stairs, and more stairs (the Italians LOVE their stairs!) and since we are not religious (honestly, how many churches can you visit?) or artsy it was not my favorite place.

My SIL’s friend came down from Switzerland so it was the four of us for three days, and then the three of us for the last day.

Six Weeks in Italy. Hubby and I just spent the last six weeks in Italy. It was an amazing trip with lots of wine, food, and a few archeological sites thrown in. This is a compilation of what we did, where we stayed, and the and wines we enjoyed while traveling from Turin in the north to Sicily in the south, and across Italy to Venice in the east. In all we visited 11 major cities in Italy, and took a plethora of trips into the Italian countryside.


Ever seen grapes grown like this?


We went on a wine tour in Valpolicella and I bought a case of my favorite type of wine, Amarone!

The next day we went to the island of Burano which is famous for its lace making. My SIL, her friend, and I had a fine time buying things!! This little island (part of Venice) we loved and could have spent a lot of time there. But, as part of our tour, it was on to Murano.

For years I had wanted a glass sculpture. I had searched a lot of the US, gone to glass workshops in Corning, and St. Petersburg, Florida, and had not found something that resonated. I decided last year, once Hubby planned this trip, that I would simply wait and get something in Murano.

We ended up in the Gino Mazzuccato demonstration, and then toured their showroom. They made us an offer I could not refuse (I bought one modern sculpture and one in the old style 1600s glass making design), and I went away very, very happy!!

Six Weeks in Italy. Hubby and I just spent the last six weeks in Italy. It was an amazing trip with lots of wine, food, and a few archeological sites thrown in. This is a compilation of what we did, where we stayed, and the food and wines we enjoyed while traveling from Turin in the north to Sicily in the south, and across Italy to Venice in the east. In all we visited 11 major cities in Italy, and took a plethora of trips into the Italian countryside.


We were able to pick and taste these fabulous wine grapes in Valpolicella.


Verona, Italy

After our stay in Venice, my SIL and her friend went to their respective homes, and Hubby and I went on to Verona. This was a place I wish we had spent a lot more time… like weeks more.

We booked a hotel near the Verona Arena (a Roman amphitheatre in Piazza Bra), and wished we had had time to go in. Instead, it was vino time!!! We went to several more Valpolicella wine tours (this one was my favorite!) as I mentioned Amarone is my favorite type of wine.

All-in-all we shipped home six cases of wine on this trip, and I could not be more pleased!

Six Weeks in Italy. Hubby and I just spent the last six weeks in Italy. It was an amazing trip with lots of wine, food, and a few archeological sites thrown in. This is a compilation of what we did, where we stayed, and the food and wines we enjoyed while traveling from Turin in the north to Sicily in the south, and across Italy to Venice in the east. In all we visited 11 major cities in Italy, and took a plethora of trips into the Italian countryside.


Wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.


Bologna, Italy

Our last stop in Italy was the city of Bologna. Our airbnb was tiny, but very clean. It was about 15 minutes from the old part of the city where everything was happening, so very quiet.

Hubby wanted to end with a foodie-bang, and wow, did he get his wish! We had days of wonderful food tours culminating in an excellent food tour with a farmhouse lunch. We saw how Parmigiano-Reggiano was made (and I brought a pound home and now wish I had purchased more), how Prosciutto was made, stopped into the Osteria del Sole which is the oldest bar in Bologna dating from the 1400s (that was cool!), saw how tortellini was made (who needs refrigeration, gloves or hair nets!?), went on an amazing food tour (we had to be picked up at 7am, but this tour really was worth it) and generally just ate, ate, and ate some more.

After that, it was back to Nice for a flight home.

Going Home

That was an interesting little story… we took the train from Bologna to Milan where we needed to transfer to the train to Nice. For whatever reason, our connection was only 15 minutes. I saw it a few days before and did not insist Hubby find a prior train. {head slap} So, our train from Bologna was 12 minutes late, and while we were familiar with the Milan train station, three minutes was going to be impossible.

We eventually picked up some time so we had about 10 minutes to get our transfer. I was the crazy lady in the Milan train station scusi-ing everyone as we ran for our connection. We made it, and five hours later we were in Nice.

Hubby had wanted to go to Cannes to locate a family grave, but between the possiblity of rain and the tight window we had to get there and back to our plane, I told him “next time”. Which turned out to be a very good decision. As we were sitting on the boardwalk in Nice Hubby received a call that our plane would be departing two hours early! We went back to the hotel (that was holding our lauggage) after a delicious lunch, and took a taxi to the airport.

Now, the Nice airport is interesting. I have never, ever, EVER seen so many private planes in my life. And, I am not talking prop planes, I mean jets. The private planes outnumbered the commercial jets by at least 10-1. It was also the easiest TSA-type checkpoint I have ever encountered.

Our plane took off 20 minutes late, and then when it arrived in Newark, it had to circle for an hour due to weather. When we finally landed, there was a huge line for US customs, but since it is now automated, it was pretty simple and steady to get through the line.

Hubby and I stayed overnight at a very nice Marriott hotel, and then rented a car the next day and drove home across southern New York through some glorious fall foliage!

Takeaways from this trip? I’d go back to southeastern Sicily in a heartbeat. I’d love to spend more time in Verona. We will have to rent a car to do Italy next time as we would like to spend more time in Tuscany and in Valpolicella. This was a trip few people have the time to do. I am extremely glad we did it. We have a much better liking of Rome than we did before, and there are some areas we would love to go back to.

Was this an inexpensive trip? Nope. Not counting the wine and glass sculptures I purchased it was still pretty pricey, even airbnb-ing it. All the excursions, restaurants, and train travel adds up. I have no idea how the backpackers do it!

If Hubby told me he wanted to spend six weeks in Italy again, I would do it. However, I would not move around like we did. Even when we moved close, we still lost half a day to travel. IF we did six weeks again, I’d pick the southeastern coast of Sicily, Tuscany, and Veronao/Valpolicella, two weeks in each spot. Constant travel by excursions gets to be wearing, too.

The bright side? I got a lot of wine, a very good education on wine, olive oil, foods of Italy, lost 10 pounds (Hubby was a walking-slave-driver), and finally bought the glass sculptures I had wanted for years!


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