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Greater N.Y.: The 5 Best History-Inspired Summer Vacations For Couples

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(credit: Thinkstock)

(credit: Thinkstock)

From its mountains to the shore line, New York abounds with romantic vacation spots perfect for a week, weekend or day trip. With no shortage of beautiful country inns, antique shops and historical stops, no state has more to offer couples who want to get away from everything except one another. Pack your bags and grab your honey. New York State awaits.

Sleepy Hollow – The Hudson River’s eastern shore is home to the legendary village of Sleepy Hollow. A quick 25 miles north of the city, this quaint hamlet is best known for the Washington Irving story bearing its name. The romantic, haunting atmosphere permeating Irving’s “Legend of Sleepy Hollow” makes this short story a beloved piece of early American fiction to this day. The town itself is a quaint, romantic and easily accessible getaway of particular interest to history buffs interested in local lore. More than just the fictional home of Ichabod Crane, Sleepy Hollow also houses the breathtaking gardens, astonishing art and legendary sculpture of Kykuit, the hilltop home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Guided tours of the six-story mansion will yield glimpses of terraced gardens and works from artists like Pablo Picasso and Louise Nevelson. Underground art galleries include an elaborate collection of Picasso tapestries, horse-drawn carriages and classic cars. Sleepy Hollow is also the final resting place of Washington Irving who, along with other historical figures of note, is buried in the historical landmark, Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, where guided tours are available.

The Adirondacks – A lattice-work of magnificent lakes hug the Canadian border in this sports enthusiast’s dream destination. A premiere location for romantic getaways, activities for couples include world-class golfing, kayaking, river rafting and hiking along scenic gorge trails. Rich in history and seeped in the unique artistic heritage which inspired the vision of Winslow Homer, summer festivals include the Adirondacks Arts Heritage Festival, Thursday ArtWalks and the Adirondack Theatre Festival. The area’s rich cultural legacy is highlighted year-round in the celebrated, world-class Adirondack Museum. Nature puts on a show in the Adirondacks, offering up both scenic tranquility and breathtaking excitement.

Niagara Falls – Once considered the premiere destination of honeymooners such as Napoleon Bonaparte’s brother and his bride, Niagara Falls still creates its own special combination of natural wonder, history and romance. Eclipsed by no other phenomenon in nature, the three waterfalls which collectively make up Niagara Falls can be experienced by boat and by foot. Jointly, they are not only magnificent but also powerful, generating vast hydroelectric resources. The Falls are only part of this region’s legacy, rich in history and the story of America. Originally populated by a number of Native American tribes such as the Mohawks, this area of the country saw its first European settlements in the 17th century. Unique walking tours, museums and summer festivals abound in this region, perfect for vacationers and romance seekers alike.

Sackets Harbor  A picturesque village founded in the 19th century, Sackets Harbor is the site of the Sackets Harbor Battlefield, where a watershed conflict in the War of 1812 was fought. This historic shrine and its surrounding Navy Yard property are accessible to visitors all year round, featuring a History Trail and the new War of 1812 Bicentennial Trail. The village is a New York State Heritage Area with multiple historical landmarks and special events devoted to both its legacy and its natural resources. Overlooking Lake Ontario, Sackets Harbor offers a wildly beautiful landscape as well as a glimpse back in time, through depictions of Colonial life, romantic, horse-drawn carriage rides through quaint city streets and fascinating museums and art galleries.

North Fork, Long Island – The many towns situated along this salty-aired stretch of the Long Island coast are steeped with a history celebrated by many local historical societies and museums. Couples will love climbing the East End Lighthouse, star gazing at the Custer Institute & Observatory and riding the rails at the Railroad Museum of Long Island. Strolling along the beach at sunset offers unparalleled views and is the perfect ending to a full day. Never has a location so close to home felt so far away.

Corey Whelan is a freelance writer in New York. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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