17 Wonderful Winter Road Trips Within Driving Distance Of The Capital Region

The January 2020 issue of saratoga living‘s sister publication, Capital Region Living, marked the magazine’s 17th birthday. To help celebrate the milestone, CRL put together a list of 17 winter road trips within driving distance of Albany. So, the next time you find yourself in the area for a spell, dust off this post. Thank our friends at CRL later.

(Chandler Burgess)

1. Killington, VT

2 Hours 15 Minutes from Albany

Killington, VT, is certainly a no‐brainer for ski and snowboard enthusiasts, and it’s also a hot spot for cold winter lovers of all types. Dogsledding, tubing, ice skating, snowshoeing and fat biking all await in the Central Vermont town.

2. Lake Placid, NY

2 Hours 15 Minutes from Albany

Forty years ago this February, Lake Placid played host to the triumph of the US men’s ice hockey team over the Soviet Union in the 1980 Winter Olympics. Travel back to that historic day by way of the “Miracle on Ice” exhibit at the Lake Placid Olympic Museum.

3. Jay, VT

4 Hours 10 Minutes from Albany

A stone’s throw from Canada, Jay, VT is home to some of the snowiest winters in the east. Averaging 354 inches of snow per year, Jay Peak is about the closest skiers and snowboarders get to West Coast skiing this side of the Mississippi.

An Igloofest-goer in Montréal. (Sylvain Granier)

4. Montréal

3 Hours 30 Minutes from Albany

Who said music festivals had to happen only during the summer months? The Old Port of Montréal will host a range of acts at Igloofest, the city’s annual outdoor music festival, which takes place January 16‐February 8.

The foot-traffic-only Church Street in Burlington, VT.

5. Burlington, VT

3 Hours from Albany

Take a walk down scenic Church Street, the foot‐traffic‐only main street in Burlington, VT, which each winter transforms into a spectacle of holiday lights. Don’t forget to stop at the flagship Ben & Jerry’s store: The ice cream company opened its first in Burlington in 1978!

6. Niagara Falls, ON

4 Hours 45 Minutes from Albany

A winter wonderland awaits where New York meets Canada. See Niagara Falls in all its icy glory from the climate‐controlled gondolas of the Niagara SkyWheel, a Ferris wheel overlooking the falls.

The ice-skating rink at Rockefeller Center in NYC. (Alan Kotok/Flickr)

7. New York City

3 Hours from Albany

What better way to celebrate the new year than ice skating at Rockefeller Center? If you make the journey to NYC early enough in 2020, you’ll still be skating by the light of the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. The rink is open all the way through April.

8. Syracuse, NY

2 Hours 15 Minutes from Albany

Beat the winter blues at Syracuse Winterfest, a massive, 11‐day, city‐wide festival, featuring dance parties, outdoor activities, concerts, competitions and plenty of food and drink, going on February 13‐23.

The Equinox Resort in Manchester, VT.

9. Manchester, VT

1 Hour 20 Minutes from Albany

Experience the historic luxury of The Equinox Resort on a weekend getaway to Manchester, VT. Relax in the Equinox’s award‐winning spa, dine at one of its five eateries and take advantage of those after‐Christmas sales with a shopping spree in picturesque Downtown Manchester.

Take a horse-drawn sleigh ride at the Omni Mount Washington Resort in Bretton Woods, NH.

10. Bretton Woods, NH

4 Hours from Albany

For a more remote, equally luxurious Northeast vacation destination, head to Omni Mount Washington Resort in Bretton Woods, NH. Hit the slopes at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire’s largest ski area, then return to your hotel room overlooking a snow‐covered Mount Washington, New England’s largest mountain.

An ice castle at the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival. (Mark Kurtz)

11. Saranac Lake, NY

2 Hours 30 Minutes from Albany

Enjoy the outdoors in the Great White North at the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival, a ten‐day festival of sports, performances, parades and fireworks that’s been held every year since 1897. The carnival is highlighted by a magnificent ice palace built by volunteers on the shores of Lake Flower.

Warren Street in Downtown Hudson.

12. Hudson, NY

45 Minutes from Albany

For a small Upstate New York city, Hudson has quite the arts scene. Explore the many galleries along charming Warren Street, dine in one of the city’s award‐winning restaurants or catch a show at Club Helsinki. It’s all a mere 45 minutes from Albany.

The Mystic Aquarium lit up at night.

13. Mystic, CT

2 Hours 50 Minutes from Albany

Head to the seashore this winter with a trip to scenic Mystic, CT, home of the Mystic Aquarium, a historic downtown and, of course, Mystic Pizza, the setting of the eponymous 1988 film.

14. Newport, RI

3 Hours 15 Minutes from Albany

Another coastal destination that’s great for a winter trip is Newport, RI, whose 3.5‐mile Cliff Walk offers panoramic views. It’s as beautiful in the colder months as it is in the summer (and it’s less crowded!).

15. Stowe, VT

3 Hours 30 Minutes from Albany

Luxury awaits at the base of Vermont’s premier ski mountain. TopNotch Resort at Stowe is home to two to‐die‐for restaurants, an impressive spa, the TopNotch Tennis Academy and the Equestrian Center, which offers horse‐drawn sleigh rides throughout the winter.

16. North Adams, MA

1 Hour 10 Minutes from Albany

The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (a.k.a. Mass MoCA), located in North Adams, MA, is home to some of the Northeast’s finest modern art exhibits (it also doubles as a music venue). Be one of the first to experience Gamaliel Rodríguez’s La Traveía / Le Voyage exhibit, opening on January 25.

17. Boston

2 Hours 50 Minutes from Albany

Boston sports are heating up as the temperature cools. Head to Beantown this January to catch a Celtics or Bruins home game. Oh, and an unforgettable trip to Faneuil Hall is certainly in order!

This story originally published in Capital Region Living‘s January 2020 issue.

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