If you drive upstate through Central New York, you should get off the highway to stop and visit some of the small towns along Oneida County for a nice surprise. Rich with major colleges and universities such as Cornell University, Hamilton College, Le Moyne College, Colgate University, Syracuse University, Ithaca College and more, this part of the country is popular among families making the college circuit.
Also known as the “Gateway Region”, Oneida County includes picturesque areas such as the historic villages and farms of Southern Hills or the North Country in the southwestern foothills of the Adirondacks known by locals as “an escape in the wilderness”.
In Utica, drive down Genesee street and you will be struck by the beautiful gothic houses and landmarks lining the stretching road. Called the “ Renaissance City”, it is known by beer enthusiasts for Utica Club which was the nation’s first beer licensed after the prohibition. If you like locally brewed craft beer, take a tour of the Matt Brewing Company. Also stop by the Oneida County Public Market on the week end where farmers and artisans gather to sell local produce and crafts. And if you like art, you will discover the Munson-Williams Proctor Museum of Art or the Sculpture Space.
In the winter, Oneida County is the place for a great vacation not too far from the city. Boonville ranks as one of the nations’ snowiest places. With 500 miles of trails, it‘s a great destination for snowmobiling. There are no less than twelve snowmobiles in Oneida County. The Breia trails are one of the best cross country ski areas in the nation. Downhill skiers can enjoy the slopes at Woods Valley or Val Bialas Sports Center. There are also many options for hockey or ice skating. If curling is your thing, contact the Utica Curling Club. Also explore the area’s numerous designated snowshoe trails in the Northern Highland State Forest, federal forests or Oneida County Forest.
You will have no problem finding comfortable housing in Oneida county. Recently I stayed at the Hampton Inn & Suites in New Hartford near Clinton. It was a new hotel right in the Mohawk Valley in a quiet orchard setting that was warm and hospitable with a cozy lounge where hot apple cider, water and cookies are offered any time of day. The rooms are large, clean and elegantly furnished with fresh crisp linens, non-generic artwork, soothing colors with a modern and efficient bathroom. You can stay connected with free WiFi and work in the hotel’s fully equipped business center or head to the fitness center for a swim in the indoor pool. In the morning, I enjoyed a free hot American breakfast served buffet style. You can help yourself to fruit salads, bagels and pastries or, if you are in a hurry, you can grab a free Hampton On the Run Breakfast bag.
Don’t hesitate to call the staff any time of day or night, they are upbeat and welcoming. If you are planning a wedding, the hotel is a perfect location to put up your guests as the hotel has vast facilities including several meeting and banquet rooms. The fresh and inviting rooms are ideal to lodge big parties for a celebration or gather among colleagues for business. The openness, peace and comfort at the hotel made for a very special week end in Oneida county.
For more information about the Hampton Inn, visit http://www.reservationcounter.com/hotels/show/406653/hampton-inn-and-suites-new-hartford-utica
Address: 201 Woods Park Drive, New Hartford, New York, 13323