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New York: Regions in Brief

New York City

Residents in the surrounding areas of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut refer to it simply as "the City," as if there were no other. The city comprises about 300 square miles divided into five boroughs -- the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island. Best known for world-class museums, Broadway theater, Madison Avenue shopping, four-star cuisine, and glamorous nightlife, it's also a great place for more low-key adventures, like grabbing a hot dog at Yankee Stadium or spending a sunny afternoon in Central Park.

Long Island & The Hamptons

At 188 miles, "long" is an accurate description of the island situated to the east of Manhattan, dividing the waters of the Long Island Sound from the Atlantic Ocean. As you may have guessed, the sea is the dominant theme here -- charming ports, sandy beaches, and fresh seafood abound. Surprisingly, it's also an agricultural area that supports numerous farms and vineyards. The north shore, or "Gold Coast," is strewn with mansions formerly belonging to Astors and Vanderbilts, now transformed into museums open to the public.

The Hudson River Valley

The stunning landscape along the 100-mile stretch of the Hudson River from Albany to New York City has been immortalized on canvas by the painters of the Hudson River School and on paper in classics such as The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle. The Appalachian Trail cuts through the valley, offering hikers an up-close view of the river and wilderness. Antiquing is a favorite pastime here, as is touring grand, historic estates built by America's great industrialists.

The Catskill Mountain Region

The Catskill Park and Forest Preserve lies in the heart of the Catskill Mountains, about 100 miles to the northwest of New York City. Nature lovers can explore 300 miles of trails up and down mountain peaks and amid unspoiled forests, lakes, and rivers. The Borscht Belt image of yesteryear is subsiding as more sophisticated travel and residents take root.

The Capital Region: Saratoga Springs & Albany

Albany's impressive architecture reflects its status as the state's capital since 1797. Saratoga Springs, about 20 miles north of Albany, is named for the natural mineral waters that have drawn visitors to the town's spas and baths since the 1800s. It's also home to the Saratoga Race Course, the oldest thoroughbred racetrack in the U.S.

Central New York

Just west of the Finger Lakes, this largely rural area is legendary among sports fans for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown.

The Finger Lakes Region

Bounded by Lake Ontario to the north and the Pennsylvania border to the south, the aptly named Finger Lakes region has 11 long, slender lakes plus rivers, streams, waterfalls, and smaller bodies of water. The lakes offer lots of water-related fun, from swimming to kayaking to fishing. Finger Lakes wine is another big attraction here; more than 70 wineries are located around Canandaigua, Keuka, Seneca, and Cayuga lakes.

The North Country

Massive Adirondack Park, full of lakes, hiking trails, and rustic "camps," accounts for the majority of land in New York State north of I-90. At 6.1 million acres, the park is almost the size of the neighboring state of Vermont.

Western New York

On its journey from Lake Ontario to Lake Erie, the Niagara River pours between 50,000 and 100,000 cubic feet of water per second over spectacular Niagara Falls. Buffalo -- the second-largest city in New York State and a good bet for restaurants and nightlife -- is just a 30-minute drive from the falls.

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