Oops, we did it again... Roadtrip II
September 4, 2015 6:46 AM   Subscribe

NYC to Niagra Falls and back

So, due to "things", we are embarking on another unplanned Roadtrip.
We're leaving today from Hariman (near Woodbury commons) and have to be back in Manhattan by Monday afternoon.destination:niagara falls.
We would love and appreciate answers with a scenic route that passes through the Finger Lakes area, beautiful views, and good & cheap places to stay.
Any ideas?

Thanks :)
posted by tulim to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total)
On Labor Day weekend? 6 hours on a good day each way? God Bless. If you are at Woodbury, I would take Rt 17 as far as I could until I was almost in Buffalo for the nicest views and route. For speed I would take 17, follow signs to Syracuse, make a left on the Thruway and follow signs to Buffalo/Niagra Falls.

(One small idea/suggestion. If you truly are at Woodbury, on the street that runs in front, go past the mall heading north and about 1/3 mile up on your left is a small little ice cream/hot dog type stand. Well worth the stop to start the journey.)
posted by AugustWest at 7:02 AM on September 4, 2015

No suggestions, but I have done similar trips on holiday weekends upstate. Assume your time in the car is going to be double what you think.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:08 AM on September 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

My favourite bits were Watkins Glen State Park and Letchworth State Park, definitely check those out. Watkins is fairly compact and a must-visit, Letchworth is a lot bigger.

Minnewaska State Park (south of the Catskills) was on the route too, and definitely worth visiting.
posted by dickasso at 7:10 AM on September 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

Watkins Glen is very scenic. I can't speak to much of the rest of your route, but definitely consider taking 414 north from Watkins Glen, run up to Finger Lakes Distillery and grab some Rye, spirits and maybe even a distill-your-own-whiskey kit. Come back down and go up the other side of the lake on 14. Quite a scenic drive and there is a nice little Ice Cream shop (Mr. Twistees) on the east side of 14 in Dresden.

We didn't make it any farther south or east than that - from 14 we took I-90 one way and US 20 back the other on the way to/from Buffalo. I don't remember either of them being overly beautiful, but they weren't boring either.
posted by SquidLips at 7:20 AM on September 4, 2015

I hope you like driving. A lot. Niagara Falls is about a 9-hour drive from the city, so from the Harriman area I'd imagine it's around 7-8. If you need to get back to Manhattan by Monday afternoon, definitely plan on leaving Niagara on Sunday and driving part of the way back, maybe to Binghamton or Albany, depending on which route you take.

The southern route - 17 to 86 to 390 to 90 - probably will have less traffic. If you leave early enough today (I hope you're on the road by now!) you could maybe replace the 390 leg with a short detour through the Finger Lakes area. You could get 14 north a little past Elmira, it looks like, which will take you through Watkins Glen and runs alongside one of the lakes. You could also get I-81 north at Binghamton, get off at 79 and stop in Ithaca, then head up towards the Thruway (90) via 96. I did something like this once, it was nice and it didn't add too much time.

Really, though Niagara Falls is very ambitious for a weekend trip. Plan on spending a lot of time in the car.
posted by breakin' the law at 7:59 AM on September 4, 2015

Stay in Buffalo, and not in Niagara Falls!
posted by Riverine at 9:33 AM on September 4, 2015

Last summer, during a cross country Mini Cooper Rally, wanted to have lunch off the beaten path. We were in this little town called Penn Yan, New York. There was a cop sitting in a cruiser at an intersection, so I stopped and asked him where he goes when he wants real food. This is where he sent us. Hands down, the best fried chicken and ice cream I've had in my life. It's about two hours from Niagara, and not far from Watkins Glen.

It would be such a shame to miss it. It doesn't look like much of anything from outside - you order your food and wait for it. There are picnic tables outside and a little inside area with all kinds of chicken decorations. So, sooooo good!

Have fun and safe travels!
posted by dancinglamb at 1:59 PM on September 5, 2015

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