INSIGHT GUIDES | FRAN SEVERN

Holiday light displays worth taking a weekend trip to see

From Thanksgiving through New Year’s, parks, resorts, temples and private homes transform into lit-up fantasylands. There are so many glittering, twinkling, sparkling and glowing lights that the space shuttle should be able to see them. “Conservation” and “modest” are not in the vocabulary of many...

Wednesday, December 2, 2015, 11:14 PM

Holiday shopping in the Big Apple

The “districts” — the centers for certain businesses — have good buys for specific items. The Diamond District (47th Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues) is wholesale heaven for jewels. The Perfume District is on Broadway, between 20th and 30th streets. The Garment District is the place to look...

Friday, November 20, 2015, 2:34 AM

Chautauqua: New York’s undiscovered country

he westernmost region of the Empire State, Chautauqua County and Lake Erie, are worth the drive. At the top of the fun-stuff list is the Lucy Desi Museum and Center for Comedyin Jamestown, Lucille Ball’s hometown. It’s like stepping into the world of “I Love Lucy,” with sets, props and costumes...

Saturday, November 14, 2015, 12:06 AM

Home runs and hops in Cooperstown

Even those with only a passing interest in the sport enjoy the stories of the personalities and history of the game at the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York. Dedicated fans spend days here. See newsreels of early games (and Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s on First?” routine),...

Friday, November 6, 2015, 1:28 AM

Plattsburgh, NY: The Adirondacks’ Coastal City

Lake Champlain sparkles in crisp autumn temperatures, bordered by forests dappled with late fall colors. The trails through Point Au Roches State Park are easily accessible as well as family- and pet-friendly, with lots of views of the lake. Keep a lookout for Champ, Lake Champlain’s...

Thursday, October 29, 2015, 7:30 PM

Beyond the falls in Niagara

First stop is Niagara Falls State Park (Niagarafallsstatepark.com). The oldest state park in the country, it has the best views of the falls. It’s worth visiting just for the landscaped grounds, but there are enough other attractions to keep you busy all day. The Maid of the Mist boat tours travel...

Thursday, October 22, 2015, 2:41 AM

Fall food fests in the Finger Lakes

The Finger Lakes fall culinary weekend is Oct. 24–25. It’s a full menu of tastings, noshing, sipping, touring and dining, interspersed with concerts and seasonal events.Oct. 23–24Finger Lakes Beer FestivalTheglen.comThis festival is a beer lover’s dream, with over 35 New York State breweries,...

Friday, October 16, 2015, 10:24 PM

Autumn arts getaway in Saratoga Springs, New York

Developed as a spa town for the well heeled in the 1800s, Saratoga Springs retains its upscale aura. This year marks the 15th anniversary of the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery with a calendar of special exhibitions. The Tang focuses on the connection between art and the world...

Wednesday, October 7, 2015, 12:55 PM

The best historic haunted sites

It’s not that spirits return only at Halloween — it’s that the original solstice celebrations made people more aware of them. Those rituals have since evolved into an excuse for secular fun. Party stores say Halloween is their busiest season, far outselling St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo and even...

Thursday, October 1, 2015, 7:00 AM

Get outside during the Great Maine Outdoor Weekend

The brainchild of outfitters and outdoor educators, the Weekend (Sept.25–27, www.greatmaineoutdoorweekend.org) aims to encourage people to get outside, try something new, or enjoy an existing hobby in a new place.Related: Five incredible sights in Peru There are almost as many events on the list as...

Friday, September 25, 2015, 10:00 AM

Lewes, Delaware: The perfect seaside town

Ranked “the best place to live in Delaware” by a statewide poll, Lewes (pronounced LEW-is) remains an undiscovered gem. First settled by the Dutch in the 1600s, Lewes retains a sense of its history. The brightly painted Zwaanendael Museum greets visitors as they arrive. Nine buildings from 1725...

Tuesday, September 22, 2015, 12:31 PM

The coolest small town in America

“Runaway Bride” and “Tuck Everlasting” are the movies. The turn-of-the-century ambiance with gaslights, gilt lettering on shop windows, and no dangling electric wires almost requires that the businesses be skewed towards one-off specialty shops, boutiques, antiques, galleries, and artist co-ops.The...

Wednesday, September 16, 2015, 4:17 PM

Autumn art tour in Lenox

Combine a tour of nature’s autumn artistry while immersing yourself in the full spectrum of visual and decorative art. Here’s a “to do” list of top places to visit:Ventford Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum, Lenoxwww.gildedage.orgBuilt in 1893 for the sister of J.P. Morgan, this mansion makes...

Wednesday, September 16, 2015, 3:29 PM

Heritage hikes in the Berkshires

Designated a National Historic Area, the region is dotted with small communities along the meandering Housatonic River. The towns were the incubators of the Industrial Revolution, where the iron, paper, and electrical generation industries started and developed. As technology changed, the hubs of...

Thursday, September 10, 2015, 9:00 AM

Natural wonders in Quechee Gorge

Quechee Gorge State Park is one of Vermont’s most popular natural areas. The focal point of the park is the gorge that drops as far as 165 feet to the rapids of the Ottauquechee River.Hiking trails through the park and viewing areas along Route 4 provide endless “gotta get a shot of this” stops....

Wednesday, September 9, 2015, 3:04 PM

Seneca Falls: Women’s rights and 'A Wonderful Life'

Supporters of women’s rights gathered in Seneca Falls in 1848 for the first Women’s Rights Convention. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, a leading activist, lived there, and the Wesleyan Chapel – the convention site – was a local haven for antislavery and political rallies.Related: The many riches of...

Wednesday, September 2, 2015, 4:30 PM

In restored Shockoe Slip, gas lamps glow along cobblestone streets. Exclusive shops include Dransfield Jewelers, which specializes in custom jewelry, and luxury menswear at Ledbury. Carytown District, with over 200 independent merchants, is nicknamed “the mile of style,” while major upscale names...

Wednesday, September 2, 2015, 12:23 AM

Ramble through the Hudson River Valley in upstate New York

The Ramble focuses on the Natural Heritage Area, which stretches from Albany to the northern border of New York City. The National Park Service describes the area as “the landscape that defined America” because of its wealth of historical, naturaland cultural attractions.Related:Cruise to Cuba in...

Tuesday, August 25, 2015, 8:30 PM

Annual fall block party will take over Frederick, Maryland

It’s called “In the Street.” On Sept.15, the historic downtown of this city an hour west of Baltimore stages a block party like no other.Each street has a different theme. Some are predictable displays of handicrafts and kids’ activities, but it’s much broader overall.Related:Saddle up with a...

Monday, August 24, 2015, 10:11 PM

PeepsFest, Crayola and much more in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

The region’s three cities — Allentown, Easton, and Bethlehem — balance history with new vitality. Allentown, for instance, has the largest antiques center in northeast Pennsylvania and stages a traditional county fair Sept.1-7. But it’s also the location of the state-of-the-art PPL Center, which...

Wednesday, August 19, 2015, 11:21 PM