We explored Upstate NY in October and explored the many kid friendly attractions and the beer trails with Baby Boy and Little Monkey. For those of us living in Toronto, Upstate New York is very accessible making it a quick road trip with young tots. We did visit during the cooler fall months but I can see how it would be just as much fun in the summer and winter.
Disclosure : Our trip was in partnership with A Welcome Surprise, but as always, opinions are totally mine!
Where to Sleep
During our weekend travels we stayed at two different hotels and they each will appeal to different types of families. The Del Monte Lodge, a Renaissance Hotel and Spa in Pittsford, New York was about to undergo room upgrades shortly after our visit but we were so impressed by the boutique feel at this hotel. The highlights were the interconnecting room options for families and that the rooms were quite large, leaving plenty of space for little ones to run around at. Click here to read a full review of our stay here as part of our tour with A Welcome Surprise.
We also stayed at the Strathallan Hotel in downtown Rochester and the highlight here is the location. Central to everything, it was easy to explore the downtown area as well as easily pop into the many farms and attractions in the area. This hotel was also very happening and the lobby area was a perfect spot to enjoy an evening drink and mingle with visitors and locals alike. The rooms here are also quite spacious and our room had a living area with a pull out couch. I totally loved this because the hubs and I had our own room and privacy, while the kids had their own space.
Upstate New York has a variety of lodging options to satisfy all travelling families and you can explore other accommodations in the area through this site.
Where to Eat
We discovered some great spots to dine at in the Upstate New York area and can tell you that even the pickiest kids will find something they like at all the spots. Given that there are many farms in the area, we stumbled upon some fabulous spots featuring dishes with local produce. Don’t worry, we also found some so-so spots during our road trip- so it wasn’t all good there! Below are the ones I’d pop by if we’re back in the area.
Dinosaur Bar-B-Que : This is a popular barbecue joint that I had heard many amazing things about…I’m here to tell you that yes you MUST swing by. Not only were they kid friendly (change table and all!), they also had a great beer line up and live tunes during our evening visit. We lucked out and got a table after a short wait but I can totally see us waiting in line to enjoy the ribs again.
Pittsford Dairy : This dairy shop was just down the street from the Del Monte Lodge and the staff at the hotel made sure we popped by here for an ice cream. Do it! There’s plenty of flavours to choose from and if the kids need milk, this is a great spot to shop at.
Jines Restaurant : If you’re craving a good traditional breakfast, this is your spot. It’s a local favourite so expect a line up during the weekend. I’ve been trying to replicate the Marmalade French Toast we had here…with no success!
Trash Plates : Okay so this isn’t a restaurant but a dish that’s well known in the area. The version we had was an uber healthy version but when I’m in the area next I plan to hunt down the calorific version of a Garbage Plate. It has a combination of two selections of cheeseburger, hamburger, hot dogs, Italian sausage, chicken tender, fish, fried ham, grilled cheese, or eggs; and two sides of either home fries, French fries, baked beans, or macaroni salad. On top of that are the options of mustard and onions, and hot sauce with simmered ground beef. The dish is served with Italian bread and butter on the side.
Of course there’s plenty more to eat your way through in Upstate New York and I’m sure we’ll be back for more in the next few years. In the mean time check this link out for more ideas on where dine! Also be sure to check out our beer experience in Upstate New York.
Where to Play
I was a bit concerned that there wouldn’t be much to do during our road trip and oh how wrong was I? From outdoor spaces to indoor attractions there’s plenty to occupy little hands and older minds. Over the course of three days we managed to visit the following spots.
The Strong Museum of Play : I’m so glad we managed to sneak in a visit here as the kids loved it. Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to even put a dent in this museum but can guarantee you that kids (and adults) of all ages, including young Sesame Street loving toddlers, would be happy to spend an entire day here. Click here to read our full post.
Rochester Museum and Science Center : I was a bit hesitant getting here but once we got there I was surprised by how the place was made with young kids in mind. Little Monkey actually started asking questions and learning various science-ey terms and Baby Boy was able to join in the fun (though he wasn’t really understanding the science behind the exhibits). Click here to read our full post.
Farms : There are many farms scattered throughout the state and we were able to swing by two of them. Long Acre Farms is where you want to hang out at if you’ve got a couple hours as they have mazes and fun activities and structures for the kids. The little ones will be exhausted after a visit here and you will be happy with the fudge you can purchase. If you’re looking for a quicker visit and perhaps a lunch, Lagoner Farms is your best bet. There’s a playground, a kitchen and shop at this farm. It’s a great spot to stock up on some gifts for the foodies in your life. Click here to see videos of our visit to these New York State farms.
Craft Beer Trails : During our visit the Festival of Ales was happening and it was kid friendly! We only popped by for a couple samples as we were driving around that day, but would have loved to have organized a designated driver. Be sure to check out the CB brewers association to see what else might be happening during your visit.
Bristol Mountain Sky Ride : If it’s views you and your little ones are after a visit to Bristol Mountain will give you that bird’s eye view. We visited during a busy festival and had a chance to enjoy some live music, food trucks and of course the sky ride on a clear day.
Letchworth State Park : National parks are always a great way to explore during a road trip and so on our last day we swung by the Letchworth State Park to see the waterfalls and ended up doing a mini photo shoot! The backdrop is gorgeous and the kids were happy to run around as we clicked away…many pictures for us to frame and share with the grandparents.
Upstate New York has plenty for us to explore and having done the Toronto to Rochester area route, we highly recommend it for a quick weekend getaway.