Stipulated: the perfect travel time for a three-day weekend getaway is four hours. More, and you waste your vacation. Less, and you’re still near home. Hence our series, The Four-Hour Rule, dedicated to revealing the best destinations that are far away, yet still close to home.
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Start your adventure with a stop at Empire Farm Brewing. The largest brewery on the East coast, we’re talking a 60 BBL automated brewhouse developed for “educational purposes.” A tour and lunch are in order. Or sneak into Sinclair Saratoga. They have the good suds too, but also a game room. Come suppertime, you’ll be heading to the bold and bright Tailor and the Cook for some provocative farm-to-table fare. The Stuffed Cabbage and Aged Filet Mignon are not to be missed. And should you have enough steam in the tank, head over to Ocean Blue Restaurant & Oyster Bar. It’s suit-and-tie service that you can enjoy in a T-shirt and jeans. And the view isn’t too shabby, either.
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All the elegance and sophistication one craves, but with the modern day comforts we just frickin’ need. Since 1912, Hotel Utica is nestled in the foothills of the Adirondacks, but still in close proximity to all the local attractions. It has a feel that embodies the grace and optimism of a proud, budding nation, but now with two years worth of in-depth renovations. To boot, it’s one of only 180 hotels to be included in the National Trust for Historic Hotels of America.
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Would a little more brew hurt? We didn’t think so. A stop at the Critz Farms, recipient of the N.Y. State Agritourism Business of the Year Award, will give you a chance to snag some fresh cheddar cheese, blueberries, flowers and a chance to pay a visit to their tasting room, serving up ciders both hard and soft. Beyond the brew, the sky’s the limit. Jump aboard the Adirondack Scenic Railroad and hop off mid-tour to stroll around Cooperstown. Heck, maybe even stay for a night at the Railroad Inn. For the sports historian, you can’t go wrong with a jaunt through the National Baseball Hall of Fame or a stint at Old Friends to kick around with some race horses. But chances are it’ll be high time to cash in on that R’n’R, in which case Roosevelt Baths & Spa and their extensive hydrotherapy baths should fit the bill, well, swimmingly.