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On the Road With NYSOM: Where we Traveled in February

Here's a look at the Empire State, one region, city, and town at a time. 

There was no better way to head into the frigid temperatures of February than in a cozy state of mind. It’s all too easy (albeit understandable) to spend this final winter month in hibernation, but this year our team boldly made a couple of chilly laps around the State to see what what’s worth venturing outside for. Why miss the opportunity only because it’s cold outside? We recommend throwing on your favorite boots (and maybe an extra layer) and head to these local makers and shakers: Our on-the-ground Finger Lakes, Long Island and Catskills correspondents found the best weekend winter retreats in their regions, like the scenic ice formations at Taughannock Falls in Trumansburg. For a last-minute getaway, look no further than the Catskills for creative lodging experiences, from a quiet retreat in Phoenicia to whimsical décor in Roxbury, Purling’s countryside escape, or Mount Tremper’s spa destination. Even as far north as the Thousand Islands is a place called Heart Island, and a story of love and loss, and a castle that represents both. We also took a closer look at the Hudson Valley this month with special seasonal tours fit for any winter indulgence. A chocolate crawl dishes on the best artisanal chocolates around Tannersville, Tivoli, Brewster and Poughkeepsie (home to chocolate MVP Hudson Chocolates). For a more savory eating experience, we found the best cooking classes in Bardonia, Beacon, Rhinecliff, Tarrytown, White Plains, LaGrangeville and Hyde Park. To round out your culinary tour of the Hudson Valley, spend the night at any of these romantic getaways in the area. Rhinebeck, Poughkeepsie, and Bear Mountain invite visitors of any relationship status, even a gaggle of girlfriends in celebration of "Gal-entine’s" Day. A visit to Spruce Ridge Farm in Old Chatham gave visitors like us the chance to meet and greet a herd of alpacas, and buy products made from their superiorly warm fleece. Not far from our offices in New York City, we sat down with two of our favorite makers in Brooklyn: Caitlin Wicker of our marketplace’s coziest critters, Sweatertoys, and self-taught chocolatiers Andy Laird and Justine Pringle, to chat about starting their indulgently delightful Nunu Chocolates brand. Before winter finally(!) draws to a close, we encourage you to grab your blades and take a couple of loops around the State’s best ice skating rinks. Our favorite regional spots are found in Glens Falls, Saratoga Springs, New Paltz, Cooperstown, Jamestown, Trumansburg, Millerton, Roslyn-North Hills, Prospect Park, Brooklyn, Greene, Watertown and Buffalo. Though Valentine’s Day is now behind us for another year, we can’t help but continue to share the reasons why we love New York. Why do you love the Empire State? Share your sentiments in our comments box below. Our March issue launches next Monday!

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