About Exploring Upstate

Defining where Upstate New York exists can be tricky even if you’re a New Yorker. Some would tell you that Upstate is anything above Rockland and Westchester counties, some would say it’s the area north of Interstate 84, some would tell you that it doesn’t include Bear Mountain and some would say that it does include Bear Mountain! To make things even more complicated, Upstate New York is broken into even smaller parts like ‘Western NY’, the ‘Finger Lakes’, the ‘Mohawk Valley’ and ‘North Country’. While a resident of Syracuse is technically from Upstate New York, they most likely would refer to themselves as hailing from Central New York.

Even still, those regions change depending on who you ask. The Department of Environmental Conservation divides the state up in to nine different regions while the NYS Department of Economic Development divides the state up in to ten different regions. Just to make things extra fun, that same Economic Development division actually has two different sets of definitions! It chooses eleven different regions specifically for the purposes of promoting tourism. I’ve actually discovered at least five different ways of dividing the state up in to regions, each one much different than the last. Since this blog includes so much of me traveling around the state, I’ve opted to adopt the regional definitions set forth by the New York Visitors Network.

A number of years ago I began the Exploring The Burned Over District blog that chronicled a friend and I as we traveled around Upstate New York visiting and learning about New York’s vast religious history. While our spiritual background is one I will always continue to be intrigued by, I always wanted an opportunity to expand on the other fascinating stories I’ve uncovered in my travels throughout the state and thus, Exploring Upstate was born in the summer of 2014.

While the term ‘Upstate’ in New York is somewhat of a divisive one, there’s no mistaking that there is an abundance of really cool things happening in New York that aren’t in “The City”. Exploring Upstate will take you along the high roads, low roads and backroads to find the unique festivals, people, architecture, history and oddities (and anything else we feel like) that help make our state one of the coolest places to explore!! I’m pretty stoked that you’ve found the site and hope that you’ll choose to follow along!

– Chris Clemens, Exploring Upstate

Regional Map of New York State