If you have only ever had one trip to the States then chances are you visited New York (unless you have kids in which case you might have chosen Florida or California for either Disneyland or Disneyworld). It’s probable you would have limited yourself to the city and that is reasonable for your first visit or a weekend shopping trip… but there is a whole state to see and it’s nothing like Manhattan.
Backroads of New York is penned by Kim Knox Beckius with gorgeous photographs by Carl E. Heilman II. It’s a large format volume that gives a real taste of that lovely state. Water, trees, quaint towns. It’s a large state that reaches from the tip of Manhattan to the border with Canada. It’s steeped in history as it’s the part of North America that has been inhabited by Europeans for the longest time. It’s seen wars between the original tribes and the French and the English.
It’s amazing how fast New York changes from sky-scrapers and apartment blocks to hills, forest and even deer and turkeys by the side of the road. The state boasts mountain ranges with magnificent views of waterfalls and countryside that is little changed since the advance of Europeans was just a nasty rumour.
Kim has divided the book into 6 regions so it’s easy to pick an area and explore it to the full. The chapter headings will start you dreaming. Outer Long Island, The Lower Hudson Valley, The Catskills all sound romantic and hint at summers spent hiking, biking and sitting in Adirondack chairs reading the New York Times.
It’s not just a state for summer vacations though. Consider an autumn break when the leaves change colour. It’s a remarkable sight and popular with what some locals call “leaf peepers”. Fall is the time for hot apple juice and baked goods from small shops along the backroads. You’ll need to wrap up against the chill of the mountain air but you’ll be assured of an unforgettable trip.
Backroads of New York will supply you with maps and inspiration. The text hints at a fascinating part of the USA but leaves you plenty to discover for yourself. Go and enjoy a slower pace of life that doesn’t include Bloomingdales and the Brooklyn Bridge.
Backroads of New York
Author: Kim Knox Beckius
Published by: Voyageur Press
ISBN 13: 978-0-7603-2955-9
Travel book review by Chrissie Walker © 2018