Horseback Riding in Central New York – The Perfect Fall Activity
When the leaves start to change and there’s a crisp in the air, that’s when Upstate New York really starts to shine. Apple picking, leaf peeping, pumpkin picking, haunted houses, you name it! There are so many amazing fall activities to choose from that you can fill every weekend in September and October. But there’s a fall activity that’s drastically underrated. Horseback riding! Luckily, there are some great places to go horseback riding in Central New York where you get some great fall foliage views.
Thank you to Visit CNY, Brew Central, Chenango County Commerce, and Madison County Tourism for hosting me on my weekend in Central New York.
Horseback Riding in Chenango County
Can you imagine anything better than getting up on a horse and riding along some trails through the hills of Chenango County enjoying the gorgeous fall views? Because that sounds like perfection to me! And there are several farms in Central New York that offer exactly that experience for visitors.
Whether you’re looking for trail rides, lessons, or other horse encounters, there are plenty of options for riders of all ages and levels. The farmers, together with their farmhands, offer a great experience with the horses.
Be sure to book your trail ride in advance and arrive at the barn on time. When you get there, your guide will match you with the horse that suits your experience level and comfort. After a few minutes in the ring getting used to each other, you’ll be ready to explore! The trails typically span through the farm’s property and nearby public land. Your ride will likely take you up and down hills, through fields and forests. But no matter the setting, it’s sure to be peaceful and scenic.
Here, the horses are family
No matter which farm you choose to ride with, your guide will be happy to tell you the stories behind each of the horses and their personalities.
On my trip, I got to ride Blue, the oldest and gentlest of them all. Blue is a 27-year-old mare, named after the color of her fur. You might be thinking that 27 is a bit old to be carrying riders. You’re right! But they’ve tried to retire her twice, and she always get depressed. She wants to ride! So they still let her take riders out on the trails – and you can see how happy it makes her! She even started trotting along the path with me on her because she was enjoying our adventure.
My friend Katelyn rode Mya, a much younger Mare with a feisty personality. Our guide told us that Mya and Blue were best friends, and loved to go on trail rides together. Kash was the wild beauty who led the trio along the trails.
Homemade Ice Cream in Sherburne
If you know me, you know I love some good homemade ice cream! Gilligan’s Ice Cream has had my mouth watering for ages on social media, and I knew I had to visit when I was in the area.
Gilligan’s has gained popularity for both their delicious ice cream, but particularly for their beer and wine infused flavors! They’ve previously participated in the Taste of Syracuse, but to get the full experience, you’ve got to visit the original shop!
And if ice cream isn’t your thing (which sounds crazy to me…), don’t worry. They have a full menu of burgers, tenders, sandwiches, and more available at the window.
Looking for more fun fall itineraries in Central New York?
Spend a fall weekend in Oneida County.
Craft Beer in Hamilton
It’s no surprise that I love a good craft brewery! The hubby and I have visited hundreds around the world. It’s hard to believe that before I met him, I refused to drink beer. But that’s because I didn’t know that wonders of well-made craft beer. Luckily, Good Nature Farm Brewery sure knows what they are doing in that realm!
My first experience with Good Nature was at the farmers market in Syracuse – because who doesn’t like beer on a Saturday morning?! The second was at their former taproom in Hamilton, when I got a fantastic beer cocktail made with one of their brews.
Most recently, I was able to visit their farm brewery, in the countryside of Hamilton, New York. Let me tell you, it’s gorgeous! If you enjoyed the beautiful views while horseback riding, you’ll love it at the brewery too.
What Makes Good Nature Unique?
Like I said, I’ve been to a lot of breweries. A lot. So I know the drill. I’ve heard about the brewing process hundreds of times. Especially since the hubby is a homebrewer! I know all about mash tuns, fermenters, wort, sparging, dry-hopping, and so on. But Good Nature has a few things that are pretty unique in their brewing process.
First, they use a HEBS – a high efficiency brewing system. Essentially, the system uses filters filled with grains that they pump water through. Not only does this use Significantly less water, it also takes up a smaller footprint on the brewery floor. Even better, since it takes about half the time to make the wort, they save on energy costs and consumption too.
Secondly, Good Nature has two foeders. Two… what? I know, even I didn’t know what they were either before my visit! Foeders are more commonly used in wineries, but are becoming increasingly popular in breweries. Wicked Weed in Asheville is one of the most notable foeder-using breweries. A foeder is a barrel-like piece of equipment that helps produce wildly fermented sour beers. They are particularly funky!
More Than Just Beer
Don’t get me wrong, Good Nature makes some delicious beer. But if you visit and don’t try some of their food, you are missing out! Their menu features wood-fired pizza, burgers, and some other tasty dishes. They even make house-cut chips and fries! Yummmmm. I highly recommend the pretzels and beer cheese if you’re looking for just an appetizer.
A Fall Weekend in Upstate NY
So are you ready to go horseback riding in Central New York and then treat yourself to some tasty goodies? If you want to make a weekend out of it, add a day in Binghamton or a trip to Saranac Brewery too!