Next time you have a day-off scheduled, you may want to think about a quick trip to some very interesting places within driving distance of Utica/Rome.  Here are a few fun places for the family that you can easily reach by car this summer:

SANTA'S WORKSHOP Near Whiteface Mountain.   It's a storybook village that includes Santa's house, reindeer barn and toy shop.  There is also the Candy Cane train, ferris wheel and carousel.

AUSABLE CHASM.  If you enjoy hiking, rock climbing, and cliff walks through spectacular scenery, this is a destination for you.  There's also tubing and rafting on the Ausable River.   Ausable Chasm has been referred to as the "Grand Canyon" of the Adirondacks.

THOUSAND ISLANDS.   How about a boat tour where guides take you through hundreds of isalnds on the St Lawrence River.  One of the islands even features a six-story, 120 room castle.

SARATOGA SPRINGS.   With a beautiful downtown area, and one of America's oldest horse-racing tracks, the village north of Albany is worth the drive.

ELLICOTTVILLE.  This attraction is like no other in New York State.  Ellicottville is the home of Aerial Park, with platforms and zip lines, and a 3-D climbing wall.  You can also take a roller coaster ride through the  terrain that features curves and spirals.

ITHACA.   If you've never been to this small city in the Finger Lakes area of the state, this is a must do day trip.  Downtown Ithaca is home to more than 100 shops, and the area has some of the most spectacular waterfalls in the country.