Whatever your reason for booking a trip on Trailways of New York, there’s one thing for sure: bus travel lets you sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride. That ride can turn into an experience of its own when you have something entertaining, interesting, or educational to listen to. Here are our recommendations for audiobooks and podcasts to keep you company on journeys along all of our New York Trailways, Pine Hill Trailways, or Adirondack Trailways bus routes, including the buses to and from New York City, Binghamton, Syracuse, Montreal, Albany, Rochester, Buffalo, Kingston, New Paltz, Woodstock, and Glens Falls.
There may be no time more perfect for audiobook listening than while you’re traveling on a bus. On a bus, you’re free the distractions or responsibilities of driving—and life in general. If you’d like to turn your TrailwaysNY trip into an opportunity to fully dive into your traveler’s surroundings, we’ve put together this list of engrossing audiobooks set in various stops along the Trailways of New York route map.
By Lauren Groff; Narrated by Andrew Garman
Publisher: Recorded Books
Acclaimed author Lauren Groff’s second novel, Arcadia, beautifully evokes the setting you’d see outside your window on a bus to western New York state, as the story spans 50 years in the life of Bit, a young man born into a 1960s commune. Over the decades, Bit witnesses his home utopia fall apart and the world change in ways he never imagined.
By William Kennedy; Narrated by Jonathan Davis
Publisher: Audible Studios
Ironweed, along with Legs and Billy Phelan’s Greatest Game, is part of Kennedy’s famous trilogy of novels set in the Capital Region—the perfect listening for a bus to Albany. Ballplayer-turned-hobo Francis Phelan returns to the area and wanders his old neighborhood with a pal, Helen, battling ghosts past and present in an effort to carve out a future.
The Road to Woodstock
By Michael Lang and Holly George-Warren; Narrated by Sean Pratt
Publisher: Tantor Audio
If you’re taking a bus to Woodstock, why not hear the secret history of the festival that made the area famous? Woodstock Music and Art Fair producer Michael Lang’s memoir takes listeners from the beginning of his vision to its reality, recounting all the fascinating people and events he encountered along the way.
By John Langan; Narrated by Danny Campbell
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Literary Woodstock is not just about “that festival.” Your bus trip to Woodstock could take a literary turn with Langan’s haunting novel centered around the area’s Dutchman’s Creek and Ashokan Reservoir. Abe and Dan, two widowers who have found solace in each other’s company and a shared passion for fishing, get drawn into a dark, mysterious tale that will bring them to reckoning with everything they’ve lost and hope to regain.
By Samantha Hunt; Narrated by Cassandra Campbell and Emily Woo Zeller
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Wherever your TrailwaysNY bus is taking you, this modern gothic novel is perfect: Cora goes along when her mysterious and mute Aunt Ruth leads her on a journey across the entire state of New York on foot. Where is Ruth taking them?
By Richard Russo; Narrated by Ron McLarty
Publisher: Random House Audio
Riding a bus to upstate New York could have no better accompaniment than this novel, the basis for the 1994 film of the same name starring Paul Newman. It’s the witty and moving story of 60-year-old Sully, his friends, and family, as they try to navigate life and luck in their small town.
By Carol Goodman; Narrated by Leslie Bellair
Publisher: Listening Library
Misty and majestic Hudson Valley scenery along your TrailwaysNY bus trip is the setting for this story about seventeen-year-old Avaline Hall, who’s overcome tragedy and now headed to elite boarding school Blythewood Academy. Avaline has a lot of questions about her life and her family’s shadowed past, and suspects the answers lie at her new home.
My Side of the Mountain
By: Jean Craighead George; Narrated by Michael Crouch
Publisher: Listening Library
Sam Gribley escapes his unhappy life in New York City to the woods of the Catskill Mountains. He’ll spend a year alone with only a pen knife, ball of cord, forty bucks, and some flint and steel. Your bus from New York to the Catskills doesn’t have to end in this kind of adventure, but it’s great listening along the way.
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle
By Washington Irving; Narrated by Bob Neufeld
Publisher: Spoken Realms
Two of the first and most beloved characters in all of American literature, Rip Van Winkle and Ichabod Crane, were born in the Catskills and the Hudson Valley, respectively. Hear the original classic stories as you travel through these regions.
By Steve Hamilton; Narrated by Dick Hill
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Taking a bus from New York City to Kingston? Get in a novel frame of mind with this thriller from the author of the acclaimed Alex McKnight series. Joe Trumbull is a juvenile probation officer in Kingston, New York, working with the most high-risk youth in the city. Two years ago after his fiancee is murdered, he ventures out on a blind date, ready to live a normal life again. He has no idea that this evening will bring the beginning of a whole new nightmare…
What’s not to love about podcasts? They’re free. They’re shorter than audiobooks. And their episodic format allows them to focus on specific, unique topics and stories. If you’re looking for educational entertainment listening on a New York Trailways, Adirondack Trailways, or Pine Hill Trailways bus, here are some places to start:
The Bowery Boys: New York City History
When taking a Trailways of New York bus to New York City, check out The Bowery Boys, a podcast that takes a fun, up-close look at the Big Apple’s history. Hosts Greg Young and Tom Meyers uncover the stories behind the world-famous landmarks, buildings, and streets.
A New York Minute in History
Here’s a podcast for history buffs and bus travel throughout New York. Produced by The New York State Museum in Albany in partnership with WAMC-Northeast Public Radio and Archivist Media, “A New York Minute in History” is hosted by New York State Historian Devin Lander and Don Wildman, of the Travel Channel’s “Mysteries at the Museum.” Each segment chronicles the Empire State’s role in important historical events. Episode One tells the tales of World War I heroes Henry Johnson and Tommy Hitchcock Jr.; Episode Two looks at New York’s key role in the Women’s Rights Movement.
Hudson River Valley Institute Podcasts
This rich podcast library offers up a deep dive into various regions of the Hudson Valley and their histories, so it’s perfect listening if you’re taking the Trailways bus from NYC to New Paltz, Kingston, into the Catskills, or beyond. Episodes cover the Hudson River, the 124th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment in the Civil War, Hudson Valley wineries, the Mid-Hudson Bridge, the natural ice industry, and the Borscht Belt.
A Small American City
This podcast, a project by author Duncan Crary, takes listeners on a ride through small city life by weaving together the voices, stories, and history of his hometown of Troy, New York — a place that he feels represents the heart of a North American semi-urban community. So whether you are taking a bus to Albany, the Troy area, or anywhere else in the state, this could be a great listening companion for your trip.
Look Like A Local
Spend your Trailways of New York bus ride to major New York State cities learning the tips you need to make the most of your visit. This travel podcast offers the inside scoop from an area’s local residents on the best places to see, eat, and hang out—the places that aren’t going to be mentioned in guidebooks. Episode 1 covers Buffalo; Episode 2 covers Ithaca; Episode 3 covers Syracuse; Episode 4 is all about Plattsburgh; Episode 6 tackles Rochester; Episode 55 covers Albany.