Located less than 100 miles from New York City, Hudson Valley has become the top destination for second-home buyers. Its picturesque small towns, historic sites and natural attractions have long lured city dwellers looking for a peaceful retreat with easy access to nature and year-round cultural events. As the pandemic prompts people to seek out open spaces, the 7,228-square-mile region has found an even larger audience, attracting a younger generation of second-home owners who are seeking the best of both worlds.
The area’s stunning scenescapes influenced artists that helped create the Hudson River School of Painters, and its rich agricultural history still lives on in today’s farm-to-table dining and artisanal beverage scenes. Gnarled old apple orchards and vineyards line the winding roads, while new generations of farmers are experimenting with organic or niche farming to make their mark on the industry.
As you make your way north, you’ll start to see a whole different side of the Hudson Valley, with its many historic mansions built by wealthy families. The town of Tarrytown is a must-visit, with its gorgeous Main Street lined with interesting shops and boutiques. It’s also home to the Rockefeller estate, Kykuit, and the Gilded Age Lyndhurst Mansion.
Further north, the art center and sculpture park known as Art Omi is one of the region’s most unique things to do. Located just north of Hudson, it’s a place that fosters artistic expression with its commitment to education and rotating residency programs. The sculpture park consists of more than 120 pieces spread across grassy hills and craggy forests, while the onsite museum showcases works by local and international artists.
A trip to the Hudson Valley is also a chance to learn about the region’s tumultuous early history. It was in the Valley that Harry Croswell, editor of the Federalist newspaper The Wasp, was indicted for “seditious libel” in 1803 for publishing stories that scandalized, traduced and vilified the president at the time.
In Kingston, the Stockade District has incredible 17th- and 18th-century Dutch Colonial architecture. The city is also a culinary hub with incredible restaurants, including the newly opened Rough Draft Bar & Books and the historic Locust Grove, where Samuel Morse invented the Morse code.
Another foodie hub in the Hudson Valley is Woodstock, famous for the 1969 music festival by the same name. The town embodies the spirit of the event with its vibrant arts scene, and is an ideal base to explore nearby natural wonders like Overlook Mountain and Bearsville Theater. Stroll Tinker Street for your fill of tie-dyes and crystals to add to your collection of Woodstock memorabilia, or get earthy on a hike at Overlook Mountain.
One of the most popular places to stay in Hudson Valley is The Kinsley, a renovated 17th-century tavern. The hotel offers incredible eats and drinks, plus a rooftop terrace with amazing views of the surrounding countryside. For a more relaxing experience, check out the spa, which offers various massages and facials.