The Hudson Valley, a region that stretches from Westchester County up through the Hudson Highlands and into Albany, the state capital, is the ideal spot to experience a mix of modern day life and centuries of history. Here, you’ll find beautiful towns with quaint shops, world-class museums and galleries, and lots of events that celebrate the area’s vibrant culture.
New York City dwellers who crave some fresh country air have long been making their way up to the Hudson Valley for weekend getaways. The breathtaking mountain and river views captivated 19th century artists like Thomas Cole and Frederic Edwin Church, inspiring the Hudson River School of landscape painting. In later years, wealthy industrialists like the Rockefellers built opulent homes here.
Today, the region is rich with vineyards and orchards and has a growing micro-brewery industry. The land that formerly hosted smoky factories is now lined with gnarled apple trees, and the farm economy is bolstered by small businesses like cheesemakers and bakeries, as well as a new generation of farmers entrepreneurs who focus on organic and niche farming.
There’s also a thriving arts scene in the Hudson Valley, thanks to world-class museums and galleries that showcase work by prominent 20th and 21st century artists. In the smaller towns of the region, you’ll notice that locals take supporting their artists very seriously. When you walk down the streets of these smaller cities, you’ll see a notable absence of national chains and plenty of places to shop for locally made goods from artisan shops and craft fairs.
If you’re in the mood for music, you can catch a show at a cool, up-and-coming venue in Kingston, like The Waterfront. The space, which is a renovated early 1900s building, has a killer sound system and an eclectic lineup of under-the-radar indie musicians.
You can also check out the arts in a less formal setting at the Hudson Valley Community College, where you’ll find a lively series of open mics, workshops, and readings that feature up-and-coming writers and performers.
You’ll probably want to save some energy for your last day of the itinerary, since you’ll have a lot on your plate. Start with a delicious breakfast at Oriole 9 in Hudson and then spend the day hopping between quaint vintage shops. Once you’ve had your fill, head to the town of Catskill and hike the trails at RamsHorn-Livingston Audubon Sanctuary before heading back to the city for a delicious dinner at Crossroads Brewing Company. If you’re feeling brave, you can also try one of the region’s haunted sites. Be warned, though — if you’re not careful, you might feel that light touch on your arm or a cool breeze brushing the back of your neck. It might be a ghost trying to tell you something.