The Hudson Valley is rich in timeless scenery and American history. But it’s also a place of newer delights. The region boasts 34 craft breweries, and many restaurants feature food that’s sourced as locally as possible. The Valley helped popularize the national culinary sensation, farm-to-table cooking. And the landscape has become a showcase for the art of the Hudson River School painters.
There’s so much to see and do here, you may need more than a day to explore it all. Fortunately, the Hudson Valley is easy to reach from almost anywhere in the country. Fly into Albany International Airport, a small and friendly hub. Then, hit the road or jump aboard a train to get to the region. Amtrak’s Empire Service, Maple Leaf and Ethan Allen Express trains trace the Hudson River’s edge. And the NYC-to-Poughkeepsie Metro North Railroad runs north of Poughkeepsie.
When you’re traveling through the Hudson Valley, it’s hard to miss that it was once part of a glacial lake. Today, large sand deposits remain along the shorelines of the former Lake Iroquois, which drained south into the Hudson River. Some of these sand deposits are used to make the world’s longest recreational bicycle path, the Hudson River Greenway.
Less than 100 miles from the hustle and bustle of New York City, there’s an abundance of natural and cultural attractions to explore. From the Great Vanderbilt and Rockefeller estates to Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum and the gothic Lyndhurst Castle to the National Trust’s property in Beacon, it’s no wonder why this historic area attracts visitors from across the nation.
The region is dotted with small liberal arts colleges. You’ll find Bard, Vassar, Marist, Mount Saint Mary and Sarah Lawrence, among others. Thousands of young students swarm the region’s towns and cities, which are filled with museums, renowned restaurants, and plenty of music venues—especially Kingston’s, a hot spot for under-the-radar indie music.
If you’re an outdoor lover, the Valley offers some of the most extensive protected wilderness in the region. And it’s home to the largest private nature reserve in New York, Storm King, and Dia:Beacon, one of the most impressive exhibition spaces for modern and contemporary art.
For a more cultural experience, visit the region’s distinguished museums. The Neuberger Museum of Art in Purchase, the Hudson River Museum in Kingston and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City all rank as some of the best art museums in the state.
The region is also home to two presidents: Martin Van Buren was born in Kinderhook, and Franklin D. Roosevelt lived in Hyde Park for most of his life. You can pay your respects to both at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum and his Springwood estate in Hyde Park, both of which have been preserved as historic sites.