A cultural landscape of remarkable diversity and texture, the Hudson Valley stretches along the banks of New York’s eponymous river from the northern limits of the city to Albany. From small homesteads first settled by Dutch immigrants to aristocratic palaces on private estates and industrial-friendly river towns, the area’s historic sites, museums, parks and landscapes evoke the people, events and ideas that shaped America’s evolution and prosperity.
In addition to its historic landmarks, the region is known for vineyards, orchards and farms, including sustainable-food champion Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture. A variety of art venues, including Storm King Art Center sculpture park and Dia:Beacon, a museum in a former factory, also showcase large-scale works by 20th- and 21st-century artists.
The booming agritourism business has helped revitalize the region’s urban spaces, drawing serious investment and visitors over the last two decades. Increasingly, the population has become more diverse, as artists and writers and others not dependent on working for someone else make their way to the region and set up shop.
Unlike the bustle of NYC, many smaller towns in the Hudson Valley have more of an authentic vibe. You’ll find a lack of chain restaurants on the main streets and a preference for supporting local businesses, such as artisanal cheesemakers, craft distilleries and art galleries. The regional theater scene is a major draw, as well, with daring new productions of classic plays and Shakespeare’s classics held every summer at the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival in Garrison.
In terms of natural beauty, the region is home to a number of beautiful state parks, as well as the Shawangunk Ridge, a scenic mountain range that serves as the backdrop for a lot of your favorite ’90s sitcoms. You can walk the same trails and take in sweeping vistas that have inspired so many of those iconic scenes.
With a wide array of things to see and do, the Hudson Valley is a great choice for any traveler. Whether you’re looking for big-city hustle or an escape from it all, the region offers something for everyone.