The Hudson Valley, spanning from upper Rockland and Westchester to Ulster and Dutchess County, is famous for its history, natural beauty, foodie culture and burgeoning arts scene. It’s also home to the oldest wine-producing area in America, as well as a thriving breweries and farm-to-table dining scene. But the real secret to hudson valley is the people who live here. The people of the region aren’t your typical small town folk. For starters, they’re generally the type of liberal, intelligent folks who take their local farmers’ markets and artisan shops seriously — so much so that your friends might give you a look of death and a healthy twenty minute lecture if you ever purchase anything with GMOs in your fridge.
This is also a region that prides itself on being connected to the world, even though it’s only about 100 miles from New York City. That’s why you see so many small liberal arts colleges here: Bard, Vassar, Marist, Mount Saint Mary, Sarah Lawrence. These schools attract thousands of kids who want to learn from the best in philosophy and women’s studies. And then when those same kids graduate, they stay to put their newfound knowledge to work in the small towns and villages of the region.
These small towns and villages are filled with a rich mix of history and culture, which makes the people who live here truly unique. But what really distinguishes the residents of the Hudson Valley is their passion and determination to keep this area as beautiful and as wholesome as possible. For instance, the people of the region are very protective of their water supply. In the 1960s, when Consolidated Edison proposed building a power plant near Storm King Mountain, residents formed the Scenic Hudson Preservation Conference to fight the project and protect the river and the surrounding land. This effort resulted in a 17-year legal battle that lasted all the way to the state and federal courts, and the power plant was never built.
In addition, the people of the region are incredibly proud to call this place home. They know that the history of the region is a testament to their strength, courage and resolve, and they take great pride in preserving their heritage. This can be seen in the region’s many historic sites, such as the opulent Vanderbuilt and Rockefeller estates and the gothic Lyndhurst Castle. And they’re also proud of their small-town vibes, which have led to some pretty incredible festivals and celebrations.
The most celebrated example of this is probably the annual Pete Seeger Festival in Beacon, which celebrates the acclaimed folk singer’s legacy every June. The festival is an incredible celebration of American folk music, and it’s held in a renovated early 1900s factory that features a killer sound system.