The eponymous river that bears its name gives this New York State region its identity. It’s an area that ranges from the gentrified suburban towns of Rockland and Westchester up to the Albany-capital district and the Catskills, with historic castles, country estates, and Revolutionary War battlefields in between. There are also quaint villages, charming farm fairs and festivals, a world-famous sleepy hollow where the headless horseman is said to haunt, and plenty of outdoor adventure, including river cruises, shopping and family fun.
It’s not hard to understand why hudson valley is such a popular tourist destination, particularly for those who live in New York City or other nearby urban areas. The high cost of living and crowding in these cities has driven many people to search for a more tranquil lifestyle and a better quality of life that can be found in the surrounding Hudson Valley. This migration has led to increased development of the region, and some long-time residents have begun forming environmental and preservationist groups to try to slow the pace of change in their beloved home.
Less than 100 miles from NYC, the region’s rolling hills and lush forests beckon visitors. The region has become a mecca for wine lovers, with vineyards and orchards dotting the landscape. There is also a strong focus on sustainable farming and food, with the likes of Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture and the acclaimed Woodstock music festival in town.
The area is rich in history, from the first Dutch settlements to the 19th-century industrial boom. It was even a hotbed of the Revolutionary War, with skirmishes between Hessian Jagers and American rebels taking place in what was essentially the wild west of the United States at the time.
One of the most interesting parts of the area’s history is its diverse ethnicity and cultural heritage. While most of the rest of the United States was heavily influenced by British culture and values, the Hudson Valley retains some Dutch heritage through its architecture, cuisine, and language.
Today, the region has a growing arts scene. Art galleries in the area are known for their avant-garde work and experimental approaches to design. There is also a wide array of performing arts, including the Hudson Opera House in Kingston and the Appel Theater in Albany. The renowned Hudson River School of Painting was founded here by Thomas Cole in 1845, and his successors such as Frederic Edwin Church and Sanford Gifford continue to capture the beauty of the Hudson Valley on canvass.
The area has a lively liberal culture that is evident in the prevalence of local farmers’ markets and artisan shops. The popularity of organic foods is reflected in the region’s culinary scene, with restaurants such as Kitty’s, which serves some of the best breakfast sandwiches in recent memory (think a blanket of muenster cheese and smoky bacon on a perfectly bun) earning rave reviews for their fresh ingredients. In addition to the dining options, the region offers a variety of attractions for the whole family, from the renowned Berkshire Children’s Museum in Stockbridge to the upscale music venue Dia:Beacon, set in an old factory.