Ahh, the Hudson Valley. More than just a boat tour of the Hudson River, or setting for a modern romantic comedy. Per the Hudson Valley Tourism website, the area is comprised of 10 counties: Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Orange, Ulster, Dutchess, Greene, Albany, Rensselaer and Columbia. The latter 4 counties comprise the Upper Hudson region, Dutchess/Orange/Ulster are Mid-Hudson, and the remaining Lower Hudson.
Hudson Valley’s natural beauty and rich landscape, with the majestic Catskill Mountains as its backdrop, is as lush a canvas as you’d ever want to paint. The extensive area is an ever-evolving and accepting blend of cultures, languages, ethnicities and lifestyles.
Hudson Valley beckons you to immerse yourself in its simple pleasures and calmer pace… to take the time to feel the warmth of the sunrise, the prickles of crisp morning air, and the joyful flutter of butterflies dancing in your yard. Plan beyond the daily stresses of metropolitan deadlines and checklists. The Hudson Valley invites you to have a seat, savor a favorite amuse-bouche, and share a little story about yourself with new friends.
There is something for everyone in the Hudson Valley, from cultural centers to liberal arts colleges, performance arenas, galleries and museums, horseback riding, lake sports, festivals and parades, professional golf courses, playhouses, fine dining and shopping, hiking and biking trails, top-rated ski slopes, hot air balloon rides, and camping, to name a few. Whether in quaint Chatham Village or Woodstock, the Adirondacks, Catskills, Nyack, or the capital port city of Albany, there is always something you will want to do.
Increasing in popularity throughout Hudson Valley are wineries. In fact, the annual Hudson Valley Wine and Food Fest takes place in Rhinebeck, Dutchess County. Have some fun and sharpen your “Five Ss” (see, swirl, sniff, sip, savor) at a wine tasting. Swedish Hill Winery in Saratoga Springs, Cascade Mountain Winery & Restaurant in Amenia, Millbrook Vineyards & Winery in Millbrook, and the Hudson-Chatham Winery in Columbia County are popular destinations.
With the vast amount of fertile soil in the region, it’s no surprise some of the best wines, farmers’ markets, organic produce, and fine dining restaurants are born in the Hudson Valley.
The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park for example has cultivated and attracted some of today’s master talents. It's commonplace to see seasoned chefs leave the strife of city kitchens to enjoy their craft at their own pace in smaller upstate venues. Warren Street in Hudson is rich with gourmet palates.
The Hudson Valley also features a mecca of distinguished cultural centers, among them Omi International, Bard’s Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, Opus 40, PS21, and the Storm King Art Center.
From expressions on canvas, to nature, and live performance, nothing seems to draw as strong a crowd as independent film festivals, as those hosted by Dutchess County’s Woodstock, or Columbia County’s Chatham Village. Occasionally controversial, film festivals give opportunity for independent filmmakers to debut their unique presentations and viewpoints before their creations hit the mainstream.
If history’s your thing, you’ll enjoy visiting Martin Van Buren’s Lindenwald Estate in Kinderhook Columbia County, or Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Springwood Estate in Hyde Park Dutchess County. As America’s 8th and 32nd presidents, their homes are national historic sites and offer enriching experiences for the entire family.
Despite the intimacy and attraction of smaller towns, and your preference of biking scenic and peaceful byways, maybe you’re not ready to commit to the country. No worries.
Metro North runs from Dutchess to Westchester Counties. As part of the MTA subway system, you’ll be set for year-round hassle-free commuting. If Amtrak’s your preference, head north and keep your eyes on the beautiful Hudson, where soon you’ll see impressive West Point Academy, and the mighty Catskills.
There is perhaps no more breathtaking territory than the Hudson Valley in the Fall. The gorgeous composition of blue skies reflected on vast waterways mirroring mother nature’s vibrant spectrum leaves little to be desired. Undulating hills, orchards bursting with ripe produce just waiting to be picked, and that fragrant chill in the air evoke an inexplicable innocence and joy to be alive.
Whether wine tasting on the greens, window-shopping Main Street, chatting up a neighborhood café, attending a gallery exhibition, or restoring your senses with yoga in the park, the Hudson Valley is food for the soul.