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Great Winter Getaway Ideas: Hudson Valley

Published: Jan 23, 2014

From a motorcycle museum, to majestic mansions, to maple syrup farms.

Just north of New York City, magnificent landscapes, palatial historic homes and charming riverside villages shimmer with winter's beauty. Outdoor fun includes downhill skiing, snowboarding and other winter sports at mountains like Catamount and Thunder Ridge as well as unique resorts like Mohonk Mountain House, Bear Mountain Inn, and Rocking Horse Ranch. Cross-country skiers glide through majestic scenery, from sprawling state parks to trails that wind through historic estates.

Come discover why National Geographic Traveler rates the Hudson Valley a Top 20 Must-See Place on its Best of the World list.

Choose from suggested sites on this scenic route that travels up the west side of the Hudson River, crosses over to Hudson, and then heads back down to Tarrytown.

A. Bear Mountain

Begin at the historic Bear Mountain Inn.  Surrounded by scenic beauty, the property includes three restaurants, rustically elegant guestrooms and cottages, and a spa. Relax by the fire in the lobby, with stunning views of the mountains and Hudson River.

Within walking distance of the Inn, Bear Mountain State Park offers snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, ice skating, a trailside zoo, a carousel, and hiking on the scenic Appalachian Trail (which was started here).  

B. Sugar Loaf

Nearby, historic Sugar Loaf Art & Craft Village is one of the most unique shopping villages on the East Coast! Galleries show and sell works by great painters, photographers, jewelers and potters. Artisan shops and studios sell custom clothing, handbags and accessories. Many of the artisans live and work in the original barns and buildings that date back to the 1700s. It's a perfect stop for holiday shopping or anytime!

C. Monroe 

A few miles east, you can enjoy "Christmas in the Village" in early December. Costumed guides at Museum Village, a living history museum, invite you to join the fun in19th-century style, with holiday songs and other festivities.

D. West Point

Take a short drive northeast to experience sweeping views and the sweep of American history on a tour of the US Military Academy at West Point.  Historic figures such as George Washington, Robert E. Lee, U.S. Grant, Douglas MacArthur, and even Benedict Arnold have all walked the grounds.  

E. Newburgh

Travel north to the brand-new Motorcyclepedia Museum, a motorcycle lover's paradise!  With over 450 motorcycles, from an 1897 DeDion to modern choppers, it's the largest motorcycle museum in the US. Check out the military, police and Harley Davidson galleries and rare vintage rides, including over 100 Indian bikes from every year they were made.

F. New Paltz

Conde Nast Traveler recently named Mohonk Mountain House the #1 Resort Spa in the US!  Plan a day visit or an entire vacation at this lakeside Victorian castle surrounded by lush forests and winding trails. Along with fine dining and a sumptuous spa, there are miles of trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing and a covered ice-skating rink.

G. Hudson

Continue north and then cross the river to explore this historic village known for an eclectic selection of restaurants, art galleries, boutiques and antique shops. The Hudson Antiques Dealers Association highlights dozens of galleries on five historic blocks. Find a wide range of furniture, jewelry, vintage clothing and collectibles from around the world and across the centuries.

The Winter Walk on Warren Street in early December transforms Hudson‘s main street into a festive wonderland animated by dancers, musicians and giant puppets.

H. Germantown

Head south to visit Clermont State Historic Site, home to eight generations of the Livingston Family. Robert R. Livingston Jr. helped draft the Declaration of Independence, administered the oath of office to George Washington, negotiated the Louisiana Purchase and developed steamboat technology with Robert Fulton. Clermont gardens and grounds are open year-round for winter walks and cross-country skiing.

Special events in winter include A Child's Christmas, a Holiday Party, and the Christmas at Clermont Open House. Candlelight Tours in December recreate Christmas traditions through the ages, with glittering decorations and wassail and traditional holiday goodies served in the historic kitchen.  

I. Hyde Park

Winter's a perfect time to get cozy in the kitchen!  Talented chefs at the world-famous Culinary Institute of America teach hands-on courses all season. Learn to make international holiday treats, seasonal soups, artisan breads and creative cupcakes. If you'd rather just eat, make reservations at one of their five award-winning restaurants. You can also tour the campus and shop for kitchen gadgets in the bookstore.

J. Dover Plains

Drive southeast to Madava Farms, where the famous Crown Maple® Syrup is produced. Guided tasting tours, offered year-round, show maple syrup production, from tree to barrel. Winter and spring weekends are a perfect time for a walk in the woods. Indoors, watch sugar-making and hand-bottling of one of the earth's sweetest natural crops. The Farm Stand restaurant's artisan lunches highlight local seasonal ingredients.

K. Patterson

It's a short trip south to winter sports at Thunder Ridge Ski Area, a tradition since 1948. Just 60 miles from New York City, over 30 scenic trails offer variety and challenge for everyone from expert skiers and snowboarders to novices. Lessons are available.

L. Pocantico Hills

Further south, just 30 minutes from Manhattan, take a farm tour and savor a healthy seasonal lunch at the Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture. This unique farm, dining and education center promotes sustainable food production. On site discover a restored Norman-style barn, a greenhouse, Blue Hill restaurant, winter gardens and walking trails.

M. Tarrytown/Sleepy Hollow

Just down the road, Historic Hudson Valley's many seasonal events include classic storytelling and music in the cozy confines of the Old Dutch Church. Across the street, old-fashioned holiday celebrations at Philipsburg Manor-an 18th-century farm, mill and trading center-welcome guests with 1700s-style refreshments and candlelight tours.

For more ideas and information, see Hudson Valley's Regional Tourism Website.  

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