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Hudson Valley: Fact Sheet

Published: Feb 27, 2014

GENERAL DESCRIPTION

This region's magnificent landscapes have inspired generations of artists, writers and statesmen. Just north of Manhattan, beside the majestic Hudson River, discover palatial historic homes, charming riverside villages and celebrated farm-fresh cuisine. Shopping options range from country antique shops to Woodbury Common, the world's largest collection of designer outlets. Acclaimed museums and theaters present cultural treasures and great performances. Boscobel House & Gardens-a grand estate overlooking the US Military Academy at West Point-features the renowned Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival that attracts over 30,000 fans every summer.

COUNTIES

Columbia, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Ulster (Southeast), Westchester

MAJOR CITIES & TOWNS

Beacon, Cold Spring, Hudson, Kingston, Middletown, New Paltz, Newburgh, Nyack Poughkeepsie, Rhinebeck, Tarrytown

CLIMATE

The diverse climate has four distinct seasons. Summers are comfortable and warm, with daytime temperatures averaging in the mid 70s to mid 80s (degrees F) and cooler evenings. The weather is moderately cool and sunny in springtime and autumn, when spectacular fall foliage attracts thousands of visitors. Cold, snowy winters create a wonderland of magnificent scenery along the riverside and in quaint villages and towns.

THREE SURPRISING FACTS

1. You can stay in an historic medieval-style castle just 25 miles north of New York City. The Castle-on-Hudson luxury hotel, on a hilltop above the Hudson River in Tarrytown, was built in 1897 as a private home. The interior woodwork and furnishings were created by a team of artisan carpenters from Germany.

2. America's famous Appalachian Trail, a section of which runs right past the Bear Mountain Trailside Museum & Wildlife Center, was actually started in the Hudson Valley.

3. Painter and illustrator Norman Rockwell lived in New Rochelle and used that town as inspiration for his artwork in The Saturday Evening Post.

SPORTS & OUTDOORS

Boating and Kayaking: The Hudson River, Long Island Sound and smaller streams and lakes offer many options for boating, canoeing and kayaking. Sailing courses are available on Long Island Sound with the New York Sailing School at New Rochelle, and on the river with Great Hudson Sailing, a boat dealership in West Haverstraw, and Hudson Sailing in Kingston, which also offers charters.

Fishing: State parks such as Bear Mountain, Harriman and Lake Taghkanic, as well as many of the region's more than 30 campgrounds and preserves offer fishing and boat launches. Guide services can help you find the best fishing spots.

Hunting: Although most famous for antique hunting, the Hudson Valley also has several hunting preserves and sporting clays, hunting guide services, and state parks and forests open for hunting turkey, large and small game, and coyote during the appropriate seasons. Find license and other information at Hudson Valley's regional website or http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7844.html

Golf: Golfers of all levels enjoy award-winning courses throughout the region, including the Casperkill Country Club in Poughkeepsie, with a championship course designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr.; Mills-Norrie State Park; and the beautiful and historic West Point Golf Course.

Hiking and Biking: Thousands of miles of waterside, wooded and mountain trails throughout the region offer views of stunning landscapes and wildlife such as ducks, beavers, deer and foxes. A 35-mile stretch of the Appalachian Trail runs through the region near Bear Mountain State Park. The Mohonk Preserve in Gardiner has 70 miles of carriage roads and multi-use trails on 6,500 acres. Built on a former railroad bed, the paved 15-mile Harlem Valley Rail Trail begins at the Metro North Railroad Station in Wassaic and Walkway over the Hudson Poughkeepsie. Blue Mountain Reservation in Peekskill is now a park with hiking, fishing, and a nationally known mountain biking center.

Hot-Air Balloon Rides: A unique way to view the Hudson Valley's magnificent scenery is via hot-air balloon flights with FAA-certified, commercial balloon pilots. Options include: Above the Clouds and Fantasy Balloon Flights, in Middletown; Blue Sky Balloons, in Beacon; Float on Air Balloon Company, in Hudson; and Hudson Valley Enchanted Balloon Tours, in Slate Hill.

Rock Climbing: The ancient cliffs of the Shawangunk Mountains are a world-renowned rock climbing area, accessible from the Mohonk Preserve in Gardiner.

Winter Sports: Downhill ski areas include Catamount, Mt. Peter, Sawkill Family Center, Thunder Ridge and Tuxedo Ridge. Rocking Horse Ranch also features downhill and cross-country skiing. Fahnestock Winter Park, Minnewaska State Park Preserve, and the Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz have cross-country ski and snowshoe trails. Other parks throughout the region offer ice-skating, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.

Zipline Adventures: Big Bear Zip Lines in Hyde Park let you fly through the woodlands at 30mph, climb fire truck ladders, swoop down Tarzan vines, and take in amazing views.

Nature Centers: Several nature centers in the region include the Bear Mountain Trailside Museum & Wildlife Center at Bear Mountain State Park and the Mohonk Preserve, a sanctuary in the Shawangunk Mountains.

State Parks: The region's scenic state parks, including Bear Mountain, Fahnestock, Harriman, Lake Taghkanic, Mills-Norrie, Minnewaska and Taconic, offer a wide range of outdoor activities.

Scenic Byways: The 88-mile Shawangunk Mountains Scenic Byway winds through the Shawangunks, a paradise for hikers, rock climbers and other outdoor enthusiasts. Towns and villages along the trail blend historic sites with restaurants and shops, including a thriving population of artisan studios.

ART, ARCHITECTURE & CULTURE

1869 Bardavon Opera House (Poughkeepsie). The historic opera house presents theater, concerts and dance performances.

Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts (Katonah). Indoor and outdoor theaters present classical music, opera and jazz concerts. Tour the historic mansion's art collection and eight themed gardens.

Dia:Beacon (Beacon). This art museum on the Hudson River gets rave reviews for its collection that spans the 1960s to the present.

The Falcon Arts Center (Marlboro). Jazz concerts are presented in a unique barnlike structure.

The Fields Sculpture Park/Omi Arts Center (Ghent). Nearly eighty works of art are displayed on sixty acres of rolling farmland, wetlands and wooded areas.

Fisher Center for the Performing Arts (Annandale-on-Hudson). On the campus of Bard College, see acclaimed music, theater, opera and dance in a stunning structure designed by architect Frank Gehry.

Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art (Peekskill). Exhibits and programs at the Center focus on cutting-edge contemporary art.

Kaatsbaan International Dance Center (Tivoli). Watch music and dance productions in the 160-seat theatre. 

Olana State Historic Site (Hudson). The mansion and landscape designed by Hudson River School painter Frederic Church is perhaps his greatest masterpiece. The Moorish/Persian-style home and studio are open for tours.

Storm King Art Center (Mountainville). This outdoor sculpture museum on 500 acres of fields and woodlands exhibits 120 masterworks by internationally renowned artists.

Sugar Loaf Arts & Crafts Village (Sugar Loaf). Explore artist studios and galleries in buildings that date back to the 1700s and 1800s.

Ulster Performing Arts Center (Kingston). A full calendar of events features nationally known performers.

HISTORY

Franklin D Roosevelt Home  Museum and Library National Historic Site (Hyde Park). Explore the home and gardens of the 32nd President of the US. Take the shuttle up to Top Cottage to enjoy the view from the porch where FDR entertained world leaders. 

Historic Huguenot Street (New Paltz). Guided tours of homes dating back to the 1600s begin at the Visitor Center.

Hurley Heritage Society Museum (Hurley). The home of Col. Jonathan Elmendorf, built in 1783, is now a local history museum.

Kiersted House (Saugerties). The 1727 house museum presents tours and special events.

Kykuit, the Rockefeller Estate (Sleepy Hollow/Tarrytown). Visit Sleepy Hollow's landmark home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Tour the mansion, gardens, and galleries that display a renowned 20th-century art collection.

Lyndhurst (Sleepy Hollow/Tarrytown) This stunning Gothic Revival-style mansion, designed by the renowned American architect A. J. Davis in 1838, was the home of railroad tycoon Jay Gould.

Montgomery Place (Annandale-on-Hudson). The 380-acre house museum and property reflect Hudson Valley estate life over nearly 200 years.

 Olana State Historic Site (Hudson). Guided tours of the mansion and grounds highlight the life of the 19th-century Hudson River School artist, Frederic Church. 

Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome (Rhinebeck). The museum showcases antique planes with exhibits, theatrical air shows and barnstorming rides.

Philipsburg Manor (Sleepy Hollow). Explore the 300-year-old manor house and farm where interpreters in period costume demonstrate 18th-century tasks and skills.

Senate House (Kingston). In the fall of 1777, New York's first Senate met in the simple stone house of merchant Abraham Van Gaasbeek.

Sunnyside, Washington Irving's Home (Sleepy Hollow/Tarrytown).  Visit the enchanting 1835 home of America's first internationally-famous author, known for The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Rip Van Winkle and other stories set in the region. Tours are led by costumed guides.

US Military Academy at West Point (West Point).            Walk the paths of generals on a guided tour of the oldest military academy in the US. Highlights include the Cadet Chapel, Hudson River views at Trophy Point, and a museum of military history and art.

Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site (Hyde Park). Relive the Gilded Age at this historic estate with magnificent gardens and sweeping river views.

FOOD & DRINK

Enjoy celebrated Hudson Valley cuisine-from legendary country inns to the Culinary Institute of America, the world's premier culinary college with five award-winning restaurants. Visit the region's abundant farm markets, artisanal cheese makers, and award-winning vineyards such as Brotherhood Winery in Washingtonville. Wineries along the Dutchess and Shawangunk wine trails are open year-round for tours, tasting and special events such as festivals and wine-pairing dinners. 

Visitors to the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, in Sleepy Hollow, can tour the sustainable farm, walk the trails, and dine on fresh local fare at the Blue Hill Restaurant.

Guests at the Castle on the Hudson, in Tarrytown, can dine like royalty, with the option to spend the night in the authentic 100-year-old medieval-style castle. The five-star dining room, Equus, has a worldwide reputation for excellence. The chef, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, creates an exciting menu using fresh local products.  

SHOPPING

Follow country roads to shop for fresh local produce and other culinary products, such as artisan cheeses and fresh-baked bread, at farm markets and roadside stands throughout the region.

The historic Hudson Valley is also known for some of the nation's finest antique hunting. The popular Rhinebeck Antiques Fair in July attracts hundreds of antique dealers. Antique shops, galleries, and fine restaurants line the main streets of charming villages such as Chatham, High Falls, Millbrook, Red Hook, Rhinebeck and Valatie, and as well as the Hudson River towns of Beacon, Cold Spring, Hudson, Nyack and Tarrytown.

At Sugar Loaf Art & Craft Village, artists present their work in dozens of shops and galleries within strolling distance of friendly cafés. New Paltz‘s Water Street Market, on the banks of the Wallkill River near the Shawangunk Mountain Ridge, is a European-inspired community of boutiques, antique shops, galleries and restaurants.

Woodbury Common Premium Outlets in Central Valley (with more than 220 stores) boasts the world's largest collection of designer outlets.

UNIQUE LODGING

The Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, a lakeside Victorian castle surrounded by forests and winding trails, features elegant guestrooms, fine dining, four-season sports and a sumptuous spa. Conde Nast Traveler named it one of the Top 20 large resorts in the US. For a simpler stay, historic Saugerties Lighthouse is now a sunny B&B with million dollar views. 

Other unique places to stay include:

  • The Bird & Bottle Inn in Garrison,
  • The Bricktown Inn in Haverstraw,
  • Buttermilk Falls Inn & Spa in Milton,
  • Castle on the Hudson in Tarrytown,
  • Cromwell Manor Inn in Cornwall,
  • Glenmere Mansion in Chester,
  • LePetit Chateau Inn in Hyde Park,
  • Mount Merino Manor in Hudson,
  • Newburgh/New York City North KOA Kampground in Plattekill,
  • Pinegrove Ranch & Family Resort in Kerhonkson, and
  • Rocking Horse Ranch Resort in Highland.

OTHER SELECTED ATTRACTIONS

Culinary Institute of America (Hyde Park). Tour the world's premier culinary college. Make reservations to enjoy world-class cuisine in one of the five award-winning restaurants, or register for a cooking class.

Dutchess County Fairgrounds (Rhinebeck). Many events and shows, including the famous Rhinebeck Crafts Festival, Rhinebeck Antiques Show, and Hudson Valley Wine & Food Fest are held at the historic fairgrounds.

Hudson Cruises (Hudson). Take a relaxing scenic river cruise aboard the 150-passenger paddlewheeler, Spirit of Hudson.

Hudson River Museum (Yonkers). Exhibits highlight Hudson River art, history and science in an historic waterside home.

Mohonk Mountain House (New Paltz). This landmark resort, a 265-room Victorian castle, was built in 1869 at the top of the Shawangunk Ridge. Surrounded by forests and winding trails, the resort offers fine dining as well as activities like golf, swimming in Lake Mohonk, hiking, and guided rock climbing.

Mohonk Preserve (Gardiner). This sanctuary in the Shawangunk Mountains offers hiking and biking along 70 miles of carriage roads and trails on 6,500 acres. "The Gunks" are also a world-class rock climbing area.

Playland Amusement Park (Rye). This historic fun park on Long Island Sound features 50 rides plus a boardwalk, pier and beach.

Shawangunk Mountains rock climbing. (New Paltz) "The Gunks," a world-class climbing area, attract about 50,000 climbers annually. They were called the East Coast's greatest climbing area by National Geographic. Most of the climbing cliffs are located on the Mohonk Preserve.

The Walkway Over the Hudson (Highland to Poughkeepsie). Stroll, wheel, bike or skate 212 feet above the river on the longest pedestrian bridge in the world. A marvel of adaptive-use architecture, the renovated railroad bridge offers thrilling vistas every step of the way.

MAJOR ANNUAL EVENTS

  • Maple Weekend (March)
  • Sap to Syrup Festival at Hudson Valley Maple Farm (March)
  • Caramoor International Music Festival (June)
  • Crafts at Rhinebeck (June and September/October)
  • Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival at Boscobel (June-September)
  • Falcon Ridge Folk Festival (July)
  • Dutchess County Fair (August)
  • New York Renaissance Faire (August-September)
  • Hudson Valley Garlic Festival (September)
  • Hudson Valley Wine & Food Fest (September)
  • Rhinebeck Antiques (October)
  • NYS Sheep and Wool Festival (October)
  • International Pickle Festival (November) 
  • Christmas in the Village at Museum Village (December)

CONVENTION CENTERS

Westchester County Center in White Plains   and Mid Hudson Civic Center Poughkeepsie

Mohonk Mountain House, in New Paltz: 2,400 sq. ft of dedicated meeting space; 266 guest rooms.

TRANSPORTATION

Land:

30 min-2 hour from NYC

7 hours from Niagara

4 -5 hours from Montreal

AMTRAK to Croton-Harmon, Hudson, Poughkeepsie, Rhinecliff, Yonkers,

Metro-North Railroad

Air: 

Stewart International Airport in Newburgh

Westchester County Airport near White Plains

Also accessible from NYC airports, JFK International and LaGuardia Airport located in Queens

FURTHER INFORMATION

For more ideas and information, visit iloveny.com or the Hudson Valley's regional website: http://www.travelhudsonvalley.com

CONTACT:          

Melanie Klausner
M. SILVER - A Division of Finn Partners
(212)-754-6500, ext. 243
Melanie.Klausner@finnpartners.com

Eric Scheffel
Empire State Development
(518) 292-5274
escheffel@esd.ny.gov

Mary Kay Vrba
Dutchess County Tourism
845.463.5445
mkv@dutchesstourism.com

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