orange-county-tourism-2.JPGCooking, acting, arts classes and more in Orange County, New York  Hudson Valley, N.Y. - Get those creative juices flowing this year by pursuing some exciting new experiences. Interactive events and classes can brighten your taste buds, spur your imagination, and open new pathways.  Local mavens from master chefs to professional artists can expand your passion or inspire you to find one. Come see where your talent lies in the beautiful Hudson Valley. Gourmet or foodie? Gourmets enjoy fine dining while foodies take a broader interest in everything culinary. Orange County caters to both with fabulous chefs, vintners, distillers, and fresh locally grown food to cultivate your appetite. Sign up with Master Distiller, Jason Grizzanti, at the Warwick Valley Winery and Distillery (the first distillery in the region since prohibition), for courses that include guided whiskey tastings and gourmet lunches on Saturdays in February and March. Just minutes away, join Culinary Institute of America graduate Chef Erik Johansen at the charming Iron Forge Inn for his hands-on "Cooking with the Seasons" classes complete with cooking tools, wine and dinner. It's sure to ignite your love for the culinary arts. In the famous Black Dirt Region, discover the quaint Quaker Creek Store that offers meats of such extraordinary quality that it's been featured on both the Travel and the Food Channels. Nearby, visit the Rogowski Farm for a weekend breakfast by the pot belly stove or a Friday night "field to fork" dinner experience. Farmer Cheryl Rogowski also shares tips at workshops that may inspire you to start your own kitchen garden.   The Arts and Crafts Movement is alive and well here. On President's Day weekend, Collage Artist and Painter, Jonathan Talbot, whose work has been exhibited at MOMA and other renowned art institutions, is offering a Collage Techniques & Creative Workshop at his Warwick studio. Talbot is also a co-founder of the "Arts Map," an on-line guide to artists around the world including studios throughout Orange County. Internationally-recognized landscape photographer, Nick Zungoli, holds winter workshops at his Exposures Gallery in Sugar Loaf Art & Crafts Village, a community established by artisans over 250 years ago. Just down the street, at Bertoni Gallery, aspiring jewelry designers can learn the basics at sessions with Rachel Bertoni whose jewelry has been showcased in film by Jennifer Lopez. For aspiring visual artists, adult drop-in and paint programs are offered on Saturdays at the Wallkill River School & Gallery in Montgomery. Paint side by side with the talented plein air artists who have established this local institution patterned after the Hudson River School of Art. If you're into heavy metal, the Center for Metal Arts in Florida, New York has a complete shop that offers basic training in metal arts, and when you're ready, more advanced workshops. Try your hand at basket making at workshops to be held at the Fort Montgomery State Historic Site on February 25th and March 17th.   These beginner level classes, arranged as a tribute to this area's rich basket making heritage, have limited space, so register right away. Test your mettle by giving yourself a star turn with some acting lessons. Goshen-based Willy Gilly Productions' Acting Anyone offers group classes and private sessions with veteran actor David P. Wilson. Theater director, writer and producer, Paul Ellis, also conducts acting and theater training programs. He originated the Air Pirates Radio Theater which frequently performs at the Lycian Theater in Sugar Loaf.  If you're too shy to take the stage, join the audience to make the sound effects at the Air Pirates new Herb Marks mystery, That Tramp Maybe a Lady Chapter 2 on March 17th. Explore drama as well as music and dance at the Hudson Valley Conservatory in Walden, founded by Tony Award nominee actor and singer Samuel E. Wright. Catch a Valentine's Cabaret at their New Rose Theater on February 11th or see Peter Pan performed from March 23rd through April 1st. Undiscovered singers can test their talents at Palaia Vineyard's Open Mic with Live Music session; the next one is March 1st. Your vocal chords just may improve with a few sips of the award-winning wines at this Highland Mills fun spot, and if you only want to listen, there's great live entertainment there every weekend. It's never too late to learn to ski. Tuxedo Ridge and Mount Peter in Warwick are perfect slopes for novices. Both sites are busy grooming snow for super conditions throughout February. While you're at it, try snowboarding, too. Check their websites for great deals, even free beginner lessons. Share the love. Bring the whole family and inspire everyone to go downhill rapidly!     Maybe you're happiest hiking a peaceful, woodland trail or taking in beautiful views from atop Schunnemunk or Storm King Mountain. Venture on the famous Appalachian Trail founded here at Bear Mountain State Park in 1923. If you don't want to travel solo, Sterling Forest State Park offers some fabulous group hikes. On February 19th park educator Doc Bayne will give a talk on the park's iron mining history followed by an escorted hike to some of the locations he reveals. Surprise yourself. Challenge yourself. New adventures await all over Orange County. Find a complete list of attractions, lodging and events at For a free copy of the Orange County Travel Guide call 800-762-8687, or email Orange County Tourism is headquarters for tourism in the county and is part of the I LOVE NEW YORK program. Resources: Warwick Valley Winery and Distillery, Warwick. (845) 258-4858. Iron Forge Inn, Warwick. (845) 986-3411.   Quaker Creek Store, Goshen.  (845) 258-4570.   Rogowski Farm, Pine Island. (845) 258-4574.   Jonathan Talbot's Studio, Warwick. (845) 258-4620.   Exposures Gallery, Sugar Loaf.  (845) 469-9382.   Bertoni Gallery, Sugar Loaf.  (845) 469-0993.   Wallkill River School, Montgomery. (845) 457-2787.   Center for Metal Arts, Florida. (888) 867-9577.    Fort Montgomery State Historic Site. (845) 446-2134 Acting Anyone, Goshen.  (845) 294-7500.   Air Pirates Radio Theater, Sugar Loaf. (845) 469-7563.   Hudson Valley Conservatory, Walden. (845) 778-2478.   Palaia Vineyards, Highland Mills. (845) 928-5384.   Tuxedo Ridge Ski Center, Tuxedo. (845) 351-1122.   Mount Peter Ski & Snowboard Area, Warwick. (845) 986-4940. Bear Mountain State Park.  (845) 786-2701. Sterling Forest State Park.  (845) 351-5907.  


Contact: Mary Ann McCarthy (845) 615-3860