Hudson Valley, N.Y. - Get away to internationally known destinations when you visit Orange County's 816-square miles of scenic Hudson Valley landscape, just one hour from Manhattan. Bordered by two of the country's most beautiful rivers, this historic area has major tourism sites that deliver maximum fun with great summer events.
On a hot summer day, refresh yourself in the coolness of the underground cellars of Brotherhood, America's Oldest Winery as you tour this landmark before enjoying a tasting at the wine bar. Brotherhood celebrates its 175th anniversary this year with its Shawangunk Wine Trail partners at "Bounty of the Hudson" on July 26th and 27th.
All of the wineries on the Trail will be there, plus others from around the Hudson Valley. With your $28 ticket you can sample from the best Hudson Valley wineries and food producers, shop local cuisine, and enjoy live music throughout the day!
Since its 1950 opening, the mystique of Museum Village in Monroe has lured many a traveler. Famous for its eclectic collections from a mastodon skeleton to every kind of artifact interpreting 19th century rural life, this fascinating village of barns, shops, and replica buildings delivers an eye-opening step back in time. One of their most popular events is held every Labor Day weekend, immersing visitors into Civil War camp life teeming with Federal and Confederate action. Could it be the spirits of those who fought in the war have lingered? For years, staff at the museum has seen wispy figures at odd times, now interpreted in Museum Village's Ghost Tours. Groups of thirteen will be part of a close-up investigation of the paranormal activity. See if you can detect the spooky laughter, voices, and apparitions on Saturday, July 19th, Saturday, August 9th, or Friday, September 12th.
Our nation's first military training institution, the United States Military Academy at West Point, is a must-see destination for world travelers. Free daily admission to the West Point Museum provides a glimpse into the Corps of Cadets, Hudson River School of Art, and the history of warfare since Egyptian times. Take a campus bus excursion with West Point Tours for a close-up look at this internationally recognized institution. You'll hear fascinating stories during the guided walk through the Cadet Chapel and around the monument at Trophy Point, one of the most scenic places on the Hudson River. You'll see the same spectacular view when you return for Music under the Stars, a free Sunday evening concert. Come early with your lawn blanket and picnic basket, then relax and watch the sunset to the sounds of the West Point Band. Popular music by some of world's greatest contemporary jazz, soul, and R&B artists will be featured on July 27th. Catch another program on August 3rd and the exciting Labor Day celebration with fireworks on August 31st.
In its 174 years, the Orange County Fair has become an annual event for families seeking summer fun. Once rotated to different towns and villages, the fair has been located at the current fairgrounds in Middletown since 1897. The adjacent Orange County Fair Speedway, the oldest continuously operating dirt track in the United States, features extra events at fair time. Special attractions like the Flying Page Circus performers and escape artist Michael Griffin from America's Got Talent will thrill audiences daily at this year's fair from July 17th to 27th. There's more excitement at the Demolition Derbies on Sunday, July 20th and 27th, and catch the Friday night fireworks for added sparkle!
The Hudson River Chain that kept the British Navy from sailing up the Hudson during the American Revolution was forged from iron found at Sterling Forest State Park. Built in 1770, the remains of the Sterling furnace can still be seen. Many trails, including the Appalachian Trail, cross this huge swath of parkland, a haven for wild life and a favorite of hikers and bird watchers. Open daily, the interpretive exhibits and trails are free, but go on a weekend guided hike and gain a whole new appreciation for this dual historic-nature site. Pre-register for the July 27th outing to explore the nation's very first nature trail created in the park by the Museum of Natural History in 1924. A wide variety of special programs are offered at the Visitors Center year round.
By the way, just outside the park, the New York Renaissance Faire brings 16th century England to merry life in Sterling Forest on weekends from August 2nd through September 21st. It's the largest Renaissance fair on the east coast, and a great way to spend a day with a knight!
A comprehensive list of attractions, lodging, and events is at www.OrangeTourism.org. For a free copy of the Orange County Travel Guide, or a free subscription to our colorful weekly events E-Blasts, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 800-762-8687. "Like us" on Facebook for daily reminders of fun happenings. Orange County Tourism is headquarters for tourism in the county and is part of the I LOVE NY program.
- Bounty of the Hudson at Brotherhood, America's Oldest Winery, Washingtonville. 845-496-3661. www.brotherhood-winery.com; www.shawangunkwinetrail.com/wine-food-festival-bounty-hudson
- Ghost Tours at Museum Village, Monroe. 845-782-8247, ext. 1. www.museumvillage.org
- Music Under the Stars, West Point. 845-938-2617. www.usma.edu/band
- West Point Tours, West Point. 845-446-4724. www.westpointtours.com
- Orange County Fair, Middletown. 845-343-4826. www.orangecountyfair.com
- Sterling Forest State Park, Tuxedo. 845-351-5907. www.palisadesparksconservancy.org
- New York Renaissance Faire, Tuxedo Park. 845-351-5171. www.renfair.com/ny
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Mary Ann McCarthy