05.15.2017

Exploring the Hudson Valley

Along the Hudson River, north of Manhattan, to discover the Valley’s amazing landscapes

  • Exploring the Hudson Valley
  • Exploring the Hudson Valley
  • Exploring the Hudson Valley
  • Exploring the Hudson Valley
  • Exploring the Hudson Valley
  • Exploring the Hudson Valley
  • Exploring the Hudson Valley
  • Exploring the Hudson Valley
  • Exploring the Hudson Valley
  • Exploring the Hudson Valley
  • Exploring the Hudson Valley
  • Exploring the Hudson Valley
  • Exploring the Hudson Valley
  • Exploring the Hudson Valley

When you think of New Yorkers' favorite destinations for a spring or summer weekend break, the first places that comes to your mind are probably the Hamptons and the beaches of Long Island. The truth, however, is that those areas can get annoyingly overcrowded this time of year. On the other hand, you just need to drive along the Hudson River to find yourself surrounded by the tranquility of the lush, varied and historically and culturally rich landscapes of the Hudson Valley, extending for about 150 miles north of Manhattan.
 
These places, where the Dutch first landed in 1600, were subject to controversy with the British and then became the scenario of the American Revolution. In the 19th century, with the development of commercial and tourist steamboat travel along the Hudson, the Valley was the subject of a great industrial development, and at the same time it turned into a holiday and leasure resort for the families of New York aristocrats and tycoons - the Vanderbilt, the Roosevelt - whose magnificent Gilded Age villas can still be admired along the banks of the river.
Today, the Hudson Valley, officially designated a National Heritage Area, is a renowned destination for the variety of experiences it can offer, from its magnificent natural landscapes to the amazing food & wine scene (it is the oldest wine-growing region of the country), as well as for its antique shops, museums, microbreweries, historic villages, castles and parks.
 
Following the course of the river and making a few detours inland, the points of interest are so many that a weekend is certainly not enough to explore them all. So the best thing to do is choose the ones that best suit your taste. Here is a small selection of memorable experiences to try at least once in the beautiful Hudson Valley.
 
Cruising down the river
The easiest way to get a general idea of ​​the landscapes bordering the river is to embark on a small cruise on the Hudson, definitely a retro experience reminiscent of the golden age of steamboats. The two-hour tour aboard the luxurious Pride of the Hudson starts from Newburgh, 90 miles north of Upper Manhattan, and touches places of high historical and natural interest such as Washington's Headquarters, where George Washington settled during the Revolution, Mount Beacon, the highest point between the Catskill Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean, Bannerman Castle, Breakneck Ridge with its rocky peaks much loved by hikers, the pretty town of Cold Spring, known for its restaurants and antique stores, and the West Point Military Academy.
In Kingston, the capital of Ulster county, you can board the Rip Van Winkle (named in honor of Washington Irving's homonymous character) to discover the lighthouses and the opulent villas along the river - including the Wyndcliff, Vanderbilt and Ogden Mills mansions - and the old Rosemont tavern, previously the Tank & Tummy, dating back to 1740.
 
Going to museums
In Nyack, the hometown of Edward Hopper, the nineteenth-century home of the great American painter has been turned into a beautiful museum where, besides enjoying  temporary exhibitions dedicated to contemporary artists, you can visit Hopper's bedroom, discover his early works and various memorabilia and find out about the actual places depicted in his works thanks to the great research work of photographer Charles Sternaimolo.
In Beacon, on the east bank of the river and opposite Newburgh, a former Nabisco factory now houses Dia: Beacon, a museum that collects contemporary artworks from the 1960s to today from the prestigious Dia Art Foundation collection.
For a completely different museum experience, head to the other side of the Hudson and take a look at Newburgh’s Motorcyclopedia Museum, which as the name itself suggets is a place entirley dedicated to the history of motorcycles, told through an incredible collection of over 400 pieces owned by Gerald A. Doering and his son Ted, displayed across two floors in a former warehouse.
 
Lanscapes & gardens
About 130 km north of Manhattan is the world’s longest pedestrian bridge, the famous Walkaway over the Hudson, which connects Poughkeepsie on the east bank to Highland on the west bank. Once a railroad bridge built in the late 19th century, this impressive 2-km long steelwork only became a pedestrian bridge in 2009 and it’s a magnificent viewpoint from which to admire the surrounding landscape. West of Highland is yet another iconic Hudson Valley sight, Mohonk Mountain House. This luxurious Spa hotel that seems to have come out of a Wes Anderson film is housed inside a Victorian castle overlooking the lake and nestled in the beautiful Mohonk Preserve, 8,000 acres of mountain cliffs, forests, fields, farmland, streams, ponds and marshland where you can go hiking and enjoy summer and winter sports. Finally, when exploring the east bank of the Hudson it is worth stopping at the luxuriant Innisfree Garden, a magnificent American 19th century garden designed by landscape architect Lester Collins where romantic and modernist style blends with Chinese and Japanese inspirations in a sublime composition of rock, water, wood, and sky.
 
Food & drink
The abundance of fresh produce, the farmers’ markets, the artisan producers and the great restaurants of the Hudson Valley make this area a top-notch food and wine destination. The city of Hyde Park, on the eastern bank of the river, hosts the headquarters of the Culinary Institute of America, one of the world's leading cooking schools, which also houses several restaurants where its brilliant students train. Among them is the prestigious Bocuse Restaurant, a sophisticated French restaurant dedicated to the legendary chef of the same name.
But the Hudson Valley is also the oldest winemaking region in the United States, and there are plenty of wineries where you can enjoy a visit, a tasting and buy some great bottles. The Brotherhood Winery in Washingtonville, south of Newburgh, boasts the title of America's oldest winery ; besides offering tastings, it hosts private dinners and other events is its historic spaces, including a beautiful and huge cellar.
 

Author : The Slowear Journal

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USA  | New York  | Hudson Valley  | art  | cultura  | food  | wine  | weekend  | unusual destinations  |

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