Stretching along the Hudson River from Westchester County to Albany, the Hudson Valley is known for its vineyards, orchards, and farms. It is the oldest wine-producing area in the country and houses a highly sought after food and farmer’s market scene. Offering cultural hubs and bustling main streets, you’ll enjoy fresh baked goods and bagels, craft coffee, parades, and winter tree lighting ceremonies. New York City residents frequently visit to escape the concrete jungle without sacrificing exceptional food, brews, and cocktails – frequently offered with a local twist.
But, beyond quintessential apple picking and local produce, the Hudson Valley is also steeped in history, culture, art, and natural beauty throughout its four seasons. The Hudson Valley’s magnificent scenery has inspired artists whose works became the Hudson River School of Painters and has continued to inspire artists whose work can be found in local, world-renowned galleries.
I am lucky to have grown up in Dutchess County. An area rich in nature and culture, I’m never more than a stone’s throw away from hiking at Bear Mountain, museums like Storm King Art Center or Dia:Beacon, or historic estates Vanderbilt Mansion and Kykuit.
Here are a few of my favorite Hudson Valley adventures:
The best place to experience the one-of-a-kind view of the Hudson River is Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park. Along the longest pedestrian bridge in the world, I am blown away by the scenery surrounding me. The walkway spans 1.28 miles, allotting an ideal distance to stroll down the bridge, take in the Hudson Valley view, and enjoy a beautiful day.
A ten-minute drive from the Walkway awaits Hyde Park. The historic town borders the Hudson River and is the hometown of Franklin D. Roosevelt. I visit the Franklin D Roosevelt Home National Historic Site to take a ranger-led tour of FDR’s Springwood Estate. As I walk through FDR’s lifelong home, I learn about a remarkable 12-year presidency and the United States at the time of the Great Depression and WWII. Also on the 300-acre property is Val-Kill Cottage, the Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site.
Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site | Photo Courtesy of I Love NY
Culinary Institute of America | Photo Courtesy of I Love NY
Two miles down the road is the Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site, a 50-room mansion from the Gilded Age, with an Italian garden and breathtaking views of the Hudson. During a guided tour, I marvel at the English country house, one of just a few that have survived into the 21st century. In addition to tours, the 211-acre site boasts centuries old tree plantings, and is open to pedestrians until sunset.
To cap off a picturesque day along the Hudson River, I visit the Culinary Institute of America. With four on-campus restaurants to choose from, a world class dining experience to satisfy any taste is guaranteed.
Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, NY | Photo Courtesy of I Love NY
Just over the Hudson River via the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Mid–Hudson Bridge, is Mohonk Mountain House, a stately 265-room Victorian castle with an award-winning spa, year-round recreation, and stunning vistas. Guest rooms offer antique-style furnishings with luxury linens, all with the warmth and comfort of a classic mountain house. In addition opulent accommodations, the historic resort is surrounded by 40,000 acres of protected forest and overlooks a pristine glacial lake. This incredible property offers opportunities to hike, kayak, play tennis, relax on a private beach, or golf on a 9-hole course.
The New York State Thruway is just a few miles from the mountain, allowing easy access to the sprawling grounds of Storm King Art Center. Walking around this open-air museum, I am always amazed to see the monumental works of art that have been designed for their specific landscapes. The exhibitions are one-of-a-kind, so if a piece was moved off the property it would never be the same. Exploring the 500-acre the museum makes for an extraordinary day outdoors.
Did You Know?
The Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site is the only First Lady National Historic Site in the United States.
In 1802 President Thomas Jefferson signed legislation establishing the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and it is the oldest continually occupied military post in America. The West Point Museum is open to the public along with guided tours.
You can tour Kykuit in Sleepy Hollow where four generations of the Rockefellers, the richest family in the early 20th century, lived.
Sunnyside, the home of writer Washington Irving, famous for Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, can be toured in Tarrytown. Every fall in nearby Croton-on-Hudson, the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze displays over 7,000 carved pumpkins assembled into sculptures.
The oldest winery in the US is Brotherhood Winery in Washingtonville, established in 1839. Tours and tastings are available.
Spend three days and two nights exploring the Hudson Valley with this recommended itinerary
Take in the scenery of the Hudson River as you stroll along the longest pedestrian bridge in the world at Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park.
Visit Hyde Park to tour the Franklin D Roosevelt Home National Historic Site, Library, and Museum to learn about a remarkable 12-year presidency and the United States at the time of the Great Depression and WWII. Don’t miss Val-Kill Cottage, the Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site.
Just ten minutes away, tour the Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site, a 50-room mansion from the Gilded Age, with an Italian garden and views of the Hudson.
Cap off your day with world-class dining at the Culinary Institute of America.
Stay overnight in Poughkeepsie or Hyde Park.
Stay or play at Mohonk Mountain House, a stately 265-room Victorian castle with an award-winning spa, year-round recreation, and stunning vistas.
Walk around the sprawling grounds of Storm King Art Center, an open-air museum with much of the artwork designed for the specific landscapes you’ll encounter.
Stay overnight in Beacon to prepare for the next day of your adventure.
Hike to the top of Bear Mountain for more spectacular views and a great workout.
End your trip exploring one of this region’s charming small towns like Beacon to view modern artwork in a former factory at Dia:Beacon. In Hudson visit the historic home and estate of Hudson River School artist Frederic Church at Olana State Historic Site. Nearby Rhinebeck and Red Hook, watch WWI flying shows at Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome.