When New York truly becomes the city that never sleeps, it’s easy to escape and head north for a break. New York is a beautiful state that offers lovely day trips for city dwellers in search of peace and quiet, fresh air, and activities that call the attention of both lovers of the outdoors and people who want relaxation. The Hudson Valley is a prime New York City getaway as it is full of American Revolutionary historic attractions, numerous waterfront locales, and gorgeous landscape settings that will make you appreciate nature again.
To plan your trip ahead, visit the Metro North train lines to pick your destination and schedule. Try to avoid peak hours as this commuter rail gets heavily packed in the late afternoons and tickets are more expensive. Instead, choose an off day such as a Sunday morning with a return ticket that evening to guarantee you a seat, quieter ride up the Hudson (the farthest stop goes to Poughkeepsie and rounds out at about 2hrs north of NYC), and cheaper tickets. Also worth noting is the seasonal options the Hudson River Valley boasts including summer water sports, fall leisure walks, and winter hibernation. Regardless of the time of year, however, its waterfront is a great way to discover restaurants, salons, cafes, and stores which are enjoyed for both daytime and nighttime fun. Boats and jet-skis line the docks, music plays from nearby bars, and drinks are toasted by outside diners. You can also pop in newly opened wine bars and art galleries, or see an independent movie at one of the boutique theaters.
Here are recommended points of interests to visit in the Hudson Valley:
A guaranteed good day with nature and wildlife, Bear Mountain State Park appeals to families seeking to explore off the beaten path Upstate. This Hudson Valley attraction offers a wonderful historic inn for overnight accommodations, spectacular mountain and lake views from a number of recreation locations including a network of multi-use trails available year-round. The park has fishing opportunities including boat rental, swimming opportunities, and a variety of winter sports including a beautiful ice rink, trails and ski-jumps. There is even a zoo at this state park. It’s a favorite amongst children as this is a huge open field to do just about anything you want.
Storm King Art Center is a museum that celebrates the relationship between sculpture and nature. Five hundred acres of landscaped lawns, fields and woodlands provide the site for postwar sculptures by internationally renowned artists. At Storm King, the exhibition space is defined by sky and land. Unencumbered by walls, the subtly created flow of space is punctuated by modern sculpture. The grounds are surrounded by the undulating profiles of the Hudson Highlands, a dramatic panorama integral to the viewing experience. The sculptures are affected by changes in light and weather, so no two visits are the same. It is truly a jaw-dropping collection of outside standing sculptures in the Hudson Valley.
Another great art museum outside of New York City, located in Beacon, the Dia houses a renowned permanent collection of major works of art from the 1960s to the present. Occupying a nearly 300,000-square-foot historic printing factory, Dia:Beacon has been dedicated to supporting individual artists and to providing long-term, in-depth presentations of their art. Be sure to also explore the neighborhood as Main Street nearby hosts a ton of delicious food options including cafes and grills with great views of the river to fill your appetite.
This National Historic Landmark, a mammoth mountaintop Victorian castle, is one of the country’s great old hotel resorts. Like a mountain lodge in the great West, it commands huge views of the serene Shawangunk Mountains. The resort was built in 1869 by two brothers on a 2,200-acre rocky ridge overlooking a large glacial lake, pristine gardens, and the 6,400-acre Mohonk Forest Preserve, and its setting is incomparable. This is more than just a lodging house, it’s an experience all its own. Activities abound: ice-skating in the beautiful new open-air pavilion, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing in winter; hiking, boating, tennis, and golf in warm-weather seasons; and plenty of children’s programs and entertainment, including theme weeks and weekends. It’s a hiker’s paradise, with more than 85 miles of woodland trails. However, Mohonk is also a fabulous place to relax with a book in a rocker on the veranda, taking in the views, or at the luxury full-service spa with a massive, indoor heated pool. Families and couples populate this location during the summer months.
For the history buffs in your family, Washington Headquarters is a great trip back in time. As the former home base of General George Washington, you’ll see up close and personal remnants of his former military home. Tours are offered throughout the year by appointment for all age groups, guiding you through the house, the burial of revolutionary war veterans, monumental statuary, the Tower of Victory, and a revised production of the Minute Man reenactments. When outside, take in the views of the Hudson River backdrop with colorful peaking mountains, and Victorian homes. Inside you’ll experience education that brings to life your textbook history days.
For more information on traveling Upstate to the Hudson Valley, visit NileGuide’s top itineraries, travel tips, and guides here.
Images by Paul Brady