- New York
It was a brisk autumn day when I began my exploration of the Hudson Valley in New York.
The air was chilly, but I was excited to find out what this all-season destination has to offer its visitors. Starting just above Manhattan, and heading 150 miles north up to the state capital of Albany, the Hudson Valley is surrounded by exquisite countryside.
Breathe in the Outdoors
My starting point was the picturesque, riverside village of Cold Spring, located just 50 miles north of Manhattan. If it’s just a day trip you have in mind, this is the perfect destination. A train runs through frequently and stops just a short walk away from a diverse array of boutique shops, sidewalk restaurants and art galleries.
From here, I visited Bear Mountain State Park. If you have the time, there are some great hiking trails here that will reward you with spectacular views across the mountain terrain and surrounding Hudson Highlands. It’s also part of the famous Appalachian Trail, which runs through 14 U.S. states, from Georgia to Maine.
I then headed over to the nearby Storm King Art Center, which spreads over 500 acres of woodland, hills and fields, and is home to over 100 sculptures, created by world-renowned artists such as Alexander Calder and Roy Lichtenstein. For aesthetic reasons, there are no signs on any of the pieces spread throughout the park, so be sure to pick up an audio guide tour from the visitor centre.
The drive north brought me to Poughkeepsie and the Walkway over the Hudson. At 212 feet high and 1.28 miles long, it’s a great way to take in the surrounding Hudson Valley and enjoy the many adjoining trails.
Shopping the village streets in Cold Spring, New York
Grand Architecture and Grand Landscapes
Next, I visited Mohonk Mountain House, an iconic Victorian-era resort. The magnificent property, which has been family owned and operated since 1869, sits at the edge of a pristine glacial lake and is surrounded by thousands of acres of unspoiled countryside. Throughout the grounds along the numerous trails, I found small wooden gazebo-like outlooks, which provide wonderful unobstructed landscape views and a place to rest.
One hour north of Mohonk, I reached Olana State Historic Site, the 250-acre historic estate of famed mid-19th century landscape artist, Frederic Edwin Church. Church’s work flourished here, which is no surprise. On the day I was there, 30 artists were participating in the annual “En Plein Air Paint-Out,” sitting outside and creating their own interpretation of what Frederic Church may have seen back In 1844, when he started drawing and sketching on the land that was to become Olana. The Eastern-inspired mansion is filled with original sketches, studies and paintings by the artist, and the richly decorated interior of the house remains as it was when Church was in residence. Be sure to book your ticket in advance of your visit.
My last stop was the New York State Museum in Albany, which dates back to 1836. The museum explores New York’s natural and geological development, as well as its cultural diversity, and has more than 10 exhibitions each year on a wide range of subjects.
As you can see, the Hudson Valley offers visitors a plethora of things to do and see. And I only managed to scrape the surface of what’s available to visitors. From a quick day-trip on the train, to a weeklong holiday by car, the Hudson Valley region of New York is well worth a visit, and has something for everyone.
Lovely fall views at Mohonk Mountain House