For those of you not partial to New York’s balmy summer, it’s time to breathe a sigh of relief and break out your knit scarves. Fall is officially here. That also means the pick-your-own orchards in the Hudson Valley are bursting with late summer/fall produce like apples, raspberries, corn, tomatoes and eggplant, not to mention gourds aplenty, ready to be picked by…well, yourself. That’s sort of the whole point.
Most pick-your-own orchards offer lots of kid-friendly activities in addition to produce picking — which, let’s face it, feels a whole lot like work to an 8-year-old — such as petting zoos, corn mazes, hayrides and, of course, eating way too many apple cider doughnuts.
Here are our picks (see what we did there?) for pick-your-own orchards in the Hudson Valley. (more…)
Anyone who owns a second home up north near a major thoroughfare will tell you that the location has its perks. Weekending is much easier when it’s nearly a straight shot between your downstate and upstate homes (and for our purposes, “upstate” refers to the Hudson Valley and Catskills, not Buffalo and other northern locations along I-90). When winter’s bad weather hits, the major roadways get cleared much faster than the back roads, making the commute safer. And because we’re up in the country, one does not have to venture too far outside of a Thruway community to find a tucked-away property in the Hudson Valley.
But most importantly, some of our favorite west-of-Hudson towns are located off of or close to one of the Thruway exits below. (more…)
Overlook Mountain Fire Tower View. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.
The heat is finally breaking so we think it’s high time to do some hiking in the Catskill Mountains. While you could join the mass influx of tourists around mid-to-late October (and we wouldn’t blame you), skipping the crowds and visiting off-season is definitely worth consideration.
Even if you schedule your hiking trip into the late fall and winter months, you’ll still catch the jaw-dropping scenery that keeps us coming back for more. Mid winter turns the Catskills into a new landscape, festooned with sparkling white and frozen waterfalls captured in time. Come up during early fall to miss the throngs of swimming-hole hunters and experience the first golden glimmers of the new season.
Let’s explore a handful of fun Catskill fall hikes to take anytime of the year. (more…)
Mill Street, Woodstock. Photo via Woodstockguide.com
Oh, the conundrum of car ownership when you live around public transportation. Especially when you also live up north, where public transportation is less reliable. To car, or not to car? That is the question for the part-time upstater.
We’ve grappled with this question on the pages of Brownstoner Upstate more than once, hoping that if we tease out the issues enough, we’ll stumble upon a way to painlessly make it happen. Here’s the bad news: There’s no painless way to live in upstate New York without a car. In fact, depending on where you live, it’s downright impossible unless you go completely off-grid and become self-sustainable…and you don’t fear total isolation, which isn’t great for the human psyche as we’ve all learned from Alone. (more…)
Beacon, N.Y., streetscape. Photo via Wikimedia Commons
Raise your hands if you love exploring historic towns. You can’t see it, but we’re all raising our hands along with you.
There’s certainly no shortage of them in the Hudson Valley. In fact, if you want to get technical, every town played a part in the state’s rich history, but this week we’ll be exploring a few of those towns that are known for their historic buildings, homes, museums and landmarks — no tri-corner hat or leather breeches required. (more…)
There’s no burying the lede when booze is involved, so let’s cut to the chase: The Hudson Valley Wine & Food Festival is almost here. During September, the Festival takes up residence at the Dutchess County fairgrounds for a weekend and offers a glimpse of the best of food and drink the Hudson Valley has to offer.
If you know the Hudson Valley at all, you know that wine is a big deal up here. Not only is the Hudson Valley home to the oldest continuously operating winery in the country (Brotherhood Winery in Orange County, depicted above), it has been growing grapes long before the Napa Valley became synonymous with the concept of American wine. The French Huguenots, who moved to the Hudson Valley to escape religious persecution at the hands of Louis XIV, started grape growing back in the 15th century and to this day, wine remains one of the region’s biggest draws.
Let’s dive into a few favorite regional wineries, and if these leave you thirsting for more, check out the HV Wine & Food Festival in September.
The kind of food available in the Hudson Valley and Catskills might not be the only reason one would choose to spend time up here, but it’s certainly a huge consideration. Why? Because it’s a food-lover’s paradise.
Sure, we’ve heard plenty of complaints from transplants about the lack of good takeout and variety of non-American food types (every town should have a Thai place, in our opinion), but there’s no arguing with the abundance of quality farm-fresh ingredients available among the rolling agrarian fields and fertile soils of the river valley.
This week, we’re not even going to attempt to parse the options. There are just too many. Instead, we’ll provide you with a glimpse into the culinary heart of the Hudson Valley and Catskill mountains. If you want the whole picture, you’ll just have to come up here and have a taste.
Let’s cut right to the chase: A good public park says a lot about the community in which it’s located. If you can find a clean, well-kept park with plenty of vegetation, shady places to sit, and some engaging features, move to that town immediately.
Okay, we know it’s not quite that simple, but up here in the Hudson Valley and Catskills, we’ve got oodles of attractive public spaces where you can sit peacefully watching Nature TV as the kids blow off steam outdoors — kinda like they used to back in the old days.
And, most of the region’s parks have pretty great towns attached to them. In fact, the connection between the three public parks we’ll be featuring today and their respective hometowns is as strong as the summer sun. (more…)
Long View Park, New Baltimore via ScenicHudson.com
One area of the Hudson Valley has been relatively ignored by those flocking north: Northern Greene County bordering Albany County on the shores of the Hudson River. Largely agrarian in nature, this location isn’t known for farm-to-table late morning brunches, hot towel barbers, or music festivals.
Instead, the riverside communities of New Baltimore, Coeymanns, Ravena, and Hannacroix have remained small and relatively free of the influx of New Yorkers on the opposite side of the river in Hudson, Columbia County.
But that doesn’t mean the area is free of charm. On the contrary, the inherent charms of northern Greene and southern Albany Counties lie in its natural beauty, historic architecture, and close proximity to the Hudson River itself.
Ask an upstater to direct you to the nearest swimming hole, and you might get an answer. Or, your request might be met with stony silence. Upstaters are notoriously secretive about their swimming holes, even though a quick search on the Internet will lead you to a wide selection of places to take a dip.
Still, when you stumble upon an undiscovered swimming hole that you can enjoy all to yourself, the last thing you want to do is blow it up. The good news is, there are plenty of places to swim in the Hudson Valley and Catskills that don’t require a compass, hip-waders, a head-lamp, or a weathered map with a giant X marking the spot.
Drop the name “Henry Hudson,” and most people will immediately connect the 17th century explorer to its namesake, the Hudson River. But that wasn’t the only New York waterway that Hudson traversed during the early 1600s.
He and his crew on the Dutch East India Company expedition dipped their oars in the rapid, crystal-clear waters of the Delaware River, a portion of which forms the New York-Pennsylvania border in the Catskill Mountains. There’s a lot of beauty in those parts of the Catskills, located just beyond the reach of the Borscht Belt. Things have always been a little more rural and rough and tumble.
Take, for example, some of the Upper Delaware’s earliest settlers. Crowded out of their land in Connecticut, westward they pushed until they reached a tribe of Lenape and promptly purchased a 10-mile stretch of their land along the river they called Cushetunk (a Lenape word meaning “land of hogs”). Little did those settlers know they were on disputed turf.
While New York and Pennsylvania squabbled over where to draw the boundary lines, that scrappy group of Connecticut gents played finders-keepers and claimed the land as theirs. How’s that for an origin story? (more…)