The Lowdown on the Hudson Valley
Whether you’re planning an accessible getaway from Manhattan, visiting us from further afield or simply passing through the region, New York’s Hudson Valley offers numerous attractions and things to do. Our location at the foot of the Catskills is a wonderful place to enjoy everything that nature, culture, gastronomy and history have to offer.
Here’s a sampling of the region’s accolades:
- National Geographic Traveler named the Hudson Valley one of the Top 20 Must-See Places on its “Best of the World” list in 2013
- Fodor’s Travel featured the Hudson Valley and neighboring Catskills on their Go List Of 2015’s Top Destinations
- Lonely Planet named the Hudson Valley in its Top 10 U.S. travel destinations for 2012
- Washington Post calls the Hudson Valley “picture-perfect,” with the “right balance of art,” “presidential history” and “food”
- New York Times proclaims “the scale of its geography and the scope of its history … daunting”
- USA Today gushes about its “wealth of famous places along the (Hudson) river” and its “abundance of spots for a romantic getaway”
- Travel + Leisure Magazine notes that “this longtime retreat for harried New Yorkers has emerged as a destination where small-town charm meets quiet sophistication”
- New York Magazine regularly recommends and features the Hudson Valley in its stories, including on winter travel, its Valentine’s Day guide and “Weekend Escape Plan” column
- Vogue Magazine calls the Hudson Valley “magnetic” in its weekend guide to Upstate New York.
The Hudson Valley has a rich tapestry of history, arts, culture, geography, agriculture and culinary surprises that will please first-timers to the region and continually draw them back.
Our story began in April 1524, when Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazano, who was under the service of King Francis I of France, sailed Dauphine — a ship named after the king’s firstborn daughter — into the lower New York bay.
In September 1609, Henry Hudson sailed the Half Moon — also known as “Halve Maen” — under employment of the Dutch East India Company up the Hudson River to modern-day Albany. The English explorer became the first to give a full description of the river aptly named after him, and subsequently stimulated European colonization along its shores.
Sometimes nicknamed “America’s Rhineland” in a nod to the beautiful western region of Germany through which the Rhine River runs, the Hudson begins 315 miles from its river mouth in Lake Tear of the Clouds in the Adirondacks. The native Indians called it “the water that flows two ways” because of the weak downstream currents, which take one year to bring a log from Albany down to the ocean. The first Dutch settlement was south of modern-day Albany.
In 1664, the Dutch surrendered New Netherland to the English without bloodshed. The latter promptly renamed the fledgling settlement of New Amsterdam to “New York” after King Charles II of England granted the land comprising today’s Five Boroughs to his brother James, the Duke of York (later King James II). In addition to his English title Charles’s brother James had another — Scottish — title: Duke of Albany. Hence the renaming of the Dutch settlement Beverwijck to “Albany,” also in 1664.
In the 1750s, the Upper Hudson Valley became the British defense line against French invasion from Canada via Lake Champlain. It was also a major conflict region during the American Revolution, when the British attempted to sever the colonies in two by maintaining control of the Hudson River.
The mid-1800s saw the establishment of the Hudson River School (1830 – 1870), an American art movement of landscape painting influenced by romanticism that depicts the Hudson Valley and the environs, including the Catskills and the Adirondacks. In Hudson River School paintings, the themes of discovery, exploration and settlement in 19th-century America were brought to life in a pastoral setting with almost glowing lighting (called luminism), characterized by an idealized portrayal of nature where agriculture and the fast-disappearing wilderness of the Hudson Valley co-exist.
The founder of the school, Thomas Cole, was widely considered the father of American landscape painting. He was joined by other prominent artists including Asher Durand, Frederic Edwin Church (who owned the Olana State Historic Site), John Frederick Kenset and Sanford Robinson Gifford. The last three helped found the Metropolitan Museum in New York City.
The soil, topography and climate of the Hudson Valley region are highly conducive to agriculture. The Black Dirt Region in the lower valley — in which Hudson Valley Rose Bed and Breakfast is situated — is made up of organic dark, extremely fertile soil created by an ancient glacial lake that supports a variety of crops. Historically, the pungent, highly valued black-dirt onion was grown here. These days, you’ll find a wide variety of vegetables in addition to the humble onion, including sweet corn, lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, soybeans, radish, potatoes, pumpkins and squashes. Fruits also grow in abundance, from strawberries and cherries in early summer, to blueberries, raspberries and peaches in mid-summer, and apples and pumpkins in the fall. Poultry, dairy and cattle farming are also thriving in the valley, with many farms and cooperatives offering farm-to-counter sales of their fresh products.
Regardless of the season of your visit, the Hudson Valley offers a wide range of activities and events for your enjoyment throughout the year. Here is a sampling of seasonal happenings to whet your appetite. For a detailed calendar of events during your stay, check out this resource from our local tourism offices.
- March 6-19, 2017: Hudson Valley Restaurant Week
- April 1-2, 2017: Hudson Valley Wine and Chocolate Festival
- April 8-9, 2017: Pasta Primo Vino on the Shawangunk Wine Trail
- April 22, 2017: Hudson Valley Mac and Cheese Fest
- May 5-7, 2017: Rhinebeck Antique Car Show and Swap Meet
- May 6-7, 2017: Basilica Farm and Flea
- May 14, 2017: Tulip Festival and Mother’s Day Celebration
- May 20, 2017: Gardiner Cupcake Festival
- May 20, 2017: Pine Bush UFO Fair & Parade
- May 20-21, 2017: Northeast Outdoor Sports Show
- May 24, 2017: Annual Taste of Woodstock
- May 27-28, 2017: Barn Star’s Antiques at Rhinebeck
- May 27-29, 2017: Sugar Loaf Spring Festival
- June 2-4, 2017: Country Living Fair
- June 3, 2017: Lower Hudson Valley Craft Beer Festival
- June 3, 2017: Newburgh Illuminated Festival
- June 9-11, 2017: Taste of Country Music Festival
- June 9-11, 2017: GoodGuys East Coast National Rod and Custom Car Show
- June 9-18, 2017: Cider Week Hudson Valley
- June 10-11, 2017: Bounty of the Hudson
- June 11, 2017: Farm to Fork Fondo
- June 11, 2017: Beacon Sloop Club Strawberry Festival
- Throughout the summer: Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival
- June 20, 2017: Hudson Valley Craft Brew Festival
- June 24-25, 2017: Rhinebeck Crafts Festival
- June 30 – July 1, 2017: Rhinebeck Grand National Meet Antique Motorcycle Event
- July 1-2, 2017: Great American Weekend
- July 4, 2017: An Old-Fashioned Independence Day
- July 7-9, 2017: Hudson Valley Hot-Air Balloon Festival
- August 1-6, 2017: Ulster County Fair
- August 13, 2017: Beacon Sloop Club Corn Festival
- August 17-20, 2017: Hudson Valley Jazz Festival
- August 18-20, 2017: Hudson Valley RibFest
- August 22-27, 2017: Dutchess County Fair
- August 25-27, 2017: Summer Hoot at Ashokan
- August 26, 2017: Annual Antique Fire Engine Muster
- September 9-10, 2017: Hudson Valley Wine and Food Festival
- September 16, 2017: Hudson River Craft Beer Festival
- September 23-24, 2017: Hudson Valley VegFest
- September 30 – October 1, 2017: Hudson Valley Garlic Festival
- October 1, 2017: Warwick Applefest
- October 6, 2017: Starry, Starry Night
- October 7-8, 2017: Barn Star’s Antique’s at Rhinebeck
- October 7-9, 2017: Sugar Loaf Fall Festival
- October 11, 2017: Annual Woodstock Film Festival
- October 15, 2017: Beacon Sloop Club Pumpkin Festival
- October 21, 2017: Angry Orchard Farmer’s Market Series
- October 21-22, 2017: New York State Sheep and Wool Family Festival
- October 30 – November 12, 2017: Hudson Valley Restaurant Week
- November 18-19, December 2-3 and 9-10, 2017: Wreath Fineries at The Wineries
- December 2, 2017: Winter Walk
Geography and Landscape
The Hudson River Valley National Heritage area – affectionately known as the Hudson Valley – originates about 150 miles north of Manhattan in the region by the state capitol of Albany and runs south through the beautiful state of New York to the tip of the Big Apple.
Considered by many to be one of the most picturesque regions in the Northeast of America, it is divided into three sub-regions, namely the Lower, Middle and Upper Hudson. (The Hudson Valley Rose Bed and Breakfast is located in the northwest of the Lower Hudson.)
The geography of the Hudson Valley is immensely rich: The terrain features sandstone, red beds, granite cliffs, dense forests and charming lakes, as well as highly fertile soil for farming, such as in the Black Dirt Region created from an ancient glacial lake, and a rich biodiversity of flora and fauna.
Nature and the Outdoors
Experience a slice of rural Americana within two hours north of the country’s largest metropolis. The Hudson Valley is a paradise for nature lovers: Hiking in the beautiful state parks; rock climbing in the intrepid Shawangunk Mountains; fishing and kayaking in the serene lakes; cycling in the back-country roads; bird watching and yoga in the valleys and the hilltops; and photography just about anywhere you turn your lens. Or enjoy the mighty Hudson River on a relaxing cruise or by walking across it on the Walkway.
A sampling of hiking trails within close driving distance from the Hudson Valley Rose Bed and Breakfast include the almighty Appalachian Trail, Kaaterskill Falls featuring the highest cascading waterfall in New York, the fascinating Mohonk Preserve, Sam’s Point Preserve in Minnewaska State Park and the highest point on the Shawangunk Ridge, and the Heritage Trail converted from the Erie Railroad.
An unusual trail to try is the Walkway Over the Hudson, a 1.3-mile walk across one of the longest pedestrian bridges in the world, with a scenic view of the Hudson River.
Over the centuries, the rich terrains of the Hudson Valley have been home to numerous organic farms, orchards and nurseries. With these come lively farmers’ markets, farm stands, artisanal food producers, caterers and small restaurants, many of them led by creative chefs from the Hudson Valley’s very own Culinary Institute of America. The myriad of farm operations and farm-to-table options continue to steadily draw Manhattan chefs seeking fresh and local ingredients as well as gastronomes to the region, establishing the Valley as a culinary hot spot.
Vineyards and Wineries
With more than 20 operating wineries, the Hudson Valley is one of America’s oldest grape-growing and wine-producing regions. The first vines were planted by the Belgian French Huguenots in 1677, a century before Californian vintners planted any vines. Since then, winemakers here have survived many historical events – such as wars, revolutions and Prohibition – as well as natural disasters and severe weather, all of which served to create an innovative wine culture in the region.
The first commercial wineries were established in the early 1800s for the production of altar wines and medicinal tonics; the oldest among them – Brotherhood Winery – continues to operate to this day, complete with one of the largest underground cellars in America.
Go on a wine trail today and meet the owners as you sample award-winning wines from classic European wine varietals, regional hybrids specially crafted for the local climate, and interesting wines made from local fruits such as blackcurrant (cassis), raspberry and strawberry.
Beyond wineries, give craft spirits, beer and cider a whirl at the region’s 40-odd distilleries, breweries and cideries, many of which offer captivating tours and delicious tasting experiences. It’s not too much of a stretch to consider cider a state beverage – after all, New York is the second largest apple-producing state in the country.
The storied history of the Hudson River began more than 400 years ago in 1609, when Henry Hudson sailed up the river that now bears his name. Since then, the region has played host to the growth of the nation through the wide range of immigrants arriving from around the world, served as a major transportation hub, and featured prominently in strategic warfare played out during the colony’s fight for American independence.
As the nation grew, so did some of its most prominent families – including the Rockefellers, Roosevelts, Vanderbilts and Livingstons – in the Hudson Valley. These industrial and political legends left lasting legacies in magnificent estates dotting the banks of the Hudson River and the many villages and towns they lifted around them. Some – such as the Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site and Kykuit: The Rockefeller Estate – are open to visitors throughout the year.
The Hudson Valley is home to the United States Military Academy at West Point, a fascinating stop for those with an interest in the American Revolution and Civil War, and U.S. presidential history.
Not far away is the Presidential Library and Museum – the nation’s first – of Franklin D. Roosevelt, who grew up here on the expansive estate of his Dutch ancestors.
Many more heritage sites enrich the region, including the Historic Huguenot Street, one of the oldest streets in the United States (New Paltz); Gomez Mill House, the oldest Jewish dwelling in North America (Marlboro); Knox’s Headquarters — he was commander of the American artillery during the Revolutionary War (Vails Gate); Century House and Widow Jane Mine (Rosendale); Hudson River Maritime Museum (Kingston); Hill-Hold Museum (in Campbell Hall); and Brick House Museum (in Montgomery). We invite you to enjoy all that they have to offer.
Visual and Literary Arts
In the 19th century, a group of artists was so inspired by the spectacular views of the Hudson River and the striking landscape of rolling hills and country estates that their works of art established America’s first art school – the Hudson River School of Painters. Today, art remains a powerhouse for the region, with world-renowned contemporary collections at the Dia:Beacon and the Storm King Art Center, with possibly the biggest collection of contemporary outdoor sculptures in America. Seligmann Estate, home of Surrealist painter and sculptor Kurt Seligmann, is also open to the public and features sculptures, paintings and prints.
The region also gave birth to literary greats, including Washington Irving who gave the world Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and the world’s first female Pulitzer-prize winner and Nobel Prize nominee Edith Wharton who authored The Age of Innocence.
A myriad of cultural performing centers awaits you in the region, including the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, on the compound of the historic 1969 music event.
Other interesting cultural sites include the Captain David Crawford House and Motorcyclopedia (Newburgh) and Museum Village (Monroe). Equestrian enthusiasts may enjoy the Harness Racing Museum with its largest collection of horse mementoes, and the adjacent Goshen Historic Track.
The Hudson Valley is dotted with charming towns filled with quaint stores offering an array of fascinating goods. For a relaxing afternoon of browsing, try dropping into a few, such as Woodstock, New Paltz, Montgomery, Sugar Loaf, Goshen, Kingston and Saugerties. Art and craft lovers may find themselves following the Gunks Art Trail and the Hudson Valley Pottery Trail, or checking out Crafts People, the region’s largest selection of crafts.
In the past decade, gastronomy enthusiasts — chefs and dining patrons alike — have been migrating north of the international dining mecca of New York City to the beautiful, bucolic Hudson Valley region. Farm-to-table restaurants have proliferated, thanks in large part to the bountiful fresh produce, dairy and meats lovingly cultivated by the multitude of large and small farms in the region.
Dining guides featuring restaurant reviews, menu recommendations and a sneak peek of delectable dishes and beverages are playing a role in navigating dining options in the Hudson Valley. Travel guides are also dedicating significant effort to cover food and dining in their reporting on visits to the Hudson Valley.
For those who are interested in a more hands-on, active gastronomic experience, the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park offers cooking, baking and wine classes for amateurs and seasoned cooks alike.
Upon reserving your stay at the Hudson Valley Rose Bed and Breakfast, let us know if you’d like assistance with making a restaurant reservation and any dining preferences you may have. We’d be glad to share our recommendations with you.
Our region has so much to offer that it calls for multiple days to take it all in. Here, we break it down to bite-sized experiences by serving up our recommendations ala New York Times style — what to do when you have 36 hours to get to know the Hudson Valley, including in and around the Hudson Valley Rose Bed and Breakfast.
36 Hours in the Hudson Valley: The “All I want to do is relax and chill” edition
1) 4 P.M. Arrive at Hudson Valley Rose Bed and Breakfast and feel your senses relaxing as you pull down the tree-lined driveway. Upon check-in and settling into your guest room, take a brief tour of the country estate before retreating to the comfortable living room to enjoy the wall of periodicals, slipping your feet into the shiatsu foot massager by the fireplace.
2) 6 P.M. Join the innkeepers and fellow guests at the outdoor tree lounge steps from the stone house for the Rose Hour – Hudson Valley Rose’s very own daily evening cocktail reception serving complimentary local wine, beer, juices and sodas along with tapas and bites such as local cheeses and cured meats.
3) 7:30 P.M. Take a brief drive to neighboring Montgomery and enjoy dinner at one of the quaint village’s several fine restaurants, including Ward’s Bridge Inn, 88 Charles Street Cafe and Wildfire Grill.
1) 9 A.M. Rise and shine to a delectable three-course breakfast featuring a breakfast appetizer, a made-to-order entree of your choice and a breakfast dessert or fruit course. Freshly brewed hot beverages are available for early risers (and around the clock) at the Nespresso coffee and milk frothing station in the guest living room.
2) 11 A.M. Take a little stroll along the estate’s Ox Trail — the remnant of an exercise path blazed through the property’s woods for the daily workout of a previous owner’s pet ox — emerging on our eastern border. Precede or end the stroll with a little yoga on the luscious estate grounds. From there, it’s an easy walk back to the driveway of the bed and breakfast. Along the way, feel free to drop by our neighbor’s front porch to pick up a tray of farm-fresh eggs (run on an honor system) and greet Princess Lay-a or Cluck Kent.
3) 12:30 P.M. Embark on a leisure drive to spend time with the crown jewel in the vicinity — the Shawangunk Mountains — and explore the many outdoor recreational activities, including hiking, mountain biking, road cycling, rock climbing, horseback riding, fishing, canoeing, and (in winter) downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing. Minnewaska State Park, Mohonk Preserve and Sam’s Point Preserve are all stellar options for a visit by foot. Bird watchers are in for a treat: a wide variety of migratory birds fly over the Shawangunk Mountains on their way to South and Central America in preparation for winter. These include eagles, falcons, hawks and vultures. Man’s footprint in the region is best observed in the farmland, agricultural animals, old barns and village architecture etched into the landscape.
4) 4 P.M. Stop by the Angry Orchard cidery for a self-guided tour of the history of cider, free tastings, a visit to the famous Treehouse and a round of noshing at the food trucks while dancing to live music.
5) 7 P.M. Choose from a range of nearby restaurants that feature on the innkeepers’ list of personal favorites in the region: hearty Austrian/Irish fare at the Old Grist Mill, new American cuisine at Tuthill House at the Mill and green-certified, organic farm-to-table mainstay, Aroma Thyme.
1) 8 A.M. Start your day with another Hudson Valley Rose gourmet breakfast served in our sunny yet cozy breakfast room.
2) 10 A.M. Adjourn to the library for a choice of board and card games, as well as a selection of historical reading material and memorabilia about the Hudson Valley Rose estate. Adult coloring enthusiasts can indulge in the wide array of travel and floral-themed materials. Adult connect-the-dot books — think Mona Lisa and the wonders of the world as the masterpieces — are also on hand to satiate the appetites of those keen to try a new hobby.
3) 2 P.M. Prior to heading home, make a pit stop for some wine tasting at one of the nearly 10 wineries within a 30-minute drive from our doorstep. Choose from Baldwin, Bashakill, Benmarl, Brimstone Hill, Brotherhood, Christopher Jacobs, Magnanini, Robibero and Whitecliff, to name a few. Some of these locales feature live music, tours, wine clubs, dining and special event options.
Stay tuned for our upcoming installments of 36 Hours in the Hudson Valley, including some gems for the history buff.
The Shawangunk Mountains Scenic Byway is an 88-mile route that starts within minutes of Hudson Valley Rose Bed and Breakfast. The highlight is the magnificent Shawangunk Mountain range, an exciting destination for outdoor lovers including hikers and rock-climbing enthusiasts. Stop at villages and old towns along the way for a glimpse of the region’s history and present, taking in the arts, crafts, architecture, nature’s bounty from the farms, orchards, wineries and cideries that dot the fertile landscape.
Recommended as a day trip
Cycling enthusiasts will find endless back roads, paths and charming towns through which to pedal and explore the beauty of the Hudson Valley. Your innkeepers at the Hudson Valley Rose Bed and Breakfast are themselves avid cyclists, and would be glad to share with you their favorite cycling routes personalized with recommended pit stops to enhance your experience and knowledge of the terrain, communities and environs we call home.
Runners, rejoice! Whether you’re looking to sweat for a mile or 10, we have ideas on how you can enhance your workout by choosing one of several fun routes that take off from the doorstep of the Hudson Valley Rose Bed and Breakfast. Let us know your “number” and we will provide suggestions for an enjoyable route.