Between New York City's suburbs and the larger Upstate region is a transitional area, a place where many New Yorkers get away from it all to relax. West of the Hudson River lie the Catskills, a largely rural and wild area of mountains and valleys; along the river, on the other hand lie a number of Hudson Valley communities with rolling hills, an area that resembles New England in many respects.
beautiful mountains along with many lakes and lots of good hiking
|Columbia County |
mostly rural; visit farmstands, wineries, and historic sites
|Dutchess County |
its southern half is rapidly becoming suburban, but the northern portion is still rural; visit farmstands, orchards, and wineries
|Putnam County |
western side of the county is dominated by the rocky Hudson Highlands, the eastern side by reservoirs of New York City's water supply; a nice getaway from New York City
- 1 Beacon - A funky, rebuilding riverfront town that has gradually gotten more popular with visitors from the city due to its easy access via Metro-North. Most are headed for the Dia art museum, but they've started spilling over to cafés and shops on nearby Main Street.
- 2 Hudson - Another old industrial river city revitalized by expatriate Brooklynites, it has become one of the most popular destinations for antiquing in the region.
- 3 Kingston - The Ulster County seat and former state capitol has many facets, from its colonial uptown with sheltered sidewalks to its downtown on Rondout Creek, easily accessible by boats from the nearby river.
- Monticello - Centrally located in the Borscht Belt, the Sullivan County seat retains that small-town feel
- 4 Newburgh - The valley's second-largest city has had to face many challenges in the decades since it lost its industrial base. It has managed nevertheless to rebuild its waterfront and preserve the many stately Victorian-era homes of its East End.
- 5 Poughkeepsie - The largest city between New York and Albany, Dutchess County's seat has recovered in many ways, buffered by IBM and Vassar College, two of its main employers.
- 6 Rhinebeck - Easy access from the nearby Rhinecliff train station has made this upscale village as popular a spot with New York City weekenders as it was in the late 19th century.
- 7 Windham - A ski town at the north end of the mountains with the New England charm of its namesakes in that region.
- 8 Woodstock - The festival wasn't held anywhere near here, but this town nevertheless lives up to the hippie reputation evoked by its name.
Henry Hudson and his crew were the first Europeans to sail up the river, on the Halve Maen in 1609. They thought they might have discovered the beginnings of the Northwest Passage, and traveled as far as the feature that gives present-day Glens Falls its name before they realized they had only found a tidal estuary 150 miles (240 km) into the interior. But the find was nevertheless useful for the Dutch, who established the colony of New Netherland along the river, with its capital, Fort Orange (today Albany) near the upper limit of his voyage, and the port city of New Amsterdam (New York City) at the river's mouth.
Other settlements, like Kingston and Schenectady, were established later. Many other Dutch placenames in the region reflect this era, which ended when the colony became English in 1669. Under both colonial powers, the river became a major trade route, with sloops plying it regularly and putting it at other riverside ports like Newburgh, Poughkeepsie and Hudson.
During the Revolutionary War the river became a key strategic asset. The British sought to take control of it, in order to divide New England from the rest of the colonies. To prevent this, the Patriots forged a giant chain to block the river below the Hudson Highlands, and established the fort has since become the United States Military Academy at West Point. Benedict Arnold made his getaway down the river after his plan to sell out the fort to the British was exposed.
After the war ended with American independence, the new nation found in the river and its surrounding valley its earliest cultural inspiration. Washington Irving lived on the river's banks and wrote his most famous story, Rip Van Winkle, about the Dutch inhabitants of the upper valley. Thomas Cole, Frederick Church and other painters of the Hudson River School found inspiration in the landscapes of the Highlands and the Catskills. Wealthy landowners like Robert Livingston built palatial estates on the east bank overlooking some of the most scenic vistas.
The Hudson was also important to the economy. In combination with the Mohawk, it offered a largely level route through the Appalachian Mountains. Thomas Jefferson is said to have coined New York's nickname, the Empire State, in recognition of the potential of this asset. New York did not wait long to exploit it. The Erie Canal was opened between Albany and Buffalo in 1825, and a quarter-century later the first railroads along the river were in place.
Soon the cities of the valley industrialized, and those who had become rich from that development, like the Vanderbilts and Jay Gould, moved into their own riverfront mansions. At the southern end of the valley the country towns of Westchester and Rockland counties gradually became commuter suburbs, growing explosively after World War II. That growth came with a price, however, as the pollution from the industrialization taxed the river's ability to cleanse itself, making it almost an open sewer.
But the region responded by helping to launch the modern American environmental movement. A power plant project that would have carved a dam out of Storm King Mountain south of Cornwall and strung transmission lines across the river was halted in 1965, when the Scenic Hudson Preservation Committee persuaded a federal court to allow consideration of the aesthetic impact the project would have on the landscape, a landmark ruling. Other environmental groups, such as Clearwater and Hudson Riverkeeper, were launched to protect the river, aided greatly by the passage of the Clean Water Act in the 1970s.
The upper stretches of the river still have signs warning against eating fish caught there due to the polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) remaining in the riverbed. Most came from a former General Electric plant in Hudson Falls, and remediation efforts have long been a political sore point in the region.
Along with the river, the region suffered from the decline of manufacturing jobs in late 20th-century America. Cities like Newburgh, Peekskill and Poughkeepsie became poorer as jobs left, compounded by ill-advised urban renewal projects such as Poughkeepsie's Main Mall Row. Many who stayed wondered if the region had seen its best days.
The depressed regional housing market, however, created opportunities. Manhattan- and Brooklynites looking for that urban vibe at a cheaper price began buying up the old houses and restoring them. The state's Hudson River Greenway helped communities like Peekskill and Newburgh clean up and revitalize their riverfronts. Outside the valley's cities, some old farms became subdivisions, occupied by the middle-class families who found themselves priced out of closer suburbs. Today exurbanization reaches into Dutchess and Orange counties, and is slowly creeping into Greene and Columbia counties at the north end, where the metropolitan area centers on Albany. In between, the valley remains a mixture of old and new.
Community after community along the river continues to revive its waterfront. Visitors from New York City come to their shops on the weekend and sometimes decide to settle in towns like Cold Spring, Beacon, Saugerties, and Hudson, where they restore old houses and take in the fantastic scenery.
The valley is generally cooler than New York City, both in summer and winter. In the former season this effect is positive, as it blunts any heat waves that hit the city (temperatures have broken 100°F (38°C) on occasion, but not by much). In the winter this means, however, that storms are likely to be more severe (when TV weather forecasters from the city say something like "north and west, this will all be snow", they're usually pointing at the lower or central Hudson Valley).
These effects are more pronounced as one gets further from the river and higher into the mountainous and hilly terrain, like the Catskills or Taconics, on either side. The Catskills and Shawangunks can also create "rain shadows" near their bases on some days, due to the prevailing winds blowing from the west across them. At the same time they also tend to buffer the region from some of the storm systems that come down from Canada to menace the rest of upstate New York in early winter.
The most serious weather events are thus usually the nor'easters that follow the coasts. The wind that sometimes comes along with them regardless of season can sometimes be strong enough to blow down trees or branches and cause widespread power failures. Tropical cyclones severely affect the region. Tropical Storm Floyd, in 1999, caused some of the longest blackouts; and Irene and Lee in 2011 brought extensive flooding, washing out roads and isolating some communities.
- Hudson Valley Faces and Places (2006) and Hudson Valley Tales & Trails (2010), both by Patricia Edwards Clyne, are excellent compendia of regional lore. The former focuses on some of the many famous people who have connections to the region; the latter on places of historical interest, with short hikes or walks outlined.
- Chronicles of the Hudson: Three Centuries of Travel and Adventure (Roland van Zandt, 1971). Good broad history of the region built visits or residence in the region by notable people. Organized by the dominant means of transportation at the time, it takes the reader from the river's earliest explorations by Europeans to the early 20th century. Its viewpoint predates the modern renaissance of the river, but still worth the read.
- The Mightier Hudson: The Spirited Revival of a Treasured Landscape (Roger D. Stone, 2012). Picks up where van Zandt left off and tells the story of the renewal of the river and valley, both environmentally and culturally.
- Crossing the Hudson: Historic Bridges and Tunnels of the River (Donald Wolf, 2010). The same feature that makes the Hudson navigable all the way to Troy, its width, also makes it a major geographic barrier whose effect is still felt today (freight trains must go all the way to Castleton, south of Albany, to cross the river). Bridging the river has been key to making the region come together. Wolf's book looks at all aspects of this history, from the technical issues to the social, economic and political effects.
Probably the best, most beautiful and historic view of traveling to and within the Hudson Valley is by boat up the Hudson River. There are a few tourist cruises you can do, but unless you have or use a private boat, the Hudson River won't be your primary method of travel in the Hudson Valley. One exception is NY Waterway, an operator of commuter ferries, that offers full day and weekend sightseeing cruises from New York City to several locations including Tarrytown and the United States Military Academy at West Point.
A different, but memorable, way to experience the Hudson Valley from the river is to go on one of the public sails run by Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, the Beacon-based environmental organization that works to protect the river. Between April and October, Clearwater, a National Register-listed replica of the 17th- and 18th-century Dutch sloops, and Mystic Whaler, a replica of a 19th-century whaling schooner, take on passengers at docks up and down the river between New York and Albany. During the excursions, passengers can take turns helping steer and operate the boat while the crew offers lessons on the history and environment. It's a popular family outing. Tickets are $50 for adults, $35 for Clearwater members and $15 for children 12 and under. +1 845 265-8080 x7107 .
- Westchester County Airport, 240 Airport Road, White Plains, +1 914 995-4860 (airlines). The largest airport of the lower Hudson Valley, other than the three New York City/New Jersey international airports.
- Stewart International Airport, 1180 First St, New Windsor, +1 845 564-2100. Serves the middle of the valley.
- Dutchess County Airport, 263 New Hackensack Road, Wappingers Falls, +1 845 463-6000. An option for private pilots and jets near Poughkeepsie.
- Albany International Airport, 737 Albany-Shaker Rd, Albany. Serves the upper portions of the valley.
- Newark Liberty International Airport, Newark, New Jersey, John F. Kennedy International Airport, and LaGuardia Airport: The three major international airports in the New York City area offer service to just about anywhere.
As a scenic introduction to the region, the train trip up the east side of the Hudson is worth the ride in itself on a nice day. Much of the track runs immediately adjacent or very close to the river; sights include the Palisades, Haverstraw Bay (the river's widest point), Hudson Highlands, West Point, Newburgh Bay, and the Catskills. All but the latter can be viewed from either Amtrak's Empire Service trains (the intercity service) or Metro-North's Hudson Line (commuter service). The former entails going to Albany–Rensselaer and returning; the latter, Poughkeepsie. There are more amenities on Amtrak, but less time between train turnarounds at Poughkeepsie.
- Amtrak. For rail service north of Poughkeepsie, to Rhinecliff and Hudson, departing from Penn Station in Manhattan. Service is also available to Yonkers and Croton-on-Hudson, but as these are within Metro-North's service area tickets to those destinations are sold only to passengers embarking from outside that service area.
- Metro-North. The Hudson Line, marked in green on maps, is the line that travels north along the Hudson River, from New York City to Poughkeepsie. Intermediate stops include Yonkers (and three other stations in that city), Tarrytown, Peekskill, Cold Spring and Beacon. Not all trains stop at each station, so check the schedule closely, and mind the type of train—if you board an electric train and want to go north of Croton-Harmon, you'll have to get off there and change to one with a diesel locomotive. Fares are higher for travel during peak hours; at that time the trains, particularly those that serve the lower portion of the line, are very crowded and you may have to stand for a while.
For destinations further inland on the east side of the Valley, the Harlem Line, marked in blue on the map, is an option. It goes as far as rural Wassaic, 90 miles (144 km) north of the city in Dutchess County. Intermediate stops include Bronxville, White Plains, Scarsdale, and Brewster. Electric trains go as far as Southeast; passengers going beyond that station will have to change to a diesel train there, except if catching an express from Grand Central during evening rush hour.
- New Jersey Transit. On the west side of the valley, passenger rail service is much more limited. Two of NJ Transit's lines serve stations operated by Metro-North in Orange and Rockland counties. The Pascack Valley line (purple on the map), goes as far as Spring Valley, and the Port Jervis Line (thin black line) goes to that city, passing stops at Suffern, Tuxedo and Middletown along the way. While a long round trip, that route does offer some outstanding scenery, especially where it crosses the Moodna Viaduct, longest actively used rail trestle in the East, near Salisbury Mills.
- Greyhound. Stops in most of the major cities as well as some small towns.
- Adirondack Trailways, . Stops in most of the major cities on the west side of the river, and Poughkeepsie.
The most commonly used route to the Hudson Valley is the north-south New York State Thruway (Interstate 87). From New York City, it can be reached by following the Major Deegan Expressway, which becomes the Thruway when it reaches the city line. It continues through lower Westchester County, with a $1.25 toll collected at a barrier near Ardsley, then turns west where I-287 joins it at White Plains to cross the Hudson at one of its widest and most scenic points via the Tappan Zee Bridge (a $4.75 toll is collected going eastbound). After crossing heavily suburban and busy Rockland County, it turns north and continues up the valley to Albany, with every exit roughly corresponding to a bridge. Some of the valley's scenery, such as the Catskills, is visible in the middle of this section. The toll from that point is collected at the exits; to Albany it is $5.25.
On the east side of the river the only divided highway that runs the valley's full length is the Taconic State Parkway, beginning at the end of the Bronx River Parkway south of Valhalla and continuing north to the Thruway's Berkshire extension (Interstate 90) near the Columbia County village of Chatham. While less convenient to the river cities, it is worth the drive as the automotive counterpart to the train ride up the river, designed to take advantage of the region's staggering views and rolling, bucolic scenery. Franklin D. Roosevelt personally oversaw the design before he became president, and author William Kennedy has described the result as a "110-mile postcard." The entire highway and most of its picturesque stone bridges have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
From the east or the west, the best route to the valley is Interstate 84. Crossing the Delaware River from Pennsylvania into New York at Port Jervis, it makes a scenic crossing of the lower Shawangunk Ridge, then bends north past Middletown to Newburgh, where it intersects with the Thruway and then crosses the Hudson via the Newburgh–Beacon Bridge ($1.50 toll eastbound), with a scenic view of Storm King and the Hudson Highlands to the south. After Beacon and Fishkill on the east side, it continues east to the Taconic Parkway interchange in East Fishkill, then climbs through the Taconics to I-684 at Brewster just before crossing into Danbury, Connecticut.
On the north end of the valley, the Massachusetts Turnpike (Interstate 90) becomes the Thruway's Berkshire Section when it crosses the state line. At Schodack I-90 splits to the northwest for Albany-bound traffic; the Berkshire Section continues to the Thruway's Main Line at Exit 21B and is probably the better route into the Hudson Valley for traffic from central New England despite the 85-cent toll.
Travelers coming from New York's Southern Tier will likely be using the New York State Route 17 expressway. Known formerly as the Quickway, it is slowly being upgraded into Interstate 86. At Middletown there is a full interchange with I-84; Route 17 continues from there to the Thruway at Harriman.
There are several north-south surface roads for those wishing to take their time. U.S. Route 9 follows the east side of the river closely; it becomes an expressway in northern Westchester County and a divided commercial strip between Fishkill and Poughkeepsie. Otherwise it's a leisurely two-lane drive, offering beautiful scenery in many sections. U.S. Route 9W parallels it on the other side of the river, with its scenic highlight coming along the divided section in the Hudson Highlands around West Point.
Further away from the river, New York State Route 32 begins at the Woodbury Commons outlet mall and connects many of the major communities on the west side of the valley—Newburgh, New Paltz, Kingston, Saugerties and Catskill. The most scenic portion is between the latter two, affording an excellent view of the Catskill Escarpment. On the eastern edge of the region, New York State Route 22 closely parallels the state line as it lniks the small towns amid the beautiful scenery of Dutchess and Columbia counties.
There aren't many surface through roads that run east-west across the entire valley. In the south, U.S. Route 6 closely parallels I-84 at first when the two cross the Delaware at Port Jervis, then bends bends south to Middletown, where it joins NY 17, then makes a scenic crossing of Harriman State Park on its way to the Bear Mountain Bridge and the road around the mountain to Peekskill. From there it goes through several smaller communities in Westchester County, then to Mahopac, Carmel and Brewster in Putnam County before returning to the side of I-84 as it enters Connecticut.
U.S. Route 44 and New York State Route 55 combine from the Shawangunk Ridge and its stunning views to Poughkeepsie, then split, with 44 going northeast toward Millbrook and Millerton and 55 more due east to Pawling and Connecticut. Further north, New York State Route 23 crosses the Greene County Catskills, dropping scenically through the north end of the Escarpment, then crosses the river at the Rip Van Winkle Bridge on its way across bucolic Columbia County to Hillsdale and Massachusetts.
The Hudson River can be both means of and impediment to travel. Historically it was wide enough that only ferries crossed it, but then a few rail bridges crossed the river in the late 19th century, followed by vehicle bridges in the 20th. Tolls are charged for all south of Albany. E-Z Pass electronic payment, common in the northeast United States, is accepted at all of the following Hudson River crossings, usually with a discount:
The New York State Bridge Authority operates:
- Rip Van Winkle (NY 23) - Catskill, Green County to Hudson, Columbia County
- Kingston-Rhinecliff (NY 199) - Kingston, Ulster County to Rhinecliff, Dutchess County
- Mid-Hudson (US 44/NY 55) - Highland, Ulster County to Poughkeepsie, Dutchess County
- Newburgh-Beacon (I-84/NY 52) - Newburgh, Orange County and Beacon, Dutchess County
- Bear Mountain (US 6/US 202) - Bear Mountain, Orange County to Peekskill, Westchester County
All NYSBA bridges charge a toll of $1.50 ($1.25 with EZPass) eastbound
The New York State Thruway Authority operates:
- Castleton — Selkirk, Albany County to Castleton-on-Hudson, Rensselaer County ($1.05 ($1 with EZPass) both ways; included in Thruway toll collected at exits).
- Tappan Zee (I-87/I-287) - Nyack, Rockland County to Tarrytown, Westchester County ($5 eastbound; $4.75 with EZPass)
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey operates:
- George Washington - Fort Lee, New Jersey to New York City ($13 eastbound; $10.25 with EZPass reduced to $8.25 off-peak and $4.25 with three or more people in vehicle).
New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority operates two ferry routes across the river in its service area, primarily for the benefit of commuters using Metro-North's Hudson Line; both operate only during rush hour. Service may be suspended in wintertime if the river has too much ice for crossings to be safe, particularly on the Newburgh–Beacon route.
- Haverstraw–Ossining Ferry from St. Girling Drive in Haverstraw, Rockland County, to the Metro-North station at Ossining, Westchester County. Fare is $3.50 ($1.75 for seniors and children 6–11) for a 15-minute ride across the river at its widest point.
- Newburgh–Beacon Ferry from Front Street in Newburgh, Orange County, to the Metro-North station at Beacon, Dutchess County. Fare is $1.50 per person; the crossing is shorter but affords excellent views of the Hudson Highlands to the south.
The counties in the valley run bus networks of varying extents.
- Beeline Bus System. Westchester county's bus system also connects to nearby lines, such as Rockland County and Fairfield County, Connecticut .
- Transit Orange, has some routes serving the vicinities of Middletown and Newburgh, but nothing countywide.
- Putnam Transit (PART),  [dead link], has bus routes serving the eastern portion of the county with a connection to Westchester's Bee-Line at the Jefferson Valley Mall, and a summertime trolley-style bus connecting Cold Spring and Garrison.
- Dutchess County LOOP [formerly dead link] buses serve primarily the eastern portion of the county from Poughkeepsie and Beacon, with one route out to Pawling. There is no service on Sundays.
- Mirroring LOOP, Ulster County Area Transit (UCAT)  serves primarily the more populous eastern half of the county, with lines to Ellenville and Belleayre. One line crosses the river to connect to Metro-North and LOOP at Poughkeepsie.
- Greene County Transit mainly connects outlying areas with Catskill, the county seat. Service is limited.
- In Columbia County, Coxsackie Transport [formerly dead link] runs buses from Hudson to Albany with stops along Route 9, and a loop route in the southern half of the county.
In addition to the regional through routes mentioned above, there are some roads which connect wide areas within the region:
- U.S. Route 209, from the Delaware River at Port Jervis to U.S. 9W north of Kingston. If you come into the valley from the west via I-84, and are headed for its central region, you'll probably take this to Kingston and the bridge to Rhinecliff. For most of its length it's a lightly trafficked two-lane road, with some excellent scenery south of Ellenville where it runs in the valley between the Shawangunks and the Catskills.
- New York State Route 9D. The main route along the river from Bear Mountain Bridge north to Wappingers Falls in Dutchess County. Lower stretches offer a mix of environments from scenic views of the Highlands (particularly in northern Putnam County) to the quaint village of Cold Spring and funky downtown Beacon.
- New York State Route 52. After crossing the Shawangunks, with some sweeping views of the valley, between Ellenville and Pine Bush, Route 52 begins to parallel I-84 to Newburgh until it merges with it to cross the Hudson, splitting at Fishkill but still paralleling the interstate until it ends at US 6 in downtown Carmel.
- New York State Route 82. Beginning at NY 52 near Fishkill in Dutchess County, and going all the way to a roundabout along US 9 near Sand Lake in Columbia County, Route 82 serves as a more leisurely, and sometimes quite scenic, alternative to the Taconic State Parkway in those two counties.
- New York State Route 199 begins where US 209 ends and continues across the bridge to become northern Dutchess County's main east-west route, going through Red Hook, Pine Plains and some increasingly beautiful countryside on its way to US 44/NY 22 just south of Millerton.
- New York State Route 208, from Monroe in Orange County to New Paltz in Ulster County. Connects several inland communities in both counties. Most scenic section is north of Wallkill, with views of the Shawangunk Ridge across the Wallkill River valley.
- New York State Route 300. From Vails Gate this goes northwest to become Newburgh's main suburban shopping strip, then heads northwest to Wallkill as a lightly-trafficked two-lane road.
Many sights are listed under their individual counties. If you have a limited amount of time in the region, here are the most popular and/or most important to understanding the Hudson Valley:
- 1 United States Military Academy (West Point) (north of Highland Falls), ☏ . There's much to see at "The Point", a National Historic Landmark that is the oldest continuously-operated U.S military installation and the alma mater of many prominent U.S. Army officers from George Custer and Ulysses S. Grant to Dwight Eisenhower, George Patton, Douglas MacArthur, Norman Schwarzkopf (1950s) and David Petraeus (1970s). The academy maintains one of the world's largest military museums, with many exhibits and battle dioramas. On campus there are the magnificent stone Gothic buildings, spectacular views of the river and surrounding mountains of the Hudson Highlands, and the military paegantry of the cadets, the "Long Gray Line" who will follow in the footsteps of their distinguished predecessors.
- 2 Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library & Museum, 4079 Albany Post Rd., Hyde Park (on E side of US 9 S of Hyde Park), ☏ , toll-free: , ✉ Roosevelt.Library@nara.gov. Nov-Mar 9AM-5PM, Apr-Oct 9AM-6PM. $7, $14 combination ticket with house tour, children under 15 free. , 3 Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site (Springwood), 4097 Albany Post Rd., Hyde Park, NY (Next to presidential library), ☏ , toll-free: . 9AM-5PM daily except holidays. $14, free for children 15 and under; includes museum admission. , 4 Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site, 119 Vanderbilt Park Road, Hyde Park (on E side of US 9 N of Hyde Park), ☏ . 9AM–5PM. Located a short distance apart, these are the most popular estates with visitors north of Westchester County. Springwood, FDR's ancestral home, is more modest but rich in the history of one of America's most significant presidents, elaborated on by the nearby presidential library and museum, the country's first such institution. Frederick Vanderbilt's mansion, while not as large as the one his brother George built outside Asheville, North Carolina, is a lavish testament to the wealth of the Gilded Age, created by the family railroad that ran right below the estate along the river. $8; 15 and under free.
- The Hudson River Historic District. An unheralded 32-square mile (90 km²) National Historic Landmark District located roughly along the riverside from Staatsburg in Dutchess County to Clermont in Columbia County, this strip preserves much of the original agricultural landscape of the river, often with stunning views of the Catskills that, under the right conditions, evoke Hudson River School paintings. Within its boundaries are small communities like Barrytown, Rhinecliff and Tivoli, as well as Bard College. The estates of Clermont Manor and Montgomery Place, both National Historic Landmarks themselves, are worth touring as well if you have the time.
- 5 Hudson River Museum, 511 Warburton Avenue, Yonkers (Near Metro-North Glenwood station), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. W-Su noon–5PM. Located near the south end of the valley, this is still an excellent introduction to the region. The museum's modern brutalist exterior encircles Glenview, an intact Victorian mansion. Its exhibits deal with everything from the natural science of the valley to its artistic and cultural importance. $5, seniors $3, children free.
- 6 Olana, 5720 State Route 9G, Hudson (E of Rip van Winkle Bridge), ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Grounds 8AM-midnight daily; house tour Jun-Oct: Tu-Su 10AM-5PM. The mountaintop villa of painter Frederic Church is a striking Moorish Revival house with a sweeping view of the Catskill Escarpment across the river similar to those that inspired Church and his fellow Hudson River School painters Admission to grounds $5/vehicle weekends May-Oct. House tour $9 adult, $8 senior/student, under 12 free.
- 7 Martin Van Buren National Historic Site (Lindenwald), 1013 Old Post Road, Kinderhook (off NY 9H south of Kinderhook), ☏ , fax: . 9AM-4:30PM daily between mid-May and Oct. 31. The retirement home of the 8th U.S. President, and first of non-English descent, a lifelong valley resident. $5 individuals, $12 families.
- 8 Storm King Art Center, 1 Museum Rd, New Windsor (between NY 32 and the Thruway SW of Cornwall), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Apr-Dec: W-Su 10AM-5:30PM. A 500-acre (200-ha) landscape dotted with modern sculpture, some by recognized masters like Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Goldsworthy. The art is complemented by the surrounding scenery of the Hudson Highlands, with Storm King and Schunemunk mountains prominent nearby. Adults $18, seniors $15, students $8, under 5 and members free.
- Hike around Bear Mountain Start the hike from Bear Mountain Inn, cross the road and wind through a wild animal preserve, Cross the Hudson River via the Bear Mountain Bridge, join up with the Appalachian Trail, then split off to "Anthony's Nose," a scenic overhang where the entire valley can be viewed. If you do this hike at the end of Sep or beginning of Oct you may be lucky enough to catch the Oktoberfest near the Bear Mountain Inn afterward.
- Visit a farmer's market or farmstand. The upper reaches of the Hudson Valley are still largely agricultural, so keep an eye out for fresh, local products sold right off the farm. Apple cider, produced fresh from the many orchards in the region, is a particular favorite in the fall.
- Take a cruise on the river aboard one of many boats: 1 Pride of the Hudson, Hudson River Adventures, Inc., 100 Brower Road, Monroe (Newburgh Landing on Newburgh waterfront), ☏ , toll-free: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. variable; check online schedule. 2 hr. narrated cruise of Newburgh Bay and Hudson Highlands. $22, $18 senior and child 4-11, 3 and under free.
- 2 Rip van Winkle, 1 East Strand St., Kingston (just east of the US 9W bridge on the Kingston waterfront along Rondout Creek), ☏ , toll-free: , ✉ HRCsales@hvc.rr.com. Cruises 2:30PM daily most days May–October; 11:30AM and 2:30PM most of July and August; 11:30AM only last Saturday in September. Guided cruise around river near Kingston, with Catskill Escarpment and other scenery visible. $21, seniors $19, child 4–11 $13, 4 and under free.
- Croton Sailing School, Senasqua Rd, Croton-on-Hudson, ☏ . Take sailing lessons.
- Take a guided kayak tour through the Hudson Highlands: Hudson Valley Outfitters, 63 Main St, Cold Spring, ☏ . Or paddle the entire tidal portion of the river via the Hudson River Water Trail.
- New York-New Jersey Trail Conference. Join a group hike sponsored by the trail conference. You could also venture off by yourself with a NYNJTC topographic trail map to the Hudson Palisades trails, Harriman-Bear Mountain trails, or the east and west portions of Hudson Highlands State Park.
- Watch bald eagles. In winter, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation recommends the following viewing points: Riverfront Park, Peekskill; Charles Point's China Pier, Peekskill; George's Island Park, Verplanck, town of Cortlandt; Constitution Island from the North Dock at West Point; Norrie Point State Park, Hyde Park; Iona Island, viewable from the turn-out off Route 6 just south of the Bear Mountain Bridge on the east side of the Hudson River.
- [dead link] Follow Ichabod Crane's route. Fans of Washington Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow can follow the route of Ichabod Crane from Tarrytown to Sleepy Hollow. But don't expect to find the "Western Woods" or anything else from the 1999 movie Sleepy Hollow. Tim Burton's production is only loosely based on Irving's story, and was filmed largely in Hertfordshire, England.
- Rock-climb. In Shawagunks (the Gunks), one of the largest and most accessible cliffs on the East Coast. You can buy or rent basic climbing equipment from EMC or Rock and Snow in New Paltz.
- 1 Woodbury Common Premium Outlet (Woodbury Commons), 498 Red Apple Court, Central Valley (at NY 17 and 32 just off Thruway Exit 16), ☏ . 10AM-9PM daily; special hours during holiday season. Where New York City does its outlet shopping, along with busloads of European and Asian tourists. Traffic can be overwhelming but the bargains are real.
As home to the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, the area is blessed with the services of many of its graduate chefs. See local pages for specific restaurants.
Many of the local farmstands mentioned above sell delicious homemade or locally made ice cream, and other products from local dairy farms that are worth buying and eating.
Brownies, cookies, muffins and other baked goods from Poughkeepsie-based Nilda's Desserts are sold at many convenience stores throughout the region. They're a couple of steps above their mass-market national-brand competitors.
- Locally produced apple cider, in season (mid-September-Thanksgiving) at one of the many small local producers
- Though overshadowed even within the state by the Finger Lakes and the North Fork of eastern Long Island, the valley has a thriving wine industry—the oldest in the country, in fact, as demonstrated by these two wineries.
- 1 Brotherhood Winery, 100 Brotherhood Plaza Drive Washingtonville (behind Washingtonville's Super Stop & Shop supermarket), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. F–Su 11AM–5PM. America's oldest winery, in continuous operation since 1839, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Tastings free.
- 2 Benmarl Winery, 156 Highland Ave, Marlboro (Off US 9W from just south of the county line.), ☏ , ✉ Benmarlwinery@gmail.com. Noon-6PM daily April–September. Wines pressed from grapes grown in America's oldest vineyard. $8 for tasting six wines.
- There are many "Deer Crossing" signs on roads throughout this region. Take them very seriously, and try your best to avoid hitting a deer. Deer frequently cross without warning or heed for oncoming traffic.
- If you are going to be hiking through areas which might be infested with deer ticks, take sensible precautions against ticks, and go to the doctor right away if you should subsequently contract a flu-like illness; Lyme disease is usually easily treatable, but only if caught early.
- Mosquitoes can be unpleasant in this area in the summer, but usually don't carry diseases (West Nile virus is quite rare in this area to date). Consider using or at least carrying a repellent, especially in rural areas late in the day or at night.
A natural extension to your trip in the Hudson Valley is to head south to Westchester County, whose Hudson River coast is part of the Hudson Valley but also part of the New York Metropolitan Area and listed on Wikivoyage as such, and then to New York City (presuming you didn't start there), which is easily accessible by public transportation and by private automobile. But also consider heading north into the Adirondacks, a mountain range in northeastern New York and the location of the Adirondack State Park, the largest state park in the continental United States. Amtrak's Adirondack route cuts through these mountains en route to Montreal. New England is also easily accessible from the Hudson Valley, particularly the Berkshire Hills in western Massachusetts and the Litchfield Hills in northwestern Connecticut.