A welcome escape from the chaos and traffic of New York City, the Hudson Valley calls to visitors who are eager to relish the natural beauty of the surrounding mountains, taste the growing restaurant scene, and relax against the calming backdrop of the Hudson River. Whether you're making the short and accessible commute from Manhattan or coming from elsewhere, you'll find farm-to-table dining experiences, yoga studios, and wineries alongside parks and outdoor spots that are the perfect places to unplug from the nonstop pace of urban life.
The true spirit of the valley lives in the little river towns, scattered gems where clusters of cafés, boutiques, and galleries arrange themselves along storybook main streets. You'll find a treasure chest of antiques shops in Nyack, Cold Spring, and Saugerties. Hudson, where more than 60 vendors jostle for ascendancy over a span of five blocks, is perfect for a lazy afternoon of browsing and people-watching while Kingston (the state's first capital) is home to dozens of restaurants featuring everything from Asian fusion to gastropubs. Beacon is home to the expansive Dia:Beacon museum and lays claim to an edgy contemporary-arts scene. Deeper inland, particularly in the sleepy hamlets nestled near Millbrook and New Paltz, you'll find country roads that wend their way to apple orchards, wine trails, horse paddocks, and farm stands.
A vibrant tableau of American history unfolds along the Hudson's shores, culminating in the Gothic facades of the United States Military Academy at West Point, where you can walk in the footsteps of Civil War heroes and U.S. presidents. Grand, antiques-filled mansions, the legacies of prominent New York families of yore, command breath-stealing Hudson River views. Many—including the Boscobel Restoration in Garrison; Kykuit, the Rockefeller estate near Tarrytown; and Montgomery Place, the Livingston mansion in Annandale-on-Hudson—open their doors and gardens for seasonal touring.
If you're looking for outdoor adventures, a dozen-plus state parks lie within the Hudson corridor. Craggy peaks, pine-scented forests, cool mountain waterways, and the sapphire ribbon of the river itself serve as superb venues for hiking, climbing, biking, kayaking, fishing, and other outdoor diversions. If you prefer to retreat indoors, you can join a yoga or meditation workshop at one of area's many yoga studios or sign up for a meditation retreat at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck.
It's easy to skip upriver from New York City for a day trip to the region, but scores of country inns, bed-and-breakfasts, spas, and destination restaurants hold all the enticements for a longer, more leisurely Hudson Valley sojourn.