When to Go
Summer and fall are the peak seasons in the valley; this is when most of the biggest festivals take place. Winter can be cold and dreary, but many of the villages look quite magical with a fresh layer of snow. Snow lovers can make the best of winter by staying at ski resorts or hibernating at one of the spas. If winter road conditions worry you, consider traveling by train.
Getting Here and Around
For those arriving by air, the Hudson Valley is served by Stewart International Airport in Newburgh and Westchester County Airport. Albany International Airport, at the north end of the Hudson Valley, is a good option for visits to Ulster, Columbia, and Dutchess counties. Of New York City’s three major airports (JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark), LaGuardia is the closest to the Hudson Valley, though all three are reasonably accessible.
If you don’t mind a slower pace, you can hop on a bus from New York City’s Port Authority Bus Terminal to the Hudson Valley. Trailways, Short Lines, Adirondack Trailways, and Greyhound buses stop in small towns and major cities through the Hudson Valley.
If you want to truly explore the Hudson Valley, you’ll need a car. Public transportation is available, but a car is the best way to explore the region’s scenic back roads and byways. The Palisades Interstate Parkway is your best choice for a major north–south road on the west side of the Hudson River. The Taconic State Parkway, a main route on the east side of the river, is particularly scenic, with good views of the Catskills to the west. Both are easily accessible from Manhattan.
The Metro-North Railroad and Amtrak can take you to many of the towns on either side of the river. If you want to do more than walk around the downtown area near the train station, you may want to rent a car once there. Enterprise is a good company to go with in this situation, since staff there will pick you up (not applicable to all stations).
Amtrak (800/872–7245. www.amtrak.com.)
Metro-North Railroad (212/532–4900 or 800/638–7646. www.mta.info/mnr.)
The area is home to a slew of talented chefs, many of whom attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park and decided to stay close by after graduation. Excellent cuisine is available throughout the region, and at the Culinary Institute itself. Rhinebeck, Nyack, and Kingston brim with high-quality restaurants. Such quality often means high prices, but you can also find appealing inexpensive eateries and high-end delis. With few exceptions (which are noted in individual restaurant listings), dress is informal. Where reservations are indicated as essential, you may need to reserve a week or more ahead.
The majority of places to stay in the Hudson Valley are inns, bed-and-breakfasts, and small boutique hotels, and they range from quaint to fairly luxurious. The area does also include a smattering of full-service resorts. A few places have pools, but these are the exception rather than the rule. On weekends, two-night minimum stays are commonly required, especially at smaller inns and B&Bs. Many B&Bs book up long in advance of summer and fall, and they're often not suitable for children.
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