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Sara Aug 23rd, 2021 01:57 PM

Hudson/Athens New York Trip Report
Last week three friends and I rented a house in Athens NY, across the Hudson River from Hudson. We wanted a getaway within a reasonable driving distance from the Boston area; while this wouldn't have been our first choice as a location, we couldn't find any affordable places to rent on the coast or in the mountains on short notice, and thought it would at least be fun to explore a new (to us) area. The house we rented was in the Sleepy Hollow Lake community, so we had access to a nice sand beach for swimming in the lake, and a choice of two pools. We did enjoy using these on the very hot days at the beginning of our stay. We actually found a lot to do in the area, and could have done more if we'd had time.

While my friends were leery of taking any tours that involved going inside, due to the Delta variant, I felt safe on the two that I took, because I really wanted to see these two places. The first was Olana, the gorgeous home of painter Frederic Church (1926-1900), which he considered his masterpiece, and is a New York State Historic Site. It sits on top of a hill with spectacular views of the Hudson River and the Catskill Mountains; the large grounds were extensively landscaped by Church, and are now a park, which is free to visit. There are a number of hiking trails, or you can even book a tour of the carriage roads in a golf cart type vehicle, for those with mobility issues. You can tour the house for a small fee, which I highly recommend.

Directly across the river, in the charming town of Catskill, is Cedar Grove, the home of Painter Thomas Cole (1802 - 1848), who is considered the father of the Hudson River School of Painting, and who was Frederic Church's mentor. You can also tour this house and a gallery on the grounds, which are very interesting. This is also a New York State Historic Site. Both of these properties limited the tours to small groups, and everyone is required to wear masks inside regardless of vaccination status, so they are taking Covid safety protocols seriously.

The intrepid can even walk between these two houses on the Hudson River Skywalk Trail that goes between the two properties via the Rip Van Winkle Bridge, about a six mile round trip. I did walk across the river from Cedar Grove and back, which was about two and a half miles round trip. It was a beautiful walk, high above the river, and I got lots of great photos.

We took a boat ride on the Hudson River through Hudson Cruises, Inc., It was a beautiful day, and we really enjoyed it. We were outdoors on the upper deck, and it didn't feel crowded, so we felt pretty safe. Though it was billed as an hour and a half tour, we were actually out on the water for about two hours.

We spent a half day exploring the many shops, antique stores, and galleries on Warren Street in Hudson. They are mostly pretty upscale and expensive, but we had fun browsing.

We took a day to drive up into the Catskills to enjoy the scenery and visit one of the many interesting country stores in the area. We visited Kaaterskill Falls, the tallest waterfall in New York State. The creek was pretty dry, there wasn't a lot of water going over the falls, but it was still pretty. I bet that's changed since Tropical Storm Henri has been in the area! We had to wait in line awhile to get into the parking lot at mid-day. and it was about a third of a mile trail to the viewing platform. a pretty walk. We could see people far below swimming in the pool beneath the falls; I'd have liked to hike down there, I heard it's very nice, but my friends weren't up for that. When we left there was no line of cars waiting to park, so I guess It's easier later in the day.

The only restaurant we ate at was Frank Guido's Port of Call, since we could sit outside. It's at a pretty spot at the confluence of Catskill Creek and the Hudson River. We thought the food was quite good, especially the fried calamari we shared as an appetizer.

Both Catskill and Athens are charming small towns on the river. We enjoyed seeing all of the whimsical artists statues of cats lining the Main Street of Catskill, now in its 15th year, on display from Memorial Day to mid September.

Hyde Park is only an hour's drive from the area, and I'd have liked to visit, but my friends were reluctant to go - maybe someday!

All in all, we had a great time. We cooked together most nights, and played card and board games every evening. I hope this information will be helpful to anyone who might be visiting this area.
The view from Olana
The view from the porch at Cedar Grove.
A view of the Hudson River from the Skywalk Trail.

millie2112 Aug 24th, 2021 01:31 AM

thank you for your report. I would love to visit the area one day.

TDudette Aug 25th, 2021 06:19 AM

Thanks for this, Sara. Nice pix. Great to read about less touristy places.

Fra_Diavolo Aug 25th, 2021 07:52 AM

Nice report and photos. I keep meaning to get up there!

J62 Aug 25th, 2021 08:22 AM

Nice report and photos. I keep meaning to get down there!

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