Douglas Nicholas is an award-winning poet and the author of four previous books, including Something Red and Iron Rose, a collection of poems inspired by New York City. He lives in New York’s Hudson Valley with his wife Theresa and Yorkshire terrier Tristan. His latest book,Throne Of Darkness, is out now from sister company Simon & Schuster and available wherever books are sold.
The natural beauty of New York State’s Hudson Valley has enticed many New York City residents to visit and relocate here. The broad glittering sheet of water that is the Hudson itself, the blue mountains away on the horizon, the landscape of crumpled forested foothills that offer a constantly changing vista as one drives the winding back roads, are reason enough to come here.
Perhaps that is why Ulster County has more practising artists than any other area of the state outside New York City, and why both sides of the river offer so many intriguing places for those who’d like a complete getaway without traveling great distances.
Here are some destinations in the Hudson Valley to consider this spring:
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This charming hamlet in Ulster County has antique shops, a museum, quirky and wonderful restaurants, and the eponymous falls.
23 Mohonk Road
High Falls, NY 12440
The D&H Canal Historical Society preserves the unique history of the Delaware & Hudson Canal, which brought huge amounts of coal from the Pennsylvania mines to the Hudson River at Kingston, whence it was shipped downriver to heat New York City. As part of fulfilling its mission, the Society operates a museum and maintains the Five Locks Walk, a National Historic Landmark.
7 Second Street
High Falls, NY 12440
A large nineteenth-century mercantile building houses this charming, eclectic, and long-lived collection of antique furniture, books, household items, and more, as well as being the home of the equally charming proprietor, Sue Paterson.
Metro North/Bannerman’s Castle
The ride up the Hudson to Poughkeepsie is a scenic delight in itself, including such quaint sights as Bannerman’s Castle, a former arsenal. The castle suffered a partial collapse in 2009, but is still a remarkably picturesque destination.
High Falls, NY 12440
A cozy restaurant with a small bar; every inch, inside and out, is spectacularly decorated by artist/proprietor Richard Murphy. Very friendly atmosphere: told that a patron had a cold, Murphy insisted that she have a drink of Irish whiskey, free of charge. Cash only, but there’s an ATM in the wee vestibule.
362 Tyrrel Road
Millbrook, NY 12545
A long labor of love brought forth this twentieth-century version of eighth-century Chinese poet, painter and garden maker Wang Wei’s gardens at Wangchuan Villa. Lester Collins and his clients, Marion and Walter Beck, studied Wang Wei’s scroll paintings for inspiration. The result is a series of walks through gradually unfolding beauty.
This college town has many fine restaurants, rail-trail hiking, bookstores, antique stores, and the Water Street Market, a collection of food, clothing, and more antique stores.
3 Beekman Street
Beacon, NY 12508
A rich resource for artists and lovers of art, Dia Art Foundation’s Beacon site has permanent and temporary exhibits, lecture programs, group and school tours, and much more, all easily accessible by car or by Metro-North Railroad.
3067 Route 209
Stone Ridge, New York 12484
A venue for weddings under tents on a beautiful farm with meadows, woods, distant mountains and a set of magical Arabian horses.
30 Campus Road
Annandale-On-Hudson, NY 12504
This scenic campus includes the gardens at Blithewood mansion, music, dance, theater, and the Frank Gehry-designed Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts! Here is a calendar of events.
5720 State Route 9G
Hudson, NY 12534
Take a tour of Frederick Church’s home. A major Hudson River School painter, this stunning and eclectic villa is well worth a visit.
261 Floyd Ackert Road
Highland, NY 12528
The naturalist John Burroughs built this rustic cabin for himself, and it’s now the center of a sanctuary.