It’s rare that you discover a place in your own backyard that feels miles away from city life, and yet is wonderfully rich in culture, cuisine, and endless activities. Hudson Valley is just a scenic car ride away from NYC, but being immersed in green spaces makes it feel incredibly special despite the proximity. Whether you want to go for long hikes, explore the little towns, have a powerful meditation experience, or create your own food tour of the area’s best offerings, Hudson Valley is a can’t-miss for a low key city escape.
Check out my Instagram photo journey through the Hudson Valley via my hashtag #caro_in_hudsonvalley!
Where To Stay
While I’ve stayed at friends’ homes in the area and it has been positively lovely, my favorite hotel home base is Hotel Dylan. It is right in Woodstock and is the perfect launching pad for all of the adventures that the area has to offer. It has an outdoor fire pit and hammocks for early morning and evening lounging, and also offers coffee and a la carte breakfast from Bread Alone every morning.
Where To Eat
Tito Santana – This casual taqueria in Beacon is the perfect lunchtime pit stop en route to a more northern destination. Grab an assortment of tacos and a side of guac before you hit the road.
Zora Dora Paleteria – Homemade popsicles with bright flavors in the heart of Beacon’s downtown. I tried an avocado popsicle and it was absolute heaven on a stick.
Cucina – For a low-key Italian meets farm to table experience, look no further than Cucina in Woodstock. This was one of my favorite dinners in the area, and is the perfect spot for sharing a few fresh salads and pastas with a group (note: don’t skip dessert here).
Oriole 9 – For a sit-down brunch, do not miss this little spot in the heart of Woodstock’s main drag. I ordered truffled scrambled eggs, which were served in a steamed artichoke.
Jane’s Homemade Ice Cream – So quintessentially classic and so good. Stop here after dinner in Woodstock for a sweet treat.
Phoenicia Diner – This old school diner along the highway in Phoenicia is a bit off the beaten path, but is worth it for a hearty breakfast experience. Try the huevos rancheros, and don’t forget to grab a face-sized cookie to go.
Holy Cow – The go-to spot for classic soft serve, this Rhinebeck roadside shop also serves up their signature “udders,” which are cupcake liners with frozen soft serve in them, topped with decadent treats such as sprinkles and crushed oreos.
Sunfrost Farms – I could go to this little farm cafe every day for breakfast if I had the chance. Both a full service farm, small market, and indoor/outdoor cafe, Sunfrost Farms has something for everyone. We stopped here for breakfast (I had fresh berries and homemade granola), and ordered sandwiches to-go for our hike that afternoon.
Shindig – Burgers and beers, baby. This Woodstock haunt is the perfect place to post up at the counter, order an epic burger (I chose lamb) and beer, and have a chill evening. Don’t miss the side of waffle fries and mac n’ cheese.
Bread Alone – I’ve swung by this Hudson Valley bakery in both Woodstock and Rhinebeck, and it is equally lovely in both locations. This is a perfect place to stop by for an iced coffee and baked good in the AM.
Huckleberry – If you’re in New Paltz, this is the restaurant you want to post up at for cocktail hour and dinner. Snag a seat on the outdoor patio, sip a local cider, and don’t miss their fish tacos and burgers after a long hike or climb.
Where To Drink
Commune Saloon – After a long day of hiking, there is nothing better than grabbing a beer and sitting outside by the open fire pit at this local hang-out in Woodstock.
The Beekman – One of the oldest hotels in the area, this Rhinebeck institution is absolutely stunning, and has a small front patio that’s perfect for a pre-dinner drink al fresco.
The Liberty – Right on the main drag in Rhinebeck, this casual spot is perfect for an afternoon cocktail (and don’t forget to get an order of fried pickles for the table).
What To Do
DIA: Beacon – Housed in a former Nabisco factory, this industrial space along the Hudson serves as the perfect blank canvas to showcase DIA’s collection of 21st century art and sculpture. Check the website in advance for information on the rotating exhibits, and spend an afternoon exploring this avant-garde space.
Overlook Mountain – This stunning hike in Woodstock is not beginner level, but the views at the top make every moment worth it. En route to the apex, you’ll stumble across an old abandoned hotel and climb-able water tower (not for the faint of heart).
Storm King Art Center – Coming upon a larger-than-life modern sculpture in the midst of the rolling landscape is a true feast for the eyes, and Storm King’s incredible collection serves as the perfect contrast to the natural space it resides in. Don’t miss this place.
Karma Triyana Dharmachakra – For those of us looking to have a zen moment away from city life, look no further than this Buddhist monastery, which is tucked away within the Woodstock Hills. We explored the premises and sat for a meditation class here after a hike, and left feeling balanced and rejuvenated.
Opus 40 – This lesser known sculpture park in Saugerties is set in an abandoned quarry, which the artist fashioned into an elaborate stone earth work. You only need about an hour to hike around the premises and get lost in the small trails between the stonework.
Walkway Over the Hudson – The longest pedestrian walkway in world, this Poughkeepsie landmark is a great place to get out of the car and stretch your legs while taking in gorgeous views of the Hudson River Valley.
Minnewaska State Park – One of my favorite hikes in recent memory was at the incredible Minnewaska State Park. Hike up to Millbrook Mountain for incredible mountaintop views of the valley below, and if you’re brave, pack a picnic and some brews to enjoy with your legs dangling over the hilltop.