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Aerial view of the Hudson River Valley, New York, in autumn

New York’s Hudson River Valley: Small Towns with Big Offerings

Once a part of the Northeast’s Industrial past, the Hudson Valley is now known for the string of charming small towns that line the river, and the majestic nature that surrounds them. A complete trip to the area should include plenty of nature-gazing, shop-hopping and art-ogling.

A region stretching along the Hudson River from Westchester to Albany, the Hudson River Valley is made up of old towns that are decidedly modern. From world-renowned modern art to the most progressive practices in agriculture and food sourcing, there’s nothing old-fashioned about this area but the ample amount of antiques found throughout. You won’t run out of quaint shops to visit, amazing art to behold or exquisite food to try. Add to those the stunning natural landscape and endless ways to experience it, and you’re in for a magical journey through New York’s Hudson River Valley.

Outdoor exhibit at Storm King Art Center

Beacon

The town of Beacon is just that -- a beacon of culture amidst some of the most incredible natural landscapes in the region.

This artist community has risen from industrial ruin to become a home to some of the world’s finest Modern Art. Start your trip just across the river for a day at Storm King Art Center, where you’ll discover larger-than-life sculptures amidst sprawling natural landscapes that seem to go hand in hand with the art. On day two, head to Beacon for more art at Dia: Beacon, more views at Mount Beacon Park, and farm-to-table eats at Kitchen Sink Food & Drink, that are just as modern as the nearby art.

Where to Stay:

What to Eat:

  • Head to Beacon’s bustling Main Street for jazz, desserts and American fare at Town Crier Cafe.
  • Experience the true meaning of farm-to-table with modern and eclectic eats from Kitchen Sink Food & Drink.
  • Grab a beer at the Hudson Valley Brewery, while snacking on food from their lineup of rotating pop-up kitchens and food trucks.

What to See:

  • Storm King Art Center is a one-of-a-kind 2 square kilometer outdoor museum that you’ve got to experience to believe.
  • Housed in a former Nabisco box printing factory, Dia: Beacon offers a permanent collection of modern works from the 1960’s and 70’s, as well as regular special exhibitions.
  • Beacon’s Main Street is home to many shops and galleries that contribute to Beacon’s cultural revival.
Taking in the scenery of Woodstock, New York

Woodstock

Catch the bohemian spirit in world-famous Woodstock, New York.

Though the town isn’t technically where the eponymous festival was held (that happened 60 miles away in Bethel, New York), Woodstock continues to hold the torch for artsy types, music lovers and Zen-seekers everywhere. A trip to this area offers plenty of opportunities for eclectic shop-hopping, art and music indulgence and people watching (and meeting)! On day two, explore the nearby town of Kingston for more culture, history and fine food and drink.

Where to Stay:

What to Eat:

  • Catch the vintage vibes of Kingston’s historic district at Boitson’s.
  • For craft cocktails and a New Polish menu, visit Lis Bar.
  • Grab organic brunch or just some darn good bread at Bread Alone Bakery.

What to See:

  • Bop around Tinker Street for your fill of tie-dyes, crystals and other requisite Woodstock souvenirs.
  • Get earthy on an Overlook Mountain hike.
  • Catch some live music in true Woodstock spirit at Bearsville Theater.
The quaint downtown streets of Hudson, New York

Hudson

If you’re up for another uber cool small town with plenty to do and see, complete your upstate tour in Hudson--and come hungry!

This town was a center of vice in the first half of the 20th century, boasting more than 50 bars at the peak of its edgy past life. Today though, Hudson is known for its incredible restaurants, quaint shops and many opportunities to snag awesome antiques.

Where to Stay:

What to Eat:

  • Nestled in the back of an antique shop, Backbar offers Malaysian dishes, outdoor seating and all the vibes.
  • Grazin’ is a 50’s style diner that’s decidedly modern in its outlook on animal welfare. Come for ethically sourced burgers, and other farm-to-table fare.
  • For coffee with a side of cool, visit Moto Coffee Machine, where the cafe shares space with a full motorcycle shop.

What to See: