No one paid me to say this – Hudson Valley NY is one of the most beautiful places in the world. And I’ve seen quite a few places. The greatest secret about New York City isn’t the food and culture you’ll find among the city streets – it’s all the amazingly beautiful and historical places to visit surrounding it. From the Vanderbilt Museums in Long Island, to the Hampton’s (West Hampton is AMAZING kid-friendly), to Connecticut and Martha’s Vineyard, to my favorite place of all to escape – Hudson Valley. Now, HV (as I’ll call it) is only a few minutes train ride on the Metro North (so you can still access it without a car), or you can drive up along the countryside and river.
Seriously, you should add it to your bucket list.
There are tons of places and things to do in Hudson Valley, and for different reasons. Here are my five favorite places to visit in the fall for the breathtaking scenery and history (in order as you travel north):
Ok, Beacon may be the cutest little town to stumble upon ever. Ok – well, then so is every other picture perfect town as you travel up 9-D including Garrison, Cold Spring, Rhinebeck, and Hyde Park. But Beacon has some gems that I just can’t resist on the drive-by. First, you need to stop for lunch at the Roundhouse Hotel and Restaurant. Sitting outside by a waterfall while dining on seriously good eats like beet and quinoa salads, brussels and bacon, and a hearty burger – it’s a great place to stop and fuel up. Walk off some of those calories afterwards checking out the little local shops off Main Street, or even head down the road a little bit if you’re feeling really adventurous to climb the Hudson Highlands. If you want views – you can’t find them any better than here.
Just up 9-D a little bit further north in the town of Poughkeepsie is the Walkway over the Hudson. That’s correct, you can actually walk the entire way over the Hudson River and back – that’s 1.28 miles long (one way) – the longest, elevated pedestrian bridge in the world. Why would someone do that, you ask?
Because the views are like none you will ever see, especially during the fall. And it’s a great little spurt of outdoor exercise – go ahead and breathe in that fresh, crisp fall air. I guarantee this will actually be the one thing that can tire a toddler. It’s also open year-round (except in bad weather like lightning or ice).
One of the greatest President’s of our Country grew up, ran the country, died, and was even buried right here in the Hudson Valley. Now marked a national historical landmark, the Roosevelt grounds are definitely one you will want to explore, and take a trip down history lane. The only president to endure a 4-term presidency, there is a lot of history to be seen and learn here. Visitors can take a guided tour of FDR’s home, take a self-guided tour of the Museum (and his own personal library!) and stroll the grounds, gardens, and trails of approximately 810 acres.
That’s a lot of mileage to cover. And every inch is spectacularly beautiful. Be sure to look and see just how many people it took to keep the house running properly – more than a small business today! When they say it takes a village to raise a family – this is proof!
At one point in time, the Vanderbilt’s had more money than the National Treasury – and when you see their homes, you’ll be able to tell. I’ve had the opportunity to see a few of the Vanderbilt homes – the vacation getaway (now turned museum) in Long Island, and of course, another country home here along the Hudson Valley. Located high on a cliff side, the views of the river and Valley below are deemed colorless in words – you’ll have to experience it for yourself to understand the breathtaking views.
Just like the Vanderbilt Museum in Long Island, this mansion has been kept intact, encasing the same interior items it housed from a Civil War era. A little creepy, a lot history, this mansion will make you wonder how you fit everything into your tiny NYC apartment. Why doesn’t Anderson Cooper live here and claim his families property? Because these homes would cost a small FORTUNE to keep up today – thank your tax dollars for preserving it (hey, it’s a lot better than paying for a politicians jet!).
5. Rhinebeck – Beeckman Arms Hotel
Rhinebeck may be the prettiest and nicest little town in America (well, that I’ve come across so far). There are tons of tiny little shops, restaurants and antique shops just bursting with history and the smell of mustiness. The coolest thing in Rhinebeck? The first hotel in America, Beeckman Arms – seriously – it’s the oldest in existence. Built in the 1700s and still fully operational, you can grab a room here and be transported back into colonial times. Is it haunted? Great question! The workers won’t deny it – and with all the creeky, dark rooms you can travel through (including the awesomely dark and musty bar in the back), you just might see a spirit (or did you!). Luckily we went and stayed here a few days before Halloween, so it really added to the spookiness. We didn’t see anything supernatural, but I will tell you that the fireplaces in rooms, hospitality, and food were worth every penny of our stay. Dinner was comfort America food at its finest – with warm beets, butternut squash soup, and deep red wines to pair it with.
I also recommend you venture next door after dinner for a drink at the equally old, Foster’s Coach House. This 1890-built stable turned tavern is also rumored to be haunted – we may or may not have seen something – but listening to the bar staff indirectly talk about how they won’t walk downstairs into the basement by themselves because they always see things was enough to convince us! Dining and drinking in windowless rooms with eerie lighting and candles only add to the allure. But we have to admit, they do pour a heavy drink for an affordable price.