For those who do not live in New York State or City, you may be unaware of a region of the state known as the Hudson Valley. Named one of National Geographic's Top 20 Destinations in The World, it is no wonder why it is so beloved yet so underrated compared to other parts of New York. With a beautiful valley surrounded by the Hudson River, Catskill Mountains, wineries, farmlands, state parks, and so on, the list of things to do are endless. This author happens to spend most of his time in the Hudson Valley, attending college at SUNY New Paltz. New Paltz is one of many towns within the Hudson Valley and even though it is just one, it packs so much that the Hudson Valley has to offer. As Fall is one of the most beautiful times of the year, here are my top reasons why New Paltz, New York and the vicinity surrounding it is the place to be during September, October, and November:
Historic Huguenot Street
It is called HISTORIC Huguenot Street for a reason. One of the oldest streets in America, It all started when Huguenots from Northern France and what is today Southern Belgium escaped persecution from the Catholic Church and its European allies in the 1600s. Coming to America, they fled to an area on the banks of the Wallkill River and started a community, a community that eventually expanded to the town and village of New Paltz. This street covers 10 acres with 30 buildings and acts as a museum that history buffs and anyone in general, really will find fascinating.
Mohonk Mountain House
Well, it is not a house, nor is it on Mohonk Mountain, but still, this resort is a gem in New Paltz and the Hudson Valley. Despite being very expensive to stay, you can still enjoy a day trip to this beautiful and historic place. Located on the shore of Lake Mohonk and built in 1879 , the 259-room hotel has ice skating, an indoor pool, a spa, tennis, hiking trails, golf, a museum, paddleboarding, and more. Check me in!
Walkway Over The Hudson
It pretty much says it all. It is a Walkway over the Hudson. But if you want more specific details, I will give you them. The Walkway Over The Hudson is relatively new, only being in operation since 2009. It is the longest footbridge in the world, serving as a pedestrian bridge across the Hudson River. The views of the river and land are absolutely gorgeous, and there isn't anything else like it. Just be prepared to do a lot of walking, selfie-taking, and gasping at the heights over the river.
Minnewaska State Park
Located in Ulster County (same county as New Paltz,) this state park is a marvelous wonder. Rising over 2,000 feet above sea level in the Shawangunk Mountain Range, Minnewaska features waterfalls, lakes, forests, and cliffs and ledges opening to beautiful views of the valleys. You can hike, bike, swim, picnic, scuba-dive, rock-climb, boulder, and boat. So many acres. So much to do. So little time.
This is New York's largest visitor and member supported nature preserve, consisting of 8,000 acres of cliffs, forests, fields, ponds and streams that are visited by about 165,000 visitors a year. Its 40 miles of trails for hiking, cycling, trail running, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and horseback riding and 70 miles of carriage roads make this the perfect destination for the athletic, nature lovers and anyone else who justs wants to experience the best the Hudson Valley has to offer.
The Farmers Markets
With the hundreds of acres of farmland in the area, what do you think the farmers would do with all that food? That is why these farmers markets exist-to sell to the general public freshly grown fruits and vegetables. You seriously can't drive anywhere in this region without seeing a sign for a farmers market. You will be tempted to get out of your car and head to one. Trust me.
Nothing is as beautiful as driving down a valley region during the fall season. The changing and multi-colored leaves are of course the main attraction but don't forget the warm blue sky, the mountains, the flowers, the grass, the rocks, the trees, and so on. Ah, just thinking about it makes me realize why we all love this time of year.
As I just mentioned, most of the food in New Paltz and the surrounding Hudson Valley communities are locally grown so that means the most fresh food available to chow down on. Apples, Oranges, Pears, Wine, Potatoes, Lettuce, anything else that you might associate with fresh-grown food. It's all in our backyard. And that is something to be graceful for at your next meal.
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Going to school in the Hudson Valley has a big advantage: being surrounded by the mountains that best define the area. My school prides itself on its views of the Shawangunk Mountains so much that it has a residence hall named after said views, it's logo is speculated to be based on the mountains, and the lobby to our student union is designed to resemble the mountains. Above is an Ariel view.