The Hudson River
Image by EJP Photo and found here. Licensed via Creative Commons.

The Hudson Valley

Those that know me can attest to the fact that I never miss a chance to promote the Hudson Valley, my lifelong home and favorite place on earth.

Needless to say, I was thrilled yesterday when I saw a New York State tourism video featuring Robert De Niro (another local resident) repping the Hudson Valley.

Some of my friends from New York City have trouble understanding why I’d want to stay in an area often perceived as “the woods up north.” While it doesn’t get as much love as its urban neighbor to the south, the Hudson Valley is the core of New York State. A few things I love in particular about living here:

  • Proximity to New York City. We’ve got easy train access into Manhattan via Metro-North. There’s something magical about being able to go hiking in the morning and wander around the city in the evening.
  • The Culinary Institute of America. A culinary school so renowned, even the French acknowledge its preeminence. Not only are its restaurants a short drive away, but many students fall in love with the area and settle nearby, making the Hudson Valley one of the premier food destinations in the country.
  • Towns of every flavor. We’ve got lots of walkable towns, and each has a different vibe. New Paltz is the quintessential hippie town (or maybe that’s Woodstock, but both are nearby). Montgomery is a bit more conservative. Beacon was recently referred to as “North Brooklyn” by the New York Times. You’ve got options.
  • Great sporting opportunities. I was in a diner in Maine once, ten hours away from home, and I overheard two people in the booth behind me talking about how excited they were to go mountain climbing in the ‘Gunks. The Shawangunk Mountains – a Hudson Valley staple. We’ve got legendary climbing, expansive rail trails, and hiking everywhere.
  • West Point. The US Military Academy is here, which means great fireworks on July 4th and lots of epic events to see. In high school we used to have indoor track meets there. Once, one of my school’s runners had an asthma attack and passed out during a race. The nearest first responders were military police, so they rushed over. The runner woke up, saw two guys with guns standing over him, and promptly passed out again.
  • The music scene. Bethel Woods (the site of the Woodstock festival) is in the Hudson Valley, and they still host great concerts. In fact, they’re the summer home of the New York Philharmonic.
  • The history. This is definitely a “Washington Slept Here” area. In fact, nearby Newburgh was the headquarters of the Continental Army for more than a year of the American Revolution. New Paltz plays host to the oldest continuously-occupied street on the continent, and many of the families that first settled there are still represented in the community.
  • The scenery. It’s beautiful here. I can’t overstate this enough.

Best of all, the Hudson Valley hasn’t yet been “discovered” by the general tourist population. We have our share of celebrity residents – Liam Neeson, Daniel Craig, and Uma Thurman are all locals, as are Peter Dinklage, Malcolm Gladwell, and numerous others – but we still don’t have the real estate prices or swarms of tourists found in better-known locations.

As you can tell, I enjoy being a Hudson Valley booster. If you haven’t been, come for a visit. You can stay at Mohonk Mountain House, a legendary Victorian hotel, or any of the numerous B&Bs nearby.