The Hudson Valley is the valley formed by the Hudson River, generally from New York City northward to the city of Troy. In 1996 Congress established The Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area , one of 27 federally designated heritage areas.
This area of North America is considered a cradle of European settlement, first by the Dutch as the colony of New Netherland and later under the British as the colony of New York. It was also a strategic battleground in colonial wars. The Hudson River in this area is more accurately described as a tidal estuary. Tides roll upstream as far as the federal lock at Troy, some 150 miles inland.
Probably the best, most beautiful and historic view of traveling to and within the Hudson Valley is by boat up the Hudson itself. There are a few tourist cruises you can do, but unless you have or use a private boat, the Hudson River itself won't be your primary method of travel in the Hudson Valley. One exception is NY Waterway , an operator of commuter ferries, that offers full day and weekend sightseeing cruises from New York City to several locations including Tarrytown and the United States Military Academy at West Point.
Westchester County Airport, 240 Airport Road, White Plains, +1 914 995-4860 (airlines), . The largest airport of the lower Hudson Valley, other than the three New York City/New Jersey international airports.
Stewart International Airport, 1180 First St, New Windsor, +1 845 564-2100, . Serves the middle of the valley.
Albany International Airport, 737 Albany-Shaker Rd, Albany, . Serves the upper portions of the valley.
Newark Liberty International Airport, Newark, New Jersey, , John F. Kennedy International Airport, and LaGuardia Airport: The three major international airports in the New York City area offer service to just about anywhere.
Amtrak, . For rail service north of Poughkeepsie (and two station stops south of Poughkeepsie, at Yonkers and Croton).
Metro North Rail Road, . The Hudson Line, marked in green on maps, is the line that travels north along the Hudson River, from New York City to Poughkeepsie.
New York City Subway. You can take it to the southern edge of Westchester County and bus up further.
Greyhound, . Stops in most of the major cities as well as some small towns.
Trailways, . Stops in most of the major cities as well as some small towns.
The Hudson River itself can be both means of and impediment to travel. A few commuter ferry services exist in the lower valley, but bridges have otherwise become the dominant means of crossing the river. Tolls vary in cost, getting progressively more expensive closer to New York City. E-Z Pass electronic payment, common in the northeast United States, is accepted at most Hudson River crossings.
Rip Van Winkle - Catskill, Green County to Hudson, Columbia County
Kingston-Rhinecliff - Kingston, Ulster County to Rhinecliff, Dutchess County
Mid-Hudson - Highland, Ulster County to Poughkeepsie, Dutchess County
Newburgh-Beacon - Newburgh, Orange County and Beacon, Dutchess County
Bear Mountain - Bear Mountain, Orange County to Peekskill, Westchester County
Tappan Zee - Nyack, Rockland County to Tarrytown, Westchester County
George Washington - Fort Lee, New Jersey to New York City
Beeline Bus System, . Westchester county's bus system also connects to nearby lines, such as Rockland County  and Fairfield County, Connecticut. Elsewhere in the Hudson Valley, public transit is either very poor (Dutchess, Ulster, Putnam counties) or near-nonexistent (Orange, Sullivan, Columbia, Greene counties).
Lyndhurst, 635 S Broadway, Tarrytown, +1 914 631-4481, . A gothic mansion, formerly home of railroad baron Jay Gould.
Sunnyside, West Sunnyside Lane, Tarrytown, +1 914 591-8763, . The home of Washington Irving, author of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip van Winkle. Pair this with a visit to Irving's grave site in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, , 540 N Broadway, Sleepy Hollow, +1 914 631-0081.
Kykuit, . The Rockefeller estate in the hamlet of Pocantico Hills in Sleepy Hollow. Tours depart from Philipsburg Manor, 381 N Broadway, Sleepy Hollow, +1 914 631-8200, .
Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow
Old Dutch Church and Burying Ground, 430 N Broadway, Sleepy Hollow, . The church has been in continuous use since around 1690, except for a few years during the American Revolution. Free guided tours of the burying ground from Memorial Day Weekend through the end of October, Sundays at 2PM. Self-guided tour booklet Tales of the Old Dutch Burying Ground is sold at the Philipsburg Manor museum shop. This is the spot where Ichabod Crane sought sanctuary from the Headless Horseman in Washington Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. If you happen to be in Sleepy Hollow after dark, keep in mind that "...the Headless Horseman... it was said, tethered his horse nightly among the graves in the churchyard."
Caramoor, 149 Girdle Ridge Road, Katonah, +1 914 232-5035, . Take afternoon tea and tour or attend one of their evening concerts. Mediterranean villa set on an 80 acre estate. Museum, gardens, concerts.
Neuberger Museum of Art, 735 Anderson Hill Road, Purchase, +1 914 251-6100 (operator available M-F 8:30AM-5:30PM), +1 914 251-6117 (operator available S and Su 11AM-5PM), . Features modern, contemporary, and African art. Open T-F, 10AM-4PM, S and Su 11AM-5PM. Located on the campus of Purchase College, State University of New York.
United States Military Academy, West Point, +1 845 938-4011, .
Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library & Museum, 4079 Albany Post Road (Route 9), Hyde Park, + 1 800 FDR-VISIT, . This is the first presidential library, and to date the only one used by its namesake while in office. Museum hours 9AM-5PM daily November-April; 9AM-6PM May-October.
The Vanderbilt Mansion overlooks the Hudson River.
Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site, 4428 Albany Post Rd (Route 9), Hyde Park, +1 845 229-9115, . A magnificent mansion from the gilded age, set on 212 acres overlooking the Hudson River. Completed in 1898 for Frederick William Vanderbilt, grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt. 45-minute guided tours of the mansion run daily 9AM-5PM, last tour begins at 4PM; $8 adult, 15 and under free; closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day. Grounds open every day, year-round, 7AM-sunset, free. National Parks Pass accepted.
Olana, 5720 Route 9G, Hudson, +1 518 828-0135, . The mountain-top villa of Frederic Church, one of the most important Hudson River painters. Interior of the house is closed for rehabilitation work through July 2007. Grounds are open.
Martin Van Buren National Historic Site, Lindenwald, retirement home of the 8th President. 1013 Old Post Rd (off Route 9H), Kinderhook, +1 518 758-9689, . House is open for guided tours daily from Memorial Day weekend through the end of Oct, S and Su Nov through the first week of Dec. Grounds open year round dawn to dusk. Visitor center open 9AM to 4:30PM on dates the mansion is open.
Storm King Art Center, Old Pleasant Hill Rd, Mountainville, +1 845 534-3115, . Five hundred acre landscape dotted with modern sculpture.
Donald M Kendall Sculpture Gardens at PepsiCo, 700 Anderson Hill Road, Purchase, +1 914 253-3433. Corporate collection of PepisiCo of more than 40 major sculptures among 12 gardens. April-October 7AM-7PM and November-March 7AM-4:30PM. Free admission.
Mount Gulian Historical Site,145 Sterling Street Beacon, New York 12508, +1 845 831-8172, . Mount Gulian Historic Site, open for the purposes of a guided tour, special event, school or group program,weddings, or simply something to do on a lovely afternoon. The site is about the Verplanck family which contains an assortment of stories about husbands and wives, army generals, and an escaped slave. Hours: April-October 31, Wednesday - Friday 1-5 pm, Sunday 1-5, last tour given at 4pm. Admission: $5 for adults, $3 for children and free for members.
Visit a farmer's market or farmstand. The upper reaches of the Hudson Valley are still largely agricultural, so keep an eye out for fresh, local products sold right off the farm. Pick your own fruit, berries or produce at Grieg Farm, 223 Pitcher Ln, Red Hook, +1 845 758-1234, , or buy fresh sheep's milk cheese on the farm at Old Chatham Sheepherding Company, 155 Shaker Museum Road, Old Chatham, +1 888-743-3760, . Farms are scarcer in the mostly suburban lower valley, the counties closest to New York City, so numerous towns and villages have encouraged the development of farmers markets to bring local produce to their residents. Find markets in places like Hastings-on-Hudson, Piermont, Tarrytown, Ossining, and Rhinebeck.
Take a cruise on the river aboard one of many boats. Pride of the Hudson, +1 845 220-2120,  departs from Newburgh. Commander, +1 845 534-7245,  departs from West Haverstraw, West Point, and Peekskill. Rip van Winkle, +1 845 340-4700,  and Teal, +1 845 679-8205,  both depart from Kingston.
Take sailing lessons, at the Croton Sailing School, Senasqua Rd, Croton-on-Hudson, +1 800 859-SAIL, .
Take a guided kayak tour through the Hudson Highlands: Hudson Valley Outfitters, 63 Main St, Cold Spring, +1 845 265-0221, . Or paddle the entire tidal portion of the river via the Hudson River Water Trail . Join the annual Great Hudson River Paddle  as it wends its way from Albany to New York City.
New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, . Join a group hike sponsored by the trail conference. You could also venture off by yourself with a NYNJTC topographic trail map to the Hudson Palisades trails, Harriman-Bear Mountain trails, or the east and west portions of Hudson Highlands State Park.
Watch bald eagles. In winter, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation recommends the following viewing points: Riverfront Park, Peekskill; Charles Point's China Pier, Peekskill; George's Island Park, Verplanck, town of Cortlandt; Constitution Island from the North Dock at West Point; Norrie Point State Park, Hyde Park; Iona Island, viewable from the turn-out off Route 6 just south of the Bear Mountain Bridge on the east side of the Hudson River.
Follow Ichabod Crane's route, . Fans of Washington Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow can follow the route of Ichabod Crane from Tarrytown to Sleepy Hollow. But don't expect to find the "Western Woods" or anything else from the 1999 movie Sleepy Hollow. Tim Burton's production is only loosely based on Irving's story, and was filmed largely in Hertfordshire, England
Rock-climb in Shawagunks (the Gunks) , one of the largest and most accessible cliffs on the East Coast. You can buy or rent basic climbing equipment from EMC or Rock and Snow in New Paltz.
Woodbury Common, 498 Red Apple Court, Central Valley, New York, +1 845 928-4000, . Located approximately 1 hour from Manhattan. Daily 10AM-9PM. Over 220 outlet stores with lots of great brand names offering discounts between 25%-65%. By car: take the New York State Thruway (I-87) to Exit 16; by bus: take the Gray Line bus from the Port Authority Bus Terminal at 42nd Street and 8th Avenue, buses leave daily at 8:30AM, 9:45AM, 11:15AM, noon (round trip $34).
The Wobble Cafe, 21 Campwoods Rd, Ossining, +1 914 762-3459, . Voted best breakfast for 2006 by Westchester Magazine. Features paninis, omelettes, vegetarian dishes.
The Culinary Institute of America, 433 Albany Post Rd, Hyde Park, +1 845 471-6608 (reservation line) . Select from five restaurants run by students and faculty: American Bounty (regional American, features Hudson Valley ingredients), Apple Pie Bakery Café (bakery and pastry), Ristorante Caterina de' Medici (Italian), St. Andrew's Café (casual, family-friendly), and Escoffier Restaurant (French). Three are open Monday through Friday, two are open Tuesday through Saturday. Reservations recommended.
Blue Hill at Stone Barns, 630 Bedford Rd, Sleepy Hollow, +1 914 366-9600, . Blue Hill is an upscale restaurant located at the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, a model farm adjacent to Rockefeller State Park Preserve. Su, W, Th, 5PM-10PM. F-Sa, 5PM-11PM. Appropriate attire required. Prix fixe three-course dinner $65, prix fixe four-course dinner $75.
Harvest on Hudson, 1 River St, Hastings-on-Hudson, +1 914 478-2800, . A top restaurant on the Hastings waterfront, with a garden patio for drinks or dinner and views of the majestic Palisades. Try to catch dinner at sunset on a gorgeous day.
Raccoon Saloon, 1330 Route 9W, Marlboro, +1 845 236-7872, . Lunch and dinner 7 days. Lunch M- Su 11:30AM-4:00PM, dinner Su-Thu 4:00PM-9.30PM, F- Sa 4:00PM-10:30PM. Historic building overlooks the Hudson River.
Striped Bass, Tarrytown, . A waterfront restaurant and bar featuring frequent live music. Go for the sunsets and linger at the cabana bar on warm evenings.
Courtyard by Marriott, 475 White Plains Rd, Tarrytown, +1 914 631-1122, . Close to historic sites in Tarrytown (Sunnyside and Lyndhurst) and Sleepy Hollow (Rockefeller estate). Easy access to New York City from the Tarrytown rail station.
Alexander Hamilton House, 49 Van Wyck St, Croton-on-Hudson, +1 914-271-6737, . Bed and breakfast with river view from grounds. Air conditioned, high-speed Internet access.
Beekman Arms, Rhinebeck, . Promotes itself as America's operating oldest inn. A popular romantic getaway.
Kittle House, 11 Kittle Road, Chappaqua, +1 914 666-8044, . Originally an 18th-century barn, the Kittle House was converted into a mansion some 100 years later. It now has 12 rooms with king- or queen-sized beds, private baths, and cable television, and price includes breakfast.
Castle on the Hudson, 400 Benedict Ave, Tarrytown, +1 800 616-4487, . If you have to ask the price, this isn't the place for you. The views are spectacular and the food at Equus, the restaurant on premises, is magnificent.
Mohonk Mountain House, 1000 Mountain Rest Rd, New Paltz, +1 845 255-1000, . On the west side of the river. $250-$600 per night, this fabulous getaway is a destination in and of itself. It features theme programs for each month, has an on-site massage center and 9-hole golf course and is a favorite for weddings, corporate events and family reunions. Adjacent Mohonk Preserve is open for hiking and nature walks.
Troutbeck, 515 Leedsville Rd, Amenia, +1 845 373-9681, . In the manner of an English country estate. Has pool, fishing, tennis, hiking, health club, ballroom.
The Thayer Hotel, 674 Thayer Rd, West Point, +1 800-247-5047, +1 845 446-4731, . Located on the grounds of the United States Military Academy at West Point. On the west side of the Hudson River, the Thayer Hotel is a Gothic-style home-away-from-home with 151 guest rooms, 10 meeting rooms and fine dining. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it offers river views and a fitness center.
A natural extension to your trip in the Hudson Valley is to head south to New York City (presuming you didn't start there), which is easily accessible by public transportation and by private automobile. But also consider heading north into the Adirondacks, a mountain range in northeastern New York and the location of the Adirondack State Park, the largest state park in the continental United States. Amtrak's  Adirondack route cuts through these mountains en route to Montreal. New England is also easily accessible from the Hudson Valley, particularly the Berkshire Hills in western Massachusetts, and the Connecticut shore.
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