Prep Your Garden for Cold Weather in the Hudson Valley

Adobe Stock / ysbrandcosijn

Hilltop Hanover shares advice to get your garden ready for the arrival of chilly weather—and that dreaded first frost—in the Hudson Valley.

You put a ton of effort into developing your garden through the warm months, so make sure it’s protected once the cold settles in. If you want to ensure your garden is happy and healthy come springtime, heed these tips from the Hilltop Hanover Farm & Environmental Center.

winter garden mulch
Adobe Stock / Jon

Before beginning any cold-season gardening projects, you need to know the approximate depth of the frost line and date of first expected killing frost for your zone.

Mid-October is usually when the first frost happens, but it could come earlier or later than that. There is a month-wide window when we anticipate the arrival of the first frost, which will kill any remaining summer plants such like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. Luckily, the depth of frost isn’t too significant to worry about for cold-weather gardening in our region.

What are the best practices for gardening in New York zones?

Keeping the soil covered with mulch in between plants such as tomatoes. Usually, you will plant your tomatoes four feet apart, then plant shorter, quicker growing crops such as radishes or arugula underneath the tomatoes to keep the soil covered, yielding a better crop. Most natural soil doesn’t have all of the minerals that vegetable plants generally need to survive, so it’s a good idea to get a soil test to see what minerals your soil is deficient in. If your soil is deficient in essential minerals, your plants will have problems with diseases because they’re not getting the proper “food” needed to thrive. Also, when you buy fertilizer and soil from the store, it won’t always have everything that the plants need.

What are the best fruits and vegetables to plant in early fall?

October is too late for planting. Daylight hours are limited in the fall, so mid-October is when plants stop growing, so make sure your plants are ready to harvest before then. If your plants are protected, you can pick them throughout November and December while they’re dormant.

Some vegetables such as arugula, mizuna, radishes, and other leafy greens only take a month to grow so you could plant them in September and harvest them in October. The later you get into the fall, the less options you have for plants.

winter garden
Adobe Stock / Stable101

Why is mulch so important for winter gardens?

Mulch is important in every season, but especially helpful in the wintertime. When you go for a walk in the woods, you rarely see bare dirt, and you always see leaves on the ground, which is the “natural mulch” you want to mimic.

Mulch helps retain moisture so the plants’ roots don’t dry out. It will provide a better microclimate for not only the roots of the plants, but also the microbiology in the soil such as bacteria and fungi. Bacteria and fungi depend on a stable climate underneath the leaves and the soil. They work with the plants to provide nutrients for a healthy plant, which will provide more nutrient-rich foods.

What are some tips for watering your plants when the ground is frozen?

You don’t need to water your plants when the ground is frozen because plants are dormant in the winter.

Adobe Stock / hellyf

What about getting the timing right when planning and planting a winter garden?

A great book to reference is The Winter Harvest Handbook by Eliot Coleman. Eliot Coleman is a farmer in Maine who pioneered winter gardening techniques. You can grow plants in the fall and keep them covered and protected so that you can pick them all winter long even if the plants aren’t still growing. You can still harvest plants for weeks after they’re done growing.

Which protections work best for your winter garden?

If you’re growing carrots in the fall, instead of digging them up when it gets cold, you can leave them in the ground and cover them with six inches of leaves or hay. That will protect the plants and keep the ground from freezing. Once you want to pick the carrots, you can dig them up—all winter long—because the soil won’t be frozen (thanks to the mulch covering). This technique works with root vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, and sunchokes.

winter garden
Adobe Stock / Ekim

What can you do to protect your plants before a big snow storm?

In substitute of hay or leaves, farmers also use a thin white fabric sheet to cover their crops in the case of early frost, or if they want to prolong the farming season. Sunlight and rain can still penetrate the sheet, but it protects from insects and frost, which makes it a great alternative to mulching.

What should gardeners do to protect their bulbs in the winter?

Planting bulbs to the right depth is very important. Bulbs must be 4-6 inches deep to survive the winter.

What is the best way to protect young trees and shrubs from damaging frost?

It’s important to pick the right trees and shrubs for your climate and area. You should plant trees in the spring so that they have a chance to grow their roots and establish themselves before they go dormant for winter. For example, it’s better to plant fruit trees in the springtime. People cover their young trees and shrubs with burlap for the winter for added protection.

lemon tree
Adobe Stock / Cora Müller

Which plants should be brought inside during the cold winter months?

Fig trees and citrus trees are usually brought inside during the winter or wrapped with sheets to keep them from freezing.

For more information about gardening in the cold or to sign up for a class at Hilltop Hanover, visit the site.

Related: Maryline Damour Is the Mind Behind Kingston Design Connection

3 Creative Ways to Decorate Your Hudson Valley Table for Fall

Adobe Stock / okrasiuk

The Hudson Valley’s Trim Queen offers up clever and stunning ideas for dressing your table for dinner parties and more this fall.

To celebrate the autumn season in the Hudson Valley, Westchester’s very own Trim Queen, Jana Platina Phipps, shares a few of her favorite ways to spruce up your fall table for any get-together.


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TrimQueen™ Jana Platina Phipps (@trimqueen) • Instagram photos and videos

Whether you’re looking for inspiration for a dinner party or simply want to add tasteful fall touches to your table, these ideas will help you dress up your space simply, yet elegantly.

Add a Touch of Gold

Adding some gold accents to your table is like adding that finishing touch of jewelry to your outfit that pulls everything together. The sparkle will unite all of your dining accoutrements and leave your guests trying to figure out exactly why your table is so gorgeous.

Adobe Stock / Vitalina Rybakova


  1. Wrap a gold ribbon around your cloth napkin and add a vintage brooch or gold tassel as bling.
  2. Use gold placemats down a table runner to unite the gold accents from the table.
  3. Tack the ends of a gold frog closure and use as a napkin ring.
  4. Contrast the gold with something natural, like seasonal greenery, berries, or flowers.

Related: 15 Fall Decorating Ideas From Great Country Homes

Play With Patterns

Mix many patterns on your table for a global yet relaxed elegance. Make sure there is a color that unites all the pattern—in this case, it’s orange. Or, use napkins with pattern to bridge the china to the textiles.


  1. For a contemporary look, buy a few yards of a graphic patterned performance fabric to use as your table cloth. You can hem the edges (or not, after a cocktail no one cares). Mix fancy china with more casual ceramics to create a high-low bohemian vibe.
  2. Add a runner that gives the table a center focal point and you won’t need placemats under your dishes.
  3. Use matching water and wine glasses so there isn’t too much visual chaos.
Fall table decor
Adobe Stock / Yailen

Create Levels

Copy an effective visual merchandising trick by using varying heights to give your table more surface area for serving dishes and room for a seasonal centerpiece.


  1. Use cake stands, even stack them, to create varying heights to allow for more room on your table.
  2. Add height to serving bowls and platters by setting them on flipped over saucers and small bowls.
  3. Use tall candlesticks to add a sense of celebration without taking up too much room.

Related: 15 Fall Decorating Ideas for Country Homes in the Hudson Valley

Make This Warm White Bean, Tomato, and Basil Bowl for Dinner

Adobe Stock / timolina

The easy, late-summer recipe is a terrific way to make the most of the Hudson Valley’s tomato harvest while incorporating pantry staples.

My tomato harvest has been very skimpy this year—the polar opposite of last year’s overwhelming bonanza, when my friends and neighbors started to avoid me in case I pressed them to take a few more pounds. I grow heirloom varieties and somehow got the tags mixed up when I started the seedlings in spring. Of course, it turns out that the biggest, best, juiciest, most hurricane-proof tomatoes in my meager crop, ones that I’d really like to be able to identify, are labeled “Mystery.” Oh well! I’ve already saved seeds to grow them again next year, and they’ll be called Mystery from now on.

This recipe blends the classic summery flavors of tomato and basil with warm white beans. It’s a tasty side dish (I often serve it with Moroccan-style chicken), and it’s a good centerpiece for lunch. Just add some crusty bread, maybe a green salad, and a glass of white wine—bon appétit. Use any fresh tomato (not the tasteless ones from the supermarket) and the last of the basil before it goes to seed. Everyone I’ve served this to asks for the recipe, which comes, slightly altered, from The Brilliant Bean. It’s a breeze to prepare.

Warm White Beans, Tomatoes, and Basil With Cheese


4 or 5 medium red, ripe tomatoes, chopped coarse
¾ cup chopped fresh basil
½ cup light virgin olive oil
½ cup grated Parmesan
½ tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tsp salt
2 tsp minced garlic
2 cans cannellini beans, 15 oz. each, undrained
½ lb. Fontina cheese, cut into ¼-inch dices


Combine the chopped tomatoes, garlic, basil, salt and pepper in a bowl with the olive oil. Cover and leave at room temperature for about three hours, mixing every once in a while. (It smells wonderful.)

Put the beans and their liquid in a saucepan with ½ cup of water. Slowly heat through at a fairly low temperature (you don’t want the beans to break up).

When the beans are hot, drain and quickly rinse them under hot water and put them in a serving bowl. Immediately add the cheeses and toss gently until they start to melt. Stir in the tomato-basil mix. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Related: Healthy Taco Salad With Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing

Try This Heavenly Banana Bread Recipe for an Easy Treat

Got ripe bananas? If so, we have the recipe for you. Adobe Stock / FomaA

Utilizing ingredients found in most pantries already, moist banana bread is a delicious way to make use of bananas that are well past ripe.

If you are a novice baker and want to try your hand at something eminently doable, banana bread is good choice. (A peel-y good choice, one could say.)

First, a bit of history about everyone’s favorite quick bread. The U.S. saw the arrival of bananas in the 1870s, but it took a spell before they appeared as an ingredient in desserts. The spread of baking soda and baking powder in the 1930s helped banana bread become popular and a standard recipe of American cookbooks.

A moist, sweet, cake-like quick bread, banana bread is made with fully ripe, mashed bananas. There are many different variations of the traditional recipe, so feel free to throw in a ⅓ cup or so raisins, nuts, or chocolate chips. Feeling extra indulgent? After baking, toast a slice, then top it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for an easy dessert that you and your guests will love. Because this recipe is a breeze to pull together, it’s a good one for little bakers who want to help mix and scoop as well.


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Banana Bread

Makes 12 servings


½ cup butter or shortening
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
3-4 very ripe bananas, crushed
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda dissolved in cold water
⅓ cup raisins, nuts, or chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Grease the bottom only of a 9” x 5” or 8” x 4” loaf pan with cooking spray or shortening.

In order listed, mix together all ingredients.

Bake for 40 minutes.

Related: Make Baked French Toast and Strawberry Smoothies for a Better Brunch

How to Include Your Email on Wedding Invitation RSVP Cards

Adobe Stock / ksyusha_yanovich

Planning a Hudson Valley wedding? Take the eco-chic approach and ask guests to RSVP via email on your invitation cards.

Love the idea of handwritten wedding invitations complete with swirling calligraphy and embossed paperwork? So do we. What you might not love, however, is collecting one RSVP after the next as return letters make their way to your mailbox. To skip the stress (and the piles of paper), make a point to include your email address on your wedding invites instead. Not only is it an easier way to keep track of responses, especially if you create a designated email address for your ceremony, but it’s also eco-friendly. Plus, your guests will love the convenience of sending a quick email to confirm that they’ll be there to help celebrate your big day.

Dear Wedding Guru:

“I’m getting ready to put together my wedding invitations. What’s the best way to include the option of RSVPing via email in my response cards?” — Tech-Savvy Bride

Related: 6 Easy-Peasy Ways to Cut Your Wedding Costs in the Hudson Valley

Wedding invitations
Adobe Stock / ksyusha_yanovich

Dear Tech-Savvy Bride:

On the bottom of your response card, try the following wording:

The favor of your reply is requested by {date written out in full}
via {your phone number}
or {your e-mail address}

This order tells guests that you prefer that they respond by phone and, if not, by email. If you prefer an email response first, simply put it above your phone number. If you prefer the traditional return mail RSVP, and simply stop after the date. If you have a dedicated wedding website with the option to RSVP directly online, you can also list the full website URL in this section for added convenience.

P.S. Want to take the next step toward a “green” ceremony? Send your invites via email, too.

Related: The Wedding Checklist Every Bride (and Groom) Needs

This Spiced Pear Cake Is the Sweetest Winter Weekend Baking Project

Adobe Stock | Photo by manyakotic

This delightful pear upside-down cake recipe combines wintry mulling spices with a sticky-sweet molasses topping that everyone will love.

Spiced Pear Upside-Down Cake

Ingredients for spiced pears:

3-4 organic pears
1 tsp organic cinnamon
1/2 tsp organic ground cardamom
1/4 tsp organic cloves, ground
1 Tbsp organic sugar


Peel and core pears. Slice thinly using a mandolin or sharp knife. Place in a bowl. Mix spices and sugar, and massage onto pears. Set aside.

Ingredients for sauce topping:

1/2 cup organic sugar
1 ½ Tbsp organic molasses
1/4 cup organic butter


Blend sugar and molasses in a food processor.

Grease the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan with butter, then line with parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper with butter to ensure an easy release later. Melt butter into molasses mixture on low heat, stirring constantly.

Pour into parchment-papered cake pan, evenly coating the bottom. Arrange pears over the sauce in a fanned-out design. Heat your oven to 350 F.

Ingredients for cake:

1 ½ cups organic all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder (aluminum-free)
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp organic cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground organic cardamom
1/8 tsp organic cloves, ground
3/4 cup organic butter
3/4 cup organic granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk


Combine flour, baking powder, salt and spices in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Incorporate eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.

After eggs are fully incorporated, add the vanilla. Beat until blended. Add the dry ingredients and coconut milk alternately in small batches. Use a rubber spatula to incorporate all ingredients. Mix for approximately 2 minutes.

Pour batter over the arranged pear slices.

Bake at 350 F until a toothpick tester comes out clean (about 65 minutes). As soon as the pan is cool enough to touch, place a plate over the cake and invert the cake onto the plate. Run a butter knife around the sides of the pan, then gently shake the pan to release the cake. Carefully remove any parchment paper that sticks. Let cool and serve.

This recipe is provided by Caren Sachs, RDN, of Elements of Nutrition.

Related: This Poached Pear Recipe Is the Perfect Fall Dessert in the Hudson Valley

Make This Perfect Peppermint Bark With Just 3 Ingredients

Adobe Stock | Photo by MSPhotographic

Nothing is as festive as peppermint bark during the holidays in the Hudson Valley, and this recipe is as easy as one-two-three.

This red-and-white holiday sweet is all bark and no bite (well maybe a bit of a minty one). Plus, it’s perfectly giftable for family and friends during the holidays. Simply break it into pieces, then place in a seasonal tin or gift bag.

Peppermint Bark

Makes 3 dozen small pieces


About 6 candy canes
1 package (12 oz) white chocolate chips
1 tsp peppermint extract


Place candy canes in a sealable plastic bag and hammer into small chunks (about 1/8 inch.)  This should yield about 1/2 cup. Separate 1/3 cup of the candy cane pieces.

Line a small cookie sheet (about 13” x 9” in size) with parchment paper, so that the paper completely covers the bottom of the pan and hangs over the sides.

Combine the peppermint extract and the white chocolate in a bowl and microwave for 30 seconds.

Stir thoroughly, then microwave for 25 seconds. Stir thoroughly again. The chocolate is ready when it is smooth, so it may need a few more seconds, but be careful not to over-microwave. White chocolate “clumps” quickly so as soon as chocolate is smooth, stir in 1/3 cup of the candy cane pieces and pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet.

With a rubber spatula, spread quickly until it’s even and about ¼ inch thick. It will cover about ¾ of a 9” x 13” cookie sheet. Sprinkle the remaining candy cane pieces on top.

Refrigerate bark for at least one hour, or overnight. Break into pieces. Prepare for gifting or store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to five days.

Related: Where to Find Creamy, Dreamy Hot Cocoa in the Hudson Valley

6 Succulent Centerpieces That Make Hudson Valley Tables Pop

Loftus Design LLC, original photo on Houzz

These miniature gardens bring a ton of life and color to any space, and will be guaranteed conversation starters at your next home gathering.

Why bother with flowers when you can have a fresh focal point that’s just as beautiful but lasts for years? If you haven’t already hopped on the succulent bandwagon, perhaps we can convince you with this roundup of six stunning and diverse succulent centerpieces.

Perfect as a display on an outdoor table or an accent on a sunny windowsill, these miniature gardens will be guaranteed conversation-starters at your next party. Best of all, they’re much easier to put together than they seem and require very little care to maintain.

Jessica Risko Smith Interior Design, original photo on Houzz

1. Simple and elegant. The designer of this Santa Barbara, California, backyard used a low wooden trough to hold a mix of succulents running down the center of a trestle table. The design is both simple and timeless — fitting well with the modern farmhouse-style dining set.

To re-create this look, choose a neutral-toned container, ideally with a narrow rectangular shape, and a subdued gray-green color palette for the succulents, such as pearly echeveria (Echeveria spp., USDA zones 9 to 11) and silver-coated cobweb houseleek (Sempervivum arachnoideum, zones 4 to 9), both pictured. The plants seen here would grow best in full sun to partial sun exposure.

Shades of Green Landscape Architecture, original photo on Houzz

2. Vibrant vignette. Bring a hit of color to your patio with a vivid combination of red, orange, gold and chartreuse succulents. For outdoor displays, choose succulents that deepen in color when exposed to sunlight, such as some varieties of echeveria and hens-and-chicks (Sempervivum tectorum).

This bright mix in a San Francisco Bay Area backyard includes orange ‘Sticks on Fire’ milk bush (Euphorbia tirucalli ‘Sticks on Fire’, zones 10 to 11), lime green watch chain (Crassula muscosa, zones 9 to 11), orange-tipped hens-and-chicks (Sempervivum tectorum, zones 3 to 8) and gold ‘Angelina’ stonecrop (Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’, zones 3 to 11). All succulents pictured thrive in full sun.

Hillary Thomas Design, original photo on Houzz

3. Architectural statement. For a real eye-catcher, choose a focal-point plant with height and an interesting form for your succulent centerpiece. This potted snake plant (Sansevieria bacularis) underplanted with succulents makes a graphic statement from across a room. Up close, one can appreciate the cast-stone vessel and pale stones nestled around the base of the plants.

When combining taller plants with succulents, be sure that they have the same light and water needs. The snake plant works well since it can tolerate very low water and variable light conditions.

 Living Gardens Landscape Design, original photo on Houzz

4. Contemporary beachy. In this Southern California backyard, a trio of repeating succulent arrangements forms a laid-back yet contemporary centerpiece. The plantings include two types of echeveria (Echeveria glauca and E. glauca var. pumila) as well as Crassula ‘Blue Waves.’

Landscape designer Sacha McCrae offers a tip to re-create this lush look at home: “Fullness is key,” she says, “so we squeeze the plants in — no soil should be showing when you are finished.” She also recommends limited water and positioning the centerpiece out of direct, baking sunlight to help the tenderer succulents retain their pearly-gray color. This particular arrangement receives morning sun.

Loftus Design LLC, original photo on Houzz

5. Mermaid-inspired. Instead of using a ceramic container for this succulent centerpiece, designer Bridget Gasque used a giant faux clamshell to put together a beachy indoor arrangement. She planted a variety of succulents, including maroon-tipped echeveria and green-and-white-striped zebra plant (Haworthia fasciata, zones 9 to 11), and filled in the gaps with clumps of preserved moss.

While the succulents need only minimal water, the preserved reindeer moss will retain its soft texture with misting every few days. The succulents would grow best placed on a windowsill with bright indirect light.

Chango & Co, original photo on Houzz

6. Repetition. Sometimes the simplest centerpiece designs can be the most effective. In this Litchfield, Connecticut, backyard, a lineup of five knobby containers, each planted with a green aeonium (Aeonium sp., Zone 9), forms a charming tabletop display. One’s eye is drawn to the repeating form of the chunky containers and fleshy succulents — both of which have a strong tactile quality.

To recreate this look, position a trio or quintet of the same containers (perhaps varying the heights) planted with a single variety of succulent, such as rosette-forming aeonium, echeveria or tiny tree-like jade plants (Crassula ovata, zones 10 to 12). Aeonium, like the ones pictured, would grow best in filtered sunlight.

Related: Spruce up Your Outdoor Living Space in the Hudson Valley

Serve This Fresh Zucchini Slaw With Creamy, Spicy Dressing

Adobe Stock | Photo by Noirchocolate

Make this healthy and refreshing side dish for outdoor barbecues and lunchtime snacks alike to improve on the store-bought stuff.

If you’re looking for a colorful, crunchy way to add more veggies into your life, look no further! This easy-to-prepare slaw is a must for summer barbecues and light lunches when the temperatures rise.

Zucchini Slaw With Creamy Spicy Dressing

Serves: 4-6 as a side dish


2 medium zucchini, ends trimmed
2 yellow summer squash, ends trimmed
4 carrots, peeled and ends trimmed
1 red bell pepper, cored and seeded
4 scallions
2 Tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
½ cup light mayonnaise
1 Tbsp mustard (I used Dijon; cut it by half if you don’t love mustard)
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp black pepper


Using either a mandolin fitted with the thin julienne blade, a julienne peeler or a sharp knife, cut the zucchini, summer squash, carrots, and red bell pepper into 2-inch pieces and place into a large bowl.

Chop the scallions by hand and add them and the chopped parsley.

Combine the mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper in a small bowl using a whisk.

Pour over the julienned vegetables and toss well. Season with more salt and pepper to taste.

Serve immediately or chill until ready. Slaw keeps in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Enjoy!

Note: Recipe adapted from Fresh Every Day by Sara Foster. I doubled the amount of carrots, halved the amount of mustard in the dressing, and halved the black pepper. Find the full version of this recipe, along with more photographs, here.

Felicia Levinson is the founder of Unwritten Recipes, a blog about her adventures in baking and cooking. She was a professional dancer, toured 42nd Street, and has taught at dance studios in New York and the tristate area. When not experimenting in the kitchen at her home in Larchmont, Levinson writes musicals, comedies, dramas, and revues with her partner of more than 20 years.

Visit 14 of the Hudson Valley’s National Historic Places

Photo by Andy Wainwright

Choose from more than 1,400 scenic locations on the National Register of Historic Places to explore right in the Hudson Valley.

What makes a property a historic place?

The criteria for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places are admirably broad-based, encompassing—as per the official website— “districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects” that hold some sort of historical significance. How, then, does the Register define what’s historically significant?

That, too, falls under an elastic array of guidelines: the site could be linked to a person of historical interest, associated with a distinctive design important to the development of a town or region, or boast a high standard of artwork or craft. The properties highlighted here only represent a small fraction of Hudson Valley Historic sites (there’s nearly 1500 across the region!).

Olana State Historic Site
Wikimedia Commons / Daderot

Olana Historic Site

5720 State Route 9G, Hudson

Frederic Church, the 19th-century Hudson River School artist, lives on not just through his art, but through the magnificent Olana, a 250-acre estate that Church created as a lasting, living source of sublime beauty. Olana can’t be experienced all at once; it may take several trips to take in the landscaped grounds, distinctive house, and gallery, plus any enrichment programs that may be taking place.  It is a cultural and educational hub that is rooted in the contemporary world as well.

Listing date: 1966

Troy Savings Bank Music Hall

30 Second Street, Troy

The Italianate music hall dates from 1870 and serves as a dramatic representation of 19th-century Troy’s industrial heft and prosperity. Troy has been working its way up and out of the decline of manufacturing; the functioning music hall is a potent symbol of a revitalized town, boasting — among other attributes — a mammoth pipe organ. The music hall is not simply of historical interest; it’s an active concert venue with truly eclectic offerings, including a recent appearance by Puddles the Clown. Did we mention eclectic?

Listing date: 1989

New York State Capitol Building
Adobe Stock | Photo by Demerzel21

New York State Capitol Building


New York boasts one of the country’s most distinctive seats of government, the architecturally imposing, dome-less Capitol Building. Constructed over a 30-year span, the Capitol was declared complete by Governor Theodore Roosevelt in 1899. The decades-long building process — and change of architects — explains the blend of architectural styles. If you’re looking for the time capsule that was stored in the original cornerstone, forget it; its locale has been lost in the mists of time.

Listing date: 1971

Playland. Photo courtesy of Westchester County Parks
Playland. Photo courtesy of Westchester County Parks


1 Playland Parkway, Rye

“America’s Premiere Playground” (as it was billed when it opened in 1928) is the nation’s first planned amusement park. Playland still retains its unique Art Deco construction—“a hands-on, living, working museum,” in the words of one of its directors. Not surprisingly, numerous filmmakers have made use of Playland; It’s where Tom Hanks had his final encounter with Zoltar, the fortune-teller, in Big. (There’s even a Zoltar machine near the park’s iconic attraction, the Dragon Coaster.)

Listing date: 1980

Poughkeepsie City Hall

228 Main Street, Poughkeepsie

Poughkeepsie’s 19th-century City Hall building is no longer the headquarters of city government (it houses the Dutchess County Commissioner of Jurors). The site serves as a visible reminder of Poughkeepsie’s history; when the City of Poughkeepsie came into formal existence in 1854, this was the seat of government. Poughkeepsie was part of the Civil War-era whaling industry and so, for a time, City Hall also included — in what was certainly a boon to satirists — fishmongers selling their wares.

Listing date: 1972

Saugerties Lighthouse
Photo courtesy of Saugerties Lighthouse Conservancy

Saugerties Lighthouse

168 Lighthouse Drive, Saugerties

The Saugerties Lighthouse is symbolic of the city’s historical role as a thriving 19th-century port. The lighthouse eventually fell victim to more sophisticated technology in 1954 and, after subsequent decades of abandonment, was saved from demolition and beautifully restored. Visitors can explore and, if they choose, stay at the bed & breakfast. What is it about lighthouses that are so evocative?

Listing date: 1979

Upper Nyack Firehouse

330 North Broadway, Upper Nyack

The restored Upper Nyack Firehouse, originally built in 1887, is a wonderful example of Queen Anne architecture and even features a bell tower. The structure served a dual purpose, functioning — up to the 1970s — as both a firehouse and city hall. It is still very much in use by the Empire Hook & Ladder fire company.

Listing date: 1982

First National Bank of Brewster
Photo by Daniel Case

First National Bank of Brewster

1 Main Street, Brewster

Perched opposite Brewster’s train station is this Queen Anne–style building that served as the town of Southeast’s town hall and still houses local governmental agencies. Its original incarnation was the First National Bank of Brewster, built in 1886. Besides its architectural significance, the bank enjoyed the odd distinction of being cited in Ripley’s Believe it or Not! as the only bank entirely surrounded by street. (Although exactly how they verified this is another matter entirely.)

Listing date: 1988

Putnam County Courthouse
Photo by Jimmy S. Emerson, DVM

Putnam County Courthouse

44 Gleneida Avenue, Carmel

Until the Putnam County Courthouse was closed for repairs in 1988, it had been in continuous operation since 1814, a record for New York State. The Greek Revival building’s stately silhouette masks its formidability; for many years it housed a jail. Reopened in 1994, it’s no longer the county’s primary courthouse, but does still function in an official capacity.

Listing date: 1976


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Bear Mountain Inn

3020 Seven Lakes Drive, Bear Mountain

The Bear Mountain Inn is the jewel in the crown of the massive Bear Mountain State Park. The inn opened in 1915 and played host to various dignitaries, entertainers, and sports teams, including the Brooklyn Dodgers. Extensively renovated, it now boasts superior lodgings and dining, all encircled by the beauty of its natural surroundings.

Listing date: 2002

Woodward Road Stone Arch Bridge

County Route 20B, Cornwallville

There are some stone arch bridges, a 19th-century innovation, that are extant in New York State. The Woodward Road bridge is a prime example. Documentation is sparse, but this and the other bridges — in the words of a local historian — “are believed to have been originally of the classic dry laid stone design.” The fact that these bridges still exist at all is something to marvel at.

Listing date: 2009

Huguenot Schoolhouse
Photo by Daniel Case

Huguenot Schoolhouse

25 Grange Road, Huguenot

Among the more interesting chapters in the Hudson Valley historical mosaic was the influx of Huguenots, the persecuted French Protestants who sought refuge here in the 17th century. This classic one-room brick schoolhouse — which, incredibly, functioned as a school until 1961 — is now the Town of Deerpark Museum.

Listing date: 1997

Paramount Theatre

17 South Street, Middletown

The Paramount Theatre, with a seating capacity of over 1,000, is a venue for first-run and classic films and an array of live events. This is accomplishment enough as cultural centers vanish from the landscape, but the theater has historical significance as well. Opened in 1930, the Art Deco structure is a wonderful touchstone to the vanished days of elaborate live entertainment — and has current resonance as well.

Listing date: 2002

Adriance Memorial Library

93 Market Street, Poughkeepsie

The Adriance Memorial Library, in all its Beaux Arts glory, was dedicated in 1897. A public library was (and still should be) a sign of civic enlightenment, and the library’s grand appearance reflects this. The Adriance is the oldest tax-supported public library in New York and one of the oldest in the country. The library — and the Mid-Hudson Library System as a whole — offers a wealth of accessible information, culture, and knowledge.

Listing date: 1982

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