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Here’s the Best Fun and Leisure in the Hudson Valley in 2021

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Photo courtesy of Mohonk Mountain House

Want to plan a fun weekend with family and friends? Head to these Best of Hudson Valley spots for the coolest things to do.

1960S-STYLE MOTOR LODGE

Starlite Motel

Starlite Motel isn’t the type of stay you’d find in Schitt’s Creek. The motel transformed tacky design into modern vibes, with a comfy getaway featuring hardwood floors, retro-tiled baths, and Wi-Fi. There’s even a saltwater pool and fire pit. For a nifty souvenir, pick up their fabric homage of a classic 1960s motel-room key fob.

Kerhonkson; thestarlitemotel.com

BASEBALL NEWS

Hudson Valley Renegades

The next Derek Jeter or Aaron Judge might have an 845 area code. Nearly a year ago, Hudson Valley baseball fans learned that their beloved Renegades were the new official farm team of the New York Yankees. The ‘Gades also earned their first full season as a High-A team since the 90s.

Wappingers Falls; milb.com/hudson-valley

BIKING TRAIL (IN THE WORLD)

Empire State Trail

New York is many things: bustling cities, picturesque valleys, charming villages and pastorals, and much more. The Empire State Trail connects them all. From Manhattan to Hudson Valley, and then forking west to Buffalo and north to the Adirondacks, this 750-mile-long route gives hikers and bikers a scenic glimpse at all that New York has to offer.

Albany; empiretrail.ny.gov

CONCEPT FOR AN AIRBNB

Hobbit Hollow

Yes, there’s a hobbit house in the Hudson Valley. Let that sink in. Then head to Airbnb to book a night at Hobbit Hollow, the earth-sheltered passive house in Pawling that’s straight out of The Lord of the Rings. With its energy-efficient design and movie-themed details, it’s 100-percent Frodo approved. And did we mention there’s a hot tub?

Pawling; find them on Airbnb

LAND & WATER TOUR

Bannerman Island and Storm King Adventures Tours

Once a military surplus warehouse, this abandoned but stunning gem is a top Hudson Valley excursion. Learn about its interesting past and walk among the deteriorating building by booking a cruise or kayak tour. Though a bit nippy, kayaking to Bannerman Island in the fall is a win-win for stunning foliage and castle views.

Cornwall-on-Hudson; bannermancastle.org
and
stormkingadventuretours.com

NEW AMUSEMENT PARK

LEGOLAND New York Resort

Don your hard hats and get building, LEGO fans. LEGOLAND New York opened its doors in Goshen this year after much anticipation. That wait paid off in spades: guests can explore entire cities made of LEGO bricks, ride the Dragon roller coaster, and live the life of a minifigure before settling in for the evening. Five different room themes make nights at its hotel unforgettable.

Goshen; legoland.com/new-york

NEW DESTINATION

Hutton Brickyards

The historic event venue was once a functioning brickyard that exported bricks into Manhattan. Fast forward to 2021, Hutton Brickyards is one of the hottest Valley destinations with 73 acres of personal cabin accommodations, a luxurious spa, gourmet cuisine headed by acclaimed Executive Chef Dan Silverman, formerly of NYC’s Balthazar and Minetta Tavern, and captivating views of the Hudson.

Kingston; huttonbrickyards.com

NEW GOLF COURSE

INNESS

Celebrating the incredible nature of the Valley, INNESS is an “intimate country refuge and members club” complete with a hotel, restaurant, organic farm, and several athletic pursuits — now including a large golfing green. The course spans over 55,000 square feet and features stunning views from the double putting green to the third hole on the grounds’ highest peak.

Accord; inness.co

NEW WINTER FESTIVAL

Bethel Woods Center for the Arts: Peace, Love, and Lights

Don’t miss the Valley’s newest holiday tradition. Bethel Woods Center for the Arts designed a one-mile drive-through seasonal lights display, where guests can travel through the 120-foot Twinkle Tunnel, the psychedelic Groovy Way, Candy Cane Lane, and The Enchanted Forest. Peace, Love, and Lights ticket holders also get discounted entry to the museum.

Bethel; bethelwoodscenter.org

PANDEMIC PIVOT BY A MOVIE THEATER

Upstate Films

Covid has been especially difficult for movie theaters, and movie-goers. To celebrate the return of cinema, landmark Rhinebeck institution Upstate Films took its show on the road. The Hudson Valley Picture Show held open-air screenings at Opus 40, The Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome, Kaatsbaan, and other iconic destinations. Del’s Roadside traveled alongside Upstate, bringing fresh scoops of ice cream to every showing.

Rhinebeck; upstatefilms.org

PARK TO HONOR VETERANS

Lasdon Park & Arboretum

At this 234-acre public park, you can explore both classical gardens and serene woods. But the most notable element is the free Westchester County Veterans Museum, documenting those who fought for our country, dating back to the Revolutionary War. You’ll also find four memorials honoring Westchester residents who have served in the armed forces.

Katonah; lasdonpark.org

RUSTIC-CHIC GETAWAY

Urban Cowboy Lodge

This lodge is fit for a king — and a cowboy. Discover the scenic hiking trails and streams of the Big Indian Wilderness, or spend a cozy day inside, surrounded by American antiques and stone fireplaces. Close your day with a strong cocktail or local beer before a much-needed relaxing soak in a clawfoot bathtub.

Big Indian; urbancowboy.com

AIRBNB FOR ANIMAL LOVERS

Goat Glamping

How does an escape to a magical corner of Dutchess County filled with pygmy goats, countryside walks, and stargazing sound? Thanks to Hudson Valley author and Airbnb host B.J. Forte, it’s a dream-come-true experience in Red Hook. The Airbnb is popular among animal lovers and features a cozy glamper, strolls with the goats, a fire pit, and Wi-Fi, too.

Red Hook; find them on Airbnb

Photo courtesy of Once Upon a Time Inspirations LLC

Photo courtesy of Once Upon a Time Inspirations LLC

HIDDEN GEM PUBLIC GOLF COURSE

Copake Country Club

Take a visit to this breathtaking and serene 18-hole golf course adjacent to the gorgeous Berkshire Mountains. The setting makes it easy to survey Copake Lake itself, as well as the surrounding Columbia County. It’s a million-dollar view — minus the hefty membership fee for a private country club.

Craryville; copakecountryclub.com

Photo by Austin Urban

Photo by Austin Urban

SMALL HIKE, BIG VIEWS

Burger Hill

At the tippity top of this popular hiking trail, you’ll be greeted by some of the best views in the Hudson Valley. While the hike is steep, the reward is worth it — the panoramic view of rolling mountains doesn’t get much better. A map carved into the slabs of rock atop the hill identifies the surrounding mountain peaks.

Rhinebeck

THEMED BOUTIQUE

The Old Catskill Game Farm Inn

Embark on a safari-style stay in the heart of the Catskills. The Old Catskill Game Farm Inn celebrates the region’s history and converted an abandoned zoo into a relaxing hotel. We especially like the Giraffe Room, a former giraffe-barn-turned-suite with a walk-in shower and three-person jacuzzi. Plus, explore three and a half miles of paved trails through the zoo’s ruins.

Catskill; theoldgamefarm.com

RESORT FOR HIKERS

Mohonk Mountain House

This beloved retreat is perfect for anyone looking to get away from it all. With over 85 miles of scenic trails, ranging from beginner to advanced, plus easy access to plenty of additional trails in the area, it’s a hiker’s paradise. After a long day, you can look forward to luxurious accommodations (nothing beats a room with a view), indulge in meditative spa treatments, and feast on extraordinary farm-to-table cuisine.

New Paltz; mohonk.com

Courtesy of Mohonk Mountain House

Courtesy of Mohonk Mountain House


READERS’ PICKS

Bed & Breakfast
Beacon Bed and Breakfast
Beacon
beaconbnb.com

Bike & Rail Trail
Dutchess Rail Trail
Wappingers Falls

Boutique Hotel
Shandaken Inn
Shandaken
shandakeninn.com

Bowling Alley
Spins Bowl
Carmel, Poughkeepsie, and Wappingers Falls
spinsbowl.com

Fair
Dutchess County Fair
Rhinebeck
dutchessfair.com

Farm to Take the Family
Hurds Family Farm
Modena
hurdsfarm.com

Festival
Sheep & Wool Festival
Rhinebeck
sheepandwool.com

Golf Course (Public)
McCann Memorial Golf Course
Poughkeepsie
mccanngolfcourse.com

Hiking Spot
High Falls Conservation Area
Hudson

Hotel Design
The Maker
Hudson
themaker.com

Related: 5 Hudson Valley Airbnbs to Soak in the Fall Foliage

Hotel Restaurant
Mohonk Mountain House
New Paltz
mohonk.com

Hudson River Cruise
River Rose Cruises
New Windsor
riverrosecruises.com

Ice Skating Rink
Bear Mountain State Park
Bear Mountain
parks.ny.gov/parks/bearmountain

Independent Hotel or Resort
Diamond Mills Hotel
Saugerties
diamondmillshotel.com

Paint & Sip Venue
Zhane’s Palette Studio
Poughkeepsie
zhanespalettestudio.com

Paddlesport Rental
Mountain Tops Outfitters
Beacon
mountaintopsoutfitters.com

Park
Greenport Conservation Area
Hudson

Picnic Spot
Vanderbilt Mansion National
Historic Site
Hyde Park

Roller Skating Rink
Roller Magic
Hyde Park
hydeparkrollermagic.com

Ski Area
Catamount Mountain Resort
Hillsdale
catamountski.com

Trivia Night
Buzzer Trivia with DJ Tony Flash
Pizza E Birra Poughkeepsie
pizzaebirranewyork.com


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