The Best Community Experiences and Services in the Hudson Valley

Social Enterprise winner Unshattered.
Photo by Michael Nelson

Editors’ Picks

– Communal Dining Experience –


A collaborative community space run by artist and chef Leon Johnson, Lodger hosts art openings, music performances, and even became a COVID-19 food distribution center. It’s best known for dinner parties in the Blue Room, a small, candle-lit space with curious closed off doorways and intriguing relics, where dining is transportive. Take your seat beside a stranger at the long communal table, and by the end of dinner you’ll leave as friends.

– Community Center For Kids –

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The Newburgh Armory Unity Center (NAUC)

NAUC is a shining example of the passion that Newburgh has for its youth. Volunteers and instructors flock to the armory from around the city to contribute their skills and their hearts. Chess clubs, basketball, soccer, and more are offered free of charge in their large, dynamic facilities.

– Energy Innovator –

Jessica O. Matthews of Uncharted Power

Jessica O. Matthews was 19 when she invented the Soccket, a hybrid soccer ball that harnesses and stores energy. Since then, the founder of Uncharted Power has worked to change the way we think about energy infrastructure. Her new innovation facility in Poughkeepsie is a testing ground for tech that very well could change the world.

Photo courtesy of Jessica O. Matthews

– Friends of Parks –

Scenic Hudson

In its 57 years, Scenic Hudson, a leader in the modern-day grassroots environmental movement, has protected more than 45,000 acres of land and created or enhanced 44 parks and preserves from Westchester to Albany County. Many of these parks replaced contaminated industrial waterfronts, transforming them into tranquil and majestic places to connect with the Hudson River.
Throughout the Hudson Valley;

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Scenic Hudson, Falling Waters Preserve. Photo by Robert Rodriguez Jr.

– Friends of the Community –

Rich & Cassie Parente of Clock Tower Grill

When Rich and Cassie Parente wrote on their website, “We want to change the mold by…being more involved in our local community,” it wasn’t just PR speak. The pair donate time, services, and food to a long list of local organizations, including rotary clubs, schools, essential workers, veterans, families in needs, and the Hudson Valley Regional Community Health Center (Rich is on the board) without ever flaunting their good deeds.

– Horse Rescue Organization –

Lucky Orphans Horse Rescue

The folks at Lucky Orphans Horse Rescue are committed not only to providing a sanctuary for unwanted, neglected, or abused horses but also to improving the relationship between horses and people. Through their many programs, including school visits, equine-assisted psychotherapy, and riding lessons, they work to promote understanding of the need for preservation of rural equine communities.
Dover Plains;

Photo by Teresa Horgan

– Retirement Community –

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Woodland Pond at New Paltz

The Hudson Valley’s only continuity care retirement community has much to celebrate this year: its 11th anniversary and zero cases of COVID-19. Add those to a long list of accomplishments, which include a five-star rating for Medicare and Medicaid Services annually since 2014 and being named a leader in LGBTQ equality by the Human Rights Campaign since 2018, and there’s really no question where you should look to reside when you’re 62 or over.
New Paltz;

– Social Enterprise –


This Hopewell Junction-based nonprofit, dedicated to teaching women in recovery to create handbags from repurposed fabrics, took on a new mission during the COVID-19 pandemic. Founder and CEO Kelly Lyndgaard shifted production from making bags to making face masks for hospital workers and healthcare professionals. The pivot not only helped protect those on the frontline, but kept Unshattered’s economically and emotionally vulnerable population employed and connected.
Hopewell Junction;

Readers’ Picks

– Artist –

Luke Kelly

Red Hook

– Author –

JG Flaherty


– Band –

The Hype



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– Celebrity –

Hilarie Burton


– DJ –

DJ Dolce



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A post shared by DJ Dolce Productions (@djdolceproductions) on

– Entrepreneur –

Dana Jones


– High School Teacher –

Ed Davis

Wallkill Senior High School

– Politician –

Marc Molinaro


– Radio Personality –

Linda Zimmerman


– Singer/Vocalist –

Mike Mack


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