Midway between Kingston and New Paltz off Route 32 lies petite, artsy Rosendale. One of 13 hamlets making up the larger Town of Rosendale, it offers a quaint downtown enveloped by nature in central Ulster County.
The bucolic setting is a major draw. Main Street is framed by the Rondout Creek and Joppenbergh Mountain. “It’s an exceptionally beautiful town,” says supervisor Jeanne Walsh. “Take a walk on the Rosendale Trestle to see the view and you’ll agree.” The trestle is part of the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, popular with walkers, cyclists, and even horseback riders. Hikers head to Joppenbergh trails and are rewarded at the summit with spectacular views.
The area wasn’t always known for being a hub for creatives. In fact, in the 19th century, Rosendale was a major source of dolostone rock, a key component of cement. Rosendale cement (its formal name) was used to construct parts of several national landmarks including the U.S. Capitol, the Statue of Liberty pedestal, and the Brooklyn Bridge before the last active mine closed in 1970.
When industry moved out, the artists moved in. “I don’t know what it is about Rosendale that makes it draw the artistic, quirky population that it does, but we always have the most interesting people passing through and moving here,” says Fre Atlast, president of the Rosendale Theatre board of directors.
On Main Street, you’ll find two theaters: Redwing Blackbird Theater, which constructs giant puppets for performances, and the Rosendale Theatre, a community-run collective. The latter venue hosts film screenings, live performances, arts workshops, and more. Nearby, the Widow Jane Mine—a former repository for cement—serves as a music venue throughout the summer (with unbelievable acoustics). Catch Taiko Masala, a Japanese drumming group, on July 29.
The Rosendale Street Festival (July 15–16) is a beloved annual event that attracts thousands with dozens of local bands and food and craft vendors. (Full schedule at rosendalestreetfestival.org.)
Despite having a population of just over 1,200, there are plenty of resources. “We have a very involved community with many volunteering for fire departments, committees and commissions for the town, children’s sports, and programs at the library,” says Walsh. The Rosendale Library, which regularly hosts story time, art classes, and clubs, is housed in a former church overlooking the Rondout Creek. The town’s rec center has a pool, tennis and basketball courts, and a softball field, as well as a youth program open every weekday afternoon.
On the Town
A variety of restaurants dot Main Street: Enjoy homestyle Japanese fare at Soy; Mediterranean at Garden House; traditional Mexican and more at Santa Fe Burger Bar; and American-style cuisine at The 1850 House Inn. On Route 32, order classic diner dishes at Truss and Trestle, and salads and sandwiches at Creekside Bar & Bistro.
There are several stores worth checking out as well. Soiled Doves carries second-hand clothing, accessories, and décor; The Big Cheese is a deli/specialty food shop that also offers Mediterranean takeout; Postmark Books sells stationery and floral arrangements in addition to novels; and The Alternative Baker sells fresh breads and desserts (they’re known for their lemon cakes).
For some towns, the exodus of industry spells trouble but for Rosendale, it’s been just the opposite. Residents both old and new continue to experience and enjoy the growth of the community. “The town has become more popular,” says Atlast, a long-time resident. “There’s a lot of fresh energy and young creatives, and it’s really encouraging to see Rosendale thriving as a new generation takes over.”
To find a real estate agent in Rosendale or any Hudson Valley town check out near-me.hvmag.com/realtors.