Where to Live in the Hudson Valley Right Now

Whether you're looking for an artsy community or a retreat in the mountains, you'll find the perfect abode for you in the Hudson Valley.

Since 2020, the Hudson Valley has welcomed thousands of new arrivals (7,307, to be exact, according to the Census Bureau), and it’s no wonder: Our beautiful landscapes, excellent schools, highly-rated restaurants, and top-notch performing arts venues make our corner of the country an incredible place to live. In such a vast region, how do you decide which town is the best fit? Through reviewing population estimates, school ratings, grant information, housing market details, and more, we’ve identified nine great places to call home.

For an Artsy Town

From 2020 to 2022, the Census Bureau estimates that the population of New Paltz increased by more than six percent. Town supervisor Neil Bettez attributes the growth to the 33.8-square-mile town’s location at the bottom of the Shawangunk Ridge, its open-minded reputation, and its great school district (which is rated as the best in Ulster County on niche.com).

“New Paltz has a dense downtown, but plenty of protected open space,” he says. In the village, you’ll find shops and restaurants frequented by both full-time residents and students of SUNY New Paltz on Main and Water streets. Proximity to the college also offers residents the opportunity to see theater productions, listen to classical and jazz concerts, and view work from both students and globally-renowned artists at The Dorsky Museum of Art.

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New Paltz
Photo by Beny Huckaby

Historic Huguenot Street, a stretch of 17th- and 18th-century buildings, is open to the public for tours and recreation. The 23.7-mile-long Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, perfect for walking or biking, cuts through the town, and the 6-mile-long River-to-Ridge trail runs from the Wallkill River all the way to Minnewaska State Park east of town on Route 44.

At press time, 17 houses were on the market in New Paltz, ranging from quaint homes near the bustle of downtown to larger properties in the countryside. “We’re a place people want to live,” says Bettez.

Population: 15,345
Median Home Sale Price: $527,000
School District: New Paltz CSD

For a Small City Vibe

At the intersection of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania lies Port Jervis, a compact Orange County city with a lot of history. In the early industrial age, Port Jervis grew as a coal trading hub at one end of the D&H Canal—19th- and early 20th-century buildings still stand, as well as remnants of canal structures.

Although the canal is no longer functioning, the city is still a crossroads of major travel routes including Interstate 84, Route 6, and Route 209. It also has a NJ Transit train station, which can take passengers into New York City by way of Secaucus, New Jersey. Its accessibility mirrors that of a larger city, while the natural surroundings make it feel more like a small town. Port Jervis was also recently awarded federal funds to plant more trees and enhance environmental education opportunities for youth.

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Port Jervis
A1%, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Downtown, you’ll find a variety of coffee shops, restaurants, and stores, all within walking distance of Riverside Park and the Delaware River. While this area has been improved over the past decade by business owners, the city will continue to progress with help from a DRI grant. In Mayor Dominic Cicalese’s 2024 State of the City speech, he noted the changes that have already occurred. “When I look around our city, I see a completely different town than the one I grew up in.”

Grant money will go toward projects such as improving streets, supporting businesses, prioritizing energy efficiency, and developing more housing. At press time, over 20 single-family homes were on the market in Port Jervis, both in and just outside of the city center.

Population: 8,625
Median Home Sale Price: $250,000
School District: Port Jervis City School District

For a Close-Knit Community

Although small, the village of Millbrook in Dutchess County is well-known for its welcoming reputation. The municipality boasts a strong sense of unity among residents, which Mayor Tim Collopy attributes to “a healthy coexistence of multi-generational families and new arrivals.”

The flow of new residents to the quaint country locale is steady; according to a report from Coldwell Banker Village Green Realty, the number of properties sold in Q4 of 2023 was up 50 percent from the prior year. A mix of village homes and sprawling estates are on the market, ranging in price from $425,000 to $28 million.

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Photo courtesy of Dutchess Tourism

Downtown Millbrook is very walkable, with restaurants and stores lining Franklin Avenue. West of the main drag lies Tribute Gardens, a nearly 7-acre public park with footpaths and ornamental plants. Other outdoor activities include a stroll through Innisfree Garden, wine tasting at Millbrook Vineyards, target shooting at Orvis Sandanona, and visiting the Trevor Zoo at the private Millbrook School. In addition to the private school, children living in Millbrook can attend schools in the public Millbrook CSD, rated an A- on niche.com.

Among the many outdoor activities in Millbrook are strolling through Innisfree Garden and visiting the Trevor Zoo.
Among the many outdoor activities in Millbrook are strolling through Innisfree Garden and visiting the Trevor Zoo. Photo courtesy of Innisfree Garden.

Looking toward the future, the village will be transforming “two prominent eyesores” thanks to local donations and the Millbrook Community Partnership, LLC, says Collopy. The abandoned Bennett College campus south of the village center, defunct since the ‘70s, will be an outdoor attraction with walking trails and areas for concerts, and the Thorne Memorial School building at the intersection of Franklin and Maple avenues will be renovated into a community center to provide programming for all ages.

Population: 1,382
Median Home Sale Price:$487,250
School District: Millbrook CSD

For Culture Enthusiasts

A small hamlet of Philipstown, Garrison is popular for its “unique, rural beauty and amazing cultural events that take place right in residents’ backyards,” says town supervisor John Van Tassel. Two of its art institutions just received grants to expand. The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, a staple in the region’s theater scene, will be constructing a permanent stage—an improvement from its current tent setup—on the former grounds of The Garrison Golf Course, and the Garrison Art Center will continue to expand its art classes and summer program offerings for artists of all ages.

Garrison is popular for its unique rural beauty and amazing cultural events that take place right in residents’ backyards.
Garrison is popular for its unique rural beauty and amazing cultural events that take place right in residents’ backyards. Photo by Amy Brown/ Courtesy of Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival.

In the pastoral community, you’ll also find Manitoga, the estate of modernist designer Russel Wright; Boscobel, a historic house museum on the Hudson and hosts events on the grounds; and the Philipstown Depot Theatre, a venue for drama productions, film screenings, and more, steps away from the Metro-North station in the waterfront Garrison Landing.

Photo by Vivian Linares/ Courtesy of Manitoga

Garrison is also attractive because of its proximity to Cold Spring. Residents can visit the neighboring village for shopping, dining, and a trip to the Magazzino Italian Art, and return home to a more secluded locale. Per current listing information, many houses are on private lots, ranging in price from $450,000 to $4 million.

Population: 4,344
Median Home Sale Price: $647,000
School District: Garrison Union-Free School District and Haldane CSD

For Riverside Living

The future looks bright for the Village of Haverstraw. In 2022, the locality was awarded a $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) grant by New York State, which, per Governor Kathy Hochul, aims to make “communities across our state more vibrant places to live and visit.”

Located on the west bank of the Hudson in Rockland County, Haverstraw is known as a melting pot. “Our history has always been one of diversity; that’s our strength,” says Mayor Michael Kohut. The blend of cultures can be seen in downtown Haverstraw, where restaurants serve a variety of cuisines including Mexican, Dominican, Puerto Rican, and Italian. Sample the fare during the annual food crawl on September 15, which attracts attendees from both sides of the river, thanks to the ferry that runs to Ossining (a convenient feature for commuters to get to the closest Metro-North train station, too). Also in the village, you’ll find the Haverstraw Center on West Broad Street which offers daily recreational activities like open gym, youth sports, art and crafts classes, games, and more.

Rockland boat
Courtesy of Rockland Tourism

With funds from the DRI award, the village plans to re-energize the downtown area with vibrant murals and building façade repairs, new affordable housing, and enhanced access to the waterfront. “We’re trying to bring new money and people into the village while keeping the old residents here,” says Kohut. According to the mayor, most projects should be initiated by the end of this year. Right now, the housing market consists of single-family houses and townhomes ranging in price from $255,000 to $699,000.

Population: 12,213
Median Home Sale Price: $380,000
School District: North Rockland CSD

For a Rural Setting

Twenty minutes north of Hudson, you’ll find Kinderhook, an agricultural town in Columbia County (the greater town encompasses the villages of Valatie and Kinderhook). The Village Green in Kinderhook serves as a community gathering spot for events such as the seasonal weekly farmers market. Residents can also visit local farms, like Samascott Orchards and Yonder Fruit Farms, to pick their own produce with their family throughout the year.

Courtesy of Village of Kinderhook

In the past decade, Kinderhook has welcomed an influx of new businesses including the art museum Jack Shainman Gallery: The School and the Kinderhook Knitting Mill multi-purpose building. Once a textile factory, the mill was renovated during the pandemic and is now home to several new eateries and shops such as The Aviary, 2 Note, Morningbird, and the Kinderhook Bottle Shop.

Building off that momentum, in 2023, the village was awarded $2.25 million from the NY Forward program. The grant will be used to further bolster Kinderhook’s economy by renovating vacant storefronts, expanding recreational opportunities for residents, and restoring historic buildings.

Those looking to move to Kinderhook can choose new or renovated homes, from quaint houses in the village to larger properties outside the town center. The market is already heating up, with a 22 percent sales increase in Q4 of 2023 versus 2022. As of press time there were 16 listings, ranging from $250,000 to $1.2 million.

Population: 8,283
Median Home Sale Price: $545,000
School District: Ichabod Crane CSD

For Wide Open Spaces

The northern Dutchess town of Red Hook offers an array of diverse villages and hamlets within its borders. “We are enriched by thousands of acres of the best farm soils in the state, we have some of the best educational institutions around (terrific public school system and Bard College), and we have two unique villages—Red Hook and Tivoli,” says town supervisor Robert McKeon.

Both village centers are home to unique shops and eateries. On a small expanse of Broadway, quaint Tivoli features boutiques, antique and thrift stores, and intimate restaurants. Red Hook is slightly busier, with fast-casual dining options, cafés, and stores around the intersection of Broadway and Market Street.

Red Hook
Daniel Case, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Many properties for sale include several acres of land, but even if you opt for something in one of the villages, there are plenty of preserved greenspaces to visit. Poet’s Walk Park is a designed landscape perfect for a stroll, and Tivoli Bays, an estuary, offers hiking trails and spots to kayak or canoe.

Red Hook, which has added more than 100 residents since 2020, is one of the first towns in NYS to be named a Pro-Housing Community, a designation that will help to secure funding to construct affordable single- and multi-family housing. “With escalating housing costs, we want to ensure that our community is available to folks of all incomes. Many of the families who have been here for generations are the backbone of our town, and we want them to be able to remain and thrive,” says McKeon. The town is also working to expand free summer programming and community solar programs for residents to keep the cost of living affordable.

Population: 10,064
Median Home Sale Price: $485,000
School District: Red Hook CSD

For a Place in the Mountains

A small village in Greene County, Tannersville has recently attracted attention as a 2023 recipient of a NYS DRI grant. Often called “the painted village in the sky,” the locale (situated 1,900 feet above sea level) is known for its colorful Main Street businesses. Despite its size, Tannersville has an array of dining options such as Tabla, Pancho Villa’s, and Mama’s Boy Burgers.

Greene County
Courtesy of Greene County Tourism

Part of the Town of Hunter, Tannersville is popular for skiers in the winter, but its natural beauty is enjoyed by residents year-round. Other nearby attractions include Kaaterskill Falls, North–South Lake, and Mountain Top Arboretum. In 2022, the village was awarded a DRI grant of $10 million, which will be focused on affordable housing, more pedestrian walkways, Main Street updates, and new programs at The Orpheum Performing Arts Center. “There’s a lot of economic growth that’s going to happen,” says Mayor David Schneider. “We see Tannersville as a four-season destination, and this will help facilitate that.”

Since Tannersville is only 1.15 square miles, the housing market is very competitive. Per Village Green Realty, the number of properties sold in Q4 of 2023 was twice the number sold in the previous year. On the market, expect to see quaint country houses mixed with a few larger Catskills estates.

Population: 568
Median Home Sale Price: $400,000
School District: Hunter-Tannersville CSD

For Quiet Living

Not to be confused with the western New York city, the Ulster County town of Rochester is home to up-and-coming hamlets Accord and Kerhonkson. Situated along the Route 209 corridor, both have recently welcomed new businesses and economic revitalization while preserving the low key way of life that residents are accustomed to.

Rochester is surrounded by farms and forests—and while the rural setting promises privacy, it also provides opportunities for residents to get out and enjoy nature. Part of Minnewaska State Park is in Kerhonkson, as is a portion of Sundown Wild Forest, and pick-your-own Kelder’s Farm.

The Rochester hamlets of Accord and Kerhonkson are surrounded by farms and forests, providing both privacy and the opportunity to enjoy nature.
The Rochester hamlets of Accord and Kerhonkson are surrounded by farms and forests, providing both privacy and the opportunity to enjoy nature. By Adrian Gaut/ Courtesy of Ulster County Tourism.

The opening of businesses such as boutique hotel and golf course Inness, Accord Market, and Skate Time in Accord and Starlite Motel, Mill & Main restaurant and provisions shop, and Flying Goose Tavern cocktail bar in Kerhonkson have spurred development. The hamlets appear to be catching on with new arrivals, too: per data from Village Green Realty, home sales in Q4 of 2023 were 38 percent and 19 percent higher in Accord and Kerhonkson than in Q4 of 2022, respectively.

Potential buyers can expect a majority of homes on the market at any given time to provide privacy—according to Zillow, 16 out of 28 homes currently for sale in Accord and Kerhonkson are on lots with at least two acres. Want something more isolated? Look in the ultra-remote hamlets of Cherrytown, Palentown, and Tabasco. They are mostly wooded and do not have downtown areas.

Population: 7,359
Median Home Sale Price: $200,000
School District: Rondout Valley CSD

Related: Pawling Is a Small Town With Charm in Southern Dutchess County

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