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Hidden in Plain Sight: Our Anti-Bucket List of Hidden Gems Around the Valley

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In January, for the very first time, we published a 13th issue of the magazine. The Ultimate Guide to Hudson Valley 2015 is reminiscent of the old Insider Guides that we used to publish every year. Back then, in the days when the Yellow Pages was one of the most important books (hell, one of the most important things) in your home, we used to hear from dozens of readers that after devouring the Insider’s Guide from cover to cover they would store it in the glove compartment of the car. Right there with their stash of old paper maps (remember paper maps?). This way, no matter what corner of the Valley they found themselves in, from Poughkeepsie to Pearl River, they could take it out and plan the perfect day.  

Our new Ultimate Guide is also the authority on how to get the most out of living in or visiting the Hudson Valley. In that issue, we outlined the Ultimate Hudson Valley Bucket List: 15 things you really need to experience, at least once, if you are going to spend any amount of time here. From visiting West Point to eating at the Culinary Institute to kayaking to Bannerman Island, the list represented some of the most famous places in the area.

This month’s Hidden Hudson Valley cover story is really the anti-Bucket List. Here, we present you with 20 places or programs that — for one reason or another — have mostly flown under the radar. I sheepishly admit that I have not been to a single one of them. Not yet. But after reading this story I am willing to bet that you, just like me, will want to plan a trip to many of them. For instance, who knew that up in Rensselaer County there is a white domed building with stairs ascending to a gleaming statue of the Buddha surrounded by gardens, a temple, and a pond? It is one of only two Peace Pagodas in the entire country — although there are more than 80 worldwide. I’d also love to while away an afternoon in the 1844 riverside mansion in Cornwall-on-Hudson that houses the Patent Model Museum. Apparently, the views can’t be beat and you can check out more than 650 prototypes (none standing more than 12 inches tall) from what is possibly the world’s biggest cache of inventions by women. Who knew?   

In fact, I bet that you will be muttering “Who knew?” to yourself many times as you read through this fun and informative article. From a little-known motorcycle museum in Newburgh to a state park in Carmel that I, a big hiker, had never even heard of, to a darling little chapel on the grounds of the Mohonk Preserve, there are a host of hidden treasures to discover in our region. 

In this issue, we also dive into the controversy over the Common Core educational standards. You’d have to be living under a rock to have missed the uproar over the new state-mandated initiatives that are changing the way our public school students learn. But perhaps, like many of us, you’re not exactly clear about what is going on. My only child is in kindergarten, and yes, we had already started with the Common Core homework. It does seem to me that they are making the math much more complicated than it needs to be. I tell my daughter to use her fingers when she needs to figure out how to add four plus five; it seems to be working for now.

Enjoy the issue.

Olivia J. Abel
Executive Editor

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