We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. There are a ton of things to do in the Hudson Valley each month. In fact, when it comes to actually choosing between one event or another, there’s potentially too much to do. Food fest on Saturday? Great. But there’s also that play you wanted to see. Oh, and that workshop you RSVP’d for in the afternoon. And the…oh wait, that’s already two things too many!
To help scout out the best events in the Valley, we reached out to local tourism directors from Albany to Ulster for their top picks for things to do. Check out their selections, then get planning!
Discover Albany President and CEO Jill Delaney shares her top recommendations for the month.
Salutations of the Season / Photo courtesy of Discover Albany
Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site, Schuylerville
January 4, 4-7:30 p.m.
Party like the Schuyler sisters during Schuyler Mansion’s annual Twelfth Night celebration. The historic site throws it back to the 18th century with a decked out open house, historic fare, live music, period reenactors, and even a wassail toast. If the weather holds out, there may even be a bonfire to continue the revelry into the evening.
Twelfth Night festivities / Photo courtesy of Discover Albany
Crailo State Historic Site, Rensselaer
January 4, 4 p.m.
Yes, we know this is technically in Rensselaer County. Yet admission to Crailo’s Dutch-inspired Twelfth Night celebration is part and parcel with the Schuyler Mansion festivities across the river. Like with its sister event, Crailo’s shindig features costumed interpreters along with cooking demonstrations using the cellar kitchen’s open hearth. Two-for-one tickets are available, so don’t pass up the chance to see both historic sites on the same day.
Times Union Center, Albany
For five days in January, U.S. Figure Skating takes over the Times Union Center to host its Eastern Synchronized Skating Sectional Championships. The regional qualifying event is open to the public for single or multiple days and features skating teams from along the East Coast.
Albany Capital Center, Albany
Now in its eleventh year, Albany’s signature food and wine fest extends over three days and features more than 70 chefs and 250 wine, spirits, and NYS craft beer samples. This year’s theme is “international,” so expect the shindig to be flavored with ingredients and traditions from across the globe.
Read up on Columbia County Tourism’s highlights for things to do in the Hudson Valley this month.
Copake Auction / Photo courtesy of Columbia County Tourism
Copake Auction Inc., Copake
January 1, 10 a.m.
A 40-year tradition in Columbia County, Copake’s annual auction is a one-stop shop for collectors, decorators, and lovers of historic furniture and artwork. The auction is a treasure trove of hard-to-find estate pieces from the 18th and 19th century, along with mid-century modern designs, folk art, and stoneware. Browse through the auction website before the big day for a rundown of the works set to appear on the bidding block.
Helsinki Hudson, Hudson
January 18, 9 p.m.
Trust us when we say that you’ve never been to a circus quite like the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus. An adults-only event, the winter cabaret is a show-stopping spectacle of comedy, contortion, juggling, and sword swallowing, with more than a few nods to the circus’s roots in the NYC underground club scene. Anyone interested in attending is invited to go over the top with their outfits, with everything from cotton candy wigs to neon-bright tutus welcome at the door.
Ghent Playhouse, Ghent
January 31 – February 16
Trying to go to the theater more in 2020? Don’t miss the chance to sit through a performance of “The Chalk Garden,” a psychological chamber piece that takes audiences back to Sussex, England in 1955. When the mysterious Miss Madrigal joins the household of a British dowager and her eccentric granddaughter, it’s anyone’s guess as to what will happen next.
Take a peek at President & CEO of Dutchess Tourism, Inc. Mary Kay Vrba’s top picks for things to do in Dutchess County this month.
Walkway Over the Hudson, Poughkeepsie
January 1, 2-3 p.m.
Start the new year on the right foot – literally – with an easy afternoon stroll along the Walkway Over the Hudson. Families are welcome, as are pets on leashes, since the one-to-three-mile walk is doable for little legs (maybe with the occasional shoulder ride or two). Both entrances are open during the day, with giveaways and hot chocolate scheduled at the Center Overlook at 2 p.m.
MJN – Majed L. Nesheiwat Convention Center, Poughkeepsie
January 25, 5-9 p.m.
Wing lovers unite in Poughkeepsie when Hudson Valley WingFest returns for its 13th incarnation at the end of the month. Beginning at 5 p.m., the food-filled event features spicy, sweet, and savory bites from caterers, food trucks, and restaurants across the Valley. Who will walk away with wing supremacy? Only you can help decide.
The Rhinecliff, Rhinebeck
January 31, 6:30-9:30 p.m.
Legendary poet Robert Burns lives on during The Rhinecliff’s annual celebration. Along with a recitation of Burns’ most famous works, the event treats attendees to a traditional dinner with songs, storytelling, and whiskey toasts. Yes, haggis may be involved.
Look no further for the coolest attractions and activities in Greene County during the month.
Windham Mountain, Windham
January 4, 5, 11
Get ready for all the adrenaline at Windham’s Catskill Mountain Series this month. The slopeside event rounds up some of the most talented skiers and snowboarders in the region as they compete in the Catskill Mountain Series Regional Pro/Am. If you’re up for it, test your skills on one of the trails. Otherwise, dress in your coziest outerwear and watch as the talented athletes shred their way down the mountain.
Orpheum Film & Performing Arts Center, Tannersville
January 18, 8 p.m.
With an aim to raise awareness about diminishing water resources due to global warming, “MAIM” is a moving performance by a talented creative team. Tickets are $25 for general admission, $20 for seniors, and $7 for students in advance.
Mountain Top Arboretum Education Center, Tannersville
January 25, 10 a.m.
As any Hudson Valleyite knows, it doesn’t get much sweeter than a local bottle of maple syrup. Mountain Top Arboretum gets it, which is why it offers a special workshop to teach attendees how to identify maple sugar trees, collect and boil sap, and ultimately bottle their very own maple syrup.
Check out Orange County Tourism Director Amanda Dana’s selections for the best things to do this month.
Sterling Forest State Park, Tuxedo
January 1, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Walk your way into 2020 with a scenic hike around Orange County’s Sterling Lake. The four-mile trail is easy to moderate and lasts two to three hours. After meeting at the Lautenberg Visitors Center, attendees can traverse the grounds and walk alongside historic remnants from the region’s iron industry. Pets are OK as long as they are on leashes.
Hudson Highlands Nature Museum, Cornwall
Saturdays and Sundays in January, 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.
Kids will be over the moon during a visit to the Wildlife Education Center for one of its “Meet the Animals” weekends. Held throughout the month, the meetups give little ones the chance to say hello to a range of animals like crows, owls, toads, and turtles. Nearby in the Ogden Gallery, a special exhibit on “Stomping Grounds: Habitats of the Hudson Valley” is an interactive, educational experience for young learners.
Hopeful Roots, Florida
January 12, 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
If you haven’t hopped on the kombucha bandwagon yet, you’re missing out on a very good, good-for-you thing. For anyone who wants to learn more about the gut-friendly beverage, Hopeful Roots hosts a workshop that touches on the benefits of the drink and sends participants home with their very own scoby to kickstart their homebrewing endeavors.
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Westtown Brew Works, Westtown
Two full days of craft beer, spirits, and wine make Westtown’s Winterfest an easy sell in January. In addition to libations galore, the brewery keeps the live music coming with three acts per day and feeds the crowds with food trucks galore. Don’t forget to snap a photo of the 30-foot ice bar (yes, really) while you’re there.
The Grange, Warwick
January 26, 4-7 p.m.
Love the idea of dinner and a show? The Grange one-ups that notion with a pop-up movie night that pairs its signature farm-to-table fare with a classic film. The dinner is a four-course affair by Chef Haurey with beer, spirits, and wine available for purchase throughout the evening.
Take a browse through Director of Economic Development and Tourism Jeremy Schulman’s picks the hottest things to do in Rockland County throughout the month.
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Bear Mountain State Park, Bear Mountain
Don’t let January fly by without skating your way around the rink at Bear Mountain. A true Hudson Valley bucket list activity, ice skating at the scenic spot is a must during the winter season. Check the website in advance for dates and times for public skating, then grab your skates (or rent a pair) and hit the ice. The rink is outside, so make sure to dress warmly before you pack into the car.
Jacob Blauvelt House, New City
January 5 and 12, 5 and 6:30 p.m.
Keep the spirit of the holiday season alive with an enchanting visit to the historic 1832 Jacob Blauvelt farmhouse. On two days in January, the New City home is set aglow with candles and lanterns, scented with seasonal sweets, and decorated with verdant bouquets and garlands. During the tours, visitors can learn more about Dutch American traditions while enjoying 19th century music and light refreshments.
The Antrim Playhouse, Wesley Hills
January 17-19, 24-26, 31
Based on the 2015 Broadway spectacular featuring Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane, “It’s Only a Play” is a comedic tale that follows a group of friends as they await the reviews of one man’s new play. Tickets are $25 for adults, $23 for students, and $15 for military.
Elmswood Playhouse, Nyack
January 17-19, 24-26, 31
When a 15-year-old discovers the corpse of his neighbor’s poodle one evening, he makes it his mission to discover whodunit. The plot thickens as the narrator, who has a mild form of autism, is taken into custody and warned to let the murder drop. How will it end? You’ll just have to see the show to find out.
The Nyack Center, Nyack
January 25, 7 p.m.
Dive headfirst into the history of movie music during this exploratory presentation and performance. With more than 40 film clips from iconic flicks and themed trivia throughout the night, the to-do is entertaining for families and film buffs in the Valley.
Read up on Ulster County Tourism’s event highlights for January.
Minnewaska hike / Photo courtesy of Ulster County Tourism
400 Sam’s Point Rd, Cragsmoor
January 1, 1-3:30 p.m.
Get moving in the fresh air during this group hike around Sam’s Point. Depending on whether or not there’s snow on the ground, participants can rent snowshoes for $5 or bring their own. The entire trek extends approximately three miles and is open to children accompanied by adults. Anyone who would like to attend needs to register ahead.
Wine tasting / Photo courtesy of Ulster County Tourism
Mohonk Mountain House, New Paltz
Vino lovers will be in seventh heaven during Mohonk’s weekend-long wine fest at the beginning of January. Led by Windows on the World Wine School expert Kevin Zraly, the three-day celebration features eight wines from as many wine-focused regions across the globe. For a full schedule of events, visit Mohonk’s website.
WinterFest / Photo courtesy of Ulster County Tourism
Hudson Valley Rail Trail Depot, Highland
January 18, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
The holiday season might be over, but Ulster County keeps the winter spirit alive with an outdoor shindig in January. With a spicy chili contest, roasted chestnuts, toasted marshmallows, and snacks and drinks galore, the to-do is a fun way to escape the house with the little ones. Don’t forget to hop on a wagon ride or watch a wood-carving demonstration, too.
Catskill Ice Festival / Photo courtesy of Ulster County Tourism
Alpine Endeavors, Rock & Snow, New Paltz
If the arrival of ice and snow has you itching to get outdoors, the Catskill Ice Festival is for you. Purchase a pass to participate in workshops ranging from basic skills to dry-tooling and glacier traveling. Visit the Alpine Endeavors website for the complete lineup of scheduled events.
Winter Hoot / Photo courtesy of Ulster County Tourism
The Ashokan Center, Olivebridge
January 31-Feburary 2
Get down at the Hudson Valley’s homegrown music fest. Come on Friday for dinner and a documentary, on Saturday for music and all-day dancing, and on Sunday for a farewell singalong. Throughout the three days, stick around for blacksmithing demos, concerts in the pewter shops, and even a funky clothing swap.