Best Of Hudson Valley 2015: Fun

Including best girls’ night out, boutique hotel, and more

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Addition to the Nightlife Scene

Daryl’s House Pawling
Just celebrating its first anniversary, Daryl’s House has its roots in the popular cable television show Live From Daryl’s House. The show features Daryl Hall (of Hall & Oates fame) filming in his local farmhouse with visiting musicians. Now, not only is the show being filmed in this new spot, but it has transformed into a music club, too. The former home of the Towne Crier has been remodeled with a Colonial farmhouse look and now features live music every Wednesday through Sunday, and sometimes as many as seven nights a week. Recent and upcoming bookings include Brett Dennen, Paul Thorn, Edwin McCain, The English Beat, and Tom Rush. Diehard fans take note: Hall can often be seen here, but it’s usually unannounced. Patrons agree: Though the music is great, the food alone is actually worth a trip. Crowd favorites include Daryl’s shrimp with tomato basil and rib-eye steak with red-wine demi sauce. Fun references to the music industry spill onto the menu, such as Half Roasted Chicken “a la Joe Walsh” (marinated with fresh herbs). Check out “Daryl’s Hour,” featuring a $10 menu, everyday from 3:30 to 6 p.m. 845-289-0185;

Boutique Hotel

Diamond Mills Saugerties
Overlooking Esopus Falls, this three-year-old luxury hotel was designed to resemble an old paper mill that once stood on the same site. From the outside, it has that industrial look, all brick and stone. But the inside, save for the cozy tavern with its massive fireplace, is decidedly contemporary. Each of its 30 rooms, which include two suites, oozes comfort and luxury. Bathrooms have radiant-heat floors (so nice on a chilly fall morning), and beds are plumped up with plush duvets and Egyptian cotton linens. Amenities include a turndown service with house-made truffles and a nightly wine-and-cheese social in the lounge. Drift from your room to the tavern downstairs to dine on imaginative flatbread combos like prosciutto with Gorgonzola and fig jam ($14) and can’t-resist desserts like Chocolate Pot Du Crème with caramel sauce and almond biscotti ($8). Hotel guests get preferred seating by the fire. 845-247-0700;

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Cute Winery Attraction

Sheep at Bashakill Vineyards Wurtsboro
When you head to a winery you can expect the usual: picturesque views of sprawling fields, barrel upon barrel of the finest vino, tastings, and… grazing sheep? Well, at least at Bashakill Vineyards. But not to worry, these fluffy creatures will only make your experience at the Catskill Mountain-region vineyard a whole lot cuter. In 2007, the vineyard planted a newly released variety called the Marquette. This grape combines high levels of cold-hardiness and disease-resistance with top-notch wine quality; its parent grape is the Pinot Noir. In 2011, they cleared an acre-and-a-half and prepped the site for these grapes with the help of sheep. The sheep you’ll see at your next visit are an old breed of Babydoll Southdown. These little guys are put on weed-patrol duty and make some awesome fertilizer for the vineyard. Bashakill also has their wool spun and knitted into hats, which you can purchase in its tasting room. 845-888-5858;

Environmental Victory

Scenic Hudson Poughkeepsie
Scenic Hudson played a leading role in the successful three-year campaign to prevent the unspoiled beauty of the Palisades from being destroyed by a planned office tower. As a result of their efforts (which drew support from more than 30 other environmental and cultural groups), LG Electronics has agreed to reduce by more than half the height of its new North American headquarters atop the Palisades in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. Instead of rising high above the tree line, the structure now will be virtually invisible — preserving the majesty of this National Natural Landmark above the Hudson. 845-473-4440;

Family Photo Spot

Woodstock Chamber of Commerce Woodstock
Ready for an updated family photo? You won’t have a hard time getting the kids to wear matching outfits and pretend like they like one another with this as your photo locale. Situated in front of the Woodstock Chamber of Commerce, this oversized picture frame allows visitors to pop behind the massive replica for a candid shot. Photo subjects have been known to park themselves on the purple bench, fit with hearts and a peace sign, behind the frame, and show off their silliest poses.

rosendale trestle
The Rosendale Trestle, “Best Follow-Up to the Walkway”

Follow-Up to the Walkway

The Rosendale Trestle Rosendale
The 940-foot continuous truss bridge and former railroad trestle located in Rosendale was originally constructed by the Wallkill Valley Railroad in order to continue its rail line from New Paltz to Kingston. The bridge rises 150 feet above Rondout Creek, a tributary of the Hudson River, and, when the bridge opened to rail traffic in 1872, it was the highest span bridge in the US. The rail line closed in 1977, and, in the ’80s and ’90s, there was a series of failed attempts to use the trestle as a platform for bungee-jumping. The county later purchased it for the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, and, after an extensive restoration project, pedestrians can now hop on the trestle and enjoy views of the Shawangunk Ridge, the Binnewater Lakes region, and Rosendale.

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hotel tivoli
Hotel Tivoli, “Best Hotel Renovation”

Girls’ Night Out

Vine Van Gogh Poughkeepsie
Bachelorettes, bridal parties, and girls who just want to have fun are guaranteed a memorable get-together at this company’s paintout events. Relax: You don’t need to be an artist to pick up a brush. You’ll be given a guided lesson in creating your own masterpiece, led by an artist, while you sip wine or cocktails. Pleasantly surprise yourself as you fill your canvas with images of birds, cherry groves, vases of flowers, and other classic still-lifes. You can book a party from its list of venues, or set it in your own home, where you can really let loose! 845-675-1217;

Hotel Renovation

Hotel Tivoli Tivoli
Formerly known as the Madalin Hotel, this 106-year-old hostelry was purchased in 2012 by renowned American artist Brice Marden and his wife, Helen. The couple has transformed the building into a boutique hotel, filling its 10 rooms with vintage furniture, colorful accessories, and artwork — both their own (Helen is also an artist) as well as works by their friends (people like the late Robert Rauschenberg and noted Italian artist Francesco Clemente). 845-757-2100;

beacon music factory
Beacon Music Factory, “Best Music Program for All Ages”

Music Program for All Ages

Beacon Music Factory Beacon
Sure they have classes for the kids. But here’s a music school that also lets the big people play: Adults can take group ukulele or drum lab classes or they can sing in the People’s Choir. Owner Stephen Clair even offers eight simultaneous rock band boot camps in any given session (an outgrowth of his rock boot camps for teens whose parents tried to crash the scene). Band members learn an entire album of one group — for instance, “Ziggy Stardust” by David Bowie. In the end, they put on a show, whether at “the factory” or at an area venue. This fall features Blues Brothers, Tom Petty, and The Harder They Come, among others. This innovative program is so in demand that this fall BMF is offering a first-ever adult boot camp, Sticky Fingers by the Rolling Stones, in New York City, proving that the Hudson Valley can innovate with the best of ’em. 845-765-0472;

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behold new lebanon
BEHOLD! New Lebanon, “Best New Museum Concept”

Photograph by Uli Rose Photography;

New Museum Concept

BEHOLD! New Lebanon New Lebanon
For such a small town in a far-flung locale — the northeast corner of Columbia County — New Lebanon has always attracted interesting residents. It was the former base of the Shakers in the 19th century, and, today, BEHOLD! New Lebanon, a living museum of contemporary rural life, invites curious visitors from around the world to go behind the scenes at local farms, studios, and workspaces. Guests meet at a welcome center in town, then board a shuttle bus to their program locations, where they learn from rural guides about such topics as dog training, foraging, making farmer cheese, and even costume design. There’s nothing hokey going on here: Guides are not docents in period dress, but real townspeople living real lives. Founded in 2014 by local resident Ruth J. Abram, a historian and social-rights activist who was also the founding president of Manhattan’s Lower East Side Tenement Museum, the museum is not just educational; it’s also a clever way to promote agri- and eco-tourism. 518-720-7265;

Place to Learn How to Sail

Chelsea Yacht Club Chelsea
Have you ever watched a sailboat gliding down the Hudson and wished you were piloting it? Chelsea Yacht Club can make that happen. Its week-long “Learn to Sail” youth programs run throughout the summer; kids from 8 to 18 learn the ropes from US Sailing-certified instructors. For adults, Basic Keelboat Certification classes are held twice each year. Sailing newbies learn everything from weather forecasting and navigation to sail trimming, tacking, and jibing. 845-831-7245;

Thursday Night Special

“Thirsty Thursdays” at Rockland Boulders Baseball Games Pomona
Like most minor-league baseball teams, the Boulders treat their fans to a competitive game on the field — as well as a wild and wacky variety of entertainment between innings (everything from concerts and giveaways to Mad Chad Taylor, the chainsaw juggler). But Thirsty Thursdays are serious business: Every Thursday home game features $1 Bud and Bud Light drafts, a $3 “mystery” craft beer, and post-game acoustic entertainment. 845-364-0009;


Art Gallery

Artists’ Collective of Hyde Park
Hyde Park


Bed & Breakfast

Warwick Valley Bed & Breakfast


Bike/Rail Trail

Dutchess Rail Trail
Wappingers Falls


Community Theater

County Players at the Falls Theater
Wappingers Falls


hyde park drive-in theater
Hyde Park Drive-In theater, ​“Best Drive-In Theater”

Drive-In Theater

Hyde Park Drive-in Theater
Hyde Park



Dutchess County Fair



Hudson Valley Garlic Festival


Golf Course (Public)

Apple Greens


Hudson River Cruise

River Rose Cruises



Billy Bob’s BBQ


Live Music Joint

The Falcon


Mini Golf

The Castle Fun Center


Movie Theater (Independent)

Upstate Films






Hudson Valley Philharmonic



Bowdoin Park
Wappingers Falls


Place For a Picnic

Vanderbilt Mansion
Hyde Park


Place for a Wedding

Mohonk Mountain House
New Paltz


Scenic Hike

Mohonk Preserve
New Paltz


Singles Scene



Ski Area

Hunter Mountain


Sports Bar

Darby O’Gills
Hyde Park


millbrook winery
Millbrook Winery, “Best Winery”

Thing About Living In the Valley

The Hudson River

Venue for Plays and Concerts (Indoors)

Bardavon Theater


Venue for Plays and Concerts (Outdoors)

Bethel Woods Center for the Arts



Millbrook Winery

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