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An Insider’s Guide to January Events in the Hudson Valley

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Adobe Stock | Photo by Dmytro

Hudson River tourism directors share their top picks for places to go, sights to see, and things to do throughout the month of January.

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. Even in the face of the coronavirus, there exist dozens upon dozens of ways to experience the best of what the region has to offer. While they might not be traditional per se (virtual holiday fests, anyone?), they are engaging, entertaining, and 100-percent #flattenthecurve-approved.

To help scout out the best events in the Valley, we reached out to local tourism directors from Albany to Westchester for their top picks for things to do. Check out their selections, then get planning!

Albany County

Discover Albany President and CEO Jill Delaney shares her top recommendations for the month.

 

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Virtual Twelfth Night

Online, Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site
Starting January 6

Historically, the Twelfth Night is an iconic celebration full of games, parties, and holiday libations. This year, the Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site brings the festivities to Hudson Valley homes with a virtual holiday. It’s perfect for those curious about what it was like to experience Twelfth Night in the 17th and 18th centuries. Along with Craio, the Schuyler Manion is virtually hosting  “Salutations of the Season!” event on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Tune in on social to learn about traditions like “Hide the Slipper” and a wassail toast.

 

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Pine Bush Perspectives

Albany Pine Bush Preserve, Albany
Throughout January 

Stroll along and enjoy the fresh air at the Albany Pine Bush Preserve for a special outdoor photography exhibition. The outdoor StoryWalk features photos from 2020’s Pine Bush Perspectives, a juried competition showcasing all types of images. Vote for your favorite pictures online, then a winner will be selected in March. For those looking to catch the art from home, the full exhibit is available online.

Winter Amusements

Albany Institute of History and Art, Albany
Throughout January 

Are you in love with the winter season? Visit the Albany Institute of History and Art for an array of seasonal displays. Festive décor, including the delightful miniature dioramas made by children’s book author Joan Steiner, line the museum. Walks down Washington Avenue reveal an outdoor pop-up exhibit with more mid-winter artwork. Locals can even take some of the fun home with art-to-go crafting kits, available with admission.


Columbia County

Read up on Columbia County Tourism’s highlights for things to do in the Hudson Valley this month.

 

The Livingstons and Their Community in the Revolutionary War 

Clermont State Historic Site, Clermont
January 10, 2 p.m.

Tour the glorious Clermont Estate grounds with a historical interpreter. Nestled along the Hudson River, this site is a must-visit destination for fresh air and gorgeous golden hours. On each stroll, visitors can discuss the important role Clermont and the Livingston family played during the American Revolution which culminated in the British army assault on Clermont in 1777. 

Photo courtesy of Columbia County Tourism

Winter Wonderland

Clermont State Historic Site, Clermont
January 17, 2 p.m.

Step into the shoes of one of the Hudson Valley’s most notable families, the Livingstons. The family drove settlers to the region at the end of the 1600s, and they lived in Clermont for multiple generations. Walk along the site as the Livingston sisters, Janet and Honoria, once did. Families will delight in this gentle but scenic walk, showcasing some of the girls’ favorite spots to play and explore. Treats will be served.

Dutchess County

Take a peek at Dutchess Tourism, Inc.’s top picks for things to do in Dutchess County this month.

Staatsburgh First Day Hike  

Staatsburgh State Historic Site, Staatsburgh
January 1, 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The winter season was full of activity at the Mills-Livingston mansion during the Gilded Age. Travel back in time for an in-depth look at turn-of-the-century culture and the lucrative ice harvesting industry. Two free walking tours commemorate the new year as a part of the nationwide first day hike initiative. Staatsburgh offers some of the grandest Hudson Valley views, sweetened by fun activities like scavenger hunts and other interactive experiences.

Just Us Plus II

Queen City 15 Gallery, Poughkeepsie
January 9, 4 p.m. (Open until January 30)

The City of Poughkeepsie attracts an eclectic community of Hudson Valley artists as a hub for creativity. Queen City 15 Gallery celebrates the fine arts and is completely owned and operated by local creatives. Its Just Us Plus II exhibit showcases bold and unique work from the area’s most powerful voices.  A special opening event kicks off Saturday, January 9 at 4 p.m., but the work will be open to the public throughout the month. Lori Adams, Marcy Bernstein, and Clara Roderiguiz contributed pieces for the collection.


Greene County

Look no further for the coolest attractions and activities in Greene County during the month.

House Plants by Design With Tovah Martin

Online, Mountain Top Arboretum
January 23

Developing your green thumb this winter? Find out which house plants work best in certain home situations and how to utilize them in your decor with this free virtual webinar. Tovah Martin leads the workshop, and she draws upon her many years of experience as a horticulturalist (and author about all things green). Tune in at 10 a.m. to watch live.


Orange County

Check out Orange County Tourism Director Amanda Dana’s selections for the best things to do this month.

 

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Blue Arrow Winter Wonderland

Blue Arrow Farm, Pine Island
Through January 3

Holding onto the holidays? Enjoy a bit more festive cheer at Orange County’s Blue Arrow Farm which hosts its annual Winter Wonderland. Explore a magic forest illuminated in dazzling lights and visit the pavilion for tons of local vendors. Live music and food trucks keep things lively as you soak in the end of a season. Plus, learn more about the staff’s efforts in rescuing animals in need of good homes. For $10 a person, this early-winter tradition cannot be beat.

 

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Orange County Ghost Hunt

Mid Orange Correctional Facility, Warwick
Through January 15 & 16

Have you always wanted to be a ghost hunter? Take a crack at locating the paranormal at one of the Hudson Valley’s own potentially haunted sites. The Mid Orange Correctional Facility in Warwick was recently investigated by Jason Hawes and the Ghost Nation crew, and can have anything from disembodied voices to shadowy figures lurking in the corners of the sprawling complex. Attendance is limited, so be sure to secure your spot on the team early. Did we mention that the hunts are overnight?

Port Jervis Polar Plunge

West End Beach, Port Jervis
January 16

Taking a polar plunge is a great way to bond with a community of people working toward a common cause. In its second year, the Port Jervis Polar Plunge raises funds for the Special Operations Squad of the Port Jervis Fire Department. This team serves as the department’s specialty rescue component. Amp up and take a dive into the Delaware River, a one-of-a-kind exhilarating experience.


Putnam County

Read up on Putnam County Tourism Director Tracey L. Walsh’s picks for things to do this month.

Thunder Ridge Skiing

Thunder Ridge, Patterson
Throughout January 

Have you thought about taking up skiing? Thunder Ridge Ski Area in Patterson has 22 trails, three chairlifts, and some of the best instructors in the Hudson Valley to get you started. Trails range in difficulty from kid-friendly to advanced slopes reserved only for the most daring skiers and snowboarders. The Thunder Ridge ski school is full of teachers with passion for sharing the fundamentals of the sport, and has the highest percentage of Professional Ski Instructors of America certified instructors in the northeast.

Photo courtesy of Putnam County Tourism

Magazzino Italian Art

Magazzino Italian Art, Cold Spring
Throughout January 

If you’d rather stay toasty inside during your January jaunts, give Cold Spring’s Italian art museum a try. Magazzino is one of the most important curators of modern Italian art in America and continues to work with local scholars to study the impact of Italian culture on our nation. During your next visit, check out the Bochner Boetti Fontana exhibit and gaze upon sculptures, paintings, installations, and more. A short film detailing the collection will be shown onsite and can be viewed online at any point.

Ice Skating in Brewster

Brewster Ice Arena, Brewster
Throughout January 

For a premier ice skating experience, Brewster is your destination. Three indoor rinks and a fourth seasonal outdoor rink for old school skating round out the facilities at the Brewster Ice Arena. Public skating opens nearly every day, and classes for beginner skaters and hockey players begin at the start of the month. The BIA Skating School has been getting people on the ice for more than twenty years. A perfect outing for families, this skate rink needs to be visited during the winter months.


Rockland County

Take a browse through Director of Economic Development and Tourism Jeremy Schulman’s picks of the hottest things to do in Rockland County throughout the month.

Photo courtesy of Rockland County Tourism

Clay Amulet Art Workshop

Garner Arts Center, Garnerville
Saturdays in January, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

This four-part series from Bel Falleiros invites the community to contribute their own work to the Garner Arts Center. Make clay amulets while drawing upon the history of the Hudson Valley (specifically Haverstraw, once known as the brick capital of the world). Every class starts with breathing and warm-up exercises to get you prepared for optimal creativity. Together, you will investigate the many forms that clay can take, exploring its ancestral presence across cultures.

Photo courtesy of Rockland County Tourism

Bike Across the Mario Cuomo Bridge

Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, Rockland Landing
Throughout January

Have you wanted to cross the former Tappan Zee Bridge in style? Whether you enjoy brisk winter jogs or long scenic bike rides, the bridge path on the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge is a must-visit. Enjoy spectacular views from themed glass platforms overlooking the Hudson River, with free audio tours available to enhance the experience. Visit six unique overlooks on your way to the Westchester side.

Skate at the Bear Mountain Rink

Skate at the Hudson Valley’s largest open-air rink from November 7 to March 7, weather permitting, on Monday, Tuesday, Friday, and weekends (see website for schedule). Pricing is affordable: adults pay $5 to skate, parking is $10 on weekends and holidays, and skate rental is $5 per pair. The rink operates at 50-percent capacity. Masks are required, and skaters must keep six feet of distance between others at all times.

Photo courtesy of Rockland County Tourism

Visit Torne Valley Vineyards

Torne Valley Vineyards, Hillburn
Saturdays and Sundays Throughout January

Weekend wine tastings are the perfect way to unwind after a stressful holiday season. Celebrate the arrival of 2021 at Torne Valley Vineyards and sample top-notch wines while taking in the beauty of the Victorian mansion onsite. A truly retro wine experience, every element from the iconic stone gate, which beckons you to explore acres of beautifully landscaped grounds, to the incredible Ramapo River views to the warmth and elegance of the indoor event space contributes to the impressive atmosphere.


Ulster County

Read up on Ulster County Tourism’s event highlights for January.

Photo courtesy of Ulster County Tourism

First Day Hikes in Minnewaska

Minnewaska State Park Preserve, New Paltz
January 1

Minnewaska State Park Preserve transcends to a higher level of Hudson Valley beauty during the winter months. First day hikes are a bonafide tradition in the region, and two of Minnewaska’s classic hikes will be enhanced on January 1. On the Peter’s Kill Area hike, locals can don a pair of snowshoes to trek over to Awosting Falls. The Sam’s Point Area hike takes trekkers to a high point in the preserve that is beyond perfect for Instagram photos. If there is no snow when 2021 arrives, good hiking boots should be worn to ensure comfort and safety.

All-Day Winter Bird Watching

Esopus Bend Nature Preserve, Saugerties
Throughout January

Sign up to participate in the 2021 Winter Bird Count. Participants will census wintering birds throughout the 160-acre Esopus Bend Nature Preserve, recording numbers of individuals and species diversity. Results will become part of the preserve’s biodiversity database and will help provide future guidance for land management and stewardship decisions.

Photo courtesy of Ulster County Tourism

MLK Weekend at Frost Valley

Frost Valley YMCA, Claryville
January 15-18

Getting away for a long weekend can feel great. Frost Valley YMCA hosts all types of winter activities, including cross-country ski and snowshoe trails, an ice skating rink on Lake Cole, ice fishing, and a snow tube run. Frost Valley’s 5,500-acre property is a landscape beautiful enough to excite visitors to learn more about the environment.

Westchester County

Discover the hottest happenings according to Westchester County Tourism this month.

Hands & Earth at Katonah Museum of Art

Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah
Through January 24

Check out an impressive collection of Japanese Art at the Katonah Museum of Art. If you are into ceramics, this exhibit will blow you away. Over 40 works from different contemporary artists dives into the Eastern ceramics tradition. Everything from the Mingei Folk Craft Movement of the 1930s to modern reinventions will be on display. Download an audio tour to your phone to get the full guided experience.

Ice Skating Across Westchester

Playland Ice Casino, Rye; Westchester Skating Academy, Elmsford; Wampus Pond Park, Armonk
Throughout January

For winter weekends in Westchester, lacing up the skates is an essential activity. The iconic Playland Ice offers open freestyle skating, personalized lessons, and even pickup hockey. Westchester Skating Academy has some of the most prolific skate programs in the Hudson Valley. Hockey lovers will delight in its NHL twin rink facility. If anyone is looking for an old school, frozen pond ice skating experience, Armonk’s Wampus Pond is gorgeous to look at and extremely fun for skating.

 

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Kensico Dam Exploration

Kensico Dam Plaza, Valhalla
Throughout January

No winter season would be complete in the Hudson Valley without plenty of hikes. The Kensico Dam Plaza in Valhalla boasts a 300-foot-high and 1,830-foot-long dam. The structure forms the Kensico Reservoir, a stunning body of water. With a light dusting of snow, this entire place is transformed into something truly magical.