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What to Do in Rosendale: A 24-Hour Guide to the Creekside Town

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The one-of-a-kind Ulster County destination is a one-stop shop for independent theater, quirky shops, and farm-to-table fare.

Rosendale is one of those places you don’t want people to discover. Except, you also do. You want them to fall in love with the quiet charm of the Ulster County town, the one through which the Rondout Creek calmly ripples and the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail smoothly runs. You want to share with them the beautiful pocket of quiet nestled between vivacious New Paltz and colorful Kingston, a pocket that’s somehow remained relatively untouched despite the ever-increasing activity in the two neighboring cities.

Within that pocket, Rosendale’s community of creatives thrives. In a town once famed for its cement production, independent makers find their way to Main Street to open niche storefronts and plant-forward eateries. They might come for the rail trail and the pickle festival, which happens every autumn and is 100-percent worth the trip, but they stay for the comfortable aura that blankets the region, inviting visitors to stop, stay awhile, and discover all the under-the-radar Ulster County town has to offer.

9:30 a.m. – Pick up a homemade lemon cakes (and breakfast, too) at The Alternative Baker

407 Main Street, Rosendale

The Alternative Bakery was alternative before it was cool, and we totally understand why. One taste of the bakery’s gluten-free, vegan blueberry muffin cakes, or homemade focaccia, and you’ll get it, too. Whatever you do, don’t walk out the door without sampling one of the shop’s signature lemon cakes. Based on a recipe from the 1930s, the handcrafted treats taste just like summer.

10:30 a.m. – Explore local history

 

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In its heyday, Rosendale was a hub for cement production in New York State. Although that industry wound down in the 1900s, the town still embraces its roots via a number of relics in town. Begin your explorations by stepping onto the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, which runs through town on its way toward Kingston and New Paltz, respectively.

From there, traverse the trestle, a 940-foot truss bridge that crosses the Rondout Creek and is part of the trail. Not only are the views magnificent, but the midpoint of the trestle makes for fantastic photo ops as well.

 

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Before you work up your appetite for lunch, take a detour to the Snyder Estate and Widow Jane Mine. Maintained by The Century House Historical Society, the estate, which was once a home for the Century Manufacturing Company’s Snyder family, holds a museum on Rosendale history and a collection of horse carriages and sleighs.

The property is fascinating in itself, but the true attraction lies just outside of the estate. Near Williams Lake, the Widow Jane Mine is a former cement mine that occasionally hosts performances and sculpture exhibits. If it’s open when you visit, don’t pass up the chance to see its semi-haunting beauty for yourself.

12:30 p.m. – Dig into lunch by the water at Creekside Bar & Bistro

1128 Route 32, Rosendale


Head to Creekside Bar & Bistro when the lunchtime hunger pangs strike. With a focus on gastropub fare, the eatery walks the line between easy bar food and elegant bistro-style fare. Start with the coconut shrimp served with an apricot sweet chili sauce, then dive into zippy Cajun grilled salmon or Creekside’s New York strip steak. If burgers are what you crave, opt for the classic cheeseburger or—if you prefer plant-based fare—try the Beyond burger.

P.S. In the warmer months, ask for a table outside. The bistro is right next to the Rondout Creek, which means you’ll hear the rippling waters while you enjoy lunch in town.

2 p.m. – Shop local on Rosendale’s Main Street

Rosendale’s pint-sized atmosphere mean it’s a dream home for small business owners who crave a sense of community on Main Street. After you settle out at Creekside, stick around town and meander through The Big Cheese for domestic and imported cheddar and charcuterie and Postmark Books for books, flowers, and stationery.

 

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If your pooch is tagging along for your Rosendale adventure, Paws & Tail Pantry stocks everything a pet owner could need. For a more permanent shopping experience, book an appointment for a new tattoo at Guts’N Glory Ink, an all-female artist shop on Main Street.

4 p.m. – Sit back and enjoy a flick at The Rosendale Theatre

408 Main Street, Rosendale


One of the Hudson Valley’s treasured indie theaters, The Rosendale Theatre screens a medley of independent films along with concert performances and live productions. Visit the theater’s website to see which shows are scheduled for the month, then grab some popcorn and pick a seat for an afternoon movie at a steal of a price.

6:30 p.m. – Score a veggie-forward dinner at the Rosendale Café

434 Main Street, Rosendale

 

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Looking for a healthy dinner that tastes delicious, too? Pop into Rosendale Café—it’s about a one-minute walk from the theater—for vegetarian meals that embrace international flavor. For a simple, yet delicious dish, try the spinach garlic quesadilla or the FLT (that’s a BLT with fakin’ bacon). If you’re in the market for something a bit more substantial, fill up the seitan nachos before you hop over to Soy for a beverage.

8 p.m. – Sip an evening cocktail at Soy in Rosendale

419 Main Street, Rosendale

 

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Since leaving the Lower East Side for the cozy banks of the Rondout Creek, Soy has made a name for itself as hub for Japanese home cooking. While the dinner is admittedly fantastic, the sake and shochu menu is worth the visit alone. Sample a shot of the imported drinks or try one of Soy’s signature cocktails. If you’ve a sweet tooth, they taste even better alongside mochi ice cream or a slice of green tea cheesecake.

9 p.m. – Tuck in for the night at The 1850 House Inn & Tavern

435 Main Street, Rosendale

 

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With history at the heart of Rosendale, it only makes sense to spend the night at a hotel that fits the theme. Just a short walk away from Soy, The 1850 House Inn is an 11-room hotel in close proximity to all the town’s main attractions. The rooms are outfitted with a charming mixture of contemporary and vintage décor, and all have private bathrooms.

Did we miss a spot? Let us know where to go to find the best of Rosendale in the comments or by email at edit@hvmag.com.

 

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Related: Here’s How to Spend 24 Hours in Newburgh

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