Autumn in the Hudson Valley is a cornucopia of wonders. The usual suspects—superb scenery, fab retail, fascinating museums, hot live music—are still in the lineup, but they’re joined, and in some cases transformed, by the season’s fine crisp breezes and swaths of red, gold, and orange forest.
Catch your autumn highlights while they last. Soon enough, it’ll be time for ski weekends and puffy coats. Right now, it’s harvest time: time to be thankful for the bounty, human and otherwise, that fills these hills and river towns with so much splendor. Here, then, are some treats not to be missed.
1. peep some leaves
There are various methods that work well here. Total leaf immersion, otherwise known as a walk in the woods, is highly recommended; you’ll be breathing in the clean scent of the leaves’ grand finale with every breath, and likely see some critters scampering around stocking their larders. We advise a trail that climbs to a panoramic view. Get tips at the Hinchey Catskills Visitor Center or the Mohonk Preserve Visitor Center.
Alternatively, you can do a whole lot of peeping from the comfort of your car. Here again, panoramas are the thing. Try Rt. 44/55 (aka Minnewaska Trail) or Rt. 28 West out of Kingston. A third possibility, and a great one: Take a sightseeing cruise on the Hudson and revel in the glories of both shores.
Can’t decide? You could probably squeeze two or even three options into a single weekend, with a bang-up feast/picnic or two in between.
2. SPA sensations
Speaking of immersion, those leaf-peeping hikes can leave you aesthetically sated but achy, and we do get chill breezes in these parts come autumn. Refresh and rejuvenate with a treatment at one of our five-star, eco-friendly spas. Your mind and body will thank you. Why not go all in and try a flotation tank? The reviews are fabulous.
3. fabulous farmy fun
Harvest season means our farmers are rejoicing. This is pretty much true no matter what kind of season they’ve had, because the crops are in and farmers are about to get a bit of (comparative) downtime between harvest and planting. You’ll find corn mazes, live music, and amazing soups and fresh-baked pies abounding. The immersive version of harvest season fun, of course, is to do some harvesting yourself. Get your comfy shoes on and head out among the trees or vines to pick your own apples or pumpkins. It all tastes better when you know exactly where it came from and can thank the plant in person.
4. star gazing
Clear, crisp autumn nights are perfect for this type of fun, refreshingly brisk but not so cold that a late outdoor evening becomes an endurance test. Wear a cozy sweater and bring a pair of binoculars -- there are many spots around here where the lights of civilization don’t drown out the skies’ symphonic perfection. Pairs extremely well with a fire-pit evening and that hard cider you simply could not resist bringing home.
5. cider houses rule
Apple harvest time is cider-drinking time. By the glass, can, or growler, you’ll find the indefatigable creativity of our local cideries in full roar, many with pizza ovens ablaze and live entertainment overlooking the orchards. Whether you like it hard, really hard, or sweetly virginal, the Hudson Valley has historically ruled, rocked, and rolled the world of cider production—and baby, we’re back.
Stone Ridge Orchard: stoneridgeorchard.com
Treasury Cider by Fishkill Farms: fishkillfarms.com
Shawangunk Wine Trail: shawangunkwinetrail.com
Brooklyn Cider House: brooklynciderhouse.com