12 ∙ Bacchus
5 ∙ Barnabys
11 ∙ Moxie Cupcake
9 ∙ Main Course
14 ∙ Jar'd Wine Pub
2 ∙ Rock and Rye Tavern
19 ∙ Bistro Mountain Store
22 ∙ TuthillHouse
21 ∙ Tuthilltown Distillery
24 ∙ Café Mio
20 ∙ Minnewaska Lodge
1 ∙ Mohonk Mountain House
4 ∙ Huguenot Street
13 ∙ Alpine Endeavors at Rock & Snow
15 ∙ Dorsky Museum at SUNY New Paltz
18 ∙ Mohonk Preserve
26 ∙ Wallkill Valley Rail Trail
17 ∙ Jenkins-Lueken
16 ∙ Wallkill View Farm
25 ∙ Wrights Farm
6 ∙ Handmade & More
7 ∙ B & L Jewelers
10 ∙ Rhinebeck Artist's Shop
3 ∙ Pegasus Shoes
14 ∙ Water Street Market
14 ∙ Candy Candy
14 ∙ Eden
14 ∙ Gray Owl
23 ∙ HiHo Home Market
14 ∙ Himalayan Arts
8 ∙ Trailways Bus
There’s something in the air in New Paltz that delights and enchants. Set against a stunning mountain backdrop, New Paltz has more flavors of fun than you can possibly pack into one weekend or week or even season.
If you’re lucky enough to live here, please read on. The scene’s always evolving, and there may be something mentioned here that will tempt you to go out and play tourist in your own town. It can be refreshing and delightful, and you never know who you’ll meet.
Now, for you visitors: it’s easy to get here—only eighty miles from Midtown, about twenty dollars and an hour and a half on a comfy Trailways bus will spirit you to the heart of this community where you can pick your own pace. Whether you’re after healthy outdoor exertions, art of all kinds at its fine university, a decadent meal, alt-rock ecstasies, or all of the above, you’ll find great choices and good company.
From the bus station, walk in to town or grab a cab to wherever you have decided to lay your head. New Paltz Taxi offers $5 local rides; if they’re all booked, you can use Lee’s Taxi or Call-a-Cab. Gazing out the cab window at the downtown strip will whet your appetite for exploration.
Bike rentals are also easy to find. Either the Bicycle Depot or the Bicycle Rack will be happy to hook you up with something just your size and style, freeing you to explore the byways, rail trail, and mountain carriage roads.
FIND YOUR NEST
Once in New Paltz, you’ll begin to understand what a special place you’ve found. You can pamper yourself at our enchanted castle, the legendary Mohonk Mountain House, which has a menu of self-contained delights so complete that you may never need to venture any farther—although you should, because there’s so much else going on! Mohonk will even collect you from the bus station and whisk you off to their sky-top paradise with its jewel-blue lake. Or you may want to stay at Minnewaska Lodge, where you’ll be tucked into the base of the ridge with panoramic views and fed freshly baked cookies with their organic coffee blend. Closer to the village, you’ll find B & B’s with styles as individual as their owners—the common theme is tender loving guest-care. Try the Thornwood Guesthouse, a welcoming and comfortable historical home in mid-Hudson Valley specializing in making your stay special and they host personalized events.
EAT IN STYLE ANY STYLE
When you get hungry, you’ll start to truly understand what it means to be in prime cropland and minutes away from the Culinary Institute of America. At many restaurants in New Paltz, local ingredients blend with artful expertise into dishes the most devoted foodie will dream of after the meal’s long over. Bruce Kazan of the popular Main Course Restaurant and Catering is one of the CIA-trained chefs, and it shows in the eclectic, creative menu. If you’re up for something traditional, try Barnabys Steakhouse, where they’ll sear your dry-aged beef to your precise specifications. To immerse yourself in college-town funky while eating like a monarch, try the eclectic cuisine served up at Bacchus—craft brews, seafood, Mexican, and more can be enjoyed on the outdoor patio, and you can challenge your loved ones in the affiliated pool hall. Just a tad out of the village off of historic Huguenot Street sits Rock & Rye Tavern; here you can savor creatively crafted cocktails while awaiting savory dishes that blend comfort with cutting-edge. Whether for dessert or just because, don’t leave town without experiencing a Moxie Cupcake. Baker Josie Eriole has made cupcakes a life path, and there’s nothing sweeter than one of her creations washed down with an espresso.
FRESH AS IT GETS
Local ingredients are on the menu at all of these fine eateries, and after experiencing them, you’ll naturally want to see where some of them are born. You’ll find exquisite edibles-in-the-raw and a warm reception at local farms. Just across the Wallkill River from the village is the splendid Wallkill View, a farm market and nursery that features fine local produce along with a wide variety of lovingly crafted baked goods, jams, jellies, sauces, and more. Another great local farm, Jenkins-Lueken, offers local honey and syrup alongside imported German candies and you-pick berries and apples in season. People who grow fresh food are special folks, and you’ll feel and taste their greatness at our local farms.
Now that you’re fed, it’s time to play—and New Paltz offers a bouquet of world-class possibilities. If you want to get to know those beautiful rock faces you’re seeing in the background, give Alpine Endeavors a call. They’ll guide you on a technical rock climb in the famed Gunks, bring you on a mountaineering expedition, take you for a hike, and teach you the orienteering and navigation skills to wander with confidence wherever you please. For the gear you’ll need, rock jocks and ski fanatics the world over recommend Rock and Snow on Main Street in the village. There’s nothing they don’t know about enjoying them there hills.
Less strenuous outdoor enchantment is easy to find at Mohonk Preserve, the 8,000-acre natural playground rich in sparkling streams and unique habitats of all sorts. Stop in at the Visitor Center before you roam, and you’ll learn enough about the history and science of the area to feel like it’s your natural habitat too.
At the foot of the mountains, you’ll find the Bistro Mountain Store. Stop in for a fresh-brewed coffee and a delicious sandwich, and pick up some maps and local chatter while you’re there.
If you’d like to know how this special place came to be and enrich your understanding of early America, don’t miss Historic Huguenot Street. The oldest street in the United States with its original houses still standing, this district is a great place to tour or just take a peaceful stroll. Check out their website to see what’s going on; the folks in charge are always coming up with fresh and delicious interactive programming.
Another cultural gold mine is the Samuel Dorsky Museum, located on the SUNY New Paltz campus. With a stellar collection of over 5,000 works in six galleries — over 9,000 square feet of art in all — encompassing everything from ancient artifacts to cutting-edge metal work, art lovers will find a feast at the Dorsky.
New Paltz is a great place to shop till you drop (or at least stop for a glass of wine). For forty years, Handmade & More has been presenting local and global crafts and gifts; along the way, they’ve added clothing that qualifies as wearable art and sumptuous home goods. If you came by bus, don’t worry—they’ll ship your purchase to your door. Creative types (who may well feel so at home here that they never want to leave) will find bliss at Rhinebeck Artist’s Shop. Run by and for artists, they’ve got all the supplies at great prices, along with a cool selection of novelties and gifts for the kid in anyone.
Need something sparkling? B & L Jewelers is an old-fashioned jewelry shop where you’ll find hometown expertise and classic quality. And for happy feet, don’t miss Pegasus Footwear. They’re all about comfort, style, and options; your feet will love you for this.
At the foot of the hill lies Water Street Market, a European-style shopping village that’s a story in itself. A giant antiques barn where over 26 vendors are always finding new treasures, a sculpture garden, galleries, and spots to sit and people-watch make this a great place to spend an afternoon.
Water Street is chock-full of unique shops to explore. In Eden, you’ll find wearable art of all kinds, including exquisite clothing and hand-crafted jewelry. Pick up some art for your domicile at the Gray Owl Gallery, where they’ve gathered exceptional creations from artists and artisans based all over the Hudson Valley and the Northeast. If you fancy art from faraway places, Himalayan Arts is packed with finery from Tibet and Nepal and information about the area’s Tibetan community.
You can satiate your sweet tooth at Candy Candy, where you’ll find unicorn and other fanciful lollipops, plus a hard-to-find candy selection that will take you back to your childhood. Have a drink and a snack at Jar’d Wine Bar, where they’re pouring local brews and vino as daily happy hour specials and whipping up locally sourced creations, including an ample array of vegetarian and vegan delights.
As you browse Water Street, you may become aware that something special is going on. There are community movie nights and a variety of well-done festivals; the Chalk Art Festival, for example, thrills artists and their audiences alike each summer.
Main Street comes alive on weekend nights in true college town style. You’ll usually find several genres of live music going on at once, all with reasonable cover charges and friendly revelers. It’s a bar scene that’s pretty much unequaled in this part of the Hudson Valley, the birthplace of musical discoveries and many an adventure.
SWEET LITTLE GARDINER
Okay, we’ve just suggested enough ideas for a month’s worth of fun. But while you’re in the area, don’t miss a visit to the neighboring town of Gardiner, just ten minutes south. A couple of decades ago, Gardiner citizens vetoed the addition of a convenient store in the then-lifeless center of their hamlet. Some said it was nuts. But wait till you see what they’ve got going on instead.
Gardiner can be reached by car or scenic biking via the rail trail (located right next to the Water Street Market). But however you get there, do explore the historic hamlet of Tuthilltown. Just west of town, the one-time grist mill has been lovingly renovated by the creative and hospitable Gabriello family into the TuthillHouse at the Mill, serving savory locally sourced cuisine and great drinks in a welcoming atmosphere; it’s elegant without being pretentious. Next door is the Tuthilltown Distillery, the first distillery to open in New York State since prohibition. Take a tasting tour and try the Hudson Baby Bourbon, among other sipper’s delights.
In Gardiner’s central hamlet, you’ll find the HiHo Home Market. This Hudson Valley Magazine award-winner features a dozen rooms full of antiques, crafts, and goodies of all sorts to explore, all housed in a historic building full of charming (and amazingly well-utilized) nooks and crannies.
Hungry? Another award winner awaits. Café Mio features local ingredients lovingly prepared by a friendly chef now doing his very own creative thing whose resume includes the Culinary Institute as well as the legendary DePuy Canal House. Café Mio also has music nights, where fun-loving Gardiner folks like to go for a spirited evening.
Before you leave Gardiner, stop in at Wrights Farm. Five generations of family farming expertise have gone into this land, and the results are expressed in their year-round farm stand. In season, you’ll find apples, cherries, peaches, plums, nectarines, berries, tomatoes, squash . . . to name but a few. There are homemade baked goods and “farm-to-jar” jellies and pickles—tastes of charming Gardiner to take home and savor.
Okay, we realize that’s a lot of things to do. And these are just some highlights. You’re bound to discover even more wonders as you explore, way more than you can fit into a weekend jaunt or a month of Sundays.
But that’s okay. Legend has it that anyone who gets a lung-full of fresh Shawangunk Mountain air is destined to return over and over, bonded to the land and its people— and it’s hard to imagine a happier fate than that. So, c’mon, let yourself get sucked in to the VISITvortex. You’ll be glad you did.
Check out these VISITvortex videos online that feature New Paltz destinations and specialties:
SEE OUR NEW PALTZ VIDEOS AT: