Winter has arrived in the Hudson Valley and, while the temperatures may be dropping, the opportunities for adventure in the region are on the rise. Ward off cabin fever, try something new, and make the most of the winter months with these 10 fun seasonal activities.
1. cut down your own christmas tree
What better way to start feeling festive than finding—and cutting down—your very own picture-perfect Christmas tree? Lucky for us, there’s no shortage of excellent cut-your-own-tree farms in the region. Spots like Bell’s Christmas Trees in Accord make tree shopping easy and fun. Pro tip: Give your freshly chopped tree a small trim once you’ve brought it home and immediately set it down in a tree stand that can hold at least a gallon of water for optimal hydration.
2. plan a relaxing winter staycation
If your idea of a good time when the mercury starts to drop involves rest and relaxation, consider planning a winter-themed staycation. Various inns and spas throughout the region are perfect for a weekend getaway, with easy access to charming nearby towns, cozy rooms with fireplaces, and in-house taverns and restaurants serving up some of the finest local cuisine.
3. cozy up with a festive drink
If braving the elements isn’t in the cards for you, consider sampling festive beverage options at your favorite local haunts. Plenty of independent cafés offer seasonal coffees or espresso drinks, and bars that sell locally brewed beers or ciders are sure to feature whatever flavors are in season. Bring a good read or good company along for the adventure and make yourself comfortable. Cheers!
4. head to the slopes
It’s no secret that the Hudson Valley and the Catskills boast some of the premiere ski spots in the tristate area. Belleayre Mountain in Highmount and Plattekill Mountain in Roxbury are beloved by locals for their family-friendly, off-the-beaten-path feel. Hunter Mountain is as scenic as its slopes, and winter sporting options are varied.
5. give back to your community
In the spirit of the holidays, consider spending some spare time volunteering for a local nonprofit, community organization, or dedicated cause that means something to you. Make it a whole-day affair by bringing family or friends along. Giving back is always a rewarding experience, and enjoying the company of loved ones in the process is a surefire way to kickstart a new winter tradition.
6. hit the ice
Grab your skates and layer up to enjoy ice skating at any of the Hudson Valley’s varied venues. Indoor arenas like Kiwanis Ice Arena in Saugerties or Ice Time Sports Complex in Newburgh offer rental skates, public skating hours for a small fee, and lessons for first-timers. If you’re itching for a more authentic winter experience, hit the ice at an outdoor spot like Mohonk Mountain House Pavilion Ice Rink in New Paltz or the Pine Ridge Dude Ranch in Kerhonkson, both of which pair scenic views with a classic family-friendly winter pastime.
7. try snowshoeing
Though not as popular as skiing, snowshoeing is an equally fun way to get moving and enjoy the natural beauty this region has to offer come wintertime. It’s also perfect for recreational hikers itching to beat cabin fever when their favorite trailheads are covered in snow. Parks and sprawling nature preserves like Mohonk Preserve in New Paltz, Catskill Forest Preserve in Big Indian, or Fahnestock Winter Park in Cold Spring all feature beautiful trails for snowshoers of different skill levels. Various rail trail systems throughout the Hudson Valley are perfect for getting in some exercise any time of year.
8. make your own holiday gifts
Getting crafty during the holiday season is a great way to beat boredom, learn a new skill, and perhaps save a little money on holiday gifts for family and friends. Try your hand at a traditional craft by taking lessons in pottery (try Stone Window Gallery in Accord), basketry (try Circle Creative Collective), or knitting (try White Barn Sheep and Wool in New Paltz), to name just a few. You’ll be able to take the skills you learn with you and present a loved one with a unique, handmade present—a win-win.
9. go cross-country skiing
Too intimidated by heights to tackle traditional skiing? Cross-country skiing might be worth a shot. This endurance-based sport offers the best of both worlds: beautiful scenery and an excellent, highly physical workout. Most of the region’s popular skiing destinations also have cross-country trails, and scenic parks—think Minnewaska State Park in New Paltz or Mohonk Preserve in Gardiner—offer fun trails and stunning views.
10. take in a show or art exhibit
The Hudson Valley and Catskills are known for their eclectic cultural experiences, and that doesn’t change during the winter. Arts and music venues like Bethel Woods and BSP Kingston host concerts year-round. Enjoy a contemporary theatrical performance at Shadowland Stages in Ellenville or the Denizen Theatre in New Paltz. If fine art is more your speed, check out the current exhibitions at Dia:Beacon or the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz.