There’s nothing like a vacation — even a short one nearby — to get you out of the doldrums. Depending on whom you’re traveling with, the following towns in the Hudson River Valley are perfect for family units, friendship groups, and romantic couples. From Hyde Park to Albany, there’s a getaway to suit everyone.
FAMILY ROAD TRIP
Albany is the New York State Capital City, with a neoclassical Capitol Building that stands in juxtaposition to the lean, modern structures on the Empire State Plaza. The city is a perfect place to learn about history and offers tons of family-friendly things to do.
THINGS TO DO
The interactive New York State Museum is a kid-favorite. And families with older kids will appreciate the “Million Dollar Staircase” story on a tour of the NY State Capitol Building.
Want to give the kids a birds-eye view of the city? Take a quick elevator ride to the 42nd Floor Observation Deck of the Corning Tower for unsurpassed views of three states.
Walk a quarter-mile underground on the Empire State Plaza Concourse from the NY State Capitol Building to New York State Museum. The Concourse extends beneath the entire Empire State Plaza and is lined with merchants and a unique collection of Mid-Century Modern Art.
Explore nature with the whole family at the Albany Pine Bush Preserve, where you’ll find beautiful Blue Karner Blue Butterflies, blueberry bushes, and Wild Blue Lupine flowers, along with other kid-friendly activities.
The Albany Skyway just opened in spring 2022 and this elevated pedestrian park connects the Hudson Riverfront with downtown Albany’s restaurants, shops, performing arts venues, public art and more.
Everyone loves a County Fair! The Altamont Fair runs Aug. 16-21, and includes live music, antique farm machinery, Carnival rides, and, of course, farm animals.
Stay at the recently renovated Crowne Plaza Albany — The Desmond Hotel. Rates from $160 per night.
Couples interested in the origins of our country, along with some good shopping, and splurgy overnights in cool boutique hotels, will find lots to love about Kingston.
The majority of the attractions and shopping are found “Uptown,” aka, The Stockade District, where the first settlers fortified themselves against the indigenous Esopus tribe, and down on the riverfront — the Rondout — where canal barges and tourist steamships once vied for space.
Now, both areas of Kingston are growing in popularity, as boutique inns and hotels set up shop in those districts.
THINGS TO DO
Get the dirt on early Dutch Settlers at Matthewis Persen House, built more than 100 years before the American Revolution (1661). The tour covers fashion, medicine, laws and economics of the day. Open June through August.
Swim in Hudson River at the newly named Sojourner Truth State Park. This 500-acre park, with a mile of river coastline, was named for the escaped slave and abolitionist (birth name Isabella Baumfree) who, in 1828, successfully filed a lawsuit against her former enslaver, at the Ulster County Courthouse in Kingston, to release her 5-year-old son, Peter, from the slaveholders he was sold to in Alabama. Truth was the first Black woman to ever win a case against a White man.
Take a themed narrated cruise on the 100% Solar-Powered Solaris from Hudson River Maritime Museum. Tour the Rondout, learn about the Lighthouse, or watch the sunset from this cruise-boat completely powered by the sun. Tickets also allow access to the very engaging museum. June-October.
Although you’ll find stretchy Karina dresses in stores and boutiques all over the country, Karina Cousineau sews and sells her flattering designs from her brick and mortar shop/studio in the Stockade District
Buy leather goods at Jay Teske Leather, a modest little shop in the Rondout, known around the world for its custom motorcycle and bicycle seats, and now getting into architectural leather elements for the home.
GRAB A BITE
Keegan Ales was a craft brewery pioneer when it opened in Kingston in 2003. By 2010, “Mother’s Milk” was declared one of the Top 10 Stouts in North America. It’s remains a local icon.
Check out Le Canard Enchaine, a quaint French bistro which is a local date-night favorite for couples looking for a romantic dining experience.
Hotel Kinsley encompasses four unique properties dating from the 17th — 19th centuries, restored to boutique luxury standards. Rates from $275 per night, weekends from $345.
The innkeeper at The Forsyth B&B welcomes you to her art-filled B&B with a bespoke cocktail. Rates from $249 include a 3-course gourmet breakfast
Dote on your favorite person in a private rustic-lux cabin at Hutton Brickyards. Some overlook the Hudson River. Summer rates from $475.
WEEKEND WITH FRIENDS
Hyde Park is known primarily for three things: The Culinary Institute of America (C.I.A.), Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, and Gilded Age mansions. So, gather some foodie friends for a glitzy, historic getaway.
THINGS TO DO
Visit the birthplace and final resting place of FDR, the only U.S. president elected to four terms, at the Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site.
Get the Real Scoop About Gilded Age characters at both Staatsburgh State Historic Site and Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site. The ostentatious display of wealth during The Gilded Age is on full display at both.
Of course, most people know about the riches of the Vanderbilt family. But few know about the estate of Ogden and Ruth Livingston Mills, The Mills Mansion at Staatsburgh. Fans of the HBO series "The Gilded Age" might see similarities between the fictional Mrs. Russell and the real, social climbing Ruth Mills, who increased the size of her original Staatsburgh home from 25 rooms to the current 79. Sign up for the new Real Gilded Age Tour, Saturdays and Sundays from late May through June 18 at 1 p.m.
If reopened, visit Eleanor Roosevelt’s modest cottage, Val-Kill at the Eleanor Roosevelt NHS, the only National Historic Site dedicated to a First Lady. Park grounds including the parking lot and trails are available every day from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Tour The C.I.A. and then book a meal there. One of the world’s premier culinary colleges, the Culinary Institute of America turns out some of the best chefs in the United States. Take an hourlong guided tour that gives you a glimpse into the life of a culinary student.
GRAB A BITE
For dining at the Culinary Institute, you must make reservations in advance for a coveted seat at Bocuse, American Bounty, or Ristorante Caterina de’ Medici. Or if those are unavailable, try the casual Apple Pie Bakery Café, the food is first class.
Homewood Suites by Hilton Poughkeepsie is 6 miles from Hyde Park for groups looking to spend a night or the weekend. Rates from $190 midweek, from $275 weekends in summer.