A Winter Well Spent in the Hudson Valley

There's an undeniable draw to our charming, lush valley, beckoning crowds from both near- New York City is a mere 80 miles south- and far- especially true of our international rock climbing friends set on scaling the renowned Shawangunk Ridge. The Hudson Valley is steeped in rich history, art and culture, abounding natural beauty and a flourishing culinary ensemble. From majestic Hudson River views and leaf littered mountain roads that wind through charming little villages, to the incredible farm-to-fork restaurants, countless historic sites (did you know that Kingston was the original capital of NY?!), endless hiking trails, dozens of wineries and microbreweries, and the simple peace and quiet, there's much to savor in our neck of the woods. Here we offer you some of our favorites places to eat, play, stay & explore this winter:


EXPLOREWilderstein Mansion, Rhinebeck, NY

photo by John M. Hall via the New York Times

Perched along the Hudson River framed by tall cedars and evergreens stands the stately 35-room mansion Wilderstein. The property was originally built in 1852 by Thomas Suckley, a descendant of the Beekman and Livingston families whose estate houses were prominent landmarks in the area. Suckley named the property “Wilderstein” (meaning wild man’s stone) in reference to a nearby Indian petroglyph, an allusive reminder of a cultural heritage that preceded European settlements in the region. The Wilderstein's Gilded Era opulence took notes from royal European decor- walls sparkling in gold are trimmed with ornate moldings that frame Renaissance-style painted ceilings and marble fireplaces amidst a sea of lavishly crafted marquetry-embellished furnishings and romantic crystal chandeliers. How could you resist a tour?! 


PLAY: Lake Minnewaska, Gardiner, NY

Lake Minnewaska Hudson Valley NY Hiking Skylake

photo by Bea Rue

Venture about Minnewaska State Park Preserve for countless waterfalls, three pristine sky lakes, and endless hiking. Be sure to stop by Lake Minnewaska, an ancient and magical glacial pool that flows down to the valley below from the mighty Shawangunk Ridge. Rising more than 2,000 feet above sea level, the forested footpaths that wrap around the lake lead to some of the Hudson Valley's most monumental cliff views. Perfect for hiking, biking, rock climbing and horseback riding year round, and cross country skiing in the winter, Lake Minnewaska is not to be missed during your next Hudson Valley visit.


EAT & SHOPThe Big Cheese Cafe & Thrift Store, Rosendale, NY

The Big Cheese Rosendale NY Mediterranean Platter

photo provided by The Big Cheese

Where else can you sample the finest cheese in the world, enjoy a heaping Mediterranean platter (ask for the homemade babaganoush!), and peruse a collection of uber hip Cowboy boots and vintage sweaters all under the same roof? You guessed it- The Big Cheese. This Rosendale gem boasts a wide selection of imported & domestic cheeses, farm fresh Middle Eastern fare, and an eclectic thrift shop in the back, complete with books, clothes, handbags & housewares. There's also a small market of imported chocolates and gourmet goodies. Remember- the stinkier the cheese the better. Tell Yuvall we sent you!


High Falls NY 1840s Greek Revival Sterrett Smith Bed & Breakfast

photo provided by Sterrett Smith

True tranquility within an inspired setting, Sterrett Smith offers an array of Bed & Breakfasts in the charming hamlet of High Falls, perfect for a weekend getaway, or two! At the Greek Revival you can expect a beautifully restored historic home with its original moldings, wide plank floors and working fireplaces, plus all the modern fixins: comfy foam-topped king sized beds, washer & dryer, wifi, air conditioning, and a full kitchen. Every room is flooded with natural light and an eclectic mix of antique, modern and Indian furnishings (many from Nectar!). Plus all her properties are kid and dog friendly, though there's never a trace of evidence to be found!


PLAY: The Bardavon 1869 Opera House, Poughkeepsie, NY

Bardavon Opera House Thetre Hudson Valley Poughkeepsie NY

photo by Poughkeesie Journal via The Miscellany News

The commanding 944-seat Bardavon Opera House theater in Poughkeepsie is the oldest continuously operating theater in New York State and amongst the oldest in the nation, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It's also home to the region’s premiere orchestra, the Hudson Valley Philharmonic. The Bardavon's flashing marquee announces an endless array of inspiring live performances across all genres of theater, dance, music, film and opera. Celebrated acts have included Mark Twain, John Barrymore, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, Frank Sinatra, Dizzy Gillespie, Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan and George Carlin, just to name a few. Be sure to check their performance calendar during your next visit!


EAT: A Tavola Trattoria, New Paltz, NY

A Tavola Restaurant New Paltz NY Hudson Valley Best Restaurants

photo courtesy of A Tavola Trattoria

Sweet potato gnocchi in wild boar ragu topped with bittersweet chocolate pecorino. Wild mushroom cakes with avocado pesto & red pepper coulis. Rosted heirloom cauliflower served with local hen of the woods, a poached farm egg & shaved piave cheese. If that doesn't give you a sense of A Tavola's distinguished palate, I'd like to add that it's my absolute favorite restaurant in all of the Hudson Valley. I repeat: absolute favorite. Italian for "at the table," A Tavola's seasonally inspired offerings meld local farm fresh heirloom ingredients with homemade recipes that beckon the Italian countryside. Don't forget to leave room for the house-made desserts!


And don't forget to stop by our two shops during your stay here in the Hudson Valley!

Nectar is located in both High Falls (1412 State Route 213, High Falls, NY 12440  |  (845) 687-2870) and Rhinebeck (47 East Market Street, Rhinebeck, NY 12572  |  (845) 516-4791), and open 7 days a week. Join us for a cup of tea as you peruse some of the area's finest local goods, as well as thousands of furnishings, textiles, kitchenware & tabletop items, art, jewelry, kid's goods, and rare antiques from our world community. We hope to see you soon!


For a more comprehensive guide and many, many more fabulous suggestions on Hudson Valley happenings, be sure to check out Visit Vortex

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