A long time travel wish was recently fulfilled when I visited the Hudson River Valley during peak foliage season.
Little did I know the Hudson Valley has a lot more going on than foliage, though it is easy to see why that is a big draw. The Hudson Valley is spectacular at any time of year, but mother nature really does a nice job of decorating with autumn color.
Nature lovers have been painting, photographing, hiking, sailing, and exploring the Hudson Valley for centuries. Heavily wooded, with dramatic cliffs and waterfalls, the valley has provided inspiration for artists, writers, and presidents, who come to relax and enjoy the abundant natural beauty.
The Hudson Valley is a National Heritage Area
In 1610, an English explorer named Henry Hudson discovered the Hudson Valley quite by accident while looking for a short cut to China. The Hudson River runs north-south through the valley along the eastern border of New York state. Comprised of ten sections, or counties, the Hudson Valley is further divided into upper, mid, and lower Hudson Valley. The entire Hudson Valley has been designated a National Heritage Area.
Though I only had a few days to explore, it was enough for me to relax into the slower pace of life that exists there. It was easy to see why President Roosevelt and Washington Irving, important and worldly men who could make their home anywhere at all, chose the Hudson Valley.
I met friendly people, dined on delicious food and wine, and discovered the rich history of this part of the United States. I learned to appreciate Colonial architecture, swooned over scenic waterfalls, and found myself more than once on a country road so scenic I forgot I was lost.
Things to do in the Hudson Valley
Be sure to visit the Vanderbilt Mansion which has spectacular drive-up appeal; the former home of United States President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, both places are located right on the river.
In Poughkeepsie, you definitely will want to visit the Walkway Over the Hudson; eat dinner at the CIA (not that CIA), and sail under the Mid-Hudson Bridge.
One of the most memorable historical homes I visited was Sunnyside, the charming home of American author Washington Irving. While you’re in Tarrytown you’ll want to pay a visit to THE Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. No, I never saw the headless horseman.
This year I have traveled to several places that have been on my bucket list for some time. However, now that I’ve been to the Hudson Valley, that doesn’t mean I’m removing it from my list. Nope. When I find a place I like I nurture that relationship. Just as I continue to travel to Italy and California, the Hudson Valley is now a lifelong friend.