A long time travel wish was recently fulfilled when I visited the Hudson 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 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, waterfalls, and the Hudson River, the valley has provided inspiration for artists, writers, presidents, actors, and travelers who come to relax and enjoy the abundant natural beauty.
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 (I was mainly in Dutchess County),Hudson Valley is further divided into upper, mid, and lower Hudson Valley. The entire 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 they chose, built their homes in the Hudson Valley.
I discovered friendly people, some of the best food I’ve had anywhere (yes, that includes Italy), and 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 beautiful, I forgot I was lost.
I visited historic estates, had my first taste of New York-produced wines, walked across the Hudson River, ate dinner at the CIA (not that CIA), sailed under the Mid-Hudson Bridge, and finally visited THE Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, made famous by American writer Washington Irving. No, I never saw the headless horseman.
Though I’ve not traveled as much this year as last, I’ve been so lucky to have traveled several places that were on my bucket list. That doesn’t mean I’m taking them off my list. Nope. When I find a place I like, we become friends for life. Just as I continue to travel to Italy and California, the Hudson Valley is one of my new best friends.
Have you been to the Hudson Valley?