Along the eastern corridor of Dutchess County into Columbia County, the Harlem Valley has a decidedly New England feel, but it’s still the Hudson Valley. Here, rolling hills, historic village centers and farms make for an idyllic country escape.
Explore: The historic area that inspired poets and writers, like Emerson and Thoreau, still inspires artists like those in residency at the Wassaic Project, a community-based art initiative. Visit during Open Studio days. There’s no more peaceful setting than the World Peace Sanctuary, also in Wassaic. Headquarters of the Peace Prayer Society, the expansive grounds are open to the public to explore the Peace Path, Peace Labrynth, and a century-old Black Walnut grove. This corner of Dutchess County also boasts one of the hottest, little village destinations: Millerton. Bicyclists know it as a starting place for the Harlem Valley Rail Trail, the village offers an eclectic mix of shops, artisan studios like Gilmor Glass and a restored Moviehouse that presents National Theater Live along with indie-films and art exhibits. You’ll find the headquarters of Harney & Sons Fine Teas and Irving Farm Coffee Roasters—both offer tours and tastings. Nearby, horse lovers will love Mountain Valley Farm and access to 4,000 acres of trails, offers riding lessons as well as romantic sunset rides. For a woodland adventure and waterfall views, hike High Falls Conservation Area near Philmont. Just north, in Ghent, stop at Hawthorne Valley Farm, one of the country’s leading biodynamic farms, to stock up on organic goods, farmstead cheeses and lacto-fermented krauts and kimchi at the farm store.
Where to Stay/Eat: Troutbeck in Amenia has a rich history embedded in art and activism. Stay in the historic Manor House or Century Lodge for a quiet weekend exploring the Hudson Valley. Six minutes from the Metro North station at Wassaic, the estate offers transportation to and from the station. Deep-rooted traditions meet modern style in the well-appointed guestrooms. The farm-to-table restaurant serves meals fit for a locavore. Up-valley in Columbia County, stay at the Vanderbilt Lakeside Bar Room & Guesthouse, overlooking Summit Lake in Philmont. New owners and a handsome remodel make guests feel at home in this comfortable lake house. Enjoy a complimentary breakfast, then rent a canoe and venture onto the lake or linger with a book in the parlor. Enjoy supper at the Bar Room, the menu centers on locally-sourced, organic ingredients from farms within five miles. End the night with a lake house tradition and enjoy the nightly bonfire. Crack open a board game with friends and laugh into the night on your lakeside retreat.