How to Spend the Perfect Summer Weekend in the Hudson Valley

Alexander Liberman, Iliad, 1974–76. Painted steel, 36 ft. x 54 ft. 7 in. x 19 ft. 7 in. © The Alexander Liberman Trust. 

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We tend to get serious wanderlust in the summer—reluctant to let a second pass that’s not filled with amazing eats, incredible sights and engrossing entertainment. Thankfully for tristate area residents, the veritable vacationland that is the Hudson Valley is scarcely an hour away. And come June, the Storm King Summer Solstice provides even more incentive to visit, with an immersive art and food-fueled gathering that ticks all of the boxes above.

But that’s only one way to fill a day—or many—in the heart of the Hudson Valley. So if you’re planning on hightailing it to the heart of New York, we’ve got your bases covered with a slew of suggestions for what to do and where to drink, dine and stay.

To do:

General view of 2018 Summer Solstice Celebration. Photo by Sam Nandez/ Courtesy of Storm King Art Center

Storm King Art Center Summer Solstice: What could be more magical than getting up close and personal with modern art in a 500-acre outdoor museum surrounded by meadows, hills and forests? How about doing so during Storm King’s annual Summer Solstice, held on June 22 this year? Not only can you view major works in Storm King’s 2019 special exhibitions “Mark Dion: Follies” and “Outlooks: Jean Shin”, the evening will include a cocktail reception, private tours and a three-course meal designed by Gail Simmons and inspired by the local region. Look for heirloom grains with cranberry beans and snap peas, piri piri chicken paired with turnips, carrots and lemon, and sticky maple pudding cake, topped with strawberries, rhubarb and whipped cream.

Black Rock Forest: Don’t forget to pack your hiking boots during a Hudson Valley visit, as the trails and views in breathtaking Black Rock are not to be missed. That said, make sure to be a thoughtful steward to the land, as the 3,838-acre forest is primarily a living laboratory for field-based research, education and conservation.

Brotherhood Winery/Palaia Vineyards: The Shawangunk Wine Trail cuts its way through Cornwall, helping facilitate a boozy, daylong journey (as long as you have a dedicated driver, of course!). Brotherhood is America’s oldest winery, with over 180 years of bragging rights and truly sensational vino (they even make sparkling varieties). And Palaia—which bills itself as Hudson Valley’s Hippie Winery—is good for a truly groovy time, thanks to live music, wine slushies and a full pub menu, enjoyed in a 200-year-old barn.

To eat:

Jones Farm: Not only is Jones a working, 100-plus-year-old family farm (featuring fresh, seasonal produce—asparagus, rhubarb, arugula and more during the summer months), it features a made-from-scratch bakery and a farm-to-table café with rotating, seasonal breakfast and lunch specialties. The farm’s old dairy barn has been converted to one of the largest gift stores in the Hudson Valley and boasts an array of home decor, jewelry, clothing and children’s toys sourced from local artists and vendors. Start your day here with a country omelet, iced coffee and cookie enjoyed in full view of the Hudson Highlands Mountains.

Ms. Fairfax: You’ll only have to drive 14 minutes from Storm King to access elevated share plates (such as shallot fried cheese and vegetarian mushroom pâté) as well as elegant main courses (think pinot noir– and sour cherry–sauced chicken, chermoula eggplant and seafood stew) and creative craft cocktails at this charmer on historic Liberty Street, located in nearby Newburgh.

Painters: This centrally situated inn, art gallery and restaurant (which originally opened in 1985, in the old Storm King Theater) makes an ideal home base for a Hudson Valley weekend. You’ll definitely want to act fast in order to nab one of the seven lovely rooms. Although you don’t need to be a guest in order to take advantage of an all-day menu (including calamari salad, wild mushroom focaccia and grilled hanger steak) as well as the Saturday breakfast or Sparkling Brunch with complimentary bellinis, mimosas or wine.

To stay:

Cromwell Manor Inn: The rooms in this romantic B&B are divided between two historic, picturesque locations. There’s the Manor House, a brick mansion built in 1820, where many of the accommodations boast four-poster beds and wood-burning fireplaces (the so-named Storm King room even has views of the Black Rock Forest Preserve). Then there’s the more intimate 1764 House, offering charming colonial ambience and four rooms with private baths. We’re partial to the Hambleton, a dog-friendly dwelling with original wood plank walls, mountainside views and a free-standing soaking tub.

Caldwell House Bed & Breakfast: A full, three-course breakfast is only one of the alluring amenities promised at this gorgeously restored colonial, erected when Thomas Jefferson was president! Relax in front of the fire in the parlor, play chess or backgammon in the game room, explore the grounds leading up to the Moodna Creek, and lose yourself among the luxurious linens in one of the beautifully appointed guest quarters.

And the best part is, both spots offer a 10% discount to Summer Solstice guests!