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STONE RIDGE, New York, USA
Top Things To See and Do In Stone Ridge, New York, contributed by James , who blogs at Travel Collecting , is the twelfth small town exposé in the series Small Town Explorer. You can find James bio at the end of this post. Follow James on Pinterest.
The villages and towns we visit in our travels are often the hidden gems of a country or region. In this series readers are introduced to small centers around the globe, from travel bloggers who have experienced the location firsthand; featuring their uniqueness, their history, what to see and do, and often where to stay and where to dine.
Stone Ridge is a small hamlet (population just over 1,000) in the Hudson Valley, north of New York City in the United States. It was established in the 1700s and the main street, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, has several stone houses dating from this period. The grandest is the Cornelius Wynkoop Stone House, a Georgian-style stone house dating from 1772, where George Washington spent a night. However, Stone Ridge has much more than a few historic houses to make it a great place to visit.
WHAT TO SEE AND DO
1. Fruit picking and leaf peeping
The Hudson Valley is a hotspot for agritourism, and there are lots of(think apple picking, pumpkin picking, leaf peeping and corn mazes); the spring (cherry picking and visiting flower gardens); and the summer (peach picking, hiking, picnicking and more).
I love going to farms and picking fruit (and eating my fill at the same time!) and then going home with fruit that is full of flavor because it was picked fresh. It’s great for baking – and just eating. An obvious choice is Stone Ridge Orchard, right on the edge of town. They have u-pick fruits throughout the growing season including strawberries, raspberries, and red currants in the summer, and apples and pears in the fall. They also grow and sell (not u-pick) seasonal sweet cherries, peaches, nectarines, and plums. There are many other farms in the area that have u-pick fruit including Jenkins-Leukin Orchards near New Paltz (my favorite pumpkin patch) about 30 minutes away, and Prospect Hill Orchards (my favorite cherries) in Milton, about a 45-minute drive away.
2. Farm Animals
A really great place for the whole family to visit is the Woodstock Farm Sanctuary. This farm was created as a sanctuary for farm animals (chickens, cows, goats, sheep, turkeys, ducks and more) that were otherwise headed to the slaughterhouse. They have free one-hour tours throughout the day where they explain more about the animals, and there are signs throughout giving information about the farm and the meat industry. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, you will love it. If you are a meat eater, as I am, it is still a heart-warming place to visit (although it may make you feel a little guilty about your carnivorous ways). It’s open April through October at 2 Rescue Road/8 Epworth Lane, High Falls, a five-minute drive from Stone Ridge. There is a suggested donation of $10 per person.
3. Hiking, Cycling and Cross-country Skiing
Spring through fall are perfect for hiking, and there are several awesome hiking areas. Some of them are also great for cross-country skiing or snowshoeing in the winter.
- Minnewaska State Park has easy trails dotted with spring flowers, a beautiful lake with a tiny beach for swimming in summer, and beautiful foliage in the fall. It costs $10 per car to enter and park.
2.has dozens of hiking trails around the Shawgunks. Check out the Visitor Center for maps of trails and trailheads. Each trailhead has a small parking area only, so it is best to get there early in the day before the parking lot gets full. This is also a hot spot for rock climbing, which you can do, or just watch. It costs $15/ person/ day for hikers and $20/ day for bikers, climbers, and horseback riders. Some of these trails are also set aside for cross-country skiers in the winter.
3. The adjacent Mohonk Mountain House is a fantastical 19th Century mountain resort out of a fairytale. The resort is set around a lake and there are multiple trails in the surrounding woods. Day access to the grounds only is $27 per person. You can also book breakfast or brunch in the mountain house, which also gives you access to the house and grounds. The resort offers various activities throughout the year, including snowshoeing and ice skating in the winter.
4.is more of a walk more than a hike. This is an old rail bridge over the Hudson River between Highland and Poughkeepsie. The bridge, 212 feet above the river, is now a pedestrian walkway and has spectacular views of the river, as well as signs highlighting key aspects of the bridge’s history, the river’s ecology, etc. From Stone Ridge, Highland is a 40-minute drive. You can walk across the bridge to Poughkeepsie and have lunch in one of the nearby restaurants by the river, then walk back. Keep in mind that there is no shade, so it can get hot on a sunny summer day.
5.is a flat, wooded path along a former railway (the tracks are long gone). It goes for 22 miles from Wallkill to Kingston and there are several places along the way that you can pick up the trail. The easiest place to start and end is Rosendale, just a 15-minute drive away. It’s lovely to walk along the trail, but even better to cycle. You can rent a bike from TRT Bicycles in Rosendale ($20/ hour or $40/ day) and then join the trail just before or just after the trestle bridge (you can’t miss it!). Ride all the way to New Paltz and have lunch there, or stop off at the Rail Trail Café along the way. This outdoor cafe often has live music sessions on summer weekends. Relaxing with a slice of wood-fire oven pizza and a glass of beer while listening to music, surrounded by the woods, is a perfect way to spend a hot summer afternoon.
The Hudson Valley was where rich New Yorkers escaped the heat of summer in the city in the 1800s, and there are many historic homes in the area. Many of these mansions have house tours, lawns with beautiful views of the Hudson River and paths to stroll through the surrounding woods, making easy hikes.
Hyde Park, across the river, is not only the location of the Vanderbilt’s Mansion but also the home of Franklyn D. Roosevelt (FDR). Each of the U.S. presidents has a library dedicated to them and their life’s work, as a way of preserving their legacy, and FDR’s is in Hyde Park. FDR is the only U.S. president to serve four terms, and was the president during the Great Depression and the Second World War, so FDR’s library, which has exhibits highlighting his life’s work, is a fascinating walk through major moments in history. In addition to the presidential library, you can visit his home nearby, as well as Val-Kill, the separate home of his equally famous wife, Eleanor Roosevelt, an incredible woman in her own right. Hyde Park is a 45-minute drive from Stone Ridge, and you could easily spend a whole day there.
For something completely different and a step back into a different period of history, there is an old-school drive-in in Hyde Park. It will transport you back to the 50s and 60s and is open throughout the summer months
If you want more history, a half-hour drive north of Stone Ridge is Kingston. The town dates from the 1600s and in 1777 it actually became the first capital of New York State (and was burned to the ground by the British soon after). The Stockade District in the center of town has many stone houses dating back to the 1700s as well as an interesting burial ground at the Dutch Reformed Church. There are also plenty of cute shops and cafes in the area for lunch or a coffee.
A half hour south of Stone Ridge is Historic Huguenot Street in New Paltz, a collection of stone houses dating from the 1600s when a group of Huguenot families built a community there. Some of the houses are lived in, and some are open to visitors.
Strangely for such a small place, there are two museums. The Den of Marbletown is a Teddy Bear Museum, with a café, in Stone Ridge. It’s small but cute. The D & H Canal Museum in neighboring High Falls (about a five-minute drive) highlights the D & H Canal that ran between the Delaware and Hudson Rivers in the 1800s until the advent of the railroads made it obsolete. It’s an interesting museum, and after visiting it, you can walk along part of the remains of the canal.
I love spending time poking around in old antiques shops, looking at objects from another era, hunting for something to decorate my house. You can sometimes find real bargains. There are two antiques stores in Stone Ridge – Stone Ridge Antiques and Lost & Found. In nearby High Falls is Field & Barn, which combines curated antiques with modern home goods. Unsurprisingly given its name, it’s housed in a beautiful old barn.
7. Brewing and distilling
There are two cider houses and a distillery near Stone Ridge. Twin Star Orchards in New Paltz (about 25 minutes from Stone Ridge) and Westwind Orchard in Accord (about 10 minutes from Stone Ridge) are cider houses that both offer free tastings, cider to buy by the bottle or glass, and outdoor woodfire pizza. Twin Stars has a large pavilion out the back, next to a small lake, where you can eat and drink, and Westwind has a large lawn with picnic tables. You can bring kids and dogs easily, so they can run around while you are kicking back and relaxing. Tuthilltown Spirits Distillery is a whiskey distillery with tastings and tours. Their shop also sells maple syrup, vodka, gin & more. They are located in Gardiner, a 30-minute drive from Stone Ridge.
WHERE TO STAY IN STONERIDGE
There are two great places to stay in Stone Ridge, plus other options on Airbnb.
- Hasbrouck House. Hasbrouck House is a beautiful, recently renovated, boutique hotel in an 18th century Dutch Colonial stone mansion right on main street. There are twenty rooms in four buildings clustered near each other. There is also an upscale restaurant, Butterfield.
2. 1712 House. 1712 House is a bed and breakfast on the other side of Stone Ridge with five rooms. There are also two large living rooms with fireplaces (perfect in the snowy winters). The property has eighty acres of fields, woods and lakes, so it’s a great place to unwind.
WHAT AND WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK
For a small village, Stone Ridge has a surprising number of places to eat, in addition to the cider houses mentioned above. Keep in mind that this is the country, so things tend to close fairly early.
- Butterfield. An upscale farm-to-table restaurant at Hasbrouck House with a menu that changes with the seasons. There is also a chic bar area if you just want to pop in for a drink. It’s open for dinner Wednesday-Sunday, 5:00-10: 00 pm and for brunch Saturday and Sunday, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm.
- Benny’s Pizzeria. If you want a slice of New York pizza, this is the place to get it. There is a basic indoor restaurant, but the best thing (apart from the pizza) is the outdoor garden, with lights strung around. It’s a lovely way to spend a summer evening. Open daily 10:30am – 10:00pm (11:00pm Friday and Saturday).
3. Hash. This modern restaurant serves local and organic breakfast, brunch and lunch. Open daily 8:30 am – 4:30 pm.
4. Bodacious Bagel. Another breakfast and lunch place. They have a few tables, but this is mostly takeout. Perfect for a morning coffee and if you need your fix of New York bagels. It’s also a good place to pick up a sandwich if you are going on a long hike or planning a picnic. Open Monday – Friday, 6:30am – 3:00pm and Saturday & Sunday, 7:00am – 2:00pm.
5. The Roost. It looks like a country diner on the outside, but inside is surprisingly modern with a classic modern menu. Open daily 7:00am to 9:00pm.
6. Asia. All kinds of Asian food (surprise, surprise), and a small bar. The food is OK, but the lights are a little bright for my liking. Open Tuesday-Thursday 11:00am-9:30pm; Friday-Saturday 11:00am-10:30pm and Sunday 12:00pm-9:30pm.
7. Momiji. Good Japanese food, including sushi. Open 11:00am-9:30pm (10:30pm Friday and Saturday).
HOW TO GET TO STONE RIDGE, NY
You will need a car to travel there and get around. From New York City, take the New York State Thruway north towards Albany. Take Exit 18 at New Paltz and turn on to Route 32 northbound, then left at Rosendale and left again at the end of the road and you will be on Route 209, which is Main Street, Stone Ridge. It’s a 2-hour drive with good traffic.
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