So, without further ado, here is my Top 20 List for the Hudson Valley.
1. The CIA. No, not that one. The Culinary Institute of America is about a 6 minute drive for me. The grounds are amazing, the restaurants-to die for.
2. Restaurants. Many of those CIA grad's stick around to open their own restaurants and we have some of the best in the area. We can find everything from cafes, French, Italian, Chinese, Thai, Japanese, Steakhouses and Indian. We have it all!
3. The Hudson River. It's beautiful, photogenic and well-traveled. Especially in the summer. You can go boating, fishing, water-skiing or take a tour boat and do some sightseeing. And my local crossing, called the Mid-Hudson Bridge is a small suspension bridge that provides a stunning scene day or night.
4. Drive In Theaters. Yep, they are still around here. In fact, we have two!
5. Big old houses. The city of Poughkeepsie, as well as other cities in my area, are home to some grand historic houses, many of which have been restored. I love to drive by and look at the wrap around porches, stained glass windows and original woodworking on some of the best on Garfield Place, Franklin and Academy Street.
6. Farmers Markets. There are about fourteen markets in our area. Three are close enough to frequent often and support our local farmers. I love that it's so easy to get everything from local honey to flowers to wine.
7. Organic and Slow Food Movement. There is a big focus on this in our Hudson Valley Region. Places like Sprout Creek Farm make local cheese, Fleisher's specializes in grass fed meats, Hudson Valley Fresh distributes organic milk and Mother Earthhas always carried organic foods. Many local restaurants have adopted this philosophy as well, which makes it so easy to eat healthy!
8. Wildlife. Bunnies, deer, groundhogs, squirrels, wild turkey, pheasants, black bear, foxes, chipmunks, bald eagles, owls and great blue herons…not to mention thousands of birds. We are a veritable Noah's Ark here in the HV. And I love that!
9. Spring and Fall. Winter is cold and Summer, hot and humid. But the Spring brings bright blue skies, lush greenery, tons of blooming trees and flowers galore. We get the most beautiful colored foliage in the fall, as well as pumpkins, apples, cider, hayrides, Halloween and cool, crisp temperatures.
10. Antiques and Flea Markets. Our area is old. It is loaded with antique shops, barns, junk gems, salvage yards auction houses and flea markets. It is a flea market girls paradise!
11. Diners. A thing of the past, many have disappeared. We have about 8 in our area. Many are open 24 hours a day, a perfect stop after you go out partying!
12. Historic Sites. The Vanderbilt Mansion, Mills Mansion, Montgomery Place, FDR Home and Valkill are just a few of the great places to tour historic mansions, walk the beautifully manicured grounds and learn about the rich and interesting history of New York State. They make great spots for picnics too.
13. Proximity to NYC. Just one hour and 40 minutes by train makes New York City a quick and easy trip for me. For about $25 round trip, I can have a day in the Big Apple…anytime I want!
14. The Art Scene. With museums like DIA, community theaters like the County Players and the Rhinebeck Performing Arts Center, Upstate Theater for cultural, foreign and indie films that don't hit the big cinemas and tons of art galleries, you never have to go far to appreciate art in the Hudson Valley.
16. Stewart Airport. The Port Authority is spending beaucoup bucks to upgrade and expand the local airport. It recently became an international airport, which is great. However, I am still waiting for affordable flights to Europe, so I can leave from my back-door!
17. Rhinebeck. A perfect mix of everything I have listed here. It's a mini-SOHO, with a small town feel. Boutiques, galleries, B&B's (including the oldest Inn in America, where George Washington slept) and 27 different restaurants make this my favorite little town in the area.
18. The Bardavon. Another historic wonder, restored. The inside is magical, romantic and charming. It is home to the Hudson Valley Philharmonic. Great classical concerts as well as Opera, classical movies on the big screen and big name shows like Chris Botti, Madeline Peyroux and Blondie.
19. The Mountains. Bear Mountain to the South, the Catskills to the North-west and the Berkshires to the North-East. Great for hiking, skiing, exploring or just looking at the scenery.
20. Italian Influence. Other than the numerous Italian restaurants in our area, we have a local Italian Center, several different Italian festivals in the Summer and many gourmet Italian food stores like Rossi's Deli, Roma Deli, Leonardo's and Joe's Italian Marketplace.
So, that's my Top 20. What do ya think? Wanna come for a visit?
If so, feel free to contact me, as I would be glad to make recommendations or to help plan your HV itinerary.
Now, run right over to Cherrye's for her Top 15 List for Catanzaro.