Wednesday, July 19, 2017

7 Reasons Why You Need to Visit the Shawangunk Mountains This Summer

Just 90 miles from the hustle and bustle of New York City lies a serene, enchanting landscape of unsurpassed natural beauty which beckons visitors to slow down and indulge their senses with an unforgettable visit to one of the world’s Last Great Places.

Here are seven reasons why you need to visit the Shawangunk Mountains this Summer, and one great incentive to get your family on the road!

1. Jaw Dropping Natural Beauty 
The Shawangunks feature crystal clear sky-lakes, unbelievable waterfalls, glistening rock ledges, and miles-wide panoramic views. Visitors to the popular Minnewaska State Park can get a taste of it all with a peaceful stroll along well managed carriageways.

2. Unbeatable Outdoor Adventures

A hike around nearby Sam’s Point Preserve will reward visitors with an unforgettable crawl through unique “ice cave” caverns, a refreshing stop atop a spectacular 180 foot waterfall, unparallelled scenic views of the southern Catskill Mountains, and a tour around a glacial carved sky-lake.

3. Wonderful Wineries

The Shawangunks offer ideal conditions for a number of varietal vineyards, and local wineries have been producing extraordinary vino for centuries. The Shawangunk Wine Trail offers visitors a taste of the region’s best with stops at fourteen wineries offering demonstrations, cellar tours and wine-tastings year-round!

4. Life on the Edge

The impressive ledges of the Shawangunk Ridge have long been regarded as the Northeast technical rock climbing Mecca, and scaling the world-famous routes  throughout "The Gunks" remains a rite of passage for daring climbers everywhere.

5. Historic Houses

A trip to the Shawangunks region offers visitors an opportunity to step back in time and explore the Oldest Street in America.  An avenue of centuries old colonial buildings which have remained virtually unchanged since before the country was born, Historic Huguenot Street offers visitors tours and special events throughout the year which are sure to engage the imagination.

6. Hands-on Agriculture

Want to take part in a true farm-to-table experience? The Shawangunks region features dozens of family-friendly farms offering pick-your-own fruits and vegetables throughout the season. Nearby Kelder’s Farm invites guests into their fields to hand harvest everything from fresh greens, corn, potatoes and beans to fresh herbs, raspberries and apples. It honestly doesn’t get any fresher than this!

7. Delectable Dining

With the world-renowned Culinary Institute of America in the Shawangunk’s backyard and local growers offering the best fresh produce, meats and cheeses, it’s no surprise that the region boasts some of the most delicious and innovative eateries in the north-east. Offering a surprising array of world cuisines, the funky Shawangunks town of New Paltz has something for everyone, with an emphasis on farm-fresh and locally sourced ingredients.

You’ll find a hundred more reasons to return again and again when you explore the Shawangunks this summer, and we're offering an unbeatable $99 midweek room-only rate so you can stay in the center of it all!

Join us in the heart of the Shawangunk Mountains this summer and we’ll help you make the most of your stay, so call or click today to start planning your upstate family getaway!

Friday, July 7, 2017

The Surprising History of Blueberries in the Shawangunks

Just minutes from the Hudson Valley Resort & Spa, the northern Shawangunk Ridge was once home to a lively seasonal community of transient families who made their living foraging fruits from the wild blueberry bushes which still thrive atop the wind-swept heights of what is now Minnewaska State Park and Sam’s Point Preserve.  

July is wild blueberry season, so we're taking a look at the surprising local history of these precious fruits and the impact they had on the development of our breathtaking mountain home.  

Beginning in the early 1700’s, rugged men and women from the area would make the then long, hard journey through untamed wilds to reach these precious fruits.  A road to the ridge wouldn’t be completed until 1850, and encounters with bears and mountain lions were common.

Makeshift tarpaper squatter shacks began to appear by 1862, and many pickers would return with their families each July to stay through the season.  A good picker could forage 35 quarts of blueberries every day- precious fruits which would then be sold to the local general store, delivered to Catskill Resorts, and shipped down river to the prosperous people of New York City.

It was the completion of Smiley Road in 1901 which really opened the door for the blueberry picking camps by connecting the berry ridge to the nearby village of Ellenville.  By 1920 this scenic carriage road supported several thriving communities of berry pickers who lived on the ridge for just one month each year while the berries were bountiful.

The berry-picking communities were lively places inhabited by good, simple folk living close to the land.  After filling their baskets from sun up to sun down, the berry pickers would gather together and tell stories, play games, dance, drink and sing.  Not all of the camps were family-friendly, though- over time a few rough-and-tumble camps gained a a reputation for rowdiness.

The Berry Pickers were an industrious people who knew that wild blueberry bushes produce the most fruit the year following a wildfire, so after the season’s last berry had been picked the Berry Pickers to sometimes secretly set fire to the Shawangunk ridge to ensure that the next season would produce greater profits.
The folks who started these blazes would sometimes return to the local saloon to await the call for firefighters- the same berry pickers who started the fires were often the ones who were paid to help put them out!

Following World War 2, the changing world economy meant the end of an era for the Shawangunk Berry Pickers.  The rise of commercial blueberry farming made the tart treats an inexpensive and widely available commodity, and reduced demand for blueberries harvested in the wild made it difficult for the Berry Pickers to return.  By the close of the 1950’s, the last of the Berry Pickers had packed up their belongings, and the shanty towns have remained silent ever since. 

More than 60 years later, many artifacts of this unique part of our local history still remain, and several of the Berry Picker’s shanties stand in testimony to this forgotten era.  A walk along the Old Smiley Road reveals many examples, and Minnewaska State Park now manages a public nature preserve here which encompasses some of the most popular berry picking sites.

Sadly, a series of wildfires in 2016 forced the closure of some of the treasured blueberry picking areas for the remainder of last summer, but this year the Berry Picker Footpath is open to the public, and Minnewaska State Park invites visitors to explore their miles of scenic hiking trails, crystal-clear sky lakes and gorgeous mountain views. 

Come celebrate the beloved berry!  The nearby town of Ellenville still pays tribute to this rich local history each year with the Shawangunk Mountain Wild Blueberry Festival which features performances by local musicians, handcrafted gifts, cultural events, entertainment, and of course- all things blueberries!  

Eager to pick your own delicious blueberries?  There's ample opportunity to try your hand at nearby Kelder's Farm which offers visitors a wide range of delicious and healthy farm fresh fruits and vegetables just ripe for the picking!   

Ideally situated just minutes from Minnewaska State Park and the Shawangunk Mountain Blueberry Festival, the Hudson Valley Resort & Spa is the perfect choice for exploring the historic Shawangunk Ridge.  Just 90 miles from NYC, you'll feel a world away.

Featuring indoor and outdoor swimming pools, Jacuzzi, sauna and steam rooms, a fitness center, game room, tennis & basketball courts and so much more, you'll enjoy resort accommodations while exploring all the area has to offer.

Planning a upstate getaway?  Give Hudson Valley Resort & Spa a call today and they'll help you make the most of your stay.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Celebrate Summer: Explore the Outdoors

Summer is here and we’re getting out to explore the outdoors this season by Hiking the Hudson Valley!  With so many unique opportunities for outdoor adventure just minutes away, the Hudson Valley Resort & Spa is the perfect base-camp for hiking & mountain biking in the Shawangunk and Catskill Mountains.

You’ll find five exceptional forest preserves within easy reach of the resort which offer hundreds of miles of scenic trails for hiking and biking through some of the most unique natural landscapes in the Northeast.

Visitors will find a myriad of exciting trails to explore, each with its own allure.  This favorite woodland hike allows visitors to explore some of the most interesting and beautiful features of Minnewaska State Park.

Mossy Glen/Blueberry Run/Castle Point Carriageway Loop
(9 mile loop hike, Moderate Difficulty.  Allow 5.5 Hours)

The Shawangunks are known for their varying terrain and unique micro-habitats, so it can be difficult to experience all they have to offer in just one visit.  The little known Mossy Glen / Blueberry Run / Castle Point Carriageway loop takes hikers on an exhilarating whirlwind tour of the park.

Hudson Valley Hiking: Minnewaska
The hike begins on the Mossy Glen footpath, accessable via the Awosting parking lot.  You’ll walk along the cool Glen through a silent forest of hemlock and mountain laurel, crossing and then following the golden Peter’s Kill brook.  Be sure to enjoy the secluded wading pools as you continue through the shady glades.

Hudson Valley Hiking: Minnewaska Resort
With little warning you’ll emerge from the forest and find yourself crossing a brilliant white exposure of bedrock.  This is an extraordinary example of the famous Minnewaska barrens: a stark, alien landscape punctuated with scrub pine and blueberries.

Hudson Valley Hiking: Mohonk Resort
Now the Peter’s Kill cuts it’s way gently across the exposed bedrock, babbling softly as it flows.  Continue along the trail, past small waterfalls and inviting wading pools before entering a dense and shady rhododendron  thicket.  The blueberry run trail is just ahead.

Hudson Valley Hiking: Minnewaska
You'll emerge from the thicket suddenly to find yourself standing in another slab barren.  Turn left and follow the Blueberry Run footpath.  This moderate ascent will lead you steadily up the ridge through endless wild blueberry bushes, dwarf pitch pine, and stands of mature mountain laurel.

Hudson Valley Hikers
As you gain elevation, you begin to catch glimpses of the park’s famous ridgeline cliffs, standing in stark contrast to the blue sky.  Now you emerge on a massive rock slab offering a stunning northern view of the Catskills which will leave you breathless.  Don’t be fooled: the best is yet to come.

Minnewaska Ridge Resort
Continue along the Blueberry Run to an open rock ledge at the highest point on the trail, and the Castle Point Carriageway is just ahead.  Turn left onto the Carriageway, and you’ll find yourself emerging at Castle Point, a steep promitory with astonishing panoramic views.

Hiker on Minnewaska Ridge
From here you can see the majesty of the Shawangunks and the Hudson Valley:  Lake Awosting is below, Sam's Point may be seen looking to the southwest, Hamilton Point is ahead, and the sheer cliffs of Gertrude’s Nose may be seen to the east across the dramatic Palmaghatt Ravine.

Hiking Minnewaska Park
Turning right back onto the carriageway, you’ll descend gradually along the ridge, with intermittent viewpoints from along the ledge affording gorgeous views of the ravine and the face of Gertrude’s Nose.  Continue to Kempton Ledge and enjoy the view.

Lake Minnewaska with Hiking
Soon, you’ll reach  Lake Minnewaska, a crystal clear high-altitude glacier carved lake with dramatic white cliffs rising in sharp contrast to the brilliant sapphire water.  Swimming is allowed in season, and you’ll be thankful for the opportunity to refresh yourself after the long hike.

Hiking at Minnewaska in Hudson Valley
From here, you’ll follow the scenic Sunset Carriageway a short distance back to the gatehouse.  If you have time for a short side excursion before departing, turn right before the gatehouse for a quick walk to Awosting Falls, one of the most impressive and iconic images in the park.

The Hudson Valley Resort & Spa is just minutes from Minnewaska State park and other popular Hudson Valley hiking & mountain biking areas.  The Mononk Preserve, Sundown Wild Forest, Sam's Point Preserve and the Catskill Forest Preserve are all within easy reach, and each offers visitors exciting opportunities for outdoor recreation.

After a long day on the trail, there's nothing better than a relaxing visit to the spa, and our guests enjoy the use of our Jacuzzi, sauna and steam rooms as well as our beautiful indoor and outdoor pools!  With a fitness center, tennis and basketball, and a golf driving range on site, the Hudson Valley Resort is the perfect place to stay when exploring the Hudson Valley.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Upstate Escapes: Summer Events and Attractions

Summer is just around the corner, and travel to the Hudson Valley Catskills is really starting to heat up!  With endless opportunities for outdoor adventure, an exciting lineup of fairs and cultural festivals, and a thriving farm-to-table and craft beverage movement it’s no wonder the Hudson Valley is quickly becoming one of the top US summertime escapes! 

Outdoor Adventure

Immortalized by the masterpiece landscapes of Hudson River School painters, the epic untamed beauty of the Hudson Valley Catskills offers endless opportunities for outdoor adventure and exploration.

Winding through an unspoiled natural wilderness, the extensive hiking trails  and waterways of the Catskill State Park bring the traveler through serene forests, over cool, clear creeks and up to majestic views so beautiful they inspired an art movement.

The nearby Shawangunk Ridge is a hiking and climbing mecca, and you can experience its beauty at Minnewaska State Park Preserve.  Recognized by The Nature Conservancy as “One of the Last Great Places”, Minnewaska is famous for it’s stunning white cliffs, sapphire blue sky-lakes and unique ecosystem.  It definitely deserves to be on your summer "to do" list.
Canoeing, mountain biking, kayaking, fishing, golfing- the Hudson Valley has something to offer everyone.  Other popular summer-time activities in the region include skydiving, river tubing, hang-gliding, and more!  

Fairs and Festivals

Home to countless fairs, festivals, and cultural events throughout the summer, there’s always something exciting going on in the Hudson Valley.  

Visitors have been flocking to the Ulster County Fair for more than 125 years, and it’s no surprise. There’s nothing like a good, old-fashioned country fair to celebrate the summer!  Featuring rides, games, agricultural exhibits, local crafts and specialties, musical events and entertainment, the Ulster County fair is fun for all!

America's longest running continuous summer chamber music series has been pleasing audiences since 1916, and this year is heating up to be their most exciting season yet! Maverick Concerts invites you to celebrate 100 years of glorious music performed and heard in the historic 1916 concert hall which has echoed in the surrounding woods for visitors to enjoy.  

Growing in popularity each year, the Hudson Valley Rib Fest is the regions largest and most unique BBQ food festival for whole family!  Featuring live music, demonstrations, and of course- the best BBQ ribs in the North East, it’s a two day summer event which is sure to have you coming back for more.

Farm to Table

A recent shift in consumer awareness towards healthier and more sustainable food options has put the Hudson Valley in the spotlight as more and more people are learning what our local growers have known for years- the secret to great food is fresh, locally sourced ingredients.

From fruits & vegetables to honey and maple syrup, artisan breads to small-batch cheeses, the Hudson Valley is producing some of the finest culinary delights on the market today.

Many local farms are inviting people to experience the farm-to-table movement hands-on. Nearby Kelder’s Farm offers educational events, fun for kids, and pick-your-own fruits and veggies allowing visitors a greater appreciation of Hudson Valley produce.
Open rain or shine, the Ellenville Farmers' Market is a small, family friendly market featuring fresh locally grown produce and regional products from Hudson Valley growers.  Live music, monthly visits from Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Master Gardeners, kids activities, cooking classes and more are offered to visitors each week.

Looking to quench your thirst?  The Hudson Valley is home to a thriving winemaking, brewing, distilling, and craft cider-making culture which is redefining the American drinks scene.  Explore the Shawangunk Wine Trail for tastings at 14 local wineries, or stop in any number of local craft beverage producers for demonstrations, tours and tastings. 
Whether you're visiting one of the regions many farmer’s markets, picking your own fruits and vegetables right from the vine, or taking time to savor the flavor of a craft beverage- visitors to the Hudson Valley are sure to the taste the difference.

Summer Escapes

Each summer, hundreds of thousands of visitors escape to the Hudson Valley for outdoor adventure, to experience the  fairs and cultural festivals and to enjoy the region’s agricultural bounty, and the Hudson Valley Resort & Spa is at the center of it all!  Ideally nestled in the heart of the Shawangunk Mountains and surrounded by gorgeous Catskill views, the Hudson Valley Resort is within minutes of the best summer Hudson Valley attractions

Offering guests clean, comfortable accommodations with world-class mountain views, the Hudson Valley Resort & Spa features a full service European Health Spa and so much more! Tennis and basketball courts, fitness and arcade centers, and a spacious conference center make the Hudson Valley Resort the ideal choice for your Hudson Valley Getaway, so call or click today, and we'll help make the most of your stay!

Friday, May 12, 2017

The Woodstock- New Paltz Art & Craft Fair

Come experience the Woodstock-New Paltz Art & Craft Fair this Memorial Day weekend- it's become a nationally recognized event featuring handcrafted functional and decorative art from the most talented craftspeople in the northeast.

This groundbreaking crafts fair draws thousands of visitors to the Ulster County fairgrounds who come twice a year to meet the artists and enjoy demonstrations, live music, entertainment, and more!

Whether you're decorating a country home, bringing some rural charm to an urban apartment, looking for something farm fresh to highlight a dinner party, or just need an excuse to get away, the Woodstock-New Paltz Art and Crafts Fair has what you’re looking for.

The carefully curated community of 300 independently juried artists and craftspeople from all over the country have developed a vibrant craft culture which makes this fair a unique experience and a pleasure for all.

Demonstrating ceramic techniques, jewelry making, ironwork, wood carving and turning, leather-working, broom-making, etching, weaving and more, many of the artists will be conducting continuous demonstrations throughout the show in addition to exhibiting their finished products..

Featuring beautiful handcrafted works in ceramics, fiber, fine art, glass, jewelry, leather, metal, mixed media, photography and wood, the fair also offers the opportunity to enjoy healing arts, musical arts, local wines, and landscape arts.

Architectural craft exhibits include handcrafted built-ins, laminated hardwood lamps, woodware accessories, sculptural pieces, stained glass windows, hand-sewn patchwork wall hangings... even handcrafted tiny houses!

Looking for the finest in unique handcrafted specialty foods and healthcare products?  You’ll find a wide variety of all natural foods, beverages and health care specialties crafted with care by small artisan vendors with a focus on quality.

If you're a a crafter yourself,  be sure to check out the exhibits of crafting supplies which feature hand-spun yarns, fabrics, leather goods, jewelry supplies, tools and other quality equipment suited for the most discerning crafts person.

Of course, no fair would be complete without an eclectic mix of live music and entertainment!  Highlights of this year’s show will include performances by Chris Wilson, The Myles Macuso Bank, All-She-Wrote, The Cupcakes, Helen Avakian, and the Ravensbeard Wildlife Show!

There’s something for everyone at the Woodstock-New Paltz Art & Craft Fair, and the Hudson Valley Resort & Spa is just minutes from it all!

Gracefully set in the heart of the Shawangunk Mountains and surrounded with gorgeous Catskill views, the Hudson Valley Resort & Spa offers 270 comfortable and well-appointed guest rooms and a full service European health spa.

Guests enjoy indoor and outdoor pools, Jacuzzi, sauna, and steam rooms, tennis and basketball courts, an arcade center, and so much more!  

We're planning an unbeatable Memorial Day Weekend getaway with games and activities, movies with popcorn, a bonfire with s'mores and much more... so give us a call at 845-626-8888 when planning your trip to the Woodstock-New Paltz Art & Craft Fair this Memorial Day weekend, and we'll help you make the most of your stay!

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