Thursday, August 17, 2017

Six Hiking Safety Tips You'll Be Glad You Learned Today

Outdoor recreation has never been more popular, and the Hudson Valley Resort & Spa is just minutes away from some of the best hiking areas in the region.  The Catskill and Shawangunk Mountains each have a special allure for hikers from all over the Northeast, and tens of thousands of people travel to the area each year for a chance to explore the outdoors.

Part of the adventure of hiking in the wilderness is the novelty of leaving civilization behind.  Escaping the relative safety, convenience and predictability of our modern world can be exhilarating, but it can also present a few risks for the unprepared.

These Six Hiking Safety Tips can get you into the woods for a great day on the trail- and help you safely return to civilization at the end of the day.


1. Carry a compass and a map, and learn how to use them.  Don’t rely on a GPS or other electronic device for navigation- you can’t charge your smartphone on the trail! Topographical maps of the Shawangunks and Catskills can be purchased from the NY / NJ Trail conference and are well worth the price- some people planning a simple day trip have gotten lost in the woods by hiking just a few minutes away from the road!  Practice with the compass near home, and make sure that it’s in good working order before you head out on the trail.

2. Come prepared!  Bring the proper clothing, necessary safety equipment and a first-aid kit.  Dress in layers so you can adapt your clothing to changing weather conditions. Never underestimated the time needed for the trip, and be prepared for the possibility of the hike taking longer than expected.  Check the weather forecast before heading out, and try to account for any scenario.

3. Take care of your feet while on the trail!  You’ll have a hard time hiking out safely if your feet are cramped and covered in blisters.  While regular fitness training will keep your feet in top shape for the trail, you should rest them frequently while hiking.  Wear sturdy boots and bring extra socks in case you get wet- remember: you can’t call a cab in the woods so you’ll have to be able to rely on your own two feet.

4. Always carry matches and learn how to properly build a fire. If something goes wrong in the wilderness, a fire really can save your life.  People rarely die from starvation in the woods, but they do from exposure. Keep yourself warm and dry when hiking, carry matches, and learn proper fire safety.

5. Let people know where you are going.  If you experience any problems on the trail, it's best if someone knows your plans. Sign in and out of trail-head registers, and always leave an itinerary behind with someone you trust.  It doesn’t hurt to carry a phone, but don’t rely on it!  Fully charge your battery before you head out, but be aware that you may find yourself miles from the nearest cell-tower.

6. Learn some basic survival skills.  Knowing how to get by in the wilderness doesn’t only make hiking more safe, it makes it more interesting!  Try to spot common edible and medicinal plants along the trail and notice possible shelter sites as you hike- it's a fun way to keep prepared for emergencies.

Hiking in the Hudson Valley can be a richly rewarding experience, and with just a few precautions and a little knowledge you can explore the outdoors like a pro.  Reading tips like these can help, but it’s up to you to put them into practice!

If you’re planning a hiking trip to the Hudson Valley, check out the Hudson Valley Resort & Spa.  Perfectly situated in the heart of the Shawangunk Mountains and just minutes away from the Catskills- you’ll love returning to resort accommodations after a long day on the trail!

So go ahead, get out of the city and and explore the outdoors- call 845-626-8888 today, and we'll help make the most of your stay. 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

3 Essential Keys for Annihilating Stress

The hectic day-to-day hustle of modern living can lead to setbacks in our personal health and well-being.  It’s no wonder: stress can wreak havoc on your body as well as your mind.

The key to a healthier, happier lifestyle is learning to control stress before stress controls you.  While there are many ways to deal with stress- here are three key solutions to help you annihilate it and enjoy a more peaceful way of life.


Exercise Regularly.  Studies show that regular exercise is a sure-fire stress killer. Just 30-60 minutes of exercise performed just three times a week will greatly reduce stress, release muscle tension, and help you feel awesome! Exercise produces endorphins in the brain which create a sense of well-being and happiness, so it’s the perfect option.

Eat for Wellness.  A healthy, balanced diet is another way to help annihilate stress.  Eating fatty, low quality meals is not conducive health and wellness; you are what you eat, so prepare well-balanced meals and you'll feel well balanced, too.  Avoid fast-foods and incorporate fresh, local ingredients whenever possible.

Visit the Spa.  With stress-related illness on the rise, it’s more important than ever to find time for ourselves.  A visit to a Hudson Valley spa can provide peace and relaxation while reducing stress to help you enjoy a healthier, happier life.
The Spa at Hudson Valley Resort offers a full menu of massage therapies to help manage stress as well as an array of amenities designed to help you relax and rejuvenate. Because our guests enjoy complimentary use of the Jacuzzi, sauna & steam rooms, glass enclosed fitness centers and more, the Hudson Valley Resort & Spa is the perfect place to incorporate these 3 keys for annihilating stress for healthier, happier lifestyle.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Growing With Pride: Exploring Our Local Farm Markets

The Hudson Valley is home to a thriving farm-to-table culture with fresh local ingredients in abundance from the first days of spring through last days of fall.  The region's rich fertile soil and fresh mountain air have kept our farmers growing with pride for more than 300 years!

No trip to the Hudson Valley would be complete without paying a visit to a local family owned farm to sample the fruit of their labor! Our guests love visiting these rustic local farm markets, each offering a variety of fresh produce just minutes away.
Kelder's Farm Market
5755 Route 209 Kerhonkson 12446 (845) 626-7137
Rondout Valley's largest U-Pick farm with over 100 acres of seasonal fruits and vegetables for you to enjoy as well as friendly farm animals, prize-winning Homegrown Mini-Golf, a massive kid-pleasing jumping pillow, and a famous record-setting giant garden gnome. U-pick fruits and vegetables from asparagus to zucchini. Farm market, greenhouse, petting zoo, field trips, school tours, corn maze, mini-golf. Open year-round, seasonal hours. 
Saunderskill Farms
5100 Route 209 Accord 12404 (845)-626-2676
The second oldest operating farm in the US offering U-Pick strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, pumpkins. Vegetables and fruits in season. Flowering annuals and perennials and herbs. Check out their bakery offering fresh-made sandwiches and soups.  Market items include maple syrup, honey, jams, jellies, gifts and holiday items. Horse-drawn hayrides in the Fall. Daily except Mondays 7 a.m. - 6 p.m. 
Westwind Orchard
215 Lower Whitfield Road, Accord NY, 12404   (845) 626-0659
One of the area's most historic apple orchards. Everything grown at Westwind Orchard is certified organic. It's also a great place to come experience the history of the Rondout Valley, relax and enjoy the day. Also serving thin crust wood fired pizza on nonna's authentic pizza dough and handcrafted hard cider when available. Open for pick-your-own apples, raspberries and pumpkins every Saturday and Sunday mid-August through October. 
Sheeley's Farm Stand
2752 Lucas Turnpike Accord 12404 (845)687-4497
Organic grown produce. Greenhouse open in May for bedding and vegetable plants. July - September 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Want to more to explore?  There are dozens of growers within a stone’s throw of the resort, producing more than 17 million pounds of fruit, vegetables, meat, poultry, butter, milk and cheese, maple syrup, beer and more every year!

Visiting a local farm-stand is a great way to spend the day while visiting the Hudson Valley Resort & Spa, where there’s always something new to discover just around the corner.

Offering a full service health spa with Jacuzzi, sauna and steam rooms, aerobic and strength training fitness centers, tennis & basketball & more- you'll feel a world away, just 90 miles from NYC.  Give us a call today, and we'll help make the most of your stay!

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.

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