What comes to mind when you think of New York's Hudson Valley?
Could it be quaint riverfront villages full of striking colonial and federal-style architecture, bountiful farm-to-table-dining (Hudson Valley foie gras ring a bell?), rolling green hills destined for hiking, sprawling historic estates or the 315 mile long Hudson River—then you're right.
The Hudson Valley, steeped in celebrated early American history, is reminiscent of New England in many senses, and with the commuter rail stopping at nearly every village, you're always a short trip from New York City—making it a city dweller's day trip dream.
Enveloped by the expansive, well-manicured rose garden, I was lucky enough to enjoy the garden complete with cherry blossoms! Did you know cherry blossoms are edible? 🌸 I do now.
The circa 1804 Federal-style mansion sits on the most picturesque bluff overlooking the Hudson River, Constitution Island and West Point.
Visitors are invited to tour both the interior and grounds or soak in the Hudson Highlands view over a glass of vino. I learned while on the tour that local oysters were harvested straight out of the Hudson back in the 1800s. And they're on their way back.
Our very knowledgeable tour guide, Stephen, discusses the origin of the high-style Federal period furnishings.
The tour continued over to the formal dining room and up to the second floor. English china, silver and crystal have also survived and are displayed throughout the interior.
This image quickly became my absolute favorite. Between the richly-hued decor and breathtaking view, I felt right at home. I mean I could hideout for a bit and claim squatter's rights, right? 😉
I'm truly looking forward to returning to Boscobel this fall and indulging in a crisp New York apple from their orchard.🍎
Next on my list to check off, was in the neighboring village of Cold Spring. I couldn't wait to hike West Point Foundry Preserve, one of the most important sites in the American Industrial Revolution.
Built in 1818 to supply the U.S. government with artillery, the foundry employed hundreds of workers who produced some of America's first steam engines, locomotives and ironclad ships, as well as pipes for New York City's water system and cannon credited with winning the Civil War.
After the foundry closed in 1911, nature slowly reclaimed the land. Now you'll find trails that follow old rail beds and pass extensive architectural remains.
I came across this cascading waterfall, the same stream that powered the foundry. Just imagine the activity back in the 1800s with its hundreds of workers.
West Point Foundry in Cold Spring, New York
On the way to the foundry, I had missed the street my GPS told me turn on and ended up accidentally driving into Cold Spring's Historic District. Wow, was I happy about that! I saw so many well-preserved 19th century buildings on Main Street that I intended to walk back over after my hike for a late lunch.
Historic Main Street was bustling with its charming cafes and boutiques. I knew exactly what I wanted and that was to sit outside. After walking to the end of street, I ended up at Foundry Dock Park situated right on the Hudson River—directly across the street sat the historic 1832 Hudson House.
At the Hudson House I sipped Sauvignon Blanc and snacked on a Caesar salad, while basking in the sun. Eager to check-in to the hotel, I headed out. Can you believe I did all this BEFORE even getting to the hotel? Neither can I.
Walking back to the car took me through this passageway, completely reminding me of Old Québec and those many stairs that connect Lower and Upper Town!
On the way to the hotel, I drove across Bear Mountain Bridge. When the bridge opened in 1924, it was the longest suspension bridge span in the world—then followed by the Benjamin Franklin, George Washington and Golden Gate bridges.
The historic Gothic Revival-style Thayer Hotel at West Point was built on Trophy Point in 1925 and is located on the grounds of the U.S. Military Academy. Established in 1775, it's the oldest military post in the United States. So obviously, I was feeling quite safe.
After confirming my arrival at the guarded gates, the valet unloaded the A5 and I made my way through the fortress-like lobby—playing host to many past U.S. presidents.
Check-in was amazing; so welcoming and quite informative.
I headed up to my room on the top floor and was delighted to be welcomed by some treats. Refreshing. The riesling from nearby Brotherhood Winery was delicious. I was impressed to learn that Brotherhood Winery is America's oldest winery!
After lounging for a bit in the room and catching up on Instagram, I discovered Zulu Time, Thayer Hotel's trendy rooftop lounge which overlooks the Hudson River right below. It also just so happened to be their seasonal grand opening and had been paired with absolutely perfect spring weather.
Enjoying a couple of Tito's cocktails before attending to my dinner reservation at MacArthur's—the hotel's signature steakhouse-style dining experience—I saw the aftermath of a wedding. Great location or what?
It was time for dinner and MacArthur's had me swooning over its gilded gold leaf columns, dark wood tones, Gothic stained glass windows, blended within granite and brick. If you're looking to dine within the ambiance of a castle—look no further. Even more so, I was thrilled to check out their brand-new menu!
I started off ordering Maryland Crab Cakes and the Filet Mignon. I was in need of some lean protein after all of my earlier adventures. My server, Larry, was quite cordial.
Gazing out over the Hudson River while waiting for my appetizer to arrive, I was graciously greeted by Lee, the restaurant's CIA-trained chef. Originally from Texas, he surprised me with a couple of amuse-bouches off their new menu: Creamy Mashed Potatoes and Truffled Mac & Cheese. Both delish!
One of my favorite things about a restaurant is when the head chef takes the time to engage with guests. Click here to make a reservation.
Thoroughly enjoying the fresh, handmade Maryland Crab Cakes, I couldn't wait to cut into the juicy Filet Mignon—seared very rare of course.
Let me tell you about my obsession over Key lime pie. I love it so much that I use it as an excuse not to order dessert. Here's why:
As much as I love Key lime pie and consider it my favorite sweet (next to Baked Alaska), it can be rare to find it on a dinner menu—unless it's summer or you find yourself in the Florida Keys. Therefore, since I'm always trying to save a few calories—when asked if I'd like dessert, I immediately ask if they have Key lime pie.. I'm almost always 99.9% safe and running laps the next day isn't required. In this case, they offered the tangy delicacy and I was forced to enjoy my 7 minutes in pure heaven. And for that, thank you.
The following morning I woke up to this spectacular sunrise over the Hudson River and then went out for a scenic jog around the academy.
I chose a trail that runs parallel with the Hudson River. Historic architecture, reminiscent of the European countryside abounds.
I headed back to the hotel knowing that breakfast room service was on its way. I often stop to ask myself, "Am I always eating?" But, you have to eat breakfast—right?
For breakfast I chose a seasonal berry smoothie paired with fresh fruit, the steak and eggs and but of course—bacon on the side.
The berry smoothie was so, so satisfying. As for the steak and eggs, they were prepared similarly to Eggs Benedict (my favorite). The twin petite filet mignons, combined with poached cage-free eggs and topped with béarnaise sauce was absolutely AMAZING. You must indulge in this dish when visiting. I've always loved béarnaise over hollandaise. Must be the tarragon.
I checked-out shortly after breakfast with the intention to get just one more hike in before I left West Point. The valet had the A5 ready for me before I even asked. Perfection.
The Hudson Valley is just so photogenic. Don't you agree? I mean, look at that little red barn nonchalantly peeking about. When you get to Castle Rock, you'll immediately think you've traveled deep into a Bavarian forest.
This trail is not too extensive and although you cannot hike directly to Osborn Castle—built in 1881 by Illinois Central Railroad president William H. Osborn—as its still private, you can hike around the surrounding mountain and take in the views from an Adirondack-inspired gazebo which overlooks the entire valley. You can even see the historic Thayer Hotel at West Point in the distance!
Castle Rock Unique Area in Garrison, New York
My time in the picture perfect Hudson Valley had come to an end. But, I'll be back very soon.