Ninety miles north of Manhattan lies a bucolic paradise—a place both sophisticated and quaint, a place where you can get lost in a Bohemian art gallery one moment and climb a mountain the next, where you can wake up in a Victorian-era bed & breakfast and be on the golf course by 8 a.m. It’s a place where you can seek for yourself the greatest outdoor adventure or the most intimate cultural experience.
Welcome to Ulster County. Here’s how to spend an unforgettable two days away from the bustle of the city.
After you settle into your lodging, head to Kingston’s Uptown Historic District. Stroll the streets, window shop and admire the colonial architecture of New York’s first capital. Then head to one of the local taverns for drinks and dancing.
Ulster County’s Agritourism is booming, and you can sample a diverse representation of the local soil at one of several Farmers’ Markets across the county, including the Saugerties Market on Main Street and the Kingston Market on Wall Street. Pick up fresh produce, peruse the art (and maybe even buy a piece), and stay in the area for an al fresco lunch at one of the local eateries.
In Ulster County, the options for outdoor adventures are endless. Kayak the Hudson River, hike the Mohonk Preserve, scale the Catskills, or—for a more relaxed excursion—taste your way through 15 wineries on the Shawangunk Wine Trail.
Ulster County takes great pride in its exceptional dining scene, with good reason, and there’s no better way to to taste the real Hudson Valley than at one of the many farm-to-table dinners held across the area.
And don’t forget your golf shorts. You have 12 world-class courses to choose from, all with beautiful views and each with its own unique characteristics. Whether an old pro or a casual clubber, if you’re into golf, Ulster has the right links for you.
OK, so the legendary, zeitgeist-defining music festival didn’t actually take place in Woodstock proper—after multiple permit denials from various hamlets in the area, the festival ultimately settled in Bethel, 43 miles south of Woodstock—but the town was known as an arts and music colony even before the festival made it synonymous with the counterculture, and that reputation remains to this day. Stop by the Artists’ Cemetery, admire the storied and historic Church of the Holy Transfiguration of Christ on the Mount (a haven for Christian hippies in the 70s), explore the local galleries, and chat with the friendly, quirky locals.
Before you head home, take one final tour of the Hudson Valley and do it in style—on a Hudson River Cruise. Have dinner and drinks on the deck as you explore the beautiful nooks and crannies of the Hudson, spy the riverside towns and hamlets, and glimpse the majesty of Ulster County’s varied landscape. Breathe in the air, soak in the scenery, and have one last moment of pure, perfect serenity before you head back to the noise of the city.
So, there you have it. We all need a break from the breathless pace of modern life in the metropolis, and in Ulster County, you can do just that. Relax, awaken your senses and rejuvenate your spirit. Plan your Ulster County weekend today at ulstercountyalive.com.
Mike Bloom (Wallkill View Farm Market)