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Tour Hudson Valley

Travel Tips


Hudson Valley
History, Hiking and Proud Towns


Bethel was the site of the famous Woodstock Music Festival in 1969
A hippie bus on display in the Woodstock Museum in Bethel

HUDSON VALLEY TOUR: DAY 3

A drive of half an hour or less, through the woodsy hills from any of the recommended hotels will lead you to the world famous Woodstock, NY. Known the world over for its namesake music festival in 1969, many travelers are surprised to find that the festival was actually held in Bethel — a good 40-miles south of Woodstock. Modern day Woodstock is a bustling Hudson Valley town with a huge art scene, great restaurants, plenty of live music, and of course a few flower children. Woodstock is loaded with things to do, and most of them are within walking distance of the Town Green near Tinker Street — a good place to snag an all day parking spot and explore the town on foot.

Woodstock is a clever town that supports the arts, which is reflected in their appreciation for the artistic properties of cooking. At the breakfast-oriented Oriole 9, for example, the restaurant has its own organic farm from which it culls many of its ingredients. You don't have to be a vegetarian or a hippie (or a vegetarian hippie) to love the tofu-spiked hash, crammed with roasted peppers, mushrooms and garlic. The French goat cheese and spinach omelet is also a morning hit.

The main dining room at Oriole 9 features communal seating
The dining room at Oriole 9

The Town Green on Tinker Street is the town hangout spot and a good place to take in some local flavor, while you find out what's happening from a copy of The Woodstock Times. The natural beauty of the Hudson Valley is on full display here, so don't miss the opportunity to visit the waterfalls and brooks. The Town Green is the site of a variety of events throughout the year; you may stumble onto a free concert, an arts festival or street fair. There are dozens of art galleries and shops where local craftspeople create and sell everything from pottery to tie dye along Tinker Street. The Center for Photography at Woodstock conducts workshops, and has an open gallery. The range of art on display in the galleries features both international and local photographers and is fun first stop to get a feeling for the thriving local arts scene. A visit to the nearby Woodstock Chamber of Commerce can also help you tap into the village's scene.

When it's lunchtime, stop by the Gypsy Wolf Cantina. Its kitschy décor, friendly service, and better-than-average Mexican fare make this popular Woodstock restaurant a favorite among the locals. A popular hit is the spirit of this valley vegetarian burrito, stuffed with broccoli, spinach, mushrooms, watercress, black beans, and, of course, tofu. Wash it all down with a margarita.

The Center for Photography at Woodstock features photos by local and world-renowned artists
A gallery at the Center for Photography at Woodstock

The Woodstock Museum is about twenty minutes outside of the town proper and preserves the legacy of peace and music that has made the area famous. The Q&A tour is an interactive experience that lets visitors learn more about the items in the collection they are most interested in. The museum has frequent showings of classic movies and documentaries about the original festival and its impact on culture around the world. The "Hipstory" exhibit is a fun and offbeat look at the last 40 years through the eyes of hippies and hepcats, and it has a "different" take on major events like the Vietnam War. Don't miss the outdoor displays, including tepees, a real life 'Hippie Bus,' and a working solar-powered electrical system that helps to carry on the area's positive vibes.

For dinner, try not to miss eating at the 35-year-old Joshua's Café. The menu is loaded with Middle Eastern dishes — the signature zucchini flat cakes with Lebanese apricot preserves and stuffed grape leaves, for example — but it also does a culinary "spin of the globe" with unique dishes like the sautéed chicken in a spicy pesto cream sauce or the jerk barbecued chicken. Afterward, wander upstairs to the Java Lounge for a cocktail or a glass of wine; there's live music and/or spoken presentations nightly.

The Hudson Valley is a destination that combines nature in every direction with the type of food, art and music usually only found in large cities. It's a place where each town has a distinctive personality, and the welcoming residents take pride in building communities around common interests, which shows in the quality of everything.

The Hudson Valley is a destination that combines nature in every direction with the type of food, art and music usually only found in large cities. It's a place where each town has a distinctive personality, and the welcoming residents take pride in building communities around common interests, which shows in the quality of everything.

For more information, contact Hudson Valley Tourism at www.hudsonvalleyvoyager.com.

MORE HUDSON VALLEY INFORMATION

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Bannerman Castle, a historic ruin on the Hudson

* Bus image courtesy of The Museum at Bethel Woods, and gallery shot from the Center for Photography at Woodstock

PSG122008
(Updated: 09/08/11 SS)

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