While there’s not much time left before school is back in session, and apple picking season is already upon us, it’s not too late for one more summer getaway.
This Labor Day weekend pack your kids, your love interest, or your best friends in the car and hit the road for Saugerties, NY.
Less than two hours from NYC, and a quick jaunt north on I-87, Saugerties—named Frommer’s “Coolest Small Town in America”—has something for everyone. Known for its eclectic, woodsy, and down-to-earth vibe, the village is nestled between the Hudson River and the Catskills, rising up from the banks of the Esopus Creek.
Saugerties is home to artists, hipsters, equestrian enthusiasts and locals, many of whom are more than happy to explain just how many generations back their Saugerties roots go. With the opening of Horse Shows in the Sun (HITS), and the growing popularity of the Hudson Valley Garlic Festival the past decade has seen a transformed Saugerties: Main Street and Partition Street are strung with cafes, pubs, boutiques and galleries, offering a shopping or culinary experience for every taste and budget.
Cross the Creek, and Saugerties becomes a nature lover’s paradise. Several preserves offer optimal hiking and bird watching opportunities, and the Hudson River beckons for kayakers. And, if history and art are more your style, Saugerties boasts the historic Saugerties Lighthouse, the 18th century Kiersted House Museum, and the world-renowned sculpture park of Opus 40. Truly, Saugerties is the perfect place to send-off the summer.
What to do
Esopus Bend Nature Preserve is a 161 acre preserve located on a dramatic bend on the Esopus Creek, featuring a pristine sand beach. Several miles of trails wind around the Creek and through the preserve’s forests and meadows. With eagles, deer, turkeys and red foxes calling it home, the preserve is an excellent place for bird watching or animal encounters. Free and open sunrise to sunset.
For views of the Hudson River and the Catskills, check out Falling Waters Preserve, a 168 acre preserve that hugs the Hudson. Waterfalls, streams, pebble beaches and dramatic cliffs make the preserve the perfect place to explore the rugged beauty of the Hudson River. Free and open sunrise to sunset.
The Saugerties Lighthouse is a functioning 1869 landmark beacon that serves double duty as a bed and breakfast. Tours of the lighthouse are offered during the summer months, and this weekend is the last chance to see the historic building before it's closed to tourists for the winter. Tours are offered 12:00PM-3:00PM, suggested donation $5.00 adults and $3.00 children.
The creative domain of Harvey Fite, Opus 40 is a breathtaking example of total artistic environment. Explore the labyrinth of bluestone pieces, get lost in subterranean pathways, and pose for a picture with the three-story stone monolith. Open 11:00AM-5:30PM, $10.00 adults, $7.00 students and seniors, $3.00 children.
Authentic Dutch colonials are one of the Hudson Valley’s treasures, and the Kiersted House Museum is no exception. Home to the Saugerties Historical Society, and listed on the National and New York State Registers of Historic Places, the museum is a great source of local information, art and history. Open 1:00PM-4:00PM.
For the best view of the Hudson River, and a chance to clear the mind and get some sun, try a boat rental from the Saugerties Marina. Pontoons, fishing boats, kayaks and canoes are all available to rent, and are reasonably priced.
Where to eat
With no shortage of culinary options in Saugerties, the village is truly a foodie’s delight. Seasonal fare reins at Miss Lucy’s Kitchen, where portions are big and dinners are farm-fresh. If a brew pub is more your style, the Dutch Ale House’s homebrewed lagers and signature garlic burgers are a local staple. Live music and Tex-Mex cuisine abound at Main Street Restaurant. And, after dinner, satisfy your sweet tooth with Lucky Chocolate’s organic, fair-trade sweets. For something a little stronger, Dave’s Coffee and Wine House is open late with live music.
Where to sleep
While the Saugerties Lighthouse is fully booked for this weekend, many other colorful B&Bs dot the streets of Saugerties. The Montgomery Bed and Breakfast is located in the heart of the village, a short walk to the restaurants and antique shops. The Smythe House, Saugerties Bed and Breakfast, and The Renwick Clifton House are just a stone’s throw from the village, and offer graciously appointed rooms and excellent views. And, for a unique boutique hotel experience, Diamond Mills Hotel & Tavern offers luxury rooms overlooking the Esopus Falls.