Chances are, if you’re reading this you’ve heard something fabulous about the Hudson Valley of New York and we’re super excited that you’d like to explore our region further. Located between one and two hours north of New York City, most of the towns in our region offer the visitors – L, G, B, T, and Q – something amazing to discover.
But the Hudson Valley is such a big place – where does one start? Read on and we’ll help you discover an area that might just strike your fancy.
Working your way up the river, one of the first towns within our Big Gay Hudson Valley is the village of Cold Spring in Putnam County. Lined with cute restaurants, shops, and antique stores, Cold Spring is easily accessible by train via Metro-North from Grand Central. All you need to do is get off the train and walk up or down Main Street to discover all that Cold Spring has to offer. If you head to the south end of town, you can see right over the Hudson River to Storm King State Park and West Point Military Academy. Now that our troops can be openly LGBT, you might want to consider a tour of this historic institution as well.
Perfect for the day tripper who loves to window shop.
Known for being the home of Dia: Beacon, this Hudson River city is rich with galleries and a thriving visual arts & independent business community. The city’s business core lines Main Street, the very walkable vein that stretches from the waterfront to the opposite end of town. Beacon’s place on the banks of the Hudson River also affords it accessibility to a Metro-North train station for those without access to a car. History buffs also enjoy a quick ship ride out to Bannerman’s Island, the historic ammuntion arsenal housed on a small island in the middle of the Hudson.
An art lover’s version of Brooklyn upstate.
A hub of transportation into our region, Newburgh is home to Stewart International Airport. Located immediately off the New York State Thruway, the city’s core can be rough, although if you’re feeling lucky it’s a great place to look into purchasing a fabulous Hudson Valley home for a song right now. The Hudson River waterfront, which is overlooked by a park housing facilities once used by George Washington, has gone through a renaissance in the last few years and is now very well developed with a variety of cruise ships, docks, theaters, bars and clubs.
A great afternoon spent on the water.
Well known for it’s adventuresome mayor – who was the first to marry gay and lesbian couples in 2004 – this is one of the funkier college towns of the Hudson Valley. The site of SUNY New Paltz, this town is also home to the Hudson Valley’s annual Pride Parade which is typically held the first weekend of June. Featuring a wide variety of distilleries, wineries, and pick-your-own farms, New Paltz is known for its backdrop – the Shawangunk mountain range – which features some of the best hiking and rock climbing on the East Coast. Being on the west side of the Hudson River, this is a town removed from the train lines, so you’ll definitely need a car to get here.
An outdoor adventurer’s paradise.
Named by many as the “Queen City of the Hudson Valley”, Poughkeepsie is the last stop on Metro-North’s Hudson Line. Billed as the performing arts capital of Dutchess County, it’s home to several art galleries, outdoor art installations, and the historic 1869 Bardavon Opera House – one of the oldest operating operas in the country. The city’s walkable lower Main Street corridor is home to many new restaurants and bars and offers direct access to the Hudson River waterfront. Fans of walking, running, or cycling come from far & wide to experience the Walkway Over the Hudson – the world’s longest dedicated pedestrian walkway – built on a restored rail line that spans the width of the Hudson River.
Poughkeepsie’s neighboring town to the north – Hyde Park – is home to The Culinary Institute of America, the FDR Presidential Library, Eleanor Roosevelt’s Val-Kill, and Vanderbilt Mansion. All of these sites are worth a visit.
The performing arts capital of the Hudson Valley.
Best known in more recent years as the location of Chelsea Clinton’s wedding, the Village of Rhinebeck is home to the Annual Dutchess County Fair. Popular with weekenders escaping the life of New York City, it’s not unusual to spot celebrities shopping around the village or dining in one of its several upscale restaurants or cafes. While you’re there, be sure to check out one of its gay-owned shops or catch a fabulous indepdendent film at Upstate Films. Just beyond the limits of Metro-North, Rhinebeck is accessible by car or by Amtrak via the the neighboring Rhinecliff station.
High end dining & shopping – it’s like upstate’s Upper West Side.
Home to the Hudson Valley LGBTQ Community Center, Kingston was New York’s first capitol. Easily accessible by car from the New York State Thruway, Kingston lies at the Eastern entrance to Catskill Park (which we affectionately call the ‘Swish Alps’). With two main districts worth checking out – the Rondout and the Stockade District – this historic town crosses old-world style with a young pulse of NYC transplants. The Rondout District is Kingston’s harbor on the Hudson and from here you can visit the many museums, stores, or restaurants along the waterfront. You can also take a cruise on to the Hudson River from here. Many think of the Stockade District as a miniature Brooklyn; ‘stocked’ with great restaurants, growing art galleries, and plenty of urban street art, Kingston is a fun place to spend an afternoon. Kingston also has its own gay bar – the Rendezvous Lounge.
Beacon’s stiffest competition for the title of “upstate’s Brooklyn”.
Hudson & Catskill
Located on either side of the Rip Van Winkle Bridge, these two towns are packed with gay life. The furthest of the destinations on our local map, gay life in the City of Hudson is driven primarily by Trixie Starr, the head of the Hudson Pride Foundation and the organizer of the town’s Pride Parade. Home to many antique stores, clothiers, galleries, and cafes, walking down Warren Street feels surprisingly metropolitan. Drop in to the Red Dot, one of Hudson’s most popular watering holes, and who knows who you might run into. Catskill tends to be the sleepier of the two, but it is worth a drive over the bridge to check out its downtown core. It feels a little like you’ve taken a step back in time once you arrive, but even Catskill has its own gay bar; Doubles II.
Village living with a city feel – the self-titled home of “Upstate’s Downtown”.
All that considered, there’s plenty to check out in the Big Hudson Valley! So check out our online listings for the towns that interest you to learn more about the specific points of interest in each area. And then, jump in a zip car, hop on the train, or thumb a ride to experience the Big Gay Hudson Valley at your own pace.