With spring in full swing and summer just around the corner, it’s time to get outside and enjoy some fun in the sun. Just a short hop from Manhattan, New York’s Lower Hudson Valley, and its river towns are complete with vibrant dining, entertainment, and shopping, but their proximity to the Hudson River also makes the region an ideal recreational destination for boating, kayaking, fishing, cycling, and hiking. Year-long events and activities, from farmers markets to food festivals, add to the area’s charm. Whether you choose to go paddle boating on the river or biking through sculpture parks, the scenic Hudson Valley is loaded with activities all season long. Kick-off Memorial Day weekend with some of our favorite picks:
Charter a Boat
Love being on the water but don’t own a boat? Explore the Hudson Valley with Nyack Boat Charter, launched last June, offering public and private tours and charters between Nyack and Croton to anyone who wants to see the river towns and experience the Hudson River from a whole new perspective. Located at the Nyack Municipal Marina, it is one of the few waterfront options in the Lower Hudson Valley where the public can try sailing or head out on a sunset cruise without owning a boat. Groups of two, four or six can go out for two-hour charters, The $85 per-person cost gets you on the Hudson River on a sailboat with a captain and crew, Thursdays through Sundays. Guests can get a closer look at the new Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, Hook Mountain and the natural beauty of the valley. The charters, which run from early May until mid-October, range from one hour to all day long and include local craft beer and Hudson Valley wines. 845-535-1675; nyackboatcharter.com.
When it comes to the perks of living in the Hudson Valley, few things delight as much as the views of the Hudson River. That’s probably why the village of Piermont is such a gem. Located in Rockland County, the picturesque town sits right along the riverside. Stroll along the Piermont Pier and promenade, a hotspot for bikers and joggers that runs a full mile along the Hudson River. Fishing and crabbing are allowed during warmer months, while visits to the Piermont Marsh, located on the westside of the pier, are fun year-round for bird-watchers and power-walkers. Be sure to check out the trails at The Tallman Mountain path or the scenic overlooks at the Tallman State Park. Paradise Boats in Piermont, located in the Hudson River Reserve, also offers kayaks, canoes and rowboats for rent and for sale, as well as guided tours and sailing lessons by appointment. 845-359-0073; paradisecanoeandkayak.com.
Westchester Magazine’s Wine & Food Festival
If you’re looking for the ultimate foodie event, Westchester Magazine’s Wine & Food Festival kicks off June 4 and continues for five days at various locations across the county. Drawing more than 7,000 visitors from the tristate region, the festival is one of the most anticipated culinary events of the year. With seven events over six days, the annual shindig honors the leading chefs, sommeliers and food purveyors who shape Westchester’s cuisine. Events range from wine tastings and burger fests to junior chef demos and food-truck gatherings, so there’s a little something for everyone. On Saturday, June 8, the wining and dining reaches its peak with the Grand Tasting Village, the festival’s signature event, which brings together more than 50 local restaurants and 200 wine and spirits for a truly unforgettable afternoon. For more info, visit: winefood.westchestermagazine.com.
One of the hottest recreational activities in the Hudson Valley is stand-up paddleboarding, or SUP, a pastime ideal for the region’s many lakes, ponds, and — of course — the Hudson River. Part paddling, part balancing and part surfing, the sport is considered easy to learn and offers a great core workout with great vistas. The waterways of New York’s Hudson Valley region are lined with a range of scenic offerings, from lush landscapes to historic sites. Adept paddleboard enthusiasts can even practice yoga poses on their floating “yoga mats.” Hudson River Recreation has several locations and offers SUP lessons, rentals and guided water tours. Call 914-682-5135 or visit www.kayakhudson.com. Hudson River Expeditions, www.hudsonriverexpeditions.com, also offers kayak, canoe and stand-up paddleboard tours, rentals and instruction for the novice to the experienced paddler.
Take a River Cruise
What better way to experience the Hudson Valley than from the river itself — cruising past the stately mansions, riverside communities and picturesque mountains? Come aboard an authentic New Orleans paddlewheeler with Captain John “Duke” Panzella, who has been navigating the Hudson for nearly 20 years, and you will experience the majestic river in a whole new way. Two-hour sightseeing cruises head south from Newburgh and include a narrated tour of historically significant sites such as Bannerman’s Island, the Catskill Water Aqueduct, the village of Cold Spring and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. A buffet and dance party are offered on Friday nights, and Sunday’s ride serves brunch. A popular choice is the A Day in Cold Spring cruise, which shuttles guests to the scenic village where they can enjoy the sights for three hours before being ferried back to Newburgh (where all cruises begin and end). 845-562-1067; www.riverrosecruises.com.
Learn to Row
During the 19th and early 20th centuries when crew was popular on the Hudson River, thousands of spectators lined its banks to watch regattas. The sport has prevailed as one of the oldest traditions in the world and thanks to local rowing clubs is available for outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy, no experience needed. The Mid-Hudson Rowing Association, founded in 1950, is a not-for-profit rowing club located in Poughkeepsie. Its mission is to promote adult and scholastic rowing. The club’s Learn to Row program operates under a simple concept: learn to row while having fun. Or head to the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge for a different rowing scene. Scan the shoreline beyond restaurant row and you might spot a dock and Adirondack pavilion, home of the Newburgh Rowing Club, which has been teaching adults and kids to row for more than two decades. Club members meet year-round in a 6,000-square-foot boathouse. Popular summer camp programs tend to sell out, so be sure to call early. The Mid-Hudson Rowing Association, Poughkeepsie. www.midhudsonrowing.org; 845-452-2970. The Newburgh Rowing Club, Newburgh. www.newburghrowclub.org; 845-541-2313.