Germantown: Summer Bucket List | General Arts & Culture | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine
click to enlarge Germantown: Summer Bucket List
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Bird's eye view of Germantown's Gatherwild Ranch and Catskill Mountains

Known for its easy access to the river, quality fishing, cute, two-block downtown, and a family-centric lifestyle, Columbia County’s picturesque Germantown offers visitors and locals alike plenty to entertain in the hot summer months. Regardless of your interests, summer is in full swing in Germantown–indoor cats can stop by the local ice cream parlors or enjoy art exhibitions while nature lovers can get out on the Hudson and birdwatch at the KEEP preserve. Enjoy the last of the summer heat by exploring Germantown’s gems. 

Savor a Sweet Treat at Valley Harvest Ice Cream & Grill

Whether you’re in the mood for soft serve, hot fudge or fruit sundaes, milkshakes, or spritzers, Valley Harvest is one hot spot in Germantown to frequent during the dog days. With its picturesque farmhouse-red exterior, Valley Harvest is a family-owned ice cream parlor and grill that strives to always serve fresh and local treats. 

With a menu that changes seasonally, Valley Harvest features a rotating list of fresh produce. August boasts locally harvested peaches in all shapes and sizes. Sourced from Germantown’s own Potts Farm, the fresh peaches can be enjoyed in a multitude of ways—grilled, fried, blended into milkshakes, or in sundaes. Some other iconic Harvest creations include popsicle-like fruit and cream blends such as Orange Creamer and Strawberry Storm. But Valley Harvest’s offerings don’t stop at sweet treats. From spring mixed salads to sandwiches and grilled meats, the restaurant can satisfy your savory cravings as well.

Paddle from the Boat Launch

With easy waterfront access and a well-maintained boat launch, Ernest R. Lasher Memorial Park is the place to be these hot summer days. Soak in the summer sun as you paddle up and down the Hudson River, from Germantown’s boat launch and local park. (Don’t forget to check the tide chart and plan your paddle accordingly!) The boat launch’s concrete design is ideal for providing the most stable surface possible and its noticeable presence makes it easier to spot while out on the river. Lasher also doubles as a NYSDEC fishing site and ideal place to host a barbecue complete with picnic tables and charcoal grills, so make sure to bring out your angling gear and hamburger patties. At the end of Anchorage Road, Lasher Park is a great place for the visitors and locals alike to gather and get out on the water.

Glamp it Up at Gatherwild Ranch

Unplug and recharge from reality at Gatherwild Ranch, a 15-acre former apple orchard revamped as a high-end glamping destination. “Brave” the great outdoors from the comfort of one of the ranch’s seven yurt-style accommodations. Enjoy nature at its finest as you walk trails, buddy up with free range chickens and friendly goats, stargaze around your private campfire, bike to the nearby market, or take a ceramics class in the ranch’s studio. Lit with solar lighting and battery lanterns, the glamping tents provide a calm retreat, spread out amongst the fields. If electricity is a must, Gatherwild’s Guest House may be more your speed with wifi and lighting. Another noteworthy site is an adorable cabin/caravan created by artist Paul Jacobsen, complete with billowing curtains and rustic wood paneling. Accommodations can be booked with founder Laura Sink through Airbnb, with prices ranging from $150 to $190 per night.

Soak Up Some Art at Alexander Gray Exhibitions

Delve into the artistic world of the Hudson Valley at Alexander Gray Associates. The project space and gallery presents four two-week exhibitions each year in the garden level of a renovated 1920s mechanic’s garage. The surrounding garden and old maple trees contribute to the ambience of the art gallery, with its most recent exhibition titled “Subliminal Horizons.” Curated by Alvin Hall as an “open-ended survey” of BIPOC creators who live and work in the Hudson Valley, the most recent installment is a multimedia exhibit with mediums including paintings, drawings, and sculptures. The second installment of the exhibition begins on August 20 and lasts until October 3, giving further attention to work that has historically been excluded from the cultural narrative especially within the artistic world. An exercise in community building and centering BIPOC narratives, participating artists include Diana Al-Hadid, Huma Bhabha, Henri Paul Broyard, Karlos Cárcamo, and Laleh Khorramian.

Hike and Birdwatch at KEEP Conservation Foundation

Play I Spy with Eastern Bluebirds and Prairie Warblers on a hike through the KEEP Conservation’s preserve in Germantown. The 143 acres of rivers, woods, and old farm fields provide sanctuary for many vulnerable bird species and other endangered wildlife. Meticulously maintained paths provide lush walkways through the preserve with ample birdwatching opportunities and scenic views. Along with the abundance of aviary species, you can also see butterflies, dragonflies, turtles, amphibians, and small mammals throughout the preserve. The KEEP Conservation, founded in 1998 and staffed by unpaid volunteers, is a nonprofit dedicated to protecting migratory and breeding birds. While entrance is free, all donations to the KEEP Conservation are directed toward preserving more habitats and funding educational programming. Pay a visit to the Germantown preserve any time from dawn to dusk, as it is open to the public seven days a week for photography, walking, and observing the natural world.

Germantown: Summer Bucket List
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