A Guide to Visiting New Paltz | Community Spotlight | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine

New Paltz has a way of grabbing your heart and never letting go. It’s been said that once you breathe the air, you’re fated to return, but that may be no mystery: Once you’ve experienced the combination of factors that make New Paltz New Paltz, a single visit just won’t do.

For a delicious introduction to the area’s stunning views, get on the Shawangunk Wine Trail. Both of the trail’s two New Paltz stops—Adair Vineyards, with its 200-year-old barn, and Robibero Winery, with its 90-foot deck—are pet-friendly, gorgeously located, and welcoming places to sip a fine local glass and get a ton of local knowledge.

SUNY New Paltz, ranked fifth-best public college by US News and World Report, has shaped the local culture for nearly 200 years. There’s a planetarium and observatory, a 9,000-square-foot art museum, a Makerbot 3D printing lab, and a constant flow of culture, energy, and young vibrations.

The village centers on a sweetly sloping Main Street packed with creative indie places to eat and shop and ends at a pretty river. Beyond that river, the Shawangunk Mountains beckon, welcoming climbers, bikers, hikers, plein-air painters, and wanderers of all sorts. Surrounding the town are family farms new and old, classic and exotic.

You’ll want to get deeper into those mountains and see the dwarf pines, crystalline sky lakes and creeks up close. Besides the 22,275 acres of the Minnewaska State Park Preserve, there’s the Mohonk Preserve, with over 200 miles of trails and carriage roads and five linear miles of world-renowned cliff face. Outside magazine chose Mohonk Preserve as one of the top five “city escapes” in the US; stop in at the visitors’ center and get well-versed.

There are plenty of places to stay, but few are finer than the Mohonk Mountain House. It has hosted legions of the rich and famous but, Quaker-fashion, they’ll welcome you just as fondly; there’s a laid-back elegance to the historic castle on the hill, with its state-of-the-art spa and locally sourced dining.

For a one-stop winter wonderland, try Rocking Horse Ranch, an all-inclusive family resort with a winter fun park for all-age fun.

Some places have a history museum; New Paltz has an entire street, Historic Huguenot Street, the oldest in the US with its original stone houses intact, and they love giving interpretive walking tours. So come see how all the fun got started, and follow up with an artful meal and a sunset stroll on the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail. Once you’ve inhaled New Paltz, you’ll be back.

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