Thursday, September 28, 2017

Eleven Fun Things to Do in Upstate New York

Are you planning a road trip to visit the three Bethels in New York state?

Lumbering mountains, a sparkling river, and quaint little diners – this part of New York state will make you feel right at home. If you stay off the main drag, you’ll find the places that make the area unique and worth a little exploring. Here are some great things you can do (besides visiting Bethel), with a particular emphasis on families with young children.

1. Hudson River walkway

Take a stroll over the longest pedestrian bridge in the world. Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park is a 19th-century railroad bridge transformed into the world's longest elevated pedestrian park. The park provides access to the Hudson River’s breathtaking landscape for pedestrians, hikers, joggers, bicyclists, and people with disabilities. The bridge deck lies 212 feet above the river and is 1.3 miles long.

2. Wine Tours

Go on a Hudson Valley Wine Tour and taste some of the best wines in the country! Check out Hudson Valley Bucket List. They’ll help you explore the region: boutique wineries, farms, distilleries, cider houses, local sites, and the coolest walkable towns while blending real stories of the area.

3. Hudson River Cruise

Hudson River Cruises provides passengers a first-hand view of the historic shoreline from the decks of the Rip Van Winkle. From their location in Kingston NY, they offer a delightfully unique opportunity to explore this scenic coastline.

4. Newburgh Waterfront

Enjoy the views of the Newburgh Waterfront! The waterfront houses a variety of restaurants, narrated boat cruises, and marinas.

5. “Pick Your Own” Orchards

Autumn at Bethel is the best! Take advantage of the delicious “Pick Your Own” farms. Our favorite is Kelder’s Farm. When we went, they were picking apples, pumpkins, red raspberries, and many vegetables like sweet corn, zucchini,  potatoes, and tomatoes! We also got some of their own fresh eggs and free-range chicken. Best of all, there were LOTS of fun activities for our two toddlers. They got to jump on a massive jumping pillow, feed and pet the animals, and pick blackberries.
There are many other orchards and farms as well. One such is called “Wright’s Farm,” which is not far at all from Watchtower Farms. You can pick your own apples, and they sell apple cider doughnuts.  There is also “Tantillo’s Farm” which is right down the street. They have fresh vegetables and fruits from the area, and I have heard that the apple cider doughnuts are fantastic.

6. Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum

Kid time! Play at the super fun Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum in Poughkeepsie. The museum is the ideal destination for families with young children. They celebrate childhood and offer exhibits that get kids moving, exploring, building, pretending, collaborating, creating and discovering.

7. Catskill Mountain Railroad

Always a hit with the family, take a scenic ride on the Catskill Mountain Railroad in Kingston. See the natural beauty of the Catskills from this railroad’s unique perspective, aboard a beautiful train! Take a comfortable seat in one of their vintage coaches, or enjoy the fresh air and beautiful views from the open cars.

8. Town of New Paltz

New Paltz is a quaint town. There are a lot of elegant little shops to go in. There is the oldest street in the United States called the historic “Huguenot Street.” There are some great restaurants, such as P&G’s (across from Starbuck). The Tea Room which is behind and down the street from Starbucks is a great way to spend an afternoon.

There is an elegant area when you first come into town, which has all kinds of cute shops. You can have a lot of seating around, and there is a little waterfall that comes out of the wall. You can even sit and play chess.

9. Sam’s Point (on Shawangunk’s Ridge)

Ready for some hiking?  At the highest point of Shawangunk Ridge is Sam’s Point Preserve. Sam’s point has great views and plenty of blueberries if you go the right time of year. The main trail is relatively easy up and around the lake on top. It also has trails through the ice caves that are a little more challenging. It is a great family outing if your kids are over six years old. If possible go before 11:00 am (and even better not on weekends) to avoid crowds.

10. Minnewaska State Park Preserve

Climbing the road to Minnewaska, a state park in the middle of the Shawangunk Mountains, I recalled the switchback and horseshoe turns more closely associated with the Andes back home in Ecuador. After a 30-minute drive from Wallkill Bethel, you will find yourself in a woodland setting replete with great biking trails and hiking paths. For those less adventurous, the parking areas are near the falls and lake, and all of the major natural attractions offer at least minimal stroller accessibility. Children love the falls and a quick dip in the “swimming hole” beneath it. There is a swimming area at the lake staffed with lifeguards. Admission is $10.00 per car. It's a lovely way to spend a day.

11. Mohonk Mountain House

Mohonk Mountain House is a resort and spa at the very top of the mountain. This place is beautiful. The grounds are meticulously maintained. The only problem with this place is the price of a room, which can range from $300 - $700+.The way around this is to get a day pass, of which they have several versions. (Go to the website to see the specials, but it's $25 to use the grounds for a day). If you like the outdoors, this place is for you. They have an incredible hike through “the Labyrinth,” which is more like rock scrambling than hiking. With that said any person in decent shape could do it and it is not to be missed. Some of the other hiking is along a ridge with views that words cannot describe. They also have a lake with rental canoes. There are several programs to keep you busy. The service from the valet to the waiters is excellent and worthy of a five-star hotel.

There are so many incredible towns that dot the landscape of this rich region, and this is just my little slice of it. I want to know: Where do you plan to visit when you come to see Bethel? Tell me what I'm missing in the comments below!


  1. I can't wait to get to come visit! All those places look fantastic! I want to try an apple cider donut! Thank you for sharing!

  2. Thanks for the great ideas. Warm love from Mississippi

  3. Thanks for the great ideas. Warm love from Mississippi

  4. Thank you for sharing. We appreciate your love and concern. We enjoy your products; they are a great help in the ministry work.

  5. Thank you so much for sharing. I can’t wait to visit. We love your products. It’s a huge help, out in the ministry.

  6. Thanks so much for this article. I have family and friends visiting soon, but i just moved in the area and didn't know what to suggest. This is very helpful!!!

  7. Thanks for all the good info about where to visit & eat in the Hudson River area near world headquarters! Since we live in Brockville, Ontario, Canada in the 1000 Islands-Frontanac Arch Biosphere geographic area, my husband & I appreciate the beauty of river culture, rugged terrain & rural towns. So we would look forward a similar visit just south of us! My husband & I just got married a few mos ago & would like to plan a family trip next yr sometime to visit all 3 headquarters sites (Warwick, Walkill, Patterson). My husband hasn't been down there since he was a teen, & I went there for the first time a few yrs before Warwick was completed.

  8. On my List to do! Thanks so much!

  9. Thank you for the great suggestions! I hope to come to visit the area soon.

  10. Thank you from Berthoud, CO! What wonderful suggestions, hope to come someday soon!!!