15 Festive Things to do in the Hudson Valley in the Fall
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There is a place where the leaves are always turning, and it’s not in New England. It’s in the Hudson Valley of New York State. For many years, people have been coming from all over the world to see the beautiful colors that only autumn can bring. From Albany to Kingston, there are so many things to do and places to go this time of year that you won’t ever want to leave! Here are the best things to do in the Hudson Valley in the Fall.
Where is the Hudson Valley?
The Hudson Valley is a region in New York that is adjacent to the Hudson River. The valley begins at Manhattan and flows northward into southern Albany.
It runs through the counties of Dutchess, Ulster, and Greene in the state. The main cities that are a part of this valley are Poughkeepsie, Kingston, Albany, New Paltz, and more.
The Hudson Valley is highly prized for its rural feel and beautiful vistas. In the fall it becomes a wonderland of beautiful colors and awesome activities to celebrate autumn.
Best things to do in the Hudson Valley in the Fall
Visit The Olana Museum
The Olana Museum was established by painter Frederic Church who was one of the leading Hudson River School artists. He made sure that his house had many paintings and sculptures which showed Hudson Valley’s landscape as it looked in 1852 when he moved to this house. Today you can visit this museum to see how the arts were practiced back then!
The tour is a part historic home tour, part garden tour and part museum. If you are interested in early American painters you absolutely must visit!
Plan on 2 hours.
Hyde Park- Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt
Hyde Park is a huge part of American history. It was the home and political center of one of America’s greatest presidents, Franklin D. Roosevelt. The house has been preserved in all its glory and houses many family heirlooms like his presidential seal.
Visitors are welcome to walk through the beautiful expanse of the property to see FDR’s library and first-class bedroom. The grounds are beautiful, and there is plenty of space on which to play. The home has been converted into a museum for visitors, and it offers many educational programs that discuss the time period in which FDR lived as well as his political views. Check the website to see when certain kid-friendly events are happening.
Eleanor Roosevelt Historic Home Site
While you are visiting FDR’s home you can also visit Eleanor Roosevelt’s home. It is located just minutes away and was her childhood home. The home gives visitors a glimpse into the life of Eleanor Roosevelt from childhood to adulthood.
The property is preserved in its natural state, so you will be able to see things like gardens with her favorite flowers that she planted as well as hammocks where she would read books during relaxing summer days.
Visit the Culinary Institute of America
For those who love cooking and great food, Culinary Institute of America (CIA) might be just the place. It is one of the most prestigious culinary schools on the planet and was founded in 1946 by Dr. Georges Blanc with the mission to train world-class chefs and restaurateurs through an intensive curriculum.
CIA’s campus boasts state-of-the-art facilities like 5 working restaurants where students learn real life skills while serving quality food prepared by master chefs; they also offer continuing programs for those looking to become a chef or for people looking to gain experience in food service management.
Their campus is located on the Hudson River where you can enjoy breathtaking views of the river while you learn to cook up a storm. If you book early you can eat at one of the restaurants on the campus, but generally, you need to book over a month early! If you go during the week you can peek in at some of the best up-and-coming chefs!
Take a tour of West Point
West Point has been training America’s future military leaders for 200+ years and prides itself in its academics, athletics, and a strong sense of duty. If you are looking to see how cadets train or want to tour the grounds this fall is your chance to visit one of America’s oldest military academies!
The tour takes you through the beautiful campus, and you will get to learn about the history of West Point. You will see their famous chapel, library, and barracks, all while learning how these buildings have trained future leaders for decades.
You will also enjoy the military museum at the visitor’s center. Click here for tour times and tickets.
The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze
The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze is an incredible art exhibit that features hundreds of hand carved pumpkins with magical creations inside them all along a mile-long trail. This Halloween event will be taking place at Van Cortland Park and is the highlight of the Fall season in the Hudson Valley.
This is an absolute must-see event!! We have gone over 10 times and still are wowed.
Every year the dates are extended to earlier and later in the year, but as of this writing, the dates are mid-September to Thanksgiving. Later tickets are easier to get and weeknights are easier as well!
You need to get tickets early as this event always sells out!
Want to find other things to do near the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze? Check out a Fall Weekend in Tarrytown.
Minnewaska State Park
Minnewaska State Park Preserve is one of the finest destinations for hiking, backpacking, and rock climbing in the country. It was created in 2020 when Gov. Nelson Rockefeller set aside more than 2200 acres for a new park and became known as the “Matterhorn of America.”
The land includes Minnewaska Mountain which contains old-growth forest with over 200 species of plants. There are many amazing attractions to explore including waterfalls, cliffs, lakes, and trails that are excellent for rock climbing. This is one of the best Hudson Valley Hikes.
If you want to see a panorama of beautiful fall foliage this should be on your Hudson Valley in the Fall list!
Another great place to visit is Mohonk House which has been a destination since 1869. Visitors come from all over the world to enjoy the natural beauty while also enjoying its stunning waterfalls on the property as well as the stunning views.
Mohonk House has a rich history and more famous people have stayed here than you would believe including: William Taft, Booker T. Washington, Rutherford B. Hayes, Andrew Carnegie and so many more.
It also holds many different types of architecture with its Victorian style as well as its medieval revival architecture. People enjoy visiting Mohonk for their amazing spa services, hiking trails, relaxing inns, and various buildings on the property. There is something for everyone!
You can stay here for the weekend or take one of the daily house tours and garden tours. Click here for more information.
Visit Kykuit, one of the historic Rockefeller mansion that was home to 4 generations of Rockefellers. Kykuit means “lookout” in Dutch.
Kykuit is open for tours and is located 30 miles north of New York City in Tarrytown The mansion is perfectly preserved and allows visitors to see what life was like at that time period by exploring its plentiful 800 acres. The gardens have been meticulously maintained and have some fine sculpture in them.
The tour is more expensive than many historic home tours, but the tour is truly worth it. The garden tour alone is worth it!
Tips: We have taken our children to Kykuit, and I don’t think I would do it again. They were completely bored. If you have older children or ones who are better behaved than mine you might want to try.
Visit the Vanderbilt Mansion, and you will get to admire the architecture of this home. It has been a National Historic Landmark since 1966; it is one of the most important historical landmarks in America, and you can spend several hours walking around the estate which features pathways, lawns, and gardens that are immaculate.
Unlike the mansions of Newport, Rhode Island, the Vanderbilt Mansion in Hyde Park is much simpler in design and function. (Not that it isn’t spectacular in its own way!)
There are always many events going on at the historic Vanderbilt Mansion so make sure to inquire about what seasonal dates and activities they have for you.
Want an awesome place to check out with your friends? Then visit Bannerman Castle! This castle was built by Francis Bannerman VI who was the owner of Bannerman’s military surplus in New York. He built it at the turn of the century to hold all of his weapons. It is on a small island in the Hudson River.
It has over 2 miles of tunnels that you can walk through, and it features an old armory on site where there are fountains, statues, moss covered statues, fireplaces, and more.
Bannerman Island is open to the public as a historic site not only for tours but also because it hosts events such as weddings on weekends during the summer. They also offer movie nights, theatrical experiences and more!
Fall Festivals in Hudson Valley, NY
Hudson Valley in New York is also known as one of the best places to visit this time of year because it has an abundance of fun fall festivals. For example, there is a Pumpkin Festival in Barryville, a Harvest festival in Poughkeepsie, and a big fall festival in Rhinebeck.
To find all the fall festivals in the Hudson Valley check out this site.
Pick your own Apples in Hudson Valley
Pick apples in Hudson Valley this Fall at one of the dozens of pick your own orchards in the area. Most offer great prices for pick your own as well as baked goods, cider donuts, pumpkins and even hay mazes.
Here is a list of the best pick your own apples orchards in Hudson Valley.
See the Hudson Valley Fall Foliage from the water
Take a Hudson River Sightseeing Cruise and see some of the most spectacular leaves on either side of you as you cruise up and down the Hudson River. These cruises are super popular in the fall so book as soon as possible to be able to enjoy the beauty of the Hudson Valley in the Fall.
No matter which of these items you choose to see and experience in the Hudson Valley you are in for a treat if you do it during Fall Foliage Season. I hope you enjoy and let me know what you did and what you thought!
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