Upstate NY’s best city to bunker down in

The artistic upstate retreat of New Paltz, NY, has all the time hosted summering city slickers and SUNY college students. But because the pandemic, New Paltz is being rediscovered as a full-time vacation spot by scores of transplants. The Post’s Sunday Editor, Margi Conklin, is certainly one of them.

On a pristine Labor Day six years in the past, my husband Chris and I cycled via the quaint upstate city of New Paltz.

Afterwards, we stopped at a pub, our pints of beer goldening in the solar. “Let’s buy a house here,” I blurted out.

Chris raised his eyebrows.

“Really? I’d love that.”

Wait, had it been the alcohol speaking? Soon there was no turning again, Chris already looking properties round New Paltz, a handy 90-minute commute from our New York City residence. We discovered an reasonably priced outdated farmhouse and positioned a bid.

When I began to fear in regards to the work the property required, Chris reassured me.

“We need some green space to escape into. Let’s call it ‘The Bunker.’ ”

New Paltz was based by a dozen French Huguenots in 1677, and is at present evenly populated between everlasting locals and SUNY college students.

For 4 years, we loved our home as weekenders. Then, in March 2020, COVID-19 hit. Our jokingly named “bunker” turned the actual factor.

While the pandemic raged, we sheltered upstate, grateful for some outside space. But then I began noticing different issues: Namely, the city of New Paltz itself.

This historic group, based by 12 French Huguenots in 1677, boasts a singular mix of nature and tradition. With its four-year SUNY college students (7,800) and modest native inhabitants (7,300), the village has one of many youngest median ages (22) in the nation.

An exterior shot of the Denizen Theatre.
New Paltz’s progressive Denizen Theatre was based by Harry Lipstein.

An extrior shot of a reading at the Denizen.
A packed outside studying on the Denizen Theatre.

“Fifty percent of our population is young, bright-eyed, bushy-tailed students,” stated Harry Lipstein, founding father of New Paltz’s progressive Denizen Theatre. “They are artistic and creative, leading to a unique cross-pollination between the generations.”

Melanie Cronin who, with artist husband Ryan, runs the Cronin Gallery in Water Street Market, agreed. “You can find a kid standing in line with a tattooed face and a company CEO right behind him,” she stated. “New Paltz has never worried about being cool. People here can feel comfortable no matter who they are.”

Exterior shot of the Cronin Gallery.
Artistic couple Melanie and Ryan run the Cronin Gallery.

An rabbit-themed art exhibit inside Cronin Gallery.
A leporine exhibit on the Cronin Gallery in Water Street Markey.

A painting of a flamingo by Ryan Cronin.
A portray by Ryan Cronin, depicting New Paltz (utilizing its unique title) as a paradise.

During the pandemic, many individuals like me, weekend hikers and climbers on the close by Mohonk Preserve, began involving themselves in the group.

“It’s become more vibrant,” stated Cronin, 48. “COVID has given more life to our cultural scene.”

This summer season, the Denizen hosted play readings to packed audiences in the market courtyard. In October, it should stage its first in-person manufacturing because the pandemic, “Apples In Winter,” in which a mom bakes an precise apple pie on stage, the final meal for her son on dying row. It stars Jennifer Delora, a former Miss Ulster County.

Lipstein stated a lot of his performers and crew come from the world. 

Young couple navigate a row boat in Lake Mohonk, a Victorian style hotel nestled in the Shawangunk Mountains.
A paddling couple on the placid waters of Lake Mohonk.

“It’s no coincidence that Robert de Niro lives in [nearby] Gardiner. Like Provence, which attracted van Gogh and Monet, you find that same magnetism in the Hudson Valley. There’s lots of artistic talent in them there hills.” (Former mayoral candidate and presidential hopeful Andrew Yang can be a resident.)

The Unison Art &Learning Center and the school’s esteemed Dorsky Museum, celebrating its twentieth anniversary this year, are each large cultural attracts.

Meanwhile, new eating places catering to city and robe have not too long ago exploded, together with Main Street eateries Apizza!, serving wood-fired pies, and Burger Box, providing grass-fed beef and craft wine and beer. You can even style native brews at Arrowood Outpost housed in a stone grotto on Church Street.

Meanwhile, apple selecting season will quickly deliver much more guests to the world. Twin StarOrchards (N. Ohioville Road) is my absolute favourite. Set amongst 200 good acres of apple bushes, you’ll be able to get pleasure from pizzas, burgers and free tastings of their ciders. The mind-blowing “Raw” selection was impressed by Basque nation cider.

Olivia Yi, who helps father Peter run the cidery, stated the Raw “is a magical product, with a fermented, high-acid flavor. It’s really alive.”

The similar may very well be stated of my adopted hometown of New Paltz. A vibrant group that welcomes anybody, “We feel like it’s the center of the universe,” Cronin stated. “You can’t beat the enthusiasm here.”

New Paltz highlights

Exterior of Mohonk Mountain House in the Catskill Mountains.
Mohonk Mountain home is a Nineteenth-century fortress buying and selling in much-desired Victorian decadence.

Mohonk Mountain House

This Victorian fortress resort based in 1869 sits in a valley beside an beautiful lake, the place you’ll be able to canoe, kayak and paddleboard. A full-service spa makes it the last word in luxe rest.


After a protracted hike, lounge by your personal personal log hearth exterior this charming pub, and luxuriate in a quinoa burger with an area ale.


Since 1947, this Main Street sports activities bar has been the New Paltz hangout. Everything on their copious menu is scrumptious and generously portioned. (The Tommy I’s crab cake soften is a favorite.)

Water Street Market

Designed as a European-style promenade, this pedestrian avenue of eating places, bars, boutiques, vintage shops, the Cronin artwork gallery and extra is a treasure trove of delights.

Historic Huguenot Street

Limestone houses on Huguenot Street New Paltz, New York.
The Huguenots had a knack for stonework, as exhibited by this historic limestone residence.
Alamy Stock Photo

Book a tour inside the attractive stone homes constructed by Huguenot settlers in the 18th century, a delegated National Historic Landmark. (The Boos & Brews Haunted Tour is especially enjoyable.) And the reward store is a should at Christmastime.

River-to-Ridge Trail

This strolling/biking path brings you from Wallkill River to the foothills of the Shawangunk Mountains (aka “The Gunks”) with its iconic Skytop Tower. The Rail Trail, connecting New Paltz to different Hudson Valley cities, can be good for a stroll or an entire enjoyable time out.

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