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What Drives: A Weekend in the Woods

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New Yorkers never need much of an excuse to escape the city, but the Hudson Valley offers plenty of reasons to justify a trip to the north. What draws city dwellers up the river and out of town? From fresh air and outdoor recreation to arts and culture, it's no wonder New Yorkers flock upstate — and the renowned sculpture gardens and upscale greasy spoon diners don't hurt. Here are 10 things to see, do, eat, and drink in the rustic region.

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Blue Hill at Stone Barns

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Blue Hill at Stone Barns is the primary Hudson Valley foodie to-do. Opened in 2004 at the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture on the one Rockefeller family estate just 30 miles north of the city, the high-end New American restaurant sources from its own surrounding fields and pastures, as well as neighboring farms in the Valley. With no menus, guests are treated to an ever-changing array of the season’s best offerings. The experience doesn’t come cheap, though,it’s not one you’ll not forget.

Storm King Art Center

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A regional treasure and perennial favorite of the New York’s creative class, Storm King Art Center is a giant, open-air art park. The expansive property features more than 100 sculptures of varying size and style from some of the art and design world’s most famous creators — from Roy Lichtenstein and Isamu Noguchi to Andy Goldsworthy and Donald Judd. We recommend packing a picnic and getting there early, ensuring plenty of time to explore and enjoy the sprawling setting.

The Graham & Co.

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What was once a dingy drive-up motel is now a chic weekend getaway for aesthetes. The modest hotel holds just 20 sparsely decorated (though highly curated) rooms, a perfectly old-school swimming pool, a badminton court, and, perhaps most exciting of all, a fire pit. Vintage knickknacks give the midcentury modern-inspired building a bit of local flavor, and complimentary beach cruiser bikes offer guests an easy way to explore the area.

Phoenicia Diner

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The Phoenicia Diner is what we wish every diner was. Opened in 1962, the midcentury masterpiece has become an institution in the Hudson Valley. Serving up traditional diner favorites and more modern dishes (updated, of course, with seasonal ingredients sourced local farms), you’re not likely to find a better roadside meal for hours around. Plus it’s insanely photogenic — just sit back and let the digital likes pour in as you sip bottomless cups of joe.

Bear Mountain State Park

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The old standby for New Yorkers looking to find a slice of the great outdoors within arms’ reach of the city, Bear Mountain State Park offers 5,067 acres of woodlands rising from the banks of the Hudson River. Take a hike, cast a line in a lake, pitch a tent for the weekend or visit the trailside museum and learn about animals native to the area — not bad for being just an hour or so from Times Square. An added bonus is a trip across the Bear Mountain Bridge, a tiny but vertiginous suspension bridge that cross from the park, on the west side of the Hudson, into a cliffside on the east.

Montgomery Place Orchards

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Montgomery Place Orchards isn’t new to the farm-to-table movement — the land has been under the green thumb of one tenant or another since the 1700s. Though times have changed, and the historic estate is now entering its 28th season as a family-run farm specializing in spray-free fruits and vegetables with over 70 different varieties of apples. It also offers homemade jams, vinegars, and has recently started making and selling its own hard cider. Stop by during market hours to browse the seasonal harvest, alongside produce, dairy products, honey, and much more from neighboring farms.

Tuthilltown Spirits Distillery

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Some say Tuthilltown Spirits Distillery is the first small-batch distiller in the Hudson Valley since prohibition; others say that it’s the institution that inspired the region’s boozy rebirth.TSD opened in 2003 in a 220-year-old mill, producing vodka with scraps from a local apple-slicing plant. Today, the family-run business makes vodka with apples from an orchard five miles away and whiskey from grains harvested within 10 miles of the distillery. An onsite restaurant rounds out the operation, making for one worthwhile stop.

Dia: Beacon

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Perhaps the most accessible destination on the list, Dia: Beacon is a world class museum nestled beside the Hudson River in the modest town of Beacon. Housed in a 300,000-square-foot former factory, Dia boasts an extensive collection of large-scale contemporary art — lit with some 34,000-square-feet of of skylights. Special exhibitions rotate through, but there’s also an extensive permanent collection. Be sure not to miss Dan Flavin’s fluorescent light series and Richard Serra’s Torqued Ellipses.

Lagusta's Luscious

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If you still doubt vegan desserts, you’re in the wrong place. Lagusta’s Luscious is a vegan chocolate shop in the quaint town of New Paltz. Open since 2003, the welcoming shop makes treats with practices that will wipe your guilty conscious clean. All chocolate is 100 percen fair trade and organic, all packaging is made of 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper, and all scraps are composted. Plus fresh ingredients are sourced locally (yes, this is a repeating theme, and we love it), and each little treat is made by hand.

The Heron

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Though not technically in the Hudson Valley — Narrowsburg is located about an hour and a half west — The Heron makes our list for its excellent reputation, aesthetic, and all around positive approach to fine dining. Founded by two chefs formerly based in NYC, the regionally inspired and community-driven restaurant serves sustainable food made with fresh ingredients. It’ll fuel you up for that trip back home.
This advertising content was produced in collaboration between Vox Creative and our sponsor, without involvement from Vox Media editorial staff.

Blue Hill at Stone Barns

Blue Hill at Stone Barns is the primary Hudson Valley foodie to-do. Opened in 2004 at the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture on the one Rockefeller family estate just 30 miles north of the city, the high-end New American restaurant sources from its own surrounding fields and pastures, as well as neighboring farms in the Valley. With no menus, guests are treated to an ever-changing array of the season’s best offerings. The experience doesn’t come cheap, though,it’s not one you’ll not forget.

Storm King Art Center

A regional treasure and perennial favorite of the New York’s creative class, Storm King Art Center is a giant, open-air art park. The expansive property features more than 100 sculptures of varying size and style from some of the art and design world’s most famous creators — from Roy Lichtenstein and Isamu Noguchi to Andy Goldsworthy and Donald Judd. We recommend packing a picnic and getting there early, ensuring plenty of time to explore and enjoy the sprawling setting.

The Graham & Co.

What was once a dingy drive-up motel is now a chic weekend getaway for aesthetes. The modest hotel holds just 20 sparsely decorated (though highly curated) rooms, a perfectly old-school swimming pool, a badminton court, and, perhaps most exciting of all, a fire pit. Vintage knickknacks give the midcentury modern-inspired building a bit of local flavor, and complimentary beach cruiser bikes offer guests an easy way to explore the area.

Phoenicia Diner

The Phoenicia Diner is what we wish every diner was. Opened in 1962, the midcentury masterpiece has become an institution in the Hudson Valley. Serving up traditional diner favorites and more modern dishes (updated, of course, with seasonal ingredients sourced local farms), you’re not likely to find a better roadside meal for hours around. Plus it’s insanely photogenic — just sit back and let the digital likes pour in as you sip bottomless cups of joe.

Bear Mountain State Park

The old standby for New Yorkers looking to find a slice of the great outdoors within arms’ reach of the city, Bear Mountain State Park offers 5,067 acres of woodlands rising from the banks of the Hudson River. Take a hike, cast a line in a lake, pitch a tent for the weekend or visit the trailside museum and learn about animals native to the area — not bad for being just an hour or so from Times Square. An added bonus is a trip across the Bear Mountain Bridge, a tiny but vertiginous suspension bridge that cross from the park, on the west side of the Hudson, into a cliffside on the east.

Montgomery Place Orchards

Montgomery Place Orchards isn’t new to the farm-to-table movement — the land has been under the green thumb of one tenant or another since the 1700s. Though times have changed, and the historic estate is now entering its 28th season as a family-run farm specializing in spray-free fruits and vegetables with over 70 different varieties of apples. It also offers homemade jams, vinegars, and has recently started making and selling its own hard cider. Stop by during market hours to browse the seasonal harvest, alongside produce, dairy products, honey, and much more from neighboring farms.

Tuthilltown Spirits Distillery

Some say Tuthilltown Spirits Distillery is the first small-batch distiller in the Hudson Valley since prohibition; others say that it’s the institution that inspired the region’s boozy rebirth.TSD opened in 2003 in a 220-year-old mill, producing vodka with scraps from a local apple-slicing plant. Today, the family-run business makes vodka with apples from an orchard five miles away and whiskey from grains harvested within 10 miles of the distillery. An onsite restaurant rounds out the operation, making for one worthwhile stop.

Dia: Beacon

Perhaps the most accessible destination on the list, Dia: Beacon is a world class museum nestled beside the Hudson River in the modest town of Beacon. Housed in a 300,000-square-foot former factory, Dia boasts an extensive collection of large-scale contemporary art — lit with some 34,000-square-feet of of skylights. Special exhibitions rotate through, but there’s also an extensive permanent collection. Be sure not to miss Dan Flavin’s fluorescent light series and Richard Serra’s Torqued Ellipses.

Lagusta's Luscious

If you still doubt vegan desserts, you’re in the wrong place. Lagusta’s Luscious is a vegan chocolate shop in the quaint town of New Paltz. Open since 2003, the welcoming shop makes treats with practices that will wipe your guilty conscious clean. All chocolate is 100 percen fair trade and organic, all packaging is made of 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper, and all scraps are composted. Plus fresh ingredients are sourced locally (yes, this is a repeating theme, and we love it), and each little treat is made by hand.

The Heron

Though not technically in the Hudson Valley — Narrowsburg is located about an hour and a half west — The Heron makes our list for its excellent reputation, aesthetic, and all around positive approach to fine dining. Founded by two chefs formerly based in NYC, the regionally inspired and community-driven restaurant serves sustainable food made with fresh ingredients. It’ll fuel you up for that trip back home.

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