Hudson Valley, NY (November 2012) – Memories are made here. Get your sparkle on in the Hudson Valley this year for a holiday filled with nifty gifts and beautifully decorated destinations. The entire valley glistens with twinkly lights and old fashioned celebrations to dazzle every eye, young and old.
Jingle bells herald your arrival to the utterly unique Hickory Dickory Dock gift shop in Nyack where hundreds of smiling faces greet you. Elves, Santas, angels, gnomes and a host of others draw you into the gaily decorated shop. The owners travel to Germany every year for hand-carved cuckoo clocks, nutcrackers, delicate music boxes, and unique ornaments that adorn the cozy and inviting store. Holiday cheer also sparkles at Gillinder Glass in Port Jervis. One of America’s oldest glass companies, the gift shop is resplendent in the jewel tones of ornaments, vases, paperweights, jewelry, sun catchers, lamps, and numerous pieces of home décor. If you didn’t know better, you’d think these collectibles were crafted by elves, but take the special factory tour to see how Gillinder’s beautiful pieces are made.
Thanksgiving brings up the curtain to wondrous weekends here. Hudson Valley villages look like magical stage sets twinkling up and down the river. Full of the Dickens, the Old Dutch Church in Tarrytown hosts musical storytelling performances of the seasonal favorite A CHRISTMAS CAROL on Saturdays through December 22nd. Warm up across the street with complimentary hot chocolate, cider and cookies while you browse for holiday gifts for everyone on your list at Philipsburg Manor. The day after Thanksgiving may be “Black Friday,” but not in Albany’s Washington Park. Tree branches, gardens, and open spaces are illuminated with fantastical displays at the annual Capital Holiday Lights in the Park through January 5th. Seasonal music plays as you drive past dozens of brightly lit displays bringing you to the Lake House for refreshments, craft vendors, costumed characters, children’s entertainment, and a meet and greet with the big guy himself, Santa Claus!
Hudson River houses built over 100 years ago are one of the most charming aspects of the region. Wish architecture perfectly suited for ornamentation, homes like Wilderstein in Rhinebeck carry decoration like a finely dressed woman. Well known florists and designers have transformed the 1888 Queen Anne riverfront mansion room by room into a magical holiday spectacular to tour at your leisure on weekends through December. The 1827 Federal-style Hart-Cluett House in Troy is also a splendid floral showcase. Inspired by beloved holiday songs, twelve rooms of the mansion have been transformed with this year’s theme, “Christmas Melodies” by the Van Rensselaer Garden Club. For a special treat, take one of the alluring candlelight tours to see the décor in all its glowing beauty.
There’s nothing better than opening presents, and you’ll get a whole village to open with Downtown New Paltz Unwrapped the weekend of November 30th. Stores unveil their holiday windows while the rich scent of mulled cider and baked treats wafting from the doorways lures you in to shop. Children can join the Gnome Hunt while adults use their Passport Coupons for extra special buys. Join the crowds that night for a surprise event on North Front Street. Across the river, the village of Hudson celebrates the beginning of the season with its Winter Walk on Warren Street, December 1st. A trumpet fanfare announces the arrival of the Santa Parade and the street becomes a festive thoroughfare with twinkling lights, brightly decorated shops, horse-drawn wagons offering rides, stilt walkers and marionettes, bagpipers and live reindeer. Look for Frosty the Snowman on the street, as well as Scrooge and Marley’s Ghost, the walking Grandfather Clock, Tin Soldier, and a host of angels, snowflakes and elves of all sizes.
Village walks celebrating the season are a Hudson Valley tradition. One of the best known is Cold Spring by Candlelight, also on December 1st. This charming 19th century riverside village welcomes visitors to a dozen historic sites and homes within easy walking distance of each other. The day is filled with craft fairs, ice carving events, and family-friendly activities throughout the quaint town. Strolling carolers serenade visitors while actors dressed in Dickensian garb perform and pose for photos with guests. That same day, the village of Catskill bedazzles you with its Holiday on Main Street. The lilt of seasonal favorites fills the air as you visit the gaily decorated stores. Take the kids to see Santa, then oh what fun it is to ride on a horse and sleigh ride to get into the spirit. The day ends with the formal lighting of a magnificent tree in downtown, ushering in a season of bright lights and much celebration!
This season, turn off technology and turn on tradition. The Hudson Valley is decked out with all the trimmings to dazzle the eye and lift the spirit. Make some new holiday memories in our charming small towns up and down the river. No humbug here!
Hudson Valley Tourism, Inc. is the 10-county region designated by I LOVE NEW YORK to promote tourism for the area. Counties include Albany, Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Orange, Putnam, Rensselaer, Rockland, Ulster and Westchester. Regional information can be obtained from the county tourism offices, the regional website, www.followthehudsonriver.com, or by calling 845-615-3860.