10 Reasons to Love Fall in the Hudson Valley

With crisp air, apple picking, and spectacular foliage, fall in the Hudson Valley is an exciting experience for families, couples, and friends alike. From outdoor adventure to tasting the flavors of the season, discover the best fall has to offer with a trip to the Hudson Valley.

1. Cider Doughnuts (Albany)

Indulge in a warm, sugar-covered cider doughnut this fall—maybe even more than one! With local farms and shops offering their unique versions of the classic fall treat, there are plenty of places to find apple cider doughnuts in the Capital Region. The Yellow Rock Café at Indian Ladder Farms in Altamont makes fresh plain and sugared doughnuts daily! Cider Belly Doughnuts in Albany features creative flavors for their cider doughnuts, such as “Ol’ Albany” with an apple cider glaze and “Perfectly Pear’d” with a pear puree glaze. They also feature staples like “Sugar Daddy” made with cinnamon and sugar and “Original Cinn” made plain.

2. Hiking (Rensselaer)

As the temperature begins to drop and the sun burns the fog off the mountains each morning, head outside for a beautiful fall hike at Grafton Lakes State Park in Grafton. Located on approximately 2,500 acres, Grafton Lakes State Park is home to ample trails and scenic ponds. Feel the leaves crunch beneath your feet as you walk along the park’s nature trails. Pack a lunch and enjoy a picnic alongside one of the park’s six ponds.

3. Thrilling Adventure (Greene)

Soar above the impressively colored treetops on a zipline experience at New York Zipline Canopy Tours at Hunter Mountain in Hunter. Go on the family-friendly Mid-Mountain Adventure, where you’ll make your way across rope and plank suspension bridges, and zoom down six ziplines. This all-day adventure has unlimited access, so you can go through the course multiple times!

4. Breathtaking Vistas (Columbia)

Find breathtaking views of fall foliage at the Olana State Historic Site in Hudson. The former home of artist Frederic Church and the surrounding landscape feature views of the Catskill Mountains and Hudson Valley. With scenic vistas located throughout Olana’s 250-acre landscape, there are plenty of opportunities to observe the impressive scenery. The grounds are open daily from 8 a.m. to sunset, and can be accessed free of charge. Outdoor guided tours are also available.

5. Scenic River Cruises (Ulster)

Go on a scenic river cruise with Hudson River Cruises in Kingston this fall as the leaves begin to change. Hop aboard the Rip Van Winkle II to see the beauty of the riverside from the water. The tour route will take you by historic sites —such as Vanderbilt Mansion, Mills Mansion State Historic Site, and Rosemount, the Alton B. Parker Estate—Rondout Lighthouse and Esopus Meadow Lighthouse, along with several other Hudson Valley locations.

6. Family-Friendly Farms (Dutchess)

What is fall without a visit to a farm? From apple picking and pumpkin picking to corn mazes and petting zoos, the Hudson Valley offers an unforgettable agricultural experience each fall. Barton Orchards in Poughquag has pick-your-own apples and pumpkins—ideal for a rewarding outdoor experience. Also, find your way through Barton Orchards’ themed corn maze, and stop by to see the animals at the petting zoo. Greig Farm in Red Hook has more than 10 apple varieties available for picking from around late August to late October, and pumpkin picking from late September to early November. These are just a few of the Dutchess County farms!

7. Outdoor Art (Orange)

Wander outdoors alongside incredible art at Storm King Art Center in New Windsor. The 500-acre museum features sculptures and other art pieces surrounded by the expansive Hudson Valley landscape. The fall foliage serves as the perfect backdrop for each piece of art—for a more guided experience, listen to the audio tour using your phone to learn about the various sculptures from artists and Storm King’s staff. Currently, visitor capacity is limited, and tickets need to be reserved in advance online.

8. Historic Locations (Putnam)

Explore the grounds of the neoclassical mansion Boscobel in Garrison. The mansion, which was built in the early 1800s, was the “dream house” of Loyalists Elizabeth and States Dyckman. Walk along the stately grounds to see sweeping views of the Hudson River. Currently, advance reservations to view the gardens, grounds, and woodland trail of Boscobel are required. Head to nearby Manitoga to see the former home of industrial designer Russel Wright. Manitoga, a National Historic Landmark, also features a 75-acre garden and woodland trails. Tours must be made in advance online.

9. Vibrant Jack O’Lanterns (Westchester)

See more than 7,000 carefully carved and illuminated jack o’lanterns at The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze at Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton-on-Hudson. Be sure to check out the Pumpkin Carousel, Pumpkin Windmill, and the Pumpkin Planetarium! The event will be held September 18–October 31 and November 1, 6–8, 13–15, and 20–21. In addition, this year’s event will have limited capacity, and will promote social distancing. Advance reservation is required.

10. Craft Beverages (Rockland)

Sip a locally made craft beverage in Rockland County this fall. Head to Rockland Cider Works in Orangeburg—the county’s first and only cidery—for a refreshing hard cider at their bier garden. In Sloatsburg, Seven Lakes Station features 14 local and specialty taps on a rotating basis. Pair your craft brew with one of their craft burgers for the ultimate meal! For wine lovers, check out Torne Valley Vineyards, where you’ll enjoy a glass of wine with an incredible fall view of the impeccable grounds from their historic 19th-century Victorian mansion. No matter where you go, you can’t go wrong!

Are you ready for fall? Begin planning your trip to the Hudson Valley to experience the season like never before.

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