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Columbia County Road Trip

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Photo Credit: Bash Bish Creek Taconic State Park

Photo Credit: Bash Bish Creek Taconic State Park

Tucked away in the Hudson Valley, New York is a bucolic countryside setting with a plethora of cultural events, locations, and activities. The historic Columbia County is a treasure trove full of exquisite architecture, shopping, art, and nature. Miles of greenery makes Columbia County ideal for visitors who love the outdoors and hiking.

Columbia County: Drives

Photo Credit: Clermont State Historic Site, Daniel Region

Photo Credit: Clermont State Historic Site, Daniel Region

Columbia County has three bicycling or driving routes available for visitors to enjoy. The first route is a thirty-minute drive, showcasing scenes of rolling hills and farmlands. The area includes Taconic State Park, which is full of picnic sites and campgrounds. Crystal streams snake through the forests where rainbow trout can be caught and the Bash Bish Falls is a sight to see.  The area is perfect for taking a scenic stroll or making a mile-long hike to the falls.

The second route is a seventy-minute drive with panoramic views of the  Catskill Mountains and the Hudson River. The trip winds through little green valleys containing picturesque old farmhouses and estates. Brief, historical side trips can be made during the drive if you want to visit the Luykas Van Alen House, the Martin Van Buren National Historic Site, or the Shaker Museum and Library.

Photo Credit: Upper Stuyvesant Falls: Joan Lezette

Photo Credit: Upper Stuyvesant Falls: Joan Lezette

The third route is described as fifteen miles of history. The drive is highlighted by orchards, horse farms, and fantastic vistas of the Catskill Mountains. The town of Hudson is one of the stops and it’s known for its unique, varied architecture and antique dealers.  Another area visitors will encounter during the historic drive is Frederic Church’s Olana, a prized mansion in the Hudson Valley, which is the home of one of the country’s premier landscape painters.   The estate has the feel of Victorian elegance and the look of a Persian palace. Guided tours of the villa are available, but you can also stroll down Olana’s lovely trails on your own.   The Clermont State Historic Site is reminiscent of a golden age. You can take a tour of the grand 500-acre Hudson River estate, the Clermont great house, which is the former home to seven generations of the distinguished Livingston family. The area is bordered by the Hudson River and the formal gardens are perfect to stroll through or stop for a picnic.

 

Columbia County: Things to See and Do

Photo Credit: Columbia Land Conservancy

Photo Credit: Columbia Land Conservancy

The activities of the area are not just contained within these designated routes. There are so many more options to choose from when spending a day at Columbia County. For those who enjoy a more manicured outdoors, Golf can be played during the spring in the lush countryside; skiers can conquer the slopes during the winter at Catamount Ski Area; visitors can swim in the state park pools during the summer, and you can witness the change of leaves from green to red and gold during the fall.

Architecture is a major draw of Columbia County, aside from the Clermont and the Olana, the Federal mansion of Judge James Vanderpoel and the Gregorian home of our eighth president, Martin van Buren are open to the public to visit. Farms are also available to visit like Old Chatham Sheepherding Company Farm where visitors can watch the milking and cheese-making process.

 

Photo Credit: Fix Brothers Fruit Farm

Photo Credit: Fix Brothers Fruit Farm

Farmers’ markets are common throughout Columbia County. Other shopping includes antique shopping at places like Hillsdale Barn Antiques, Meissner’s Victorian House Antiques, and many more. You can also stop in at the various wineries and distilleries throughout the area.

Theater, film, visual arts and music are popular throughout the area. Performance spaces and museums like the HRC Showcase Theater, Valatie Community Theater, and the Joyce Goldstein gallery are available all year round. Special festivals are set up for various events like the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, the FilmColumbia Film Festival, the Winter Walk on Warren Street, and the Art Omi Weekend.

 

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