Off the Beaten Path in the Hudson Valley


So, you've spent some time in the Hudson Valley, done all the "must do" things, eaten at the CIA, visited the FDR Presidential Library, and done the lemon squeeze? Are you looking for some attractions that are "off the beaten path?" The Hudson Valley has a lot to offer. Here are just a few of its more secret treasures.

Shingle Gully Ice Caves

Located in a primitive area of Sam's Point Preserve in the Shawangunk Mountains, the Shingle Gully ice cave hike is not one for the out-of-shape or faint of heart. But if you have some hiking experience under your belt already, you should definitely give this one a try. Bring your hiking boots, headlamp, and backpack with snacks and then prepare to be amazed by dramatic fissures, caves that stay cold all year long, and beautiful views of one of the east coast's grandest "grand canyons."

You can only enter this area of the park by permit, but organized hikes are led regularly by trained guides. Just check the park calendar for the next one and call 845-647-7989 to sign up. And please do not go in on your own. This is important both for your safety, and the safety of the local ecology.

Trevor Zoo

The Trevor Zoo in Millbrook is one of those "hiding in plain sight" gems that seems to slip under people's radar. This is a small, but lovely and well-maintained zoo. It is attached to the private Millbrook School (in fact, it's the only zoo in the United States housed in a high school,) and the animals are cared for in part by students.

This zoo is especially good for families with young children, who can get overwhelmed by the chaos and noise of the Bronx Zoo and its ilk. With 80 different species of animals represented, including the most adorable red pandas, the whole family is guaranteed to be charmed.

The Trevor Zoo is open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is only $5 for adults and $3 for children and seniors.

Krishna Grocers

Krishna Grocers, located right on Route 9 in Poughkeepsie, is not just an Indian grocery store. I mean, they do sell groceries, like Indian convenience foods, spices, and some produce, for a very good price, but they also make the best takeout lunch I've ever had. Ever.

For less than $5, they'll make you up a plate of whatever they have on offer that day. Their vegetarian meal consists of some combination of beans, rice, cheese, and vegetables, and comes with a piece of flat bread. There is also a meat plate for a slightly higher price, and they sell other items to order, like pakora and the best samosas in the Hudson Valley. There is no seating available, but you won't mind when the food is this delicious, the prices so good, and the owners so friendly.

Omi

Located up in Ghent, NY, Omi International Arts Center is a bit of a drive for a lot of people, but so worth it. Seriously. If you do one thing on this list, let it be this one. Omi is a sculpture park located on 300 acres of forest and rolling farmland. There are over 80 contemporary art sculptures that represent an amazing breadth of style, and the exhibits are always changing.

Admission to Omi is by suggested donation, and the park is open every day during daylight hours. The visitors center is open from 11 a.m.-5 p.m., and the cafe from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

Veronica Stork has lived in the Hudson Valley for her entire life. She is always on the lookout for new and unique places to visit.

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