Nestled between the banks of the Hudson River and the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains lies one of the gems of the Hudson Valley—Columbia County, NY. Long before Henry Hudson sailed up the river that bears his name, the county was home to Native American Mohicans. Hudson’s discovery led to the Dutch settling in Hudson and Stuyvesant; the Palatine Germans in Germantown, and the English, the Scots, and New England Whalers near Spencertown and Ancram. The county’s history is culturally rich and historically diverse. Over 50 heritage sites steeped in Revolutionary and Civil War history and homesteads of political luminaries such as the 8th President of the United States, Martin Van Buren and signer of the Declaration of Independence, Robert Livingston, make Columbia County an attraction for heritage visitors. Nineteenth century fine artists, Thomas Cole and Fredric Church, established what is known as the Hudson River School of painting, capturing the breathtaking beauty and vast vistas within the county and beyond. Their homesteads, Church’s Moorish inspired masterpiece, Olana, and the Thomas Cole House are both open to the public and are popular tourist sites.
The city of Hudson has enjoyed a robust renaissance as a small city with big city flair. In the early 90’s, antique dealers fleeing high rents in New York City came and pioneered the change that has made it the vibrant, eclectic, entrepreneurial place it is today. Art dealers followed as did the unique boutiques that add to the city’s charm. With so much fertile farmland within the county, it was only natural that the farm-to-table movement would put Columbia County on the map as a food and beverage resource. Family farms have long been supplying meat, produce, fruit, and dairy products to the New York City market. Farm-to-table is not just a catch phrase here. It is a way of life.
The past 10 years has seen a boom in dining options. Chefs and restauranteurs migrated from the New York City area lured by abundance of locally-sourced, quality products. Zagat-rated establishments fill the county and make it a “foodie’s delight” destination. Whether it be a casual café, vintage diner, fine dining restaurant or hip and happening spot to enjoy a custom IPA or craft cocktail, there is something to tantalize every taste bud. Artisanal beverage producers also hand-craft beer, wine, spirits and hard ciders from locally grown hops, wheat, grapes, and apples. Tasting events along the beverage trail offer an educational and delicious activity to be enjoyed throughout the year. History, art, food and fun make Columbia County the perfect getaway. For more information, visit www.columbiacountytourism.org