By Kimberly Hoffman
Smile and say "Boo!" If you have a lens that captures ghostly images, you’re in for a real treat in the Hudson Valley. Few places in the country are more steeped in legend, lore, and primal beauty. And few places are more Instagrammable than this 300-mile stretch from New York City to Albany.
Long before the United States was a nation, Henry Hudson discovered the forested banks along the meandering Hudson River. In the years after, settlers followed his path, building quaint villages and magnificent estates. Whether you make a day trip or want to spend a weekend at a romantic getaway, there are plenty of picture-perfect stops here. Here are some of the top stops for shutterbugs:
6 Top Instagrammable Spots in Hudson Valley
1. Sleepy Hollow
Yes, there is a real Sleepy Hollow, a village in Westchester County. Enter, if you dare, the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. Among the ancient headstones, you'll find the grave of Washington Irving, the man who wrote the spooky Headless Horseman legend.
Irving rests with such luminaries as William Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, and auto magnate Walter Chrysler. Just up the trail at Philipsburg Manor, you can see Irving’s characters come to life in the haunting Horseman’s Hollow exhibit.
2. Minnewaska State Park Preserve
Minnewaska State Park Preserve, in Ulster County, is one of several places in the
valley where you can immerse yourself in primitive nature.
For example, you can snap plummeting waterfalls, primeval forests, and sparkling lakes. The park abounds with hikers’ trails and places to picnic and camp.
3. Beekman Arms & Delamater Inn
This historic location in Rhinebeck traces its origins back to 1704 and through the centuries has hosted such luminaries as George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Benedict Arnold, and Franklin Roosevelt. Listen carefully and you might hear the spirits of Revolutionary War soldiers going through their drills on the grounds. Today America’s oldest continually operated hotel offers modern conveniences in authentically historic surroundings and fine dining for visitors. You can kick back by the open hearth in the Tavern and browse treasures in the antique market behind the inn.
When this gothic castle in Tarrytown comes into view, you might think you’ve been transported to Medieval England! Set amid sweeping grounds and fountains, Lyndhurst Mansion bristles with towers and turrets.
Lyndhurst Mansion has been home to a railroad magnate and a French Duchess, as well as the setting for movies and TV shows.
Seasonal tours include the Lyndhurst Ramble Tour, which showcases specimen trees, including the lindens for which the property was named. You also will visit the rose, fern, and rock gardens.
There’s so much natural beauty to see on the mansion grounds, and so many ideas for the best plants to landscape your yard.
The Lyndhurst Museum is open to the public, but check the website for COVID-19 restrictions and safety requirements.
4. Walkway Over the Hudson
Opened in 1889 as the Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge, the Walkway Over the Hudson is now a state park. Put on your hiking shoes for a 1.28-mile trek over the Hudson River on a steel cantilever bridge that connects the towns of Poughkeepsie and Highland.
It’ll give you a birds-eye perch for photos of the river, forests, and villages. Look north and you can see the Catskills. Gaze south and you’ll see the Hudson Highlands.
5. Springwood/Roosevelt Presidential Library
Springwood, the home and final resting place of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and wife Eleanor, sits in Hyde Park in Dutchess County. It's next to the Roosevelt Library, which houses the records of America’s longest-serving chief executive.
The grounds and buildings are a National Historic Site that’s open to the public. Your Instagram photos will live in infamy.
Hudson Valley is an Instagram Favorite
The Hudson Valley is peppered with fascinating places to visit and photograph, ranging from historic sites and grand vistas to quaint shops for antique enthusiasts to farmers’ markets and country cafes.
Plan a day – or several – in one of America’s most photogenic locales!
Kimberly Hoffman is a restaurant critic and avid traveler who searches for the best restaurant in every city she visits. You won’t find her dining in any chain restaurants, though, as she prefers to sample the local cuisine in every city. The chefs in her favorites list are willing to share their recipes with her.