48 Hours in New Paltz

For New Yorkers seeking out nature on the weekends, the Hudson Valley is an obvious choice. One mountain town in particular, New Paltz, is especially appealing because it’s two hours north of the city and offers a plethora of outdoor pursuits and farm-to-table dining options. Here’s what to eat, see, and do in the upstate gem.

Where to stay

It is impossible to mention hotels in New Paltz without highlighting the historic Mohonk Mountain House. With 259 rooms, all sorts of recreational activities—including horseback riding and tennis—and locally-sourced cuisine, the resort is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year.

For a lower-key stay, see The Inn at Kettleboro. Originally built in 1830 but renovated and reopened in 2014, the bed and breakfast is perched on a 12-acre apple and peach orchard and offers gorgeous views of the Shawangunk Mountains (referred to as “The Gunks”). There are four charming, eclectic-yet-modern rooms.

Day 1

Get to Main Street Bistro early (they don’t take reservations and do get crowded) and try the salmon hash. Across the street is the B-Side Grill, where the walls are decorated with album covers. The food is diner-esque, though there are healthy options like omelettes, fresh fruit, gluten-free toast, and veggie “bacon”.

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  • Option 1: Fitness

    The Mohonk Preserve is a treat for hikers of all levels. (Equinox will host Day Trips here this summer.) Choose from four trailheads. Most popular is the Bonticou Crag Hike, which is three miles roundtrip and includes a challenging rock scramble.

  • Option 2: Culture

    Take a stroll through outdoor Water Street Market, located right on Main Street. You’ll find funky shops, where you can pick up antiques, crafts, and artwork. In the summer, there’s often a band playing in the center.

Huckleberry is the place in town to refuel. New Paltz residents refer to it as their “Brooklyn spot,” as it has a decidedly urban hipster feel to it, while still maintaining its upstate charm. There’s outdoor patio seating in the warm months—think Adirondack chairs, fire pits, and twinkly lights. Sample small plates like curry cauliflower cakes and white bean dip or consider the grass-fed burger or gluten-free fish tacos.

After freshening up, head to A Tavola Trattoria for seasonally-inspired Italian fare like sweet potato and ricotta gnocchi, slow-roasted beets, and grilled local ribeye.

Just a five-minute walk away is Jar’d Wine Bar. Fair warning: It’s quite tiny, but that’s precisely what makes it so cool.

Day 2

Lean into New Paltz’s liberal vibe with a morning visit to Lagusta’s Luscious Commissary, a vegan cafe owned by Lagusta Yearwood, who regularly hosts “Commissary Conversations” about political issues. Food-wise, she offers a variety of nut milks for lattes, smoothies, and more.

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  • Option 1: Fitness

    With 1,000 different routes, the Mohonk Preserve gets 100,000 climbers every year. Hire an authorized guide through the preserve’s website. If you want to go on your own, you can rent equipment at Rock and Snow or EMS in Gardiner.

  • Option 2: Culture

    The Rail Trail is a 23-mile path that runs from neighboring town Gardiner to Kingston—and a chunk of it goes right through New Paltz. Surrounded by beautiful scenery, like picturesque streams and lush forests, it’s also bikeable. (Rent wheels from The Bicycle Depot.)

If you’re craving a hearty lunch, sit outside at The Brooklyn Cider House at Twin Star Orchards (there’s an outpost in NYC). Open from April through November, they have a reputation for their craft ciders, wood-fired pizzas, and produce straight from their garden.

For a lighter meal, get a warm quinoa bowl or chicken soup with housemade bone broth at The Village Tearoom Restaurant & Bake Shop. It’s a quaint family-owned space in a historic building that also does a lovely afternoon tea service.  

If you have time, head to the Mohonk Mountain House for a round of golf or horseback riding. Just get back in time for dinner at The Parish Restaurant. Here, the panoramic sunset views of the mountains rival the food. Known for fresh, flavorful Cajun cuisine, the menu offers Creole tofu stir fry, blackened catfish, and vegan black bean patties.

Bacchus—which is just a few minutes from The Parish—is the place to be after dark. For true night owls, live music usually starts around midnight.

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There are over 100 miles of cycling paths inside the city.