11 Reasons Why New Paltz Might be the Upstate NY Small Town for You | A Local Town Guide

Posted by Dylan Taft on Thursday, March 2nd, 2017 at 1:15pm.

We all know the Hudson Valley has a lot to offer.  People buying here tend to gravitate towards areas that speak to their lifestyle and the things they like to do.  Some are attracted to what a small town stands for and let's face it... some simply come for the fresher air. 

Many have heard of New Paltz before, but few know it as intimately as the locals do.  This small town in Ulster County is no secret, but there is a secret sauce that makes New Paltz stand out from other local Hudson Valley hotspots. Join us as we share the local take on why New Paltz may be the perfect location for your new home.


 

New Paltz has been on many people’s radars for quite some time due to some world class local attractions, a popular state university, and for making headlines and major strides in the fight for marriage equality back in 2004, years before the rest of the country caught up. New Paltz has been, and continues to be, one of the most sought after towns in Ulster County to live, and was recently named one of the 12 Best Places to Live in the Hudson Valley by Hudson Valley Magazine.

Many people have heard of, and most have visited, this quaint village with the stunning cliff faced backdrop, and many who travel here become repeat visitors. But have you thought of making your trip to New Paltz just a bit more permanent? See why so many have fallen in love with New Paltz, and how you might too, after we reveal 11 reasons why you should move to New Paltz!

#1: Excellent Location, Close to NYC

While many people come to upstate New York to get away from life in the concrete jungle, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they can, or want to, cut ties from it all together... and the great thing about New Paltz is that they don’t have to. New Paltz is one of the most convenient locations to travel to and from NYC in Ulster County, with Trailways bus services running regularly from the center of town and from the New York State Thruway Exit 18 Park & Ride. These busses will have you to the city in just about an hour and a half, in quiet, clean and wi-fi accessible conditions (hooray!). The Metro-North train is also easy to catch from here, just a quick drive down Routes 299 & 9W to the Poughkeepsie train station and a short ride on the rails into the city. When you compare the ease of access to the Big Apple, with the stark contrast of New Paltz’s serene apple country, you’ll understand how the best of New York living can be achieved right here, in one convenient location. Here in Ulster County, you can work in the fast-paced, world powerhouse that is Manhattan, and return to the crisp, clear mountainous air every night to rejuvenate and lay your head.

#2: Cool Neighbors

With the proximity of the two areas, one could stretch and say that New Paltz and New York City are distant ‘neighbors’ of one another, but Manhattan is not New Paltz’s only awesome neighbor. Surrounded by the equally awesome villages of Gardiner, Rosendale and Highland, there’s lots more cool things happening just outside of New Paltz’s town borders. Gardiner, located southeast of the village, shares many of the same natural features (the stunning Shawangunk Ridge and fertile river valleys) as New Paltz, and together both towns make up an area known as the Wallkill River Valley. Rosendale, just north of New Paltz, seems to hold many of the same community values as New Paltz and has a similar ecologically conscious, educationally minded and free spirited vibe about it. Rosendale is a true off-shoot of New Paltz on the topic of mind, and many residents choose to relocate to neighboring Rosendale, especially due to the slight decrease in taxes and cost of living from one town to the next. Also originally settled as an out-skirt of New Paltz, Highland's history traverses rails and rivers. The popular linear state park, the Walkway Over the Hudson, is a symbol of Highland's Hudson River and railway past, and is creating a name for Highland in it's own right; no longer just an extension of New Paltz. 

#3: The History of Huguenot Street

New Paltz is known for its forward thinking ideals, but with as much as New Paltz looks to the future, its roots to the past run very, very deep. After fleeing religious persecution in Europe, a group of French and Dutch refugees traveled from Die Pfalz, their former temporary asylum in Germany, across the ocean to the new American colony of Kingston. With the desire to preserve and live by their French Huguenot ways, a small group of families traveled further south, settling along the flat banks of the Wallkill River in 1687, and, naming it after their former German refuge, New Paltz was born. Huguenot Street, where the original settlement started, holds the distinction of being one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements in the entire United States and much of the architecture here gives us a good glimpse as what life was really like back in 17th and 18th century America. Sitting on 10 acres of land, the registered National Landmark District of Huguenot Street is comprised of 7 stone houses dating from 1705 to 1890, a French church, burial ground, library, museum, gift shop and picnicking grounds. Thanks to the formation of the Historic Huguenot Street organization in the 1980’s, the homes and buildings of the original settlement are being meticulously preserved for future generations and a wealth of informative and educational programming and tours make it incredibly easy for people to get a glimpse of life in the past. Tours run regularly and lots of the programs offered are especially popular among students- with school year and summer session camps available to children (and adults!) for all ages.

#4: World Class Climbing & Outdoor Activities

To say that New Paltz is home to an amazing variety of outdoor activities would actually be a bit of an understatement in this case. To put it another way...New Paltz is home to WORLD CLASS outdoor activities! People have traveled across the globe to scale the white faced cliffs of the Shawangunk Mountain range in the Mohonk Forest Preserve, and in the summer, the sheer amount of traffic coming up and down the mountain would indicate nothing less. During the summer, parking lots for Mohonk and Minnewaska trails fill up fast and furious, with cars lined up and down the sides of Route 44/55 to enter the park. With over 1,000 miles of climbing routes and highly raved over trails like the Lemon Squeeze and Gertrude’s Nose in Mohonk, it is easy to see why people flock to these areas for an outdoor adrenaline rush, or for a peaceful escape from reality. Climbing and hiking are not the only outdoor activities to enjoy in the Gunks. In the summer, visitors can cool off for a refreshing swim at Minnewaska’s Lake Awosting or venture to the natural pools of Split Rock, located off of the Coxing Kill Trailhead. At the base of the mountain, the Wallkill River could also be another outdoor sanctuary; from the scenery to the water, with canoeing, kayaking and fishing for smallmouth bass and carp all favorite hobbies of locals and visitors (although swimming in the Wallkill is not recommended). For those seeking a less physically strenuous way to connect with nature in New Paltz, the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, a 22 mile walkway spanning from Wallkill to Kingston, provides a flat and level trail for walking, running, snowshoeing, horseback riding and biking.

#5: New Recreation & Infrastructure Improvements

Much of New Paltz’s sought after outdoor recreation locations aren’t far from the village, yet still require a car to get you up to the ridge where most trailheads start; that is… until now. This past fall, work was completed on the replacement Carmine Liberta bridge on Route 299 that leads travelers from the village, across the Wallkill River, through the farmland flats and up to the Shawangunk Ridge and beyond. The new bridge not only addressed structural deficiencies of the older bridge it was replacing, but it also strived to provide safer areas for pedestrians to cross and get a glimpse of the stunning Tower views across the flats. With that now achieved, it looks like 2017 will bring even more safe ways to get pedestrians through this stretch of New Paltz and up to the ridge with the new River-to-Ridge Trail, which broke ground in December 2016. Funded by the Open Space Institute, the River-to Ridge Trail will be a recreational, multi use loop trail that will lead from the Wallkill River in downtown New Paltz to the base of the Shawangunk Ridge and will not only address local’s growing concerns for safer pedestrian travel, but will add even more ways in which residents and visitors can enjoy New Paltz’s outdoor landscape and activities. Construction has begun on the stretch of trail that runs along the Wallkill, but when finished, the project boasts of a six mile trail, traversing farm fields and rolling hills to get direct access to over 90 additional miles of carriage roads and trails in the Mohonk and Minnewaska preserves. Construction on the River to Ridge Trail is expected to be completed in late 2017.

#6: Arts, Culture & Higher Education

New Paltz is a town that places lots of value in the fine arts and importance of higher learning and understanding, although that should come as no surprise to some, as the State University of New York at New Paltz (SUNY New Paltzis highly regarded as a top Fine Arts curriculum school. Perhaps it is the stunning natural vistas here that provide a source of inspiration for the creative, but New Paltz is filled with art galleries, museums and ways to share its peoples’ passion of art and culture. It isn’t just the inhabitants here who appreciate and make art; the village literally breathes it, with multiple larger than life technicolor murals gracing the sides of downtown businesses. The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art is a crown jewel in the SUNY New Paltz Campus but it’s changing exhibitions are all open to the public, regardless of one’s student status.  You’ll find other artists galleries dotting the village, like the Ryan Cronin Art Gallery, Gray Owl Gallery and the Unison Arts Center Sculpture Garden, all located downtown in the Water Street Market, as well as the Mark Gruber Gallery, located uptown in the Tops shopping plaza.

#7: New Paltz Central School District

In a town like New Paltz, where higher education is a major focus, it should be no surprise that the local primary and secondary schools are part of one of the most desirable school districts amongst people looking to make the move to the Hudson Valley as well. With the high popularity of the school district, and of the town of New Paltz in general, homes in the area tend to have pretty good resale values; another perk for those looking to make the move to New Paltz. The New Paltz Central School District averages around 2,200 to 2,300 students among its four schools; Duzine Elementary (Kindergarten-Grade 2), Lenape Elementary (Grades 3-5), New Paltz Middle School (Grades 6-8) and New Paltz High School (Grades 9-12). While academics here are the main focus, there is also a high level of extracurricular and athletic participation amongst students and just as the town promotes a sustainable and healthy way of life, New Paltz Central shares in that same belief for its students.

#8: Fun Things For Children to Do

Many of the most popular activities and things to do in New Paltz are perfect for the entire family to enjoy, especially many of the outdoor pursuits, like hiking, biking or swimming at Mohonk or Minnewaska or picking your own fruits and veggies at one of New Paltz’s many farms or orchards. In addition to family-friendly activities like these, children have a world of other adventures and things to explore within New Paltz! The youngsters may never tire of afternoons spent on the playground at Hasbrouck Park, getting lost in the wooden, fort like maze of towers, bridges and swings. Summers here can get hot, but you can keep the kids cool at the Ulster County Pool, next to the Ulster County Fairgrounds on Libertyville Road, or to the Moriello Pool, behind Stewart's on Route 32N, during the dog days of summer (both pools also offer swimming lessons to get your little ones comfortable in the pool from day one). If your children are animal lovers, take them to see the countryside like they have never before… on horseback! Payne Farm Too, located off of Dubois Road, and Ridgeview Stables, located on North Ohioville, both offer horseback riding right here in New Paltz (Advance bookings are required, especially when bringing children, to ensure that there is enough staff on hand to safely accompany children). In winter, when outdoor activities are limited to sleigh-riding and ice-skating, kids can still get their energy out with indoor activities, such as earning their black belt at the New Paltz Karate Academy, or, for the daredevils, indoor rock climbing at The Inner Wall. Bookworms will enjoy the Children's’ Room at the Elting Memorial Library, where typical programs include family movie nights and weekly chess tournaments, among other changing specialty and seasonal programs. Superhero fans, and their parents included, can spend hours perusing the racks of comic books uptown at October Country in the Cherry Hill Plaza. If your child has a special passion for history, Historic Huguenot Street also offers after-school and summer session camps where kids can experience life in the 18th century, help excavate real life archaeological digs,  and learn about our local history in fun interactive ways with other “Little Huguenots”. With an area as rich in history and culture as New Paltz, and with so many eye-opening outdoor experiences, it won’t be hard to convince your child to drop their tablet and go out and explore their hometowns here. 

#9: Shawangunk Wine Trail & Wineries


We’ve talked about children’s activities here in New Paltz, but what about some ‘adults only’ fun for when the kids are sleeping over at grandma and grandpa’s? Parents, have no fear…the Wallkill River Valley is one of the more fertile farming areas, which you could deduce not only from the abundance of farms and farm stands in New Paltz, but also from the abundance of local wineries here- so many in fact that our region has designated ‘trails’ that will have you hopping your way through the Hudson Valley for vino! The Shawangunk Wine Trail is comprised of 14 family owned and operated wineries, including New Paltz’s Robibero Family Vineyards, located on Albany Post Road, and Adair Vineyards, on Allhusen Road, and the trail stretches from the Wallkill River Valley into neighboring Orange County to our south. These wineries not only hold their own events and tastings throughout the year, but they also participate in Shawangunk Wine Trail specific events, where you can get a tour, and a taste of the valley.

Wine isn’t the only beverage pouring from this area of the county. New Paltz is also the home of Smart Beer, New York’s first organic brew, and the downtown breweries at the Gilded Otter Brewing Company and Bacchus are known for their ever changing, local craft ales. If spirits is more your game, just over the Gardiner town line, Tuthilltown Distillers is becoming a worldwide exporter of local whiskeys and spirits- we actually heard that their Hudson Rye Whiskey was spotted in a liquor store in Finland this summer!

#10: Village Dining & Shopping

New Paltz is such a unique town, that you wouldn’t think to find too many chain stores around this place (and you would be right- to the extent that the village even has a limit on the chain establishments that can set up shop in New Paltz, so don’t expect to see any new big box retail faces anytime soon here!). Here the shops are small, usually family owned establishments, filled with quirky character and unique novelties. You’ll find lots of gifts, clothing, home products, psychedelic mementos from a Woodstock-era time and much more at stores like the Groovy Blueberry, Handmade & More, Rambling Rose, Cocoon, Likwid and Isabella’s Treasures, all located downtown in the village of New Paltz, either on, or directly off of, Main Street. In New Paltz, it isn’t hard to find these little shops despite many being tucked away onto to quaint side streets in the village, some even hiding within other stores- like the gift shop located in the back of Dedrick's Pharmacy, where you can find lots of country styled homey gifts. New Paltz is filled with artists needing supplies, so enter Manny’s Art Supply, a Main Street cornerstone that has been a home to local artists and students for over 50 years now! The town is also known for the phenomenal hiking and rock climbing at the Gunks, so you’ll be sure to find shops that will help you enjoy New Paltz’s outdoor pursuits like Rock N Snow, Cycle Rack, Bicycle Depot and Pegasus Footwear (for hiking shoes and also for everyday shoes for children and adults). More specialty shops, restaurants, art galleries and antique wares can be found down in the Water Street Market, an open air marketplace overlooking the Wallkill River and the Shawangunk Ridge, inviting people to shop locally. And if you’re looking for boutique food specialty stores, check out Kraus’ Chocolates (a satellite store of their main sweet shop, founded in Saugerties, NY) and Scarborough Fare, where you’ll find a tap room of interesting olive oils, vinegars and an assortment of salts, spices and other pantry items. If shopping for foodie gifts gets you hungry, you sure have come to the right Ulster County town to indulge your tastebuds with whatever cuisine they may be craving for lunch or dinner. 

New Paltz may not be a large and bustling city, but it really does hold its own when it comes to providing a great assortment of excellent eateries, spanning a diverse range of cuisines, and all, for the most part, pretty centrally located in the village of New Paltz. There are the cornerstone pubs that everyone who visits New Paltz must stop in to experience, such as P&G's, McGillicuddy’s, Shea O'Brien's, the new Schatzi’s Pub and now, Garvan’s (an old-school, authentic Irish pub, located just outside the main village, at New Paltz Golf Course, where the former Rock N Rye Tavern was home to). Lesser known, hole-in-the-wall hotspots among college students and locals, like Snugs and Murphy’s, are also located on Main Street, if you happen to be looking for a quick happy hour drink before dinner. If you’re craving a locally brewed ale with your meal, stop into Gilded Otter or Bacchus and choose from a large selection of house made ales to accompany a their satisfying lunch or dinner selections. If you’re craving Asian, Hokkaido is one of New Paltz’s best hidden sushi restaurants, tucked away on North Front Street, or head over to Tokyo Sushi for a hibachi dinner, Gomen-Kudasai Noodle Shop, or Lemongrass, for Thai specialities. If you’re craving something a little south of the border, Mexicali Blue is a tiny Mexican joint that has been featured on television and visited by Anthony Bourdain (restaurateur, author and tv personality) or you could check out the new Mexican Kitchen or Los Jalapenos for authentic Mexican dishes, and there’s always the reliably tasty late night bag of takeout tacos from Taco Shack to fall back on. For a fancy date night, take your honey to ATavola, a cozy and upscale Italian restaurant in the heart of the village, where it's just a stone's throw down the road to La Stazione for more intimate Italian dining, or to the little known gems of The Parish (New Orleans creole) or Jar’D (wine & tapas) tucked into the delightful Water Street Market. If you’re looking for a sweet afternoon pick me up or cup of joe (or weekday lunch on the go) make sure to check out the Village Tea Room, Cafeteria, Moxie Cup, The Bakery or Russo’s Trattoria, all located in the village, or if you’re specifically searching for an organic and vegan options, try Karma Road and pick up one of their awesome all natural smoothies and frozen drinks. If you have a bit more time for a sit-down lunch the ever favorited hot-spots of Main Course an
Main Street Bistro are a must stop on any culinary New Paltz tour. On top of all that, there's so many pizza places in the town, we could hardly name them all! With all the names we’ve just dropped, we haven’t even scratched the surface at all the places to dine in New Paltz; the options are endless, so… come hungry, explore as many places as you can, and leave happy!

#11: Farms & Farm Markets

Just as the Esopus Native American tribe (the original inhabitants of New Paltz before the Huguenots arrival) knew hundreds and hundreds of years ago that the banks of the Wallkill River provided for fertile farmlands in this part of the valley, today, farmers here still reap the benefits of the fertile soil and there are an abundance of farms, farm markets, orchards and more. Wallkill View Farms is one of the largest farms in New Paltz, with sizeable year-round farm market, located just over the bridge in the village on the flats. Dressel Farms, located a bit further out of town on Route 208 heading towards Gardiner, hits peak attendance in the fall with apple and pumpkin picking, but offers products in their winter farm market until pick-your-own begins again in the spring with strawberries. Lots of other smaller farms also have ways of offering their produce direct to consumers, even if they don’t have farm stands as large as some other Ulster County locales. Bradley Farms has their own self service stand on Springtown Road that opens in June selling an assortment of their farm produce, along with their fresh pork and eggs. Our 'Farm Fresh' Ulster County guide of local Farm Markets and CSAs has even more details on the multiple New Paltz farms that offer crop shares with the local community: Phillies Bridge Farm Project offers a variety of veggies, herbs and flowers from June through November, as does Huguenot Street Farm and Taliaferro Farms, which also allow you to pick your own crop shares. Grass + Grit Farms also offers pasture raised egg shares throughout the year and quite a few of the above CSA programs have started talking about upcoming plans for winter share programs as well. Many CSA memberships need to be secured in the winter of the season prior to harvest, so check them out NOW, but if you’ve missed out on the upcoming season, you can still get all your fresh fruit and veggies at one stop during the summer and fall at the New Paltz Farmers Market, running from June through November, now located on Plattekill Avenue in the Town Court Parking lot on Sunday mornings. New Paltz is located in upstate New York’s ‘apple country’ and is home to quite a few orchards offering pick-your-own in the fall (Dressels is a major pick-your-own apple and pumpkin player) and who are also trying their hands at craft cider production with their apples, including Twin Star Orchards and Jenkins-Lueken Orchards.

 

Some say New Paltz has it all.  We just know it has enough to make it a very special place in the Hudson Valley!

If you have been thinking about buying here in New Paltz, we can help!  Our local area experts would be honored to assist and guide your search and protect you along the way.  You can start perusing homes currently listed in New Paltz directly below, or just give us call or CLICK HERE to drop us a note about your potential plans for the area. 

We look forward to hearing from you in 2017!

 

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