What’s not to love about Rosendale? If you’ve ever visited this small upstate Hudson Valley town, you’ll realize that living in Rosendale isn’t just about settling on a location; it’s a way of life. There’s always new and exciting things going on in this small community and most are done with such passion and vigor that you can’t help but feel inspired and touched by this town’s culture and ideals. The rural community of 6,000+ residents may be on the small side, but they have a big voice- and people have traveled near and far to hear what Rosendale’s community members have to say. Here, there’s a passion to learn, to grow and to experience nature as it was intended to be. There’s a forward thinking progressivism that many other towns can only hope to strive to attain and a responsibility to preserving this way of live and to preserving the land on which the town sits. There’s plenty of reasons to live in Rosendale, and it seems that the list continues to grow longer with every passing year.
So are you thinking of checking out Rosendale and experiencing first-hand the awesome community vibe that it has going on? There’s plenty of reasons why we think you shouldn’t waste a second, and get yourself to Rosendale now, but for now we will start simply with 9 Reasons to Live In & Love Rosendale NY!
#1: Rosendale’s Culture & Forward Thinking Community Values
Rosendale is a town that prides itself on providing quality leisure activities, educational programs and great resources to benefit its residents minds, bodies and health. Providing educational and cultural learning experiences that promote forward thinking and the betterment of the community and their shared values, Rosendale offers its residents much more than many other towns often provide. The Rosendale theatre in itself is also a symbol of Rosendale’s residents’ dedication to preserving history and enhancing their community through film, music, performing arts, diversity and more. Don’t expect this marquee to list only the latest brain-dead blockbusters here though- in 2010, the Rosendale Theatre Collective was able to purchase the theatre on Main Street and since then, this non-profit has been expanding their programming and events to extend a range of culturally or environmentally significant indie films, lectures and so much more. You’re not coming here to leave behind your troubles with some routine comedy blockbuster hit- you’re coming to the Rosendale theatre to open your mind and learn.
Currently, there’s even more new and exciting programs being added to the theatre’s schedule including a brand new series of lectures called “Engaging Lectures with Everyday Experts” or ELEE for short, that seeks to provide an affordable ‘grassroots’ education approach to continually inspire local residents. Embracing the ‘spirit of lifelong curiosity’ and the ‘art of local inquiry’ this monthly series will highlight a range of local experts (3 different experts per monthly event) giving 15 minute lectures on a specific topic, followed by a group panel discussion. ELEE’s goal is to feature the amazing and diverse people of the Hudson Valley, where they can share their work to inspire creativity, conscious-living, sustainability, nature-awareness, community building and more- all in line with Rosendale’s community values! These lectures take place on the second Tuesday of each month and featured lecturers and topics will appear on ELEE’s website in time for the new monthly gathering. The next lecture series is set for Tuesday, November 8th (details on the lecturers and their topics for the night can be found here) and tickets can be purchased at the door the night of the show.
#2: Rosendale’s Iconic ( Yet Largely Unknown) Claim to Fame
Did you know that Rosendale’s claim to fame was staked long before you may have started recently hearing about this small upstate town? Due to it’s increasing popularity amongst Brooklynites moving away from the city, more and more people are learning that Rosendale has connections to some of the most prominent American landmarks in the whole entire country. In the 19th century, a naturally occurring form of cement was discovered from mining deposits of dolostone rock right here in Rosendale and was aptly named Rosendale Cement (and actually, the same naturally occurring cement found in other areas of the state or country are still classified and referred to as ‘Rosendale’ cement!) This natural cement was found to be more durable than any other of its kind, which peaked interest the world round, and therefore, was highly sought after for construction usage. So where did this Rosendale cement end up you ask? Well, only on some of the country’s greatest and most iconic places, including the Brooklyn Bridge, Erie Canal, the Capitol Building and as the base of the Statue of Liberty! As the years have passed, with our culture becoming more and more time-focused, Rosendale cement’s popularity has declined because despite it being one of the strongest known types of cement, people today simply don’t have the time to wait for the cement to cure for a month (as the process requires). If you’re interested in learning more about Rosendale cement and the history that surrounds it, you can find it at the original cement plants that have been preserved in the Snyder Estate Natural Historic District, located just outside the village on Route 213 in Rosendale.
#3: The Rosendale Train Trestle and Expansion of the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail
If participating in beautiful outdoor activities is your passion, Rosendale aims to indulge you, and the town seems to continually be adding new ways to do so. In 2013, the former railroad trestle, that soars high above the center of the town, was reopened as a public pedestrian walkway, allowing you to take in the sights of Rosendale like never before with a bird's eye view. The Rosendale Trestle was originally constructed by the Wallkill Valley Railroad to connect the original rail line from New Paltz to Kingston. At the time the trestle was opened in 1872, it was the highest bridge span in the United States, rising 150 feet over the Rondout Creek. The rail line closed in 1977, after many years of safety concerns, and remained vacant after a few unsuccessful attempts to turn the trestle into a bungee-jumping platform. Since being reopened in 2013 as an extension of the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, hundreds of residents and visitors get to enjoy the striking views of Rosendale and Joppenbergh Mountain as they traverse the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail from New Paltz. After the completion of trails in the Williams Lake Project, the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail will then span continually from New Paltz, through the new Williams Lake and terminate at the end of the line in Kingston, following the complete path that used to be run by trains so many years ago.
#4: The Soon-to-Be, Brand New Williams Lake Resort & Spa
We love Rosendale as it is now, but we have to admit that the town’s future is looking even brighter with the current development of a new Resort & Spa at the old Williams Lake Hotel, that, when completed, will give a boost to the town, just as Mohonk Mountain House and the Mohonk Preserve have for neighboring town of New Paltz. This new resort could soon make Rosendale a destination in itself, rivaling the local tourist heavyweights of New Paltz and Woodstock.
The Williams Lake Project strives to revive the once thriving Williams Lake Hotel that had operated for over 80 years by the Williams family, off of Binnewater Road in Rosendale. The new Williams Lake Project will take 800 acres of land surrounding three Rosendale lakes and develop a new community complete with a 130 room hotel with 94 LEED certified lodge rooms, 22 lakefront hotel suites, 14 cabins, a 17,000 square foot spa, 89 townhouses and 65 single family homes. The goal of owners and developers is to maintain a focus on outdoor education and conservation, with nearly ⅔ of the land being conserved for wildlife. The resort and spa itself is being developed around the public Wallkill Valley Rail Trail that stretches from New Paltz to Kingston and will also include miles more of trails throughout the community. Not only will this project bring in more revenue for the town in the long run, the project strives to bring in local companies and workers to complete the project, creating new jobs for Hudson Valley community members right now. Leave it to Rosendale to find ways to further preserve and grow their culture and environmental ideals, all while benefiting their current community members. More information on the status of the Williams Lake Project can be found at their website.
#5: Restaurants & Cafes Full of Personality
Don’t drive down Main Street Rosendale and expect to pop into your choice of McDonalds, Burger Kings or other fast food chain joints; simply put, that is not what this town is all about. Instead, Rosendale prides itself on having awesome cuisine, lots more vegan and vegetarian options than you’ll find in other places and charmingly cozy and unique restaurants that will make you feel at home. The short stretch of Main Street itself is filled with plenty of great dining options- amongst them is the 1850 House Inn & Tavern; a 10 guestroom B&B with tavern and outdoor deck for creekside dining that is also a popular venue for small weddings and events. Here you’ll find some modern spins on traditional pub style food, with a New England flair, thanks to their Maine trained head chef. Other Main Street restaurants include ByWater Bistro and the Red Brick Tavern, both featuring menus of American classics that have been spun on their heads, and the Rosendale Cafe- a real favorite among locals for their vegetarian dishes and for their eclectic atmosphere, full schedule of musical performances and regular ‘Singer-Songwriter Tuesdays’ that showcase local musicians and all of their talent. The Big Cheese, as the name would give away, is part marketplace for exquisite imported and local cheeses, but they also carry and serve Mediterranean dishes, kombucha teas and many more hard to find delicacies for you to eat in or take out. If Mediterranean food is your cuisine of choice, Rosendale gives you more dining options at The Garden House, where they specialize in Arabic and Mediterranean cuisines and wood-fired pizza (located just off on Main Street on Hardenburg Lane). If you’re craving something sweet, The Alternative Baker has you covered with many gluten free options, including their specialty lemon cakes. If you travel just down Main Street onto Route 213, you’ll also find 32 Lunch, a quaint, old-school dinette serving up all your favorite breakfast foods and some interesting lunch specials, Matsu, a well-reviewed Japanese restaurant and bar overlooking the Rondout Creek and Market Market, a quaint sandwich shop located across from the Adirondack Trailways station, so you can still grab some good Rosendale grub as you’re on your way out of, or into, town! For residents looking to pick up some groceries to make their own homemade dinner, it hasn’t been much easier since the opening of MyTown Marketplace, the local supermarket on Route 32, making it no longer necessary for people to drive into New Paltz, Kingston or Stone Ridge to do their food shopping. If you come to Rosendale hungry, chances are, you’ll be leaving happy.
#6: Fertile Farming in the Rondout Valley
Okay, time for a little history and geography refresher… The ‘cradle of humanity’ is thought to have been located in ancient Mesopotamia in an area called the fertile crescent, where the great Tigris and Euphrates Rivers and the Nile River came together. Why was this area thought to be the birthplace of humanity? Because these great and powerful rivers made for the most fertile lands for resources to create civilizations. So why are we giving you a history lesson here? Well, we think that Rosendale’s natural resources and geological features seem to parallel those of that ancient civilization and provide for the fertile lands of the Rondout and Wallkill River Valleys and all the farming there.
In Rosendale, The Rondout Creek (which flows from the Catskills down to the Shawangunk Ridge) and the Wallkill River (flowing from New Jersey) meet near Rosendale’s eastern town line and combine to flow together to Kingston and finally empty into the Hudson River. The water from the Wallkill River is dammed at Sturgeon Pond in the small hamlet of Rifton just outside of Rosendale and the rest is received into the Rondout Creek, which then widens and deepens, allowing for a multitude of marinas and shipbuilding quarters to establish up the creek, before the waters empty out into the Hudson River at the Rondout Lighthouse. (Another fun fact: The Wallkill River is one of the few rivers in the world known to flow northbound instead of southbound- just as the Nile River in Egypt does!) The Rondout Creek is usually credited for the Rondout Valley’s fertile land and abundance of farming (with the Rondout Valley farmland stretching from Ellenville to High Falls, where it ends just prior to reaching Rosendale) , just as the Wallkill River is responsible for the Wallkill River Valley’s fertile land. Archaeological digs along the Wallkill have found prehistoric Native American shelters along the banks of the river- proving that it has been the lifeblood of this area for hundreds of thousands of years. With these two rivers meeting and combining in Rosendale, if there was a modern day equivalent of a ‘fertile crescent’ scenario, we think you’d find it here in the Rondout Valley.
#7: The Main Street Vibe & Annual Street Festival
Main Street in Rosendale is one of the biggest draws of this eclectic little hamlet and one of the reasons why so many people just love to live here. The generally quiet main drag sits on the Rondout Creek and the charming, colorful storefronts, restaurants and homes make for a picturesque, quintessential small town peaceful feeling. We’ve already talked about some of the great cafe’s and eateries in Rosendale, but there’s also some great little shops to find vintage and handmade items like Postmark Books, Soiled Doves and Vision of Tibet as well as specialty food shops where you can stop in and grab some great artisan products, like The Big Cheese. Also on Main Street, you’ll find the Rosendale Library and Rosendale Theatre- both places that have a major role as community centers and places that uphold the common core values that Rosendale embodies- the commitment to education and learning. While Rosendale’s Main Street is generally calming and intriguing most days, the center of town comes alive when Rosendale hosts one of its many events. Rosendale regularly hosts Farmers Markets and other small events that breathe life into town, but once per summer, Rosendale hosts it’s annual Street Festival, where Main Street fills with vendors, food trucks, craft stands and musicians for two solid days of good-old-fashioned block party fun! Thousands of people travel to Rosendale to partake in the weekend’s events. Multiple stages are set up along Main Street for local bands and musicians to jam out, businesses all open their doors, restaurants cook up a storm and even the local homeowners of Main Street get in on the fun. Other events held throughout the year are also a hit on Main Street (albeit, not quite as big as the annual Street Fest) such as Frozendale Daze, a community event to benefit the local businesses of Main Street and feature local artists, musicians and more at multiple events all throughout the town’s businesses. Every November, the town also gathers together for the International Pickle Festival, usually held just up the road at the Community Recreation Center.
#8: New Community Pool at the Rosendale Rec Center
For Rosendale residents, the community pool at the town rec center isn’t just a community pool- it’s a labor of love and a symbol of the dedication this town has to making sure its residents stay happy and involved in an active, outdoor lifestyle. The pool and surrounding grounds at the Rosendale community center had fallen into disrepair and closed back in 2011. In the years since, Rosendale community members and donors banded together to help crowdfund improvements to the community pool- raising about $900,000 in total from grants and donations to kickstart the pool rejuvenation project. Finally, after construction continued throughout 2015, the new community pool re-opened early this summer for the 2016 season. The new pool (which is combination of a smaller activity pool and a lap pool) now rounds out and completes the Rec center area, where the community center, playground, baseball/softball field, pavilion, tennis courts, basketball courts and horseshoe pits can all be enjoyed by residents and non-residents alike (Daily passes and seasonal memberships are available to all and fees are posted on the Town of Rosendale’s website).
#9: Convenience is Key
Living in Rosendale allows residents to experience a small town vibe, yet still allows them to to be connected to larger local communities and to bustling New York City. In Ulster County terms, Rosendale is relatively central to the rest of the county’s more prominent towns like New Paltz and Kingston, and is still surrounded by some of the most darling small town communities of Stone Ridge and High Falls (places that are holding their stances as new up and coming hot spots in the real estate market.) Traveling between these towns is a cinch if you have a vehicle, but here in Rosendale, it’s still just as easy without personal transportation- the Adirondack Trailways bus station is located just off of Main Street, making it super convenient to travel between town centers here. Of course, Adirondack Trailways also travels directly to Port Authority in New York City, so it’s just as easy to travel to Rosendale from the city and points south- in just about 90 minutes. The time will seemingly fly by when traveling Adirondack Trailways; it is a clean and quiet ride and most of their busses offer wifi (so you’re always technologically connected). We’ve had clients rave about how easy their commute to the city is from Rosendale now, when they can be dropped off in the center of town and practically walk the rest of the way home from there. Here it’s possible to have the small-town lifestyle, in a cool, forward thinking town, but still commute to a bustling city as frequently, or as infrequently, as you choose.
There’s so many reasons that highlight why Rosendale would make a great place to live here in Ulster County that there’s no way to list them all. If you live in Rosendale, or just like to visit, what are some of the things that you love so much about it? Share it with us in a comment below- we'd love to hear it!