Surprising tourism attractions in the Hudson ValleyAug 10th, 2011 | By HV Insider | Category: Featured Articles
“Don’t judge a book by its cover,” particularly when it comes to tourism attractions. Look beyond the names of these destinations and you’ll discover unique experiences with some wonderful surprises. Come visit Orange County, just one-hour north of New York City, for the new, the unexpected.
It isn’t just art lovers who throng to Storm King Art Center in Mountainville. The magical 500-acre outdoor park with gigantic sculptures set in the landscape will stretch your imagination as well as your legs. It’s an adventure the whole family will love. Wander over an immense wave field carved into a meadow, or pose under steel beams suspended in mid-air. You’ll be mesmerized by mobile sculptures swaying in the breeze, and amazing works of art made from recycled tires, coins, and rocks. Fun programs and concerts on weekends are included in the price of admission. Take the narrated excursion on the tram, or rent bicycles for a different point of view. Don’t forget your camera! The rolling fields and surrounding woods are transformed by the changing seasons. Once you see it, you’ll want to return again and again. There’s no other place quite like it anywhere. (845) 534-3115, www.stormking.org
Goshen’s Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame is much more than a monument to harness racing. Housed in a beautiful historic building, it features modern interactive exhibits that have children trying on costumes and everyone listening to the talking horse. Hear your own voice calling a race, and take a ride in the 3-D simulator to experience first-hand the thrill of driving a sulky in an exciting race. Watch movie stars in harness racing films, and catch the story of standardbred racing at one of the small theaters. From the second floor balcony you’ll see sleek trotters training at the landmark Goshen Historic Track, over 160 years old and still going strong. And admission is free! (845) 294-6330, www.harnessmuseum.com
Whether you love motorcycles or not, make plans to see Motorcyclepedia, a brand new museum dedicated to the art and sport of two wheel travel. The 85,000-square foot space in Newburgh displays over 300 motorcycles including more than 100 Indians. The Antique Motorcycle Club of America has its collection here with the oldest motorcycle dating back to 1897. So, what’s in it for non-bikers? There’s tons of interesting memorabilia, videos and movie posters that are easily recognizable. A motorcycle owned by Charles Lindbergh and one that was part of President Kennedy’s Dallas motorcade are here. Don’t miss this first-class facility that explores the design and history of this popular mode of transportation in what just might be the most extensive motorcycle collection in the world. (845) 569-9065, www.motorcyclepediamuseums.com
Hollywood on the Hudson? Who would have guessed that America’s film industry got started in Cuddebackville, New York? The famous film director D.W. Griffith called this Orange County hamlet “the loveliest spot in America.” While filming here, he developed the first fade out effect using a cigar box. Mary Pickford and Lillian Gish were among the early celebrities making movies at this quaint rural site, and you can find out all about it when you visit the Neversink Valley Museum of History and Innovation. The museum is housed in a canal-era building bordered by a towpath that follows a portion of the old canal where you can walk or bike. Exhibits on the D&H Canal and native Lenape Indians explore the history of the area. Picnic in the park, and be sure to come to the many special events hosted by the museum. It’s fun for families and film fans alike. (845)754-8870, www.neversinkmuseum.org
The West Point Museum may be next to the oldest military academy in the country, but the eclectic collection has many surprises. It includes a spacious art gallery of early Hudson River School works by Robert Weir, a teacher at the academy in the 1800’s. One of his students, James Whistler of Whistler’s Mother fame, has a painting displayed here in spite of the fact that he flunked out! A Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington has a prominent place among many other fine works of art. Beyond the gallery there are exhibits on the early days of the academy and cadet life, dioramas, and thousands of artifacts. You don’t have to be a military buff to appreciate this part of America’s story. Open daily, admission is free. (845) 938-3590, www.usma.edu/museum
More surprises can be found at www.OrangeTourism.org. For a free copy of the Orange County Travel Guide call 800-762-8687, or email . Orange County Tourism is headquarters for tourism in the county and is part of I LOVE NEW YORK.