By Plane -- Most visitors traveling by air will probably fly into one of three major airports in the New York City area. Other possibilities include Albany International Airport (ALB), 737 Albany-Shaker Rd. (tel. 518/242-2222; flight information tel. 518/242-2359; www.albanyairport.com), at the north end of the Upper Hudson Valley, and Newburgh's Stewart International Airport (SWF), Route 207, New Windsor (tel. 845/564-2100; www.stewartintlairport.com), which handles daily flights from major U.S. cities such as Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia, Raleigh/Durham, and Washington, D.C.
By Car -- Most visitors embark on tours of the Hudson Valley by private automobile. Major car-rental companies, including Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Hertz, National, and Thrifty, have representatives at all the major airports. The Lower Hudson Valley begins just north of New York City, on either side of the river; take either I-87 (New York State Thruway) north or the Taconic State Parkway. From Albany south, take I-87 south to 9W or I-90 south to Route 9. Heading either east or west, the most direct route is along I-84.
By Train -- Amtrak (tel. 800/USA-RAIL; www.amtrak.com) has service to the Hudson Valley from New York City, Syracuse, Buffalo, Montreal, and Boston, with stops in Albany, Rensselaer, Poughkeepsie, Rhinecliff, New Rochelle, Yonkers, Croton Harmon, and Hudson.
The Metro-North Railroad (tel. 800/638-7646; www.mta.nyc.ny.us/mnr) travels up and down the Hudson. The trip along the river on the east side is one of the most scenic train trips in the U.S. The commuter line runs from Grand Central Station in New York City and services Westchester, Orange, Rockland, Putnam, and Dutchess counties (with stops in Beacon, Chappaqua, Cold Spring, Garrison, Katonah, Poughkeepsie, Tarrytown, and Yonkers, among others). Some packages include round-trip train travel and admission to sights, such as the 1-day getaways to Dia:Beacon and the Rockefeller estate, Kykuit.
By Bus -- Bus service throughout the Hudson Valley is available on Adirondack/Pine Hills Trailways (tel. 800/776-7548; www.trailwaysny.com), with service to New York City, New Paltz, Kingston, and Albany; Greyhound Bus Lines (tel. 800/231-2222; www.greyhound.com); and Shortline Coach USA (tel. 800/631-8405; www.shortlinebus.com), with local service from New York City and throughout Orange, Rockland, and Dutchess counties.
General tourist information is available by calling Hudson Valley Tourism, Inc. (tel. 800/232-4782) or by visiting the organization's website, www.travelhudsonvalley.org, for links to the very informative sites maintained by each of the eight counties that touch upon the Hudson River Valley. Tourist information offices or kiosks (and even cabooses) are found in a number of towns and at many historic sites, often operated in season only. Offices that provide information and other resources for travelers include Orange County Chamber of Commerce, 11 Racquet Rd., Newburgh (tel. 845/567-6229; Mon-Fri 8:30am-5pm); Greater Cornwall Chamber of Commerce, 238 Main St., Cornwall (tel. 845/534-7826; Mon-Fri 9am-4:30pm); Westchester County Office of Tourism, 222 Mamaroneck Ave., Ste. 100, White Plains (tel. 800/833-9282); Putnam Visitors Bureau, 110 Old Rte. 6, Bldg. 3, Carmel (tel. 800/470-4854); Dutchess County Tourism Promotion Agency, 3 Neptune Rd., Ste. M-17, Poughkeepsie (tel. 914/463-4000); Rhinebeck Chamber of Commerce, Route 9, Rhinebeck (tel. 914/876-4778); Hudson Office of Tourism, 401 State St., Hudson (tel. 800/727-1846; Mon-Fri 8:30am-4pm); and the County Office Building, 10 Westbrook Lane, Kingston (tel. 845/340-3566; Mon-Fri 9am-5pm).
Many good free publications are widely available at hotels, restaurants, and other sites; look for Hudson Valley Guide, Hooked on the Hudson River Valley, About Town, The Valley Table, and Chronogram. These all contain information on arts, entertainment, and dining.
The Hudson Valley extends from the banks of the river to the foothills of the Catskill Mountains in the west and approaches the Connecticut border in the east (and the Massachusetts border in the Upper Hudson Valley). For the purposes of this guide, the Lower Hudson includes the area from Yonkers and Nyack to Newburgh and Beacon (comprising Rockland, Orange, Westchester, and Putnam counties); the Mid-Hudson, from Newburgh to Rhinebeck (Ulster and Dutchess counties); and the Upper Hudson, west of the river and north to Chatham (Columbia County). These dividing lines are somewhat arbitrary, with occasional county overlap; if you're intending to explore only a single section of the Hudson Valley, be aware that attractions and lodgings in one part of the valley may be only minutes by car from those categorized in another.
The Hudson River Valley is packed with sights from one end to the other, but the area is pretty manageable in size and easy to get around, especially if you have your own transportation. From the town of Hudson in the north to Yonkers, just outside New York City, is a distance of under 120 miles and just 2 hours by car. You could spend a couple of days or a couple of weeks making your way up the river.
By Car -- By far the easiest way to get around the Hudson Valley is by car. Public transportation, especially where it concerns county bus systems, is unduly complicated. Your best bet if not traveling by private automobile is one of the major bus carriers, the train, or a tour operator. The main roads traversing the length of the Hudson Valley are I-87 and Route 9W on the west side of the river and Route 9 and the Taconic Parkway on the east.
All the major car-rental agencies have outlets at the area's airports and at several addresses throughout the region, including Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, and Hertz.
By Bus or Train -- See "Getting There," above.
By Taxi -- Local taxis are available at all the major train and bus stations, and in larger towns. Among taxi services throughout the Hudson Valley are Rocket Cab in Hyde Park (tel. 914/456-5783); Yellow Cab Company in Poughkeepsie (tel. 845/471-1100); Rhinebeck Taxi (tel. 845/876-5466); and Howard's Taxi in Hudson (tel. 518/828-7673).
By Organized Tours -- Shortline Coach USA (tel. 800/631-8405; www.shortlinebus.com) offers Hudson Valley day trips and overnight packages and tours. River Valley Tours (tel. 239/395-2191; www.rivervalleytours.com) organizes weeklong, inn-to-inn, and boat and bus trips along the Hudson. They're not offered often and are a little pricey (at just under $2,000 per person), but they allow visitors to really experience the grandeur and history of the Hudson River. New York Waterway (tel. 800/53-FERRY; www.nywaterway.com) offers tours by boat (including Sleepy Hollow, Autumn on the Hudson, and Kykuit cruises) from Pier 78 in Manhattan (weekends and Mon holidays May-Oct). Metro-North Railroad (tel. 800/METRO-INFO; www.mta.nyc.ny.us/mnr/html/outbound.htm) has a series of "One-Day Getaways" to such places as West Point and Cold Spring, Dia:Beacon, Philipsburg Manor and Kykuit, and Woodbury Commons Outlet Mall, as well as organized cruises and 1-day hiking and biking tours.
When to Go
Many of the great Hudson River estates and other attractions in the region are closed during the long winter months. In spring and summer, a number of the estates have extensive formal gardens and are absolutely glorious in May and June, and many have special events like concerts. In autumn, the leaves are ablaze with color and gorgeously set off against the backdrop of the river.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.