Beacon Travel Guide
Just a few decades ago, Beacon was little more than a small town left depressed by the loss of Industrial Age-factories. But, thanks to an influx of artists escaping sky-high rent in New York City, the town has had a resurgence in both culture and tourism. At the center of the transformation is DIA:Beacon, an expansive contemporary art museum that houses enormous sculptures and installations.
What makes it special is its size. DIA:Beacon can do what no museum in New York can: house works of art that take up multiple rooms. Though permanent exhibitions take up most of the center's space, a limited number of special exhibitions and ongoing projects keep things interesting. Currently, artist George Trakas is constructing an angled dock spanning 25 acres overlooking the Hudson Valley riverfront.
Though the persistent muggy weather delayed it this year, it's finally time for the turning of the leaves. What better way to experience the fall foliage than immersing yourself in the tree-lined trails of upstate New York.
Hudson Highlands State Park makes most Best U.S. Trails hiking lists. Newsweek rated the park's most well known trail, Breakneck Ridge, one of the top 10 day hikes in America. The 5.5-mile trail rises 1,250 feet in only a three-quarter mile stretch. Another area, Bannerman Island, is accessible only by water and requires a guide. It's even listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The reward for climbing the trails' summits is the views they offer of the Hudson River, Shawangunk Valley and Catskill Mountains, an undeveloped preserve of nearly 6,000 acres stretching from Annsville Creek in Peekskill north to Dennings Point in Beacon.
[Photo: Jeremy Moody]
We're tired of having "the critics" assess art for us. It's always so complicated, yet so totally lacking in polyrhythmic drumming. That's why we prefer to have former Talking Head and current grey-haired-hottie title holder (sorry, Anderson) David Byrne give us the measure of minimalist mecca Dia: Beacon after a recent visit.
His critique is spot on: The space itself is cool, but the art, housed in a former Nabisco factory, is rather dull. Does the world need that much space for Dan Flavin light sculptures? Perhaps, but it absolutely needs more David Byrne.
In the meantime, if you live in Orange County, NY, where the museum is located, this Saturday is your one chance a year to see the museum for free. How generous.
[Image via swanksalot/Flickr]
· Dia: Beacon & MASS MoCA [DavidByrne.com]