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Two hours north of New York City, Rhinebeck is best-known as a retreat for holistic healing types, but it's also a chilled-out getaway with a variety of options, whether or not you're up on your yoga chants.
Rhinebeck is home to the Omega Institute, a hippie wellness center where you can take yoga and reiki classes, or, if that's way too mainstream for you, sign up for "ecstatic chant" or "touching divinity."
On the way-less-relaxed side of the spectrum, there's the Old Rhinebeck Aerodome, a museum of antique aviation that offers rides on a 1929 open-cockpit biplane.
No matter how you're getting your kicks in Rhinebeck, here's our guide to the rest of town:
Tarrytown was the home of early 19th century writer Washington Irving, and it was this quaint Dutch-American hamlet that inspired his creepy ghost story, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." (Adjoining North Tarrytown even changed its name to Sleepy Hollow in 1997 in an attempt to up its tourist appeal.)
While there have been no reported sightings of headless horsemen recently, the village today is one of the area's most historically rich destinations. Here's our guide to Tarrytown.
If you only know Ossining as New York's funniest-sounding place, or even if you only know it as the home of Don Draper from "Mad Men," you're missing out on one of the best just-beyond-NYC small towns.
Set right on the Hudson, this quiet village was originally called Sing Sing, but changed its name in 1901 after a boycott of goods made at nearby Sing Sing Prison started to hurt town businesses as well. Today, Sing Sing Prison is still around, and Ossining is a sleepy little village with a quaint Main Street strip surrounded by an impressive array of wilderness.
Everything in Ossining is close enough to find in a quick walk or drive, but what follows are a few of our favorites.
For a place that's mostly known for turning men--and a few women--into soldiers, the home of the United States Military Academy sure is a pretty little locale. West Point just happens to be set on a scenic hilltop along the banks of the Hudson, in one of New York State's most attractive locations.
Fall is the best time to take a tour of the military academy, especially if you can snag hard-to-get tickets to a home football game. Read on for our fave spots in and around West Point.
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Though it's located in a swanky part of Westchester County, White Plains is nowhere near as snobbish as Manhattan's Upper East Side. But just because the town is cozier than the New York, don't think it doesn't boast its fair share of larger-than-life homes.
The good news is that none of 'em are currently inhabited. Why? They're historic sites, former homes to famous New Yorkers of yore. In addition to mansions and manors, White Plains' proximity to arts-oriented college SUNY-Purchase means the town also has an active culture community.
Though it's known best for Vassar College, Poughkeepsie is more than just a college town--it's a city-dweller's getaway that's packed with trails, scenic views of the Hudson and Victorian homes.
Once there, visitors can hit the trails: Waryas Park follows the shore of the Hudson; the Springside Landscape Restoration winds through carefully-designed trails; and Spratt Park's paths are ideal for joggers or bicyclists. It's also close to the Appalachian Trail and the Hudson River Valley Greenway. If you wouldn't be caught dead hiking, the 1869 Bardayon Opera House and the city's art-packed Main Street should suit nicely.
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.