When you hear the name New Paltz, your first thought might be “college town.” While it is home to The State University of New York at New Paltz, the village is so much more. One of the most beautiful towns in Ulster County, New Paltz sits beneath the Shawangunk Ridge. More than a scenic delight, New Paltz is rich in history and culture, and there is much to see and do there.
Outdoor Activities and Sights
Outdoor enthusiasts will have no lack of options from which to explore the amazing views. Hikers and cyclists will love the multiple trails such as the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail and the Mohonk Preserve’s Undercliff/Overcliff Trail.
See the Awosting Falls in the Minnewaska State Park Preserve, Bonticou Crag in the Mohonk Preserve, and the Ice Caves in Sam’s Point Preserve. Swimmers can enjoy the glacial lakes while rock climbers can reach new heights at “The Gunks,” or The Shawangunk Mountains, which has over a thousand documented climbing routes.
Farms, Orchards and Wineries
New Paltz has a rich agricultural history. Visit the farmers markets and the family farms like Dressel Farms to find fresh fruits and vegetables. During harvest season, there are local farm and orchard festivals where you can pick your own bounty, participate in eating contests, find your way out of a huge corn maze, and more! Wine lovers can sample local varietals and blends along the Shawangunk Wine Trail.
Art, Museums and Galleries
New Paltz is home to many local artists – actors, musicians, craftspeople – so be sure to check out the smaller galleries, shops and performance venues. The State University of New York at New Paltz offers performances in music, dance and theater. See the permanent collections and special exhibitions at Samuel Dorsky Museum.
Located on over 20 wooded acres at the base of the Mohonk Mountain Preserve, Hungry Ghost Guest House is a beautiful bed and breakfast. Close to all the trails and the Minnewaska State Park, it’s perfect for those interested in hiking, biking, running, rock climbing, and cross-country skiing. It’s also perfect for those who just want to relax, read a book, or have a dip in the oversized hot tub.
They offer on-site massage, Reiki, personal training, swimming lessons and vegan cooking lessons. Rooms currently range in price from $115 - $160 per night and include a full vegan breakfast, unlimited tea, and filtered spring water. Ask about creating your own personalized retreat.
There is plenty of shopping in New Paltz. Whether you want jewelry, fine art, antiques, clothing or dog toys, you’ll find it in New Paltz. Don’t miss the Water Street Market, an outdoor village with over 20 shops, restaurants, outdoor seating and live entertainment.
Take in the Unison Sculpture Garden. Borrow or donate a book at the Free Lending Library. There are free bikes you can borrow so you can ride around town or play chess at one of the chess tables by the water fountain.
Mind, Body and Soul
The Awareness Shop is a special metaphysical center carrying a huge variety of books, candles, oils, herbs, incense, jewelry, crystals, and many other spiritual and magickal tools. They are open 7 days a week and offer workshops, classes, Reiki training and psychic readings.
New Paltz has a plethora of restaurants, but lately it has become a mecca for vegetarian and vegan options.
- Karma Road Organic Café is a haven that seeks “to nourish the soul as well as the body.” Winner of multiple “Best of Hudson Valley” awards. Karma Road is not to be missed. They offer vegan, organic, mostly gluten-free food that all includes “love” in the ingredient list. Organic smoothies and shakes, breakfast, sandwiches and wraps, soups, desserts. and a big food case filled with incredible yumminess. If you’re in the mood for Italian and think you’re out of luck because you’re vegan and/or gluten-free, think again. Rock da Pasta, a rock ‘n’ roll themed restaurant, offers delicious Italian food and many of the dishes can be prepared gluten-free and/or vegan. You can even have gluten-free, vegan pizza and garlic bread!
- Got a sweet tooth? Head over to Lagusta’s Luscious, an artisanal chocolate shop. Everything is lovingly and beautifully hand-crafted.At Lagusta’s, the goodies are not just about food but about art, social justice, and environmentalism as well. All of the chocolate is vegan, fair trade, and organic (more than 95% of their fresh ingredients are certified organic). They also sell drinks, seeds and specialty food items.
- While you’re at Lagusta’s Luscious, be sure to further indulge your sweet tooth with organic, artisan cakes and cookies by Sweet Maresa’s. Made to order with the finest local and regional ingredients, everything they make is suitable for vegans. Sweet Maresa’s cupcakes, cookies, and giftable cakes are as beautiful as they are delicious!
- Vegan O'Brien Baking Company is run out of a private kitchen in New Paltz. Hudson Valley Magazine dubbed Vegan O’Brien "best cookie of 2011." They bake several varieties of vegan cookies and brownies that sell at farmer's markets and stores in New Paltz such as New Paltz Bagel Cafe, Moxie Cupcake, Convenient Deli, Snug Harbor Bar, and the Mohonk Mountain House gift shop.
- If you’re looking for groceries, check out Earthgoods Market. Earthgoods is an organic, natural health-foods market dedicated to providing the very best in organic, whole, local, and sustainable foods and products.
New Paltz is a great place to visit in any season. Whether you’re looking for exciting outdoor activities, soothing indulgences, amazing sightseeing, unique shopping or delicious food, New Paltz has it all!