Each winter, tourists head to New York City to join in its beloved holiday rituals: ice skating at Rockefeller Center, watching the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, and taking in the window displays along 5th Avenue. But if your ideal version of the season is more It’s a Wonderful Life than Miracle on 34th St.—or if you’re after a double feature—consider venturing just north of the city, into the Hudson Valley. Here, the holidays are just as magical, and come with a side of small-town charm. Read on for tips on what to do in the area in the winter. These places are bound to put you in the holiday spirit any time of the year.
Deck the Halls
The Hudson Valley is full of historic estates that were once home to captains of industry as well as some of the country’s most celebrated artists and writers. Many of these estates are open for tours—and pull out all the stops during the holidays. Lyndhurst (635 S. Broadway, Tarrytown; 914-631-4481; tours, $16 a person), a Gothic Revival mansion whose past owners include railroad tycoon Jay Gould and former New York City mayor William Paulding, offers special holiday tours so that visitors can see the estate decked out in period decor. Fans of “The Night Before Christmas” may want to stop by the Locust Grove Estate (2683 South Rd, Poughkeepsie; 845-454-4500; mansion tours, $12 a person). The mansion’s original owner, Henry Livingston Jr., is said by scholars to be the poem’s true author.
Sit Down to a Holiday Feast
If you traditionally celebrate with Chinese food instead of candy canes, head to Tarrytown, the small village just north of Manhattan where Dale Talde, of Top Chef fame, recently debuted his latest venture. Goosefeather (49 E. Sunnyside Ln., Tarrytown; 914-829-5454; dinner for two, $80*) serves a modern take on Cantonese fare made with high-end ingredients. One standout, the pot stickers served with Chinese mustard–horseradish, is made with dry-aged beef. Order the Trough Rider, a citrusy gin cocktail, to refresh yourself between plates of lobster, prawn, or roast duck. You’ll find Goosefeather at the recently renovated Tarrytown House Estate, a historic property made up of multiple 19th-century mansions and a modern conference center. Goosefeather sits inside the Georgian-style King House Mansion, the oldest building on-site—you’ll know it by the stately white columns in front.
Raise a Glass of Good Cheer
One of the newest additions to the town of Hudson is the Maker Lounge (302 Warren St., Hudson; 518-509-2620; cocktails for two, $26), a cocktail bar that embodies a kind of Gilded Age splendor. You could toast with one of its vintage wines, but there’s also something wonderfully decadent about ringing in the New Year with one of the bar’s period cocktails, such as the Jack Rose, developed by Jersey City bartender Frank J. May in 1905, or the classic Rusty Nail, a concoction of Scotch, Drambuie, and lemon said to be created especially for the 1937 British Industries Fair trade show.
- *Estimated meal prices do not include drinks, tax, or tip.
- NOTE: Information may have changed since publication. Please confirm key details before planning your trip.
- Published: December 2019