Beacon, Hudson Valley, NY

This summer I took a quick getaway to the Hudson Valley with my mom for a girls weekend. There’s a tranquility about escaping New York City for the quiet, leafy beauty of upstate New York, especially in the summer, and I’ve shared my tips for camping in the Hudson Valley before. This was the first time that I visited the Hudson Valley without roughing it—instead of hiking and canoeing, we enjoyed an artistic weekend that included shopping in local boutiques, visiting a sculpture art center and taking in some al fresco theater.

We stayed in Beacon, New York, at the newly opened Inn and Spa at Beacon. After we checked in, we were exploring the solarium and roof deck on the top floor when we met the owner and designer of the hotel. He immediately asked us which room we were staying in, and when he found out we were on the top floor, he offered to upgrade us to a different room since they were planning to have construction done on the upper roof deck the next morning, and he didn’t want us to be disturbed by the workmen. He was so thoughtful, and we ended up in a room that was even more spacious than the one we had booked, with two separate bedrooms for my mom and me. I also had a relaxing massage at the spa the next morning. Overall, we loved our stay and would highly recommend this inn to those traveling in the area.

We spent some time shopping on Beacon’s Main Street, which is lined with galleries, vintage clothing shops and quirky gift stores. I bought a few dresses at Echo, some playful stocking stuffers for my nieces at Dream in Plastic, and a handmade glass bloom vase at Riverwinds Gallery.

That evening, we headed to the Boscobel House and Gardens for the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival. Boscobel House is located right on the Hudson River with a view of West Point across the valley. It is the site of the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival each year. The festival runs throughout the summer, starting in early June and playing through Labor Day weekend. The lineup includes some Shakespeare plays, but also plays about Shakespeare, like the one we saw, or plays that feel appropriate for the theme and setting. This year everyone was buzzing about the performance of Pride and Prejudice. We saw The Book of Will, a new original play about the two men responsible for securing William Shakespeare’s legacy by publishing his works. The show was inventive and engrossing, and the stellar cast effortlessly blended language of Shakespeare’s time with modern idioms, often to comedic effect.

Most of the guests arrive about an hour before the show and picnic on the lawn, and we saw plenty of people popping champagne bottles and kids playing in the grass before the show. There is also a cafe on site, so we were able to partake of our own picnic dinner and drinks as well. The performances are under a tent on the lawn, and the cast really utilizes the setting of the vast estate to their advantage. The show began with the entire cast appearing out of thin air from beyond the ridge near the river and parading up to the tent to applause and fanfare from the guests. The Shakespeare Festival usually has 3-4 rotating shows, and the same cast appears in each performance, which I think is really impressive and also adds to the authenticity, since in Shakespeare’s day that’s the way a theater company would operate as well. If you have the chance to see a performance, absolutely go!

The next day, we took a trip to Storm King Art Center. I’ve visited this sprawling art park before, but wanted the chance to share its 500 acres featuring hundreds of sculptures  with my mom.  The work is mostly modern, and is very much site specific, meant to be viewed in contrast or in harmony with the surrounding fields, mountains and sky. When I visited with my husband, we hiked around on the trails to see the different sculptures, but with my mom we took the tram tour, which was a great way to see the highlights of the park (and avoid getting a terrible sunburn too!).

I hope this post helps inspire you to plan your own Hudson Valley getaway.