County Ulster is the ultimate Valhalla to escape the big city.
North of New York, surrounded by ski areas, populated by apple orchards and inspiring vistas, dotted with small towns that insist on conviviality, this is a great place to get away from these days of torture.
In fact, people do more than just escape. They make it permanent.
“We’re always trying to find the silver lining,” says Pat Ryan, Ulster County Manager. “One of the silver liners of covid is a benefit for people who visit – not only to visit and travel, but also to relocate and relocate businesses.”
Ulster County has smartly positioned itself to attract not only those wishing to escape the dangers of big cities with the pandemic, but its economics team has also worked to attract business on a permanent basis.
But for you, the traveler, who haven’t traveled much since the pandemic, this is the place to consider.
For the people of the Big Apple, the trip lasts 1h30 to 2 hours. Ulster County contains several remarkable landscapes, such as the Catskill Mountains, the Hudson River, the Shawanqunk Mountains, and Minnewaska State Park.
Don’t forget more than 40 miles of trails along the rails: the Hudson Valley Rail Trail, the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail and the famous Walkway Over the Hudson, which claims to be the longest pedestrian and bicycle bridge in the world.
Yet surprisingly, in this distinctly open-air world, there are a number of sophisticated, comfortable, and renowned hotels and other accommodations. Among them is the iconic Mohonk Mountain House, a national monument that began as a small hotel by the Smiley Brothers at the time, and has grown over time. The county also has its share of good-sized towns, such as Kingston and New Paltz (which hosts the annual Ulster County Fair in the summer).
In fact, it’s a place for all seasons: skiing in winter in the nearby mountains of Belleayre and Hunter, to name just two. In the fall there is the golden and tan and brown foliage, and of course the fabulous apples that are ready to be picked in September and October. Spring? Stroll through the farmers markets. In summer, take the trails.
Ulster County is also the birthplace of Woodstock, and to be sure you knew there was once the world’s most famous music festival held here – why, even some parking meters are shaped like guitars.
All of this is leading to a huge housing boom. In fact, according to Ryan, Kingston now ranks number one nationally when it comes to house price increases. Everywhere, new restaurants are emerging to meet the influx of tourists and people who settle permanently.
“The first thing I tell people is, choose your adventure,” says Ryan. He thinks of some great walks – how about the Ashokan Reservoir, where New York City gets 40% of its water. Or there is the Ashokan Rail Trail epic.
When you’re hungry or thirsty after all the excitement, take a break and get some Fruition Chocolate in Shokan, NY It’s along the trail, so you don’t have to go far to find your fix.
In fact, Ulster County, New York, isn’t going far – and that’s especially important these days.