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To Plan A Trip

March 2024
1min read


Start at the Woodstock Chamber of Commerce and Arts ( www.woodstockchamber.com ) and the
Woodstock Guild ( www.woodstockguild.org ). The heart of town, a half-mile of Tinker Street, is home to shops, galleries, restaurants, and many establishments offering yoga classes.Oddly, for such a tourist-heavy destination, there aren’t many places in town to stay. Not in the mood for a bed-and-breakfast, I chose the Woodstock Inn on the Millstream. Despite its rather grand name, it’s a vintage 1950s motel with some up-to-date flourishes (like air conditioning), set on a very pleasant wooded 14 acres. There is a swimming hole in the back yard, and it’s an easy five-minute walk to town. It was good not to have to drive onto Tinker Street, which gets seriously crowded on weekends. By Monday a relative peace had descended, and on Tuesday I noticed that many shops and galleries were closed, as their owners took a day of rest before visitors began to reappear in numbers toward the end of the week.

When you travel to Woodstock, save time for other towns nearby, all of which, it seems, pride themselves on not being Woodstock. These include Phoenicia, a hamlet famous for its trout fishing and tubing on the Esopus Creek, and Saugerties, with its nice old red-brick downtown, a richly stocked bookstore that isn’t part of a chain, and a couple of ambitious restaurants. Best of all is Kingston, a small city on the Hudson that briefly, in 1777, served as the first state capital. It began as a Dutch trading post in 1614 and today still has two dozen Dutch-built stone houses of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, one of the nation’s largest collections. Kingston was the terminus of the Delaware and Hudson Canal, completed in 1829, making it a center of waterborne commerce until the railroads shut down the canal in 1898. In 1996 the city was designated by Congress as part of the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area, and a walk around its many fascinating neighborhoods—residential, commercial, and waterfront—shows how much care and funding have recently gone into preserving this long past. It’s summed up in a sign down by the harbor: “Welcome to Kingston: We’ve saved everything for you.”

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