The 8 Most Charming Small Towns in New York
If you’re anything like us, you’re itching to get away from the city right now. And while the CDC says that staying home is the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the organization also lists advice for how to reduce your chances of getting sick if you do travel, including wearing a face mask and avoiding close contact with others. If you decide to leave town, consider checking out one of these beautiful spots (while following social distancing protocols, of course). They’re all within about two hours' driving distance of NYC and are brimming with idyllic charm. (And if you’re not ready to travel yet, may we suggest adding this list of small towns in New York to your bucket list so you can have something to look forward to?)
Note: There is currently a travel advisory in place for travelers to New York state. Per the state’s official website, if you have traveled from one of the designated states with significant community spread, you must quarantine when you enter New York for 14 days from the last travel within the designated state. See the list of restricted states here.
1. Saugerties, NY
Saugerties is a quintessential Hudson Valley town. The village, on the west bank of the river at the mouth of the Esopus Creek, is a historic landmark with a main street full of buildings—antique stores, restaurants, mom-and-pop shops—preserved as their 19th-century selves. Spend the day at Opus 40, a sprawling outdoor sculpture park (now open for a limited number of visitors through advance sign-up only) or bring a bike to explore one of the many gorgeous bike trails.
Where to stay: Reserve this modern cottage and enjoy the view of the flowing river from the comfort of the private deck.
2. Hudson, NY
This small city (about 6,400 people) is only a two-hour drive from Manhattan and a popular getaway, thanks in part to its mid-century antique shops and lively contemporary art scene. On Warren Street, Hudson’s main drag, is Grazin’, an old-school diner with yummy burgers that’s currently open and complying with state and local health and safety precautions. Also on Warren is Swoon Kitchenbar, an upscale brasserie available for takeout with an impressive wine list and delicious cocktails.
Where to stay: Enjoy your own private patio at this upscale townhouse located on a quiet block in the heart of town.
3. New Paltz, NY
You can make the 90-minute drive to New Paltz just to stay at the Mohonk Mountain House…we won’t judge. The all-inclusive Victorian-era hotel sits on 40,000 acres on the Shawangunk Ridge and has recently reopened with enhanced health and safety protocols. It looks like a castle and offers dozens of fun outdoor activities. New Paltz itself, now a college town, is one of the oldest towns in the U.S. with buildings dating back to the early 1700s. And, its age is a big part of its allure.
Where to stay: If a night under the stars is more your style, check out this tent hosted by Tentrr, an accommodations group that partners with farmers, ranchers, and other property owners to offer unique outdoor stays on private land.
4. Narrowsburg, NY
If you blink twice, you might miss this Sullivan County hamlet on the banks of the Delaware River. But that would be a shame, because its charming Main Street is packed with cool shops, like Maison Bergogne (just don’t forget to bring your mask in order to go in). The outdoor activities aren’t bad either: You can canoe or kayak down the Delaware or take a relaxing float from Skinner’s Falls with Lander’s River Trips. For lunch, order takeout from The Heron (and be sure to try the fried chicken). For dinner, The Laundrette is serving up their delicious wood-fired pizzas for takeout only.
Where to stay: Across the street from the Delaware River and just a short walk to Narrowburg’s main street lies the Little House in the Flats.
5. Cold Spring, NY
You’ll feel completely transported in time in Cold Spring thanks to its 200-some preserved 19th-century buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. Visitors also make the trek to hike the surrounding Hudson Highlands. From the top of, a challenging 3.7-mile loop, you’ll have some of the best views of the Hudson Valley.
Where to stay: The location of this one-bedroom apartment couldn’t be better—it’s right next to the Hudson Highlands State Park and just a 10-minute walk to the historic Cold Spring strip.
6. Beacon, NY
New York art lovers have been flocking to Beacon—just 60 miles from NYC—since 2003, when Mount Beacon Park., a massive museum (the 300,000-square-foot space was once a Nabisco plant) home to contemporary and modern art, opened its doors and put this small Hudson Valley town on the map. While the museum is temporarily closed at the moment, this beautiful upstate spot still has plenty to offer, including great food and beautiful
Where to stay: Our favorite place to stay in Beacon was also once a factory: The Roundhouse, on Fishkill Creek, is now a local landmark with a restaurant, event space and boutique hotel.
7. Greenport, NY
Forget Napa: New Yorkers looking for a quick wine getaway should look no further than Long Island’s North Fork. The antithesis of its sibling on the south shore, the North Fork is more about wineries, farm stands, sailing and country roads than about the glitz and glam of the Hamptons. Greenport is its seaside center.
Where to stay: The clue is in the name: The Greenport Harbor Front House overlooks the harbor. It also has two kitchens because why the hell not?
8. Woodstock, NY
Drive just ten miles west of Saugerties and you’ll find Woodstock. (Both towns are about a two-hour drive from Manhattan and can easily be done in the same weekend.) The town may be best known for lending its name to the iconic music fest—which, fun fact, actually took place 60 miles away in Bethel—but it’s also home to a thriving art scene and has great hiking options nearby, like picturesque Kaaterskill Falls.
Where to stay: You can’t help but feel relaxed when strolling around the lush garden of this Historic Artist Estate, complete with its very own pond.