10 Top Towns

Settled by the Dutch, Quakers, or Huguenots, nestled in the Catskills or on the river’s banks — these 10 Valley communities all have one thing in common: They’re great places to call home


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main streetMain Street in history-rich Hurley features 10 stone houses, dating back roughly 300 years

Photograph by Daniel Case

Ulster County


Old, quaint, old, quiet, old, laid-back — and did we mention old? That’s Hurley, the small hamlet with the long history. Settled by the Dutch and subsequently seized by the British, the village played a small role in the early years of the Republic, serving as the capital of New York for three months after the Redcoats torched Kingston. In fact, the whole of Main Street is a National Historic Landmark District.

Like New Paltz, Hurley boasts a collection of stone houses dating to the Dutch Colonial period. Unlike the famous houses of Huguenot Street, however, Hurley’s 10 houses are privately owned. (Want to live in one? At press time, several were on the market). Don Kent, a retired director of public relations at SUNY New Paltz who has called Hurley home for 70 of his 92 years, lives in the “Spy House,” so-called because it was once home to a British operative who was hanged 300-some-odd years ago. The parsonage of the Dutch Reformed Church, which predates Napoleon, is one of the oldest in the country.

There is only one road leading from one end of the hamlet to the other. “If that’s blocked up, you can’t get through,” says Kent. “You have to go to either Stone Ridge or Kingston (five miles away) to get to the other side of town.” Not that this poses much of a problem. What little car traffic passing through downtown was mostly assumed by the Route 209 bypass built when IBM opened its Kingston plant years ago.

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