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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new paltzThe Shawangunk Ridge in New Paltz is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts from all over the country

Photograph by Teresa Horgan

Ulster County

New Paltz

Beyond the banks of the Wallkill River, beneath the rough-hewn Shawangunk Ridge, is the town and village that last year National Geographic Traveler dubbed one of the “Best Adventure Towns” in the country.

New Paltz was founded by French Huguenots, a notably dour bunch, who built (or rather, whose slaves built) a series of old stone houses along the street that bears their name. Today, this decidedly un-dour college town with a liberal bent certainly has much to recommend it. There’s its proximity to beautiful Lake Minnewaska, the ’Gunks, and the famed Mohonk Mountain House; an enviable public school system; a bevy of sumptuous restaurants — Beso, 36 Main, Neko, the Gilded Otter among them — that make this a foodie Nirvana; and the best Halloween festivities in the Valley. “Nowhere else in the world can I experience in one day what I’m able to here in New Paltz,” says Erica Chase-Salerno, owner of Wyld Acres Healing Arts & Prenatal Communication. “From Agnes’ breakfast scones at the Village Tea Room to the gorgeous hikes in the Shawangunks to a glass of wine at 36 Main; from the music of the Trapps to historic Huguenot Street to our incredible farms and orchards, our town epitomizes some of the best that life has to offer.”

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