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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highland falls west point cadets“The Long Gray Line” — as the West Point cadets are often called — marches on the Military Academy’s parade grounds, something they’ve been doing for close to 200 years

Photograph courtesy of United States Military Academy

Orange County

Highland Falls

Atten-shun! Girded by the United States Military Academy at West Point, this small, modest town on the Hudson could well be the safest place in the Valley. Unlike some college towns, where locals and students either ignore each other or wage endless war, Highland Falls and West Point enjoy a very collegial relationship.

“West Point is great,” says Andrea McCue, a special ed teacher who moved here from New York City six years ago. Her son, now in kindergarten, plays hockey and soccer through the Academy. “It’s part of the community,” she says, noting that most residents are “big Army supporters when it comes to sports.” On the flip side, cadets support the town by attending services at the churches, marching in parades, and availing themselves of pepperoni slices at Tony’s and West Point Pizza.

Highland Falls enjoys breathtaking views of the Hudson River, and is close to Bear Mountain, Bannerman Island, and Hudson Highlands State Park. The dining room at the Thayer Hotel, at West Point, has been voted “Best Brunch” by our readers year after year. For more modestly priced fare, the Park Restaurant and Hacienda are also recommended.

Town Facts:

Location: Eastern Orange County
Population: 3,700
Median Household Income: $46,000
Fun Fact: Inspiration for the Billy Joel song “Summer, Highland Falls”
Notable residents: Charles Durning, actor

» Next stop: Washingtonville, Orange County
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