Hudson Valley Coffeehouses

More than just a place to get your jolt of java, local coffeehouses offer live music, original artwork — and the chance to meet and mingle with your neighbors



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mudd puddle michelle walshMudd Puddle co-owner Michelle Walsh with some house-made treats

Tucked away on Main Street in New Paltz, the Water Street Market is a walk-through collection of shops, galleries, and eateries. Here you’ll find Mudd Puddle Coffee Roasters and Café, an intimate java joint with an upbeat vibe and a wall-sized blackboard listing various coffee concoctions, cocoas, and other indulgences. (Pumpkin pie chai latte with espresso, anyone?) Michelle Walsh, who co-owns the shop with her husband James, says she roasts the coffee on the premises. “About 90 percent of our coffees are fair trade and organic,” she explains, “the most popular being the Dancing Goat, which is a nutty medium roast sold by the cup or pound.”

They also offer about 40 different loose leaf teas. Favored flavors include hibiscus; hot cinnamon black tea; and the Get Better Blend, a house-made mix of peppermint, cloves, honey, lemon, and other herbs.

Sited alongside the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, the café caters to a variety of guests exploring all the outdoor activities that New Paltz has to offer. “Since we’re located on the midpoint of the rail trail, it makes us a good stopping point for hikers, bikers, and other weekend tourists,” Walsh says. “But during the week we get a lot of locals and families.”

Seating inside is limited; there’s one large table, a quiet corner nook stuffed with comfy chairs, and an adjoining room that holds a few smaller tables. A petite platform is set up there, too, for poetry readings, which take place the third Saturday of each month (the next one is March 19), and the occasional open mic night. In warmer weather, outdoor seating on the back deck and in front of the shop gives customers the chance to take in live rock, folk, or jazz from the nearby courtyard.

mudd puddle coffeeBrew from the Mudd Puddle in New Paltz

Menu options run the gamut from the usual coffeehouse staples to wraps and sweet or savory crêpes in the morning (for a truly indulgent wake-me-up, try the Nutella crêpes with the signature Mudd Puddle beverage, a mocha with caramel and vanilla flavors) and panini with soups or fresh salads during lunch. “James makes all the food on the premises; sandwiches are pressed here, he makes all the dressings and sauces, and he does some really good soups — vegetarian chili, beef stew, and others,” Walsh says. “I think people like the fact that they see us working together. One or both of us is always here. One of our biggest assets is our customer service. People see that our staff is genuinely friendly — not fake — and love to stop by to chitchat.”

» Get the entire list of fine Valley cafés here

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