There are so many ways to enjoy the pleasures of summer in the Valley — it all depends on your mood. Looking for something relaxing? Take a stroll through a formal garden or a cruise down the Hudson. Need more excitement? Watch a stock car race, rock out at a summer concert, or hurtle down a 600-foot water slide. The choices are endless. So gas up the car, and get going!
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Picnic at Vanderbilt Mansion
It happens every year, without fail. For as long as our editorial staff can remember (for the last 10 years at least), our readers have voted the grounds of the Vanderbilt Mansion in Hyde Park as the best place in the Valley to have a picnic. And no wonder. Situated on a high bluff overlooking the Hudson, the 212-acre National Historic Site’s perfectly manicured lawns offer (arguably) the finest views of the river to be found anywhere. With miles of blue-green water flowing gently by, Ulster County’s Shaupeneak Ridge and Catskill Mountains rising in the distance, it’s easy to see why 19th-century millionaire Frederick W. Vanderbilt built his “country house” on this spot. So pack a cooler, the kids, and a Frisbee, and enjoy these bucolic surroundings for yourself. After your meal, visit the 54-room Beaux-Arts mansion, which was designed by famed architects McKim, Mead, and White (they also built New York’s Penn Station). And be sure to stroll through the site’s Italian-style formal gardens; an enthusiastic horticulturist, Frederick himself laid out the elaborate rose garden. And if you’re up to it, take the long walk down the bluff to Bard Rock at the water’s edge — but remember, you’ll have a steep climb back up to get to your car.
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Become a Beach Bum! Play a Round of Miniature Golf! Get Creative Outdoors! Go to the Zoo! Go Fruit-picking! See some Al Fresco Art! Get Fast and Furious! Visit a Formal Garden! Take in a Horse Show! Rent a Bike on the Walkway! Take a River Cruise! Go to a Water Park! Go to the Drive-in! Enjoy an Outdoor Concert! Picnic at Vanderbilt Mansion! Ride the Rails! Indulge in Dining Delights!