New Paltz was founded in 1678 by French Huguenots, a notably dour bunch, who built (or rather, whose slaves built) a series of old stone houses along what is now the oldest residential street in the United States. Named for the Pfalz, or Palatinate, in Germany that was the Huguenots’ last European address, this decidedly un-dour college town has much to recommend it: proximity to Lake Minnewaska, the Gunks, and the famed Mohonk Mountain House; an enviable public school system; a bevy of sumptuous restaurants that make this foodie heaven; and the best Halloween festivities in the Valley. SUNY New Paltz is known for its fine art programs—the Dorsky Museum of Art is located on campus—and imbues the town with its youthful, artsy energy. New Paltz made national headlines in 2004, when then-mayor Jason West performed 25 gay marriage ceremonies at Village Hall. The annual Gay Pride festival remains a popular event at Hasbrouck Park.