What to Do in Rosendale: A 24-Hour Guide to the Creekside Town
The one-of-a-kind Ulster County destination is a one-stop shop for independent theater, quirky shops, and farm-to-table fare.
Rosendale, New York
Wikimedia Commons / Daniel Case, Rock nj
Rosendale is one of those places you don’t want people to discover. Except, you also do. You want them to fall in love with the quiet charm of the Ulster County town, the one through which the Rondout Creek calmly ripples and the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail smoothly runs. You want to share with them the beautiful pocket of quiet nestled between vivacious New Paltz and colorful Kingston, a pocket that’s somehow remained relatively untouched despite the ever-increasing activity in the two neighboring cities.
Within that pocket, Rosendale’s community of creatives thrives. In a town once famed for its cement production, independent makers find their way to Main Street to open niche storefronts and plant-forward eateries. They might come for the rail trail and the pickle festival, which happens every November and is 100-percent worth the trip, but they stay for the comfortable aura that blankets the region, inviting visitors to stop, stay awhile, and discover all the under-the-radar Ulster County town has to offer.
Ready to make a day trip of it? Don’t forget to tag us @HudsonValleyMag on Instagram if you swing by any of the spots in our 24-hour guide to Rosendale!
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9:30 a.m. – Pick up a homemade lemon cakes (and breakfast, too) at The Alternative Baker
The Alternative Bakery was alternative before it was cool, and we totally understand why. One taste of the bakery’s gluten-free, vegan blueberry muffin cakes or homemade focaccia, and you’ll get it, too. Whatever you do, don’t walk out the door without sampling one of the shop’s signature lemon cakes. Base on a 1930s recipe, the handcrafted treats taste just like summer.
407 Main St, Rosendale
Open Thurs, Sun 7 a.m. – 5 p.m., Fri-Sat 7 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.
In need of a new perspective on things? We suggest taking in the views from the Rosendale Trestle! Sitting 150 feet above the Rondout Creek, this truss bridge was once used by the Wallkill Valley Railroad to connect the route from New Paltz to Kingston. Today, the bridge is open to the public and affords sweeping views of Rosendale's Main Street, Rondout Creek, and Joppenburgh Mountain. If you've ever traveled along Route 213, then you've most likely seen the trestle from below. So why not check it out from above? (📷 by @dougproto)
10:30 a.m. – Explore local history
In its heyday in the 1800s, Rosendale was a hub for cement production in New York State. Although that industry wound down in the 1900s, the town still embraces its roots via a number of relics in town. Begin your explorations by stepping onto the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, which runs through town on its way toward Kingston and New Paltz, respectively.
From there, traverse the trestle, a 940-foot truss bridge that crosses the Rondout Creek and is part of the trail. Not only are the views magnificent, but the midpoint of the trestle makes for fantastic photo ops as well.
Before you work up your appetite for lunch, take a detour to the Snyder Estate and Widow Jane Mine. Maintained by The Century House Historical Society, the estate, which was once a home for the Century Manufacturing Company’s Snyder family, holds a museum on Rosendale history and a collection of horse carriages and sleighs.
The property is fascinating in itself, but the true attraction lies just outside of the estate. Near Williams Lake, the Widow Jane Mine is a former cement mine that occasionally hosts performances and sculpture exhibits. If it’s open when you visit, don’t pass up the chance to see its semi-haunting beauty for yourself.
12:30 – Dig into lunch by the water at Creekside Bar & Bistro
Creekside Bar & Bistro may be new in town, but it’s well-worth a visit when the lunchtime hunger pangs strike. With a focus on gastropub fare, the eatery excels at approachable bites that walk the line between easy bar food and elegant bistro-style fare. Start with a serving of deep-fried pork wings in a sauce of your choosing, then dive into zippy Cajun grilled salmon or Creekside’s hearty lumberjack stew. If burgers are what you crave, the mix-and-match chicken bacon ranch, beef, or pulled pork slider plate is the perfect way to sample all the eatery has to offer at an affordable price point.
P.S. In the warmer months, ask for a table outside. The bistro is right next to the Rondout Creek, which means you’ll hear the rippling waters while you enjoy lunch in town.
1128 Rte 32, Rosendale
Mon-Tues, Thurs 12-9:30 p.m., Wed 4-9:30 p.m., Fri-Sat 11:30 a.m. – 10 p.m., Sun 11:30 a.m. – 9 p.m.
2 p.m. – Shop local on Main Street
Rosendale’s pint-sized atmosphere mean it’s a dream home for small business owners who crave community vibes and prime Main Street real estate. After your meal ends, stick around town to wander through The Big Cheese for domestic and imported cheddar and charcuterie and Postmark Books for books, flowers, and stationery (a.k.a. an Instagrammer’s delight). Nettle and Violet has a gorgeous selection of vintage threads, while Paws & Tail Pantry stocks everything a pet owner could need.
For a more permanent shopping experience, book an appointment for a new tattoo at Guts’N Glory Ink, an all-female artist shop on Main Street.
4 p.m. – Sit back and relax during a flick at The Rosendale Theatre
One of the Hudson Valley’s treasured indie theaters, The Rosendale Theatre screens a medley of independent films along with concert performances and live productions. Visit the organization’s website to see which shows are scheduled for the month, then grab some popcorn and pick a seat for an afternoon movie at a steal of a price.
408 Main St
6:30 p.m. – Score a veggie-forward dinner and a show at the Rosendale Café
Looking for a healthy dinner that tastes delicious, too? Pop into Rosendale Café (it’s about a one-minute walk from the theater) for vegetarian meals that embrace international flavor.
While specials change regularly, expect anything from gluten-free Greek salads with pepperoncini and feta to sweet potato burritos with black beans and pico de gallo. As far as events go, the café has a full calendar of art shows, chess and paint nights, and salsa dancing. Check out the calendar online to plan a fun-filled visit.
434 Main St, Rosendale
Open daily 11 a.m. – 10 p.m., closed Wednesdays
I lived on the lower east side for the year after I graduated from college (👋🏼 @naominevitt!) and went to a little restaurant called Soy a bunch that served really affordable Japanese home cooking and I loved it and now, over a decade later, it closed and happen to reopen in the town next to the one I now live in and life and food can be so full circle and sweet when you don't even expect it. #extraspicysauce 🥑🐟🍚
8 p.m. – Sip an evening cocktail at Soy
Since leaving the Lower East Side for the cozy banks of the Rondout Creek, Soy has made a name for itself as hub for Japanese home cooking. While the dinner is admittedly fantastic, the sake and shochu menu is worth the visit alone. Sample a shot of the imported drinks or try one of Soy’s signature cocktails, which change weekly and incorporate the seasonal flavors. They taste even better alongside mochi ice cream or a slice of green tea cheesecake.
419 Main St, Rosendale
Wed-Fri 5-10 p.m., Sat 12-10 p.m., Sun 12-9 p.m.
9 p.m. – Tuck in for the night at The 1850 House Inn & Tavern
With history at the heart of Rosendale, it only makes sense to spend the night at a hotel that fits the theme. Just a short walk away from Soy, The 1850 House Inn is an 11-room hotel in close proximity to all the town’s main attractions. The rooms are outfitted with a charming mixture of contemporary and vintage décor, and all have private bathrooms.
If you stay the night from Wednesday to Sunday, be sure to squeeze in a dinner at the onsite Tavern. The crispy Brussels sprouts in a sweet balsamic reduction and the truffle mac and cheese with smoked gouda and truffle oil are both eye-rollingly good.
435 Main St, Rosendale
Did we miss a spot? Let us know where to go to find the best of Rosendale in the comments or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.