There is something about that first week of real spring that calls for a getaway. You know the week I’m talking about: The sun drapes the city in new light, the winter boots and coats have disappeared and you’re hit with a need to get outdoors.
Less than 90 minutes from Midtown Manhattan, the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail is an idyllic and delicious destination. Between the late 1800s through most of the 1970s this Ulster County route brought Hudson Valley produce to New York City. After the railroad closed, it became a 20+ mile stretch from Kingston to Rosendale to New Paltz to Gardiner. The trail is open to hikers, walkers, joggers and even horseback riders who have plenty of opportunities to stop and explore these charming historic towns.
In keeping with its history as a food delivery route, farmers markets, farm stands and restaurants to dine on fresh, local eats line the trail. Whether you want to plan a weekend of hiking or simply want to explore a bit of nature before returning to town to window shop, this stretch has something for you. Here’s where we recommend to eat along the trail:
Brooklyn Cider House at Twin Star Orchards, New Paltz
We’ve been obsessed with the Basque-style meals paired with New York ciders at Brooklyn Cider House’s Bushwick location since they opened in 2017. See where the magic happens for yourself at their orchards in New Paltz. Roughly three miles from the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, Brooklyn Cider House at Twin Star Orchards treats visitors to natural hard ciders, wood-fired pizzas and burgers. If you’re starting the trail in New Paltz stock up on their homemade apple cider doughnuts, available on the weekends, before hitting the trail.
Gilded Otter, New Paltz
It seems like there’s always something new on tap at this riverfront brew pub in New Paltz. Don’t worry if you can’t decide which of the craft brews to try—you can always opt for a tasting flight. If the weather is nice, snag a seat outdoors and toast to a day of well-spent hiking, biking or jogging along Wallkill Valley Rail Trail.
Kingston Farmers Market, Kingston
Kingston is the farthest point north on the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail and the quaint town makes for a great weekend base. Before hitting the trail, stock up first at the Kingston Farmers Market (every other Saturday through April 21, indoors; then every Saturday outdoors) where you’ll find all the ingredients for trail snacks to a picnic lunch to a morning jolt of coffee. Along this part of the trail you’ll pass pretty lakes and historic ruins of industries like cold-air belching mines and a cement works factory.
Rail Trail Cafe, New Paltz
Outdoor adventures were made to end with pizza. The seasonal, outdoor Rail Trail Cafe is located just over a mile from the Rosendale Trestle and is known for its delicious wood-fired pizza. They’re open for lunch and dinner on Fridays and breakfast, lunch and dinners on Saturdays and Sundays, weather permitting. The menu changes weekly and includes those pizzas, soups, salads, smoothies and snacks. Plus, your four-legged hiking companion is welcome to join you.
Rosendale Cafe, Rosendale
By the time you’ve reached Rosendale (unless you’ve started here), you’ve worked up an appetite. Head off the trail and into Rosendale to the cozy Rosendale Cafe for a vegetarian lunch, or if you come later on in the day on a weekend of a Tuesday you can eat dinner while listening to live music.
Rosendale Farmers Market, Rosendale
Snap some grams at the picturesque Rosendale Trestle on this part of the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail before walking into town and if it’s a Sunday (outdoors June through October) eat your way through the Rosendale Farmers Market. Grab some bread and cheese from Herman’s Erie Hotel, a pie from Wright’s Farm and made-to-order BBQ from Arkansas Tom Razorback Barbecue and you’ll have a feast fit for all that hiking.