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New York: In Three Days

The Hudson Valley & Saratoga Springs

The Hudson River is more than 300 miles long and loaded with historical homes, museums, Victorian hamlets, and outdoor sporting opportunities, so you have a lot to choose from during a 3-day trip. If you live in or around New York City, you could easily make a day trip or a weekend in any of these spots. Start: New York City.

Day 1: Lower Hudson Valley

Drive north from Manhattan up the east side of the Hudson River, quickly entering Westchester County (take either I-87 or the Sawmill Pkwy. to Rte. 9N) and traveling through Tarrytown. (If traveling with kids, you may want to squeeze in Philipsburg Manor, a surprising living-history museum in Sleepy Hollow.) Perhaps the biggest attraction in the Lower Hudson Valley is Kykuit, the famed Rockefeller estate, where you'll need at least 2 to 3 hours to enjoy one of the tours of the house, gardens, and modern artwork. For lunch, head upriver (25 miles, Rte. 9N) to the riverside town of Cold Spring [ST], which has several nice restaurants on or near Main Street. After lunch, check out some of the antiques shops or stroll down to the river for a great view of the Hudson. In the afternoon, visit Boscobel Restoration, a mansion not only handsomely restored, but picked up and moved to its spectacular current site, on the banks of the Hudson in nearby Garrison. Fans of contemporary art will prefer to head upriver to Dia:Beacon, a huge repository of minimalist art housed in an old factory. For a special dinner outing, check out The Valley Restaurant at The Garrison or The Bird & Bottle Inn. Spend the night at one of the inns in either Cold Spring or Garrison.

Day 2: The Mid-Hudson Valley

Continue your Great Estates tour of the Hudson Valley in Hyde Park, home to the FDR Presidential Library and Home (Springwood), as well as Eleanor Roosevelt's Val-Kill Cottage and FDR's private getaway Top Cottage [ST]. You'll need most of the morning to explore all three. Have lunch at one of the restaurants at the esteemed Culinary Institute of America. (Foodies should check the tour schedule in advance for a behind-the-scenes look at one of the foremost culinary-arts programs in the country.) After lunch head to the storied Vanderbilt Mansion, one of the finest estates of the Gilded Age. Note: Fans of modern art may wish to take a different tack for Day 2 and head west across the Hudson (take I-84W toward Newburgh and the bridge) for one of the most unique art museums in the country, Storm King Art Center, 500 acres of rolling hills and monumental sculpture by the top names of 20th-century art. To get to Storm King, head south from Newburgh on Route 9W to Mountainville, near Cornwall.

Day 3: Upper Hudson River

Head north on route 9W or 9G, up to Hudson, and shop on Warren Street, the best spot in the state for antiquing. You can easily spend a morning and an afternoon here. Also check out the Persian castle architecture and panoramic landscapes of the Olana State Historic Site. If you have time, try the Shaker Museum. Then you can eat and sleep in either Tivoli or Hudson (and take the 2 1/2-hr. trip back to New York City in the morning via the Taconic State Pkwy.). If you don't have another night to spend in the region, you could leave the Upper Hudson in late afternoon and make your way south along the west side of the river (along either I-87, the faster route, or 9W), perhaps stopping for dinner in the attractive town of Nyack before making your way back to New York City.

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