48 Hours in Newburgh

Crawford House, Newburgh
Crawford House, Newburgh

 

This is a very pleasant place to build a towne on,” wrote Henry Hudson’s chronicler in 1609. He was right! Newburgh’s strategic location on the Hudson River played a key role in history.  George Washington’s Newburgh headquarters, where he spent the most time during the Revolutionary War, is our nation’s first public historic site.  Bustling river navigation during the 1800’s led to Gilded Age prosperity still visible in the grand architectural designs of Andrew Downing, A.J. Davis, and Calvert Vaux, and in magnificent homes like that of Captain David Crawford. Vaux’s designs are also reflected in the beauty of the 35-acre Downing Park in the heart of the city. Thomas Edison built his first power station here in 1884 and Newburgh became one of the first places in the U.S. to be electrified. A recent influx of artists and restaurateurs continue to bring new energy to this major Hudson Valley city showcased in galleries, performances, unique shops, and exceptional dining. 

Friday evening
Check into your B&B early Friday evening, then head to 346 Broadway, El Solar Café, for a unique gourmet meal from the eclectic Latin and Mediterranean menu. It’s a charming little spot with a big reputation for delicious food. In fact, it’s one of the top-rated restaurants in the region. Walk-ins are welcome, but you might want to phone ahead to reserve a table.  It’s open Monday through Saturday from 11:30am to 10pm. 

Feel like rocking on the river?  Billy Joe’s Ribworks at the Newburgh Waterfront features live bands every Friday and Saturday from 10:30pm to 2:30am.  

Saturday
After a delectable breakfast at your B&B, stretch your legs at the Newburgh Waterfront’s scenic riverwalk.  Bring your camera to capture majestic views of the Hudson Highlands and the Newburgh Beacon Bridge. From May through October, two sightseeing boats leave from the dock there. Pride of the Hudson is a sleek, modern boat, while the River Rose is the Hudson’s only paddle wheeler. Both give fascinating two-hour narrated cruises expounding on the area’s history and pointing out landmarks along the way. Seeing the county from the river offers a whole different viewpoint!   

Head uphill to Broadway, one of the widest streets in New York State. Stop to view the latest exhibit at Karpeles Manuscript Library located at 94 Broadway across from City Hall. The location is one of twelve museums featuring exhibits from the Karpeles Library, the world’s largest private holding of important original manuscripts and documents. The building itself is a magnificent landmark. The main floor’s original 35′ lofty ceiling depicts the Hudson Valley’s Revolutionary War era. The impressive marble floor and safe are reminiscent of the days when it was built as the Newburgh Savings Bank. It opens at 10am Thursday through Saturday, and at 12pm on Sunday.

Next, take a coffee break at 2 Alices Coffee Lounge right across the street. Check out the local art displayed on the walls as you sip delicious latte or tea. How about a bagel sandwich with that? This cool, popular hangout stays open until 8pm on Friday and Saturday nights.

Just steps away, Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site sits commandingly over the Hudson River. Take a guided tour of the fieldstone farmhouse that General George Washington made his headquarters for the greater part of the Revolutionary War. Martha slept there, too! Explore the museum building’s award-winning interactive exhibit “Unpacked & Rediscovered” with over 1,300 artifacts found in the museum’s storage. The site is open mid-April through October and on winter weekends.

The next stop is right around the corner, the Ann Street Gallery, specializing in contemporary, emerging, and established artists.  Find it on Ann Street, of course. It’s been voted “Best Gallery in the Hudson Valley” numerous times. Weekend hours are Friday and Saturday from 11am to 5pm.

Visit on the last Saturday of the month and you’ll be right in the middle of the monthly celebration of art, music, poetry, and local shopping that fills the galleries and stores in the vicinity of Broadway, Liberty, Grand, and Ann Streets. Many of the businesses stay open late for the occasion, and there are special Newburgh Last Saturday dining and entertainment opportunities. That day and beyond, there are performances by renowned musicians in the Ritz Theater’s restored lobby, and art shows and talks in the Mindy Ross Gallery at the SUNY Orange Newburgh campus. Special events and shows are at Space Create, an alternative work space for collaborative ideas, while art, learning, movement, and energy therapy is found at the Healing Arts Studios

Wet your whistle at the Newburgh Brewing Company on South Colden Street, just a block below Washington’s Headquarters. Play some board games, foosball, or darts while you sip your craft brew in the tasting room of this renovated 1850’s box factory with scenic views of the Hudson. Their highly acclaimed beers are available at establishments throughout the Hudson Valley and greater New York. Pair your brew with some hearty fare from their locally sourced menu in the brewery’s own taproom. Word has it that the French fries are the best ever!

Not ready for dinner yet? Take in an independent, foreign, or classic film in the cozy screening room at Downing Film Center back at the Newburgh Waterfront. There are just 60 seats, mainly directors chairs, to make your feel right at home. Fine coffees, teas, and baked goods are among the snack selections in this unique venue. Seating is on a first come, first served basis, so even if you purchase your tickets online, try to arrive at least 20 minutes before the film begins.

Now that you’ve worked up an appetite, there’s a diverse selection of popular restaurants at the Waterfront. Gourmet to casual, Italian, barbecue, seafood, sushi, and pizza are among the delicious selections. Take your pick! Of course, you could also just enjoy a specialty cocktail while gazing out at the lights and passing river traffic.

It’s been a long day, so head back to your cozy B&B! 

Sunday
After breakfast, stroll around beautiful Downing Park. It’s easy to find. Just take Broadway to Route 9W heading north. The 35-acre landscape park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux who also designed New York City’s Central Park. It’s a gem. With serpentine paths, scenic views, and the picturesque pond known as the “Polly,” it’s a quiet refuge in an urban setting. The park was named for Newburgh native Andrew Jackson Downing, a pioneer of the public park movement and mentor to Olmsted and Vaux. 

Don’t miss the renowned Motorcyclepedia Museum on Lake Street / Route 32. This 85,000 square-foot museum displays over 500 rare and vintage motorcycles on two floors with over 100 Indians, one from each year they were made. Clever displays and memorabilia will interest the whole family. Motorcycle enthusiasts have been known to spend the whole day there, and Trip Advisor has rated it the #1 attraction in Newburgh. The doors are open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 10am to 5pm.

History, beautiful architecture, and the decorative arts come together at the Captain David Crawford House. With views of the Hudson River, this majestic 1830 neoclassical mansion reflects the rich history and traditions of Newburgh. The home also has the largest collection of Hudson River School paintings in the area. It’s open to the public from 1 to 4pm on Sundays from April through October. If the Crawford House is closed during your visit, take a self-guided walking tour of Montgomery Street and the surrounding neighborhood. You’ll see some of the city’s most impressive homes. Look for the famous Warren House designed by Calvert Vaux. The entire East End Historic District contains over 4,000 buildings of interest.  

Don’t leave hungry! Treat yourself to a trip to the Wherehouse at 119 Liberty Street for a fun, casual meal from 11am to 8pm on Sundays. Billed as a burger, barbecue, and new American restaurant, it has a cool psychedelic vibe (their logo is a peace sign). Specialty bottled sodas, wine, and an extraordinarily huge beer selection complement the whimsical menu perfectly. Pick up a souvenir T-shirt, cap, or pint glass to remind you of your neat Newburgh experience! 

Sightseeing and Restaurants
El Solar Café. 845-561-3498, www.facebook.com/ElSolarCafe
Billy Joe’s Ribworks. 845-565-1560, www.ribworks.com
Pride of the Hudson. 800-979-3370, www.prideofthehudson.com  

River Rose. 845-562-1067, www.riverrosecruises.com       
Karpeles Manuscript Museum. 845-569-4997, www.karpeles.com
2 Alices Coffee Lounge. 845-563-7124, www.2alicescoffee.com/newburgh.html
Washington’s Headquarters. 845-562-1195, www.nysparks.com 

Ann Street Gallery. 845-784-1146, www.annstreetgallery.org
Ritz Theater. 845-784-1199, www.safe-harbors.org/the-ritz-theater
Mindy Ross Gallery. 845-341-4891, www.sunyorange.edu
Space Create. www.facebook.com/spacecreatenewburgh
Healing Arts Studios. 520-609-1866, www.thestudiosat75broadway.com
Newburgh Last Saturdays. www.facebook.com/NewburghLastSaturdays
Newburgh Brewing Company. 845-569-2337, www.newburghbrewing.com
Downing Film Center. www.downingfilmcenter.com
David Crawford House. 845-561-2585, www.crawfordhouse.com
Wherehouse. 845-561-7240, www.wherehouserestaurant.com 

Transportation
Car:  Located at the crossroads of I-84 and the New York State Thruway, Newburgh is easy to reach by car. It’s just 60 miles north of New York City and 90 miles south of Albany.

Bus:  Coach USA/Shortline buses make frequent daily trips to the Newburgh Bus Terminal from the Port Authority in Manhattan; the ride is approximately 90 minutes. Adirondack Trailways provides daily service to Newburgh from Albany.
Train:  Metro-North Hudson Line from Grand Central Station stops directly across the river from Newburgh at Beacon. Hop the commuter ferry (weekdays during commuter hours) or local bus service for a short ride.
Air:  Stewart International Airport is just minutes from Newburgh City limits.

Accommodations
A number of flag hotels flank the city, but why not rest your head on a pillow in one of the grand homes turned B&B for an authentic Newburgh experience?

Goldsmith Denniston House  •  227 Montgomery Street
845-562-8076   •   http://www.dennistonbb.com
4 rooms with queen size beds and private baths with marble showers. 1820 Federal-style home in the Historic District. Newly restored, the public rooms have marble mantelpieces and plaster moldings. Peter Billman Art Gallery is part of the house. The home is ideal for parties of 75 or fewer.

Pickerel Rush  •  333 Carpenter Avenue
845-489-0592 or 845-565-0973 • www.pickerelrush.net
5 rooms, shared bath. Historic Italianate 1860 brick mansion built by the renowned architectural firm of Andrew Jackson Downing, and furnished with period decor. Located on over 2 private acres with heated in-ground pool. The home is also available for events. Special rates for long term stays.

Stockbridge Ramsdell House on Hudson •  158  Montgomery Street
845-562-9310  •   www.stockbridgeramsdell.com
5 spacious guest rooms, 2 with fireplaces, 2 with private porches, offering panoramic views of the Hudson River in a Victorian home located in the historic district of Newburgh. Elegant common areas with fireplaces. Walk to riverfront restaurants, ferry and river cruises. Full breakfast.

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