It had been only 24 hours since I’d arrived in the Hudson Valley and I’d already consumed craft cocktails to jazz tunes, become the owner of a large, vintage American flag in a flea market and found a shop entirely devoted to pickles.

Kingston, New York will be my home for the next month. The city was New York’s first state capital and has its roots in the early 17th century.

Stockade Tavern, Kingston
Stockade Tavern, Kingston

The Stockade District in uptown Kingston is the original site of the Dutch settlement of Wiltwyck, renamed Kingston by the English. It’s still largely made up of historic buildings. Here at the Stockade Tavern, we sat for a peanut butter cocktail with jazz and a view through diamond muntin windows onto the old Senate House.

The Old Dutch Church hosts a farmers market to the tunes of a live acoustic band with a female vocalist singing the blues. Beyond your fresh produce, there were also homemade sourdough, ice cream and local wines for sale.

Flea Market, High Falls

On weekends at High Falls’ main street, which is more aptly described as a corner, a large flea market with well-curated collections of farmhouse furnishings fill a beautiful barn lit by skylight and Edison bulbs and goods spill out into its adjacent yard.

Among the towns of Ulster County surrounding Kingston are Rosendale and Hurley. Hurley’s Main Street is on the National Register of Historic Sites with exquisitely preserved rows of 300-year-old stone edifices.

Rosendale is a Portlandia paradise with a single screen movie theatre, Perry’s Pickles—a store dedicated to pickles, and another dedicated to cheese—called The Big Cheese.

Rosendale’s Main Street

At the edge of Rosedale’s Main Street is The 1850 House Inn & Tavern. It has had a host of names and owners, but it’s been an operating bed and breakfast since its opening in 1850. Rosendale boomed in the 1800s after a natural cement produced from limestone was discovered. Thus designated Rosendale Cement, the fast-setting mortar was used in foundations for the Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty and the U.S. Capitol among others.

The 1850 House Inn & Tavern
The 1850 House Inn & Tavern

An art walk is held the first Saturday evening of each month. The Rondout-West Strand Historic District (a.k.a. The Rondout) boasts several art galleries on its own inclined Main Street which leads to Rondout Creek — an arm of the Hudson River.

An evening art gallery tour was best finished with a glass of orange wine from Brunette Wine Bar — a sparkling dark rosé with a citrus flavor — and a plate of mussels from Ship to Shore.

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An early April snowfall has encouraged a day for coziness and relaxation. As soon as it thaws, the exploration continues.