Literary City Guide | HUDSON VALLEY, NEW YORK

All that is within me cries out to go back to my home on the Hudson River.
— Franklin D. Roosevelt


Sabrina writes about travel, food, and the picturesque Hudson Valley. She loves experimenting with new recipes and eating far too many spoonfuls of peanut butter. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram. (Photos by Sabrina Sucato)



Relationship to the Hudson Valley: I was born and raised in Poughkeepsie, one of the larger cities in the valley. It wasn’t until I went to Vassar for college that I really began to explore the area with friends.

Writer you’d like to invite to dinner: Lauren Willig, to talk spies and intrigue

Chef you’d like to prepare the meal: Aroma Osteria’s Eduardo Lauria, for a spread of antipasti and dolci

Writing soundtrack: The Hamilton Mixtape, unless I forget to bring headphones

Pen or Pencil: A black pen that doesn’t click

Coffee or Tea? Black coffee in the morning, tea throughout the day

Paperback or Hardback? Paperback, either pristine or cracked at the spine and yellowed on the edges


Good Reads


Oblong Books & Music. If you have any fears about the decline of independent bookstores, Oblong will restore your faith. The shop, which has two locations in Millerton and Rhinebeck, regularly hosts talks with authors for the community.

The Spotty Dog Books & Ale. Yes, this store really is as amazing as it sounds. With a massive selection of reads from all genres and a bar stocked with local ales and a curated selection of wines, The Spotty Dog is the perfect place to spend an afternoon.

Inquiring Minds Bookstore. The name alone should tip you off that this Hudson Valley treasure is a book lover’s paradise. In addition to hosting workshops, book groups, and children’s event, the store also has a consignment program that allows you to trade in old books for cash or store credit. 


Vassar College Library. Walking through the front doors of Vassar’s library will make you feel like you are in Hogwarts. The castle-like building has thousands of books stacked in its labyrinth of rooms. Grab a book on any topic you can imagine and cozy up on a couch under the breathtaking stained glass windows.

Albert Wisner Public Library. This library is so good that it won the Best Small Library in America Award for 2016 from Library Journal. The space has a beautiful layout and enough books to browse to your heart’s content.

Red Hook Public Library. Red Hook’s library is not just a home for books; it is a hub for the community as well. The packed event schedule includes everything from discussion groups and movie screenings to book clubs and storytime for children.


The Hudson Valley Writers’ Center. In addition to offering a number of courses on poetry and fiction, the center also hosts readings with a fun variety of authors and covers everything from food and history to poetry and contemporary fiction.

Albany Poets. The upstate group is all about - you guessed it - poetry in the Hudson Valley. With an assortment of recorded readings on the website and an up-to-date listing of poetry events in the area, this club is a valuable resource for lovers of the written (and spoken) word.

Calling All Poets. On the first Friday of every month, poets and poetry lovers alike come together for an evening of open mic readings. Anyone can sign up for a 5-minute slot, and all types of poetry are welcome.


Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival. Fans of the Bard should not miss this summer festival, which has been recognized by The New York Times as one of the best warm weather fests in the nation. While the non-profit theater company mainly covers Shakespeare’s greatest works, it also produces a few that weren’t written by William, like Pride & Prejudice.

Washington Irving’s Sunnyside. Anyone who loves Halloween or scary stories should pay a visit to the home of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow writer Washington Irving. Nestled in Sleepy Hollow, NY, Sunnyside is a romantic property with breathtaking views of the Hudson River. A quick walk around the grounds will make you realize just how close to home Irving found inspiration for Rip Van Winkle and other tales.

Hudson Children’s Book Festival. Kiddos who love to read have a celebration all their own. Come May, Hudson, NY hosts a book festival that includes live performances and “Read To Me” story corners. Plus, every attendee receives a free book just for showing up. 

Good Eats


Cafeteria Coffee House. Housed in hipster New Paltz, Cafeteria is the place for creative latte concoctions and afternoon writing sessions. Order up an Almond Joy Latte, or something equally delicious, and pick the perfect cozy chair from amongst the hodgepodge of seating options.

Alices Coffee Lounge. This coffee lover’s dream spot has locations in Newburgh and Cornwall. Regardless of which one you visit, you can order a smooth brew during the day and then swing by at night for community events like trivia, book clubs, and movie screenings.

Cranberry’s at Tilley Hall. Hyde Park’s charm comes alive the moment you step into Cranberry’s. This cute cafe serves a tasty cuppa. Don’t forget to order up a homemade muffin or scone to go with it. I promise you won’t regret it.