The arts scene is alive and well in the Hudson River Valley. Artists-in-residence can arrange long-term retreats, while the public gets to experience the results of their creativity. Several premier museums, galleries, and outdoor sculpture parks can anchor a multiday tour of the region. This tour starts in the Capital District and makes its way to the Lower Hudson Valley.
Start this itinerary in Albany and head north to the college town of Saratoga Springs, where the Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery serves as an integral part of the curriculum for Skidmore College students. Rotating multimedia exhibits combine objects like Hudson River School landscapes or Shaker furniture with new works of international contemporary art. Spend the rest of the day enjoying a leisurely lunch on Broadway, or get outside to tour Saratoga Spa State Park. Spend the night at the Saratoga Arms, or head back to accommodations in Albany.
Walk the Empire State Plaza in downtown Albany to see the Empire State Plaza Art Collection. A legacy of former Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller, the sculptures are considered one of the most important collections of modern art found anywhere in the United States. Stay at Morgan State House or the State Street Mansion Bed & Breakfast for the evening. Head to Angelo’s 677 Prime for a steak dinner or catch a show in the theater district.
In the morning, pack the car and head east to the town of Ghent and The Fields Sculpture Park at the Omi International Arts Center, which features works by Richard Nonas and Stanley Whitney, among other contemporary artists. Have lunch at the museum café, then continue the journey south to the river town of Hudson, a revived artist’s mecca. Walk the length of Warren Street, noting the mix of old and new. Stay over at The Barlow hotel and plan dinner at Fish & Game, or catch a show at Club Helsinki dinner theater if anyone is performing that night.
Start the day with a hot cup of tea at Verdigris Tea & Chocolate Bar, and point the GPS to the south. Your destination is Dia:Beacon to view the Richard Serra installations and other modern works in a converted factory along the river. Head to Main Street, Beacon after the museum tour for lunch on the patio at The Roundhouse at Beacon Falls. Alternatively, skip Dia:Beacon and walk the grounds of the Storm King Art Center, an outdoor sculpture garden on the other side of the river. For dinner, try MacArthur’s Riverview Restaurant at West Point or Valley Restaurant at the Garrison.