Things to do in New Paltz and environs, if you like the kind of things I like.

Sometimes people come to the shop from other places and they want to do other things besides eat chocolate.

And it’s made me realize that all I ever do is work and I need to remember fun things to do so I can point people to these fun things and maybe even do them myself some day. So, locals, help me out here! Leave a comment with the hundreds of amazing places I’m leaving out!

In time I’ll add links and photos to this page, but as usual I need to get this one whipped out in minutes before I collapse from exhaustion, so let’s do this rough for now. It’s a work in progress.



  • Walk two minutes down the rail trail and get a smoothie or vegan BLT or Caesar salad at New Paltz’s only vegan restaurant, Karma Road. The owners are the nicest people on the planet, and we share a precious employee, Pippa, who we politely try to not to tear in half because we both love her so much.
  • Keep walking on the trail trail 20 minutes more or so for glorious quiet walking and amazing leaf peeping in the fall. Eventually (if you’re going south) you’ll come to the tableau pictured in this post. So pretty.
  • Rent (for free) one of the Bikes that Heal from one of the stands around town (you just give your credit card to the business whose ad is on the stand as collateral) and pedal around on the rail trail. Start at my shop and go north and in 15 minutes you’ll be at a gorgeous bridge over the Wallkill river. So awesome.
  • Read The Chronogram to see what’s happening around town. You can get it everywhere.
  • Prowl around the two indie record shops in town: Rhino and Jack’s Rhythms. I adore both their owners, and cannot play favorites.
  • There are lovely books at Jack’s and also at the great bookstore in town, Inquiring Minds. And also the great used bookshop across the street (Church Street), Barner Books! They are conveniently across the street (Church St) from each other.
  • You probably like yoga. Allllll my yoga friends go to  Ashtanga Yoga of New Paltz and all love it, as one friend said, “hands freaking down.” I’m pretty sure the owner is vegan. Just sayin.
  • Poke around the Team Love/Ravenhouse Gallery, two blocks from the shop. Say hello to Nelly if she’s there. She’s the tall sweetheart who runs the place. They have interesting exhibits, rare records from bands on Saddle Creek Records and Team Love Records, and cute onesies for your hip baby.
  • Walk to the community gardens from the shop: turn left out of the shop and walk 1 minute to Huguenot Street. Turn left and walk for 1 minute, then turn right at the next street, where you see the sign for the community gardens (I *think* there’s a sign…?). Walk another minute and you’re there. Very lovely.
  • Look for vintage clothes at the Salvation Army just north of my shop on Route 32, the Antiques Barn (I love the Antiques Barn!) and the other antiques store in Water Street Market, as well as Judy Go Vintage on Route 32 in Rosendale. (Rosendale is a cute town 15 minutes from The Paltz.)
  • Oh, my old and outdated NP dining guide is here.
  • Get cheap and good tacos and burritos at Mexicali Blue in New Paltz right downtown on Main Street. Or pretty good Japanese at Hokkaido, a minute from the shop on North Front and Church Street.
  • Poke around the awesome art store Manny’s on Main Street in New Paltz (next to Mexicali!)
  • Go to the Reuse Center and sift through the marvelous junk.
  • There are a million trillion wonderful hikes to do. I am partial to swimming at Split Rock, though it’s usually very busy, and the hikes near there. If you go to Split Rock, follow Clove Road for a few miles until you see the amazing tree root sculptures on the left side of the road (can’t miss ’em).
  • There is also good blueberry picking all around the Ridge (The Ridge [aka the Shawangunk Mountains] is the mountain range you’re looking at when you come into New Paltz)–drive west on 299 until the road ends, then turn right onto 44/55. After the hairpin turn keep going for, oh, 6 miles or so. Park at the tiny (3 car) turnaround/illegal [you’ll be fine] lookout spot by the rock wall. Cross the street cautiously and scramble up the flat-ish white rocks. If it’s July, there will probably be tiny blueberries all around. You can also hike to gorgeous rock gardens around here…but I still never have and will have to get the info on how to get there from pals. Google it!
  • There is a vegan B&B a couple hours away, near MA, run by sweet people. I have their card at the shop and will update this tomorrow. There is also a very pretty one in New Paltz, called Hungry Ghost Guest House. And my rad friend Megan runs a perfect B&B in Woodstock, called Retreat at Tree Gap. There are no good hotels in the area. There are not even any DECENT hotels. There is Mohonk, a breathtaking mountain resort where Alan Alda and Oprah et al stay, and scary places by the Thruway. And B&Bs.
  • If it’s a Sunday, either go to the New Paltz farmer’s market, or drive to Rhinebeck and go to their vastly superior farmer’s market. The falafel is all vegan (even all the condiments) and it’s the best falafel you’ve ever had, even if you, like, grew up in Israel or something.
  • If it’s the second or fourth Monday of the month, come say hello to me at the New Paltz Town Hall, where I’ll be at the Planning Board!
  • There are lots of pick-your-own berries type farms. Come to the shop and let’s talk about which ones use the least amount of pesticides and aren’t run by Republicans. My favorite is Jenkens-Lueken.
  • Take a walk on Plains Road and finish it up at the Taliaferro farm market. I think it’s only open on the weekends. Lovely times.
  • Take a walk on the Oldest Continually Inhabited Street in America, Huguenot Street. It’s steps from the shop and I highly recommend the tour of the historic houses. Crazy fascinating–slave quarters! In upstate NY!
  • Read the New Paltz Times letters section. The highlight of everyone’s week, for reals.
  • Tear some siding off the building the shop’s in? Pretty please? We still have SO much to do.
  • Coffeehouses: Slash Root is an anarchist pay-what-you-can techie cafe full of smart people who will fix your computer, give you some wild-foraged tea, and teach you how to garden. Mudd Puddle is a bit of a breeder hideout, but I like it because it can be quiet and is friendly and cozy and in the summertime you can hang out outside and people watch and drink expertly-made drinks. They make the best espresso drinks in town (all the Italian expats go there), and roast their own beans. After walking around the Antiques Barn, you can get a veganized Mudd Freeze there and you’ll be very happy indeed. And check the events schedule for WSM, there are great movies all the time shown outside.
  • The Village Tea Room is pretty and fun for tea.
  • Swimming at Lake Minnewaska! Hiking to waterfalls! Directions and info coming!
  • The deal with movies: New Paltz cinema is run by a Republican, but has $5 movies on Tuesdays. Try not to go to a quiet movie that is next to a loud movie, or you will hear the loud movie more than your movie. Upstate Films Theater is in Rhinebeck, a bit of a hike, but is awesome and they have nooch for popcorn. Rosendale Theatre is the bestest place ever, a collective, old-timey art house with, inexplicably, dill weed for popcorn instead of butter and Fanta to drink, which tastes exactly like orange Skittles. Hyde Park Drive-In is great, or so I hear. I have yet to go.
  • Go to Dia Beacon. While you’re in Beacon, get a popsicle at Zora Dora’s.
  • If you must drive to an NYC area airport, here’s my secret way. It takes longer, but it’s better.
  • Go visit Gnome Chomsky, the world’s largest garden gnome.
  • Go to Hudson and look at amazing antiques you will never be able to afford and marvel at the Chelsea of upstate! The hot cultured gay boys are as abundant as the mid-century modern bureaus. Also my BFF Veronica works at a GREAT vintage store there, Sideshow Clothing. (It’s about an hour from New Paltz though.)
  • A bunch of my friends love Pure City, a veggie restaurant in Pine Bush. I went there 5 years ago and hated it, but I really need to go back so I stop hating it, because I trust my friends.
  • The Walkway over the Hudson is definitely worth a visit.
  • See a show or a Tributon at Market Market (aka A Little Slice of Brooklyn) in Rosendale. While in Rosendale, go to Roos Arts, the great tiny gallery. Do not go to Rosendale Cafe for food, veggie though it may be. Going there to hear music is acceptable.
  • Splurge on a nice vegan dinner at Garden Cafe in Woodstock. If the key lime pie is on the menu, I order you to get a slice (or a pie) for me and bring it to the shop.
  • Liberty View Farm also offers lodging now as well as apple picking, and is run by the cutest, sweetest couple in the world, Billiam and Rene. Billiam is one of the main movers behind the famous gay marriages in February 2004 in New Paltz. He also doesn’t allow Republicans at the farm! And HE HAS BEEN ON MARTHA STEWART LIVING. I mean COME ON.
  • The Last Bite is lovely and has lots of veggie options, and is in High Falls, which is fun to poke around in. The High Falls food co-op is right there too, which is a tiny little organic food co-op with good local veggies.
  • Speaking of Veronica, she just had this to say about Saugerties, a town I’ve never really kicked around: “Saugerties is a good tourist-y town, too. I don’t really love it, but it’s worth a trip as a tourist [Veronique is, like me, a classic snob.]. The lighthouse has a bed and breakfast, there are a lot of boutiques on Partition street (I like this store called Rock Star Rodeo), and Love Bites has pretty good food (although the place is teeny and I always come out smelling like grease). There’s also an Inquiring Minds Bookstore/Muddy Cup (the coffee is disgusting, though), and another book store. Oh, and Mother Earth [health food store], of course.” Thanks, V!
  • The Falcon has good live music, good fries, and a good tempeh reuben.
  • I hear that the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary will soon be opening a B&B…
  • And the Catskill Animal Sanctuary is worth a visit, and donation, too.
  • While driving to the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary or to dinner at Garden Cafe, go the scenic route (which I’ll write down here when I get it from my boyfrien’) and visit the lovely Ashokan Reservoir on the way.
More soon! With pictures! And links!
Tell me what I’ve left out!

5 Responses to “Things to do in New Paltz and environs, if you like the kind of things I like.”

  1. Pamela Tate

    Enchanted Toys is a lovely place to shop for toys. David is conscious as he buys toys that will be played with by the beautiful children of the world.

  2. Juliana

    I’m planning a bachelorette weekend in New Paltz for this July and this list is great! You should do another since this one is now four years old…. hopefully it still rings true because i’m definitely taking some of your tips!


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