New Paltz is a rural community with an urban flavor. The rural
character is evident in the extensive orchards, vineyards, gardens and
corn fields. The urban flavor is produced by the presence of The
College at New Paltz, a college of the State University of New York with
7700 students who come from the various cities of New York, other states
and over fifty countries of the world. Located ninety miles north of
Manhattan and sixty miles south of Albany at Exit 18 of the New York
Thruway, New Paltz has access to three cities, each one about fifteen miles
away: Kingston to the north, Poughkeepsie to the east, and Newburgh to the
south. Extensive shopping is available at all three.
New Paltz is located in the beautiful and serene Wallkill River Valley.
The Wallkill River flows north to meet the Rondout Creek, and this creek
flows into the Hudson River at Kingston, NY. To the west of New Paltz,
about five miles, is the Shawangunk
Mountain escarpment. These high cliffs beckon thousands of
mountain climbers each year. Rappelling is a popular sport here.
At the top of the Shawangunk ridge is the Mohonk
Mountain House, a historic hotel with phenomenal views, delightful
walking trails including the labyrinth through majestic rock formations,
a natural lake for swimming and boating, and gorgeous flower gardens.
Related to the Mohonk Mountain House is the Mohonk
Preserve which offers hikes and nature study programs. Also in
the Shawangunk Mountains, about ten miles from New Paltz, is the
State Park Preserve. It too has a mountain lake for swimming
and boating, tables for picnics, and walking trails on the high cliffs
overlooking the lake. It also offers environmental programs. New Paltz is also
beautiful because of the apple orchards.
In the spring thousands of apple trees burst into bloom, and in the fall
the trees are laden with red and yellow apples. Many visitors come
to New Paltz to purchase apples and other fruits and vegetables grown in
the area which are sold at roadside stands, and they come to see the
breathtaking beauty of the foliage.
Even in an area rich in history, New Paltz stands out. The village was founded in 1678 by a group of
twelve French-speaking Protestants and their families seeking to create a community that celebrated their
unique culture. After negotiating with the local Native Americans to purchase a 40,000 tract stretching from
the Shawangunk Ridge on the west to the Hudson River on the east, they settled on a rise on the banks of the
Wallkill River. These individuals, known in their time as Walloons and later dubbed Huguenots, at first built
simple pit houses and log structures. In 1705, the built the first of the stone houses for which New Paltz has
become famous. This building, called the DuBois Fort, is now the visitor center for
Historic Huguenot Street,
a collection of seven stone houses, a reconstructed 1717 stone church and an early burial ground - all preserved
in their village setting. Historic Huguenot Street is a six-acre National Historic Landmark District, offering
programs year-round and walk-in guided tours May through December. The story of the Huguenots continues at
Locust Lawn, site of gentleman's farm
centered around the grand 1814 home of Congressman Josiah Hasbrouck.
A central visual and cultural presence is
The College at New Paltz.
The New Paltz campus is a rich resource of fine and performing arts
in the Mid-Hudson Region of New York State. The college maintains
an internet site where information on the educational programs is available.
There is a map of the college and a list of current activities including
concerts and recitals. New Paltz is also the home of the New Paltz Central
School District with its four schools: Duzine and Lenape Elementary Schools,
Middle School, and New Paltz Central High School. Also, New Paltz is the
location of the office complex of BOCES, the agency of Ulster County Schools
to provide technical education and services to area students and teachers.
Education is the major employer in New Paltz.
Hiking and climbing through the trails and rock formations of the Shawangunk
Mountains west of New Paltz is an attraction to many. Running north and south
through New Paltz is the Wallkill Valley
Rail Trail . The trail provides a level path for biking, jogging and
walking, and cross-country skiing in winter. There are a number of playing
fields for baseball and soccer, and the delightful playground at Hasbrouck
Park for children. Numerous sports teams for all ages welcome players.
There is a pool maintained by the community, and the county pool is also
located in New Paltz. The county fair grounds are in New Paltz, and host not
only the annual fair but several craft fairs as well.
New Paltz began as a haven for the Huguenots.
The religious character of the community has continued since then and is still
reflected in families of The New Paltz Reformed Church whose roots go back
to the founding fathers. Presently, the largest congregation in New Paltz is St.
Joseph's Roman Catholic Church. Other Christian denominations include the
Church of the Nazarene, the New Paltz Christian Church, the New Paltz and
Plutarch United Methodist Church, Redeemer Lutheran Church, the Religious
Society of Friends, St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, and the Student Christian
Center, a ministry to the college campus. Other religious groups include the
Congregation Ahavath Achim and the Bahai Faith Community of New Paltz.
New Paltz is made up of the Village of New Paltz and the Town(ship) of New
Paltz. The village is the core business district with a radius of about a
mile from the Village Hall. The Town of New Paltz surrounds the village and
extends the borders an additional five miles. The village and the town are
two jurisductions and provide the essential services to each area. Both the
police department and the volunteer fire department serve all of New Paltz.
Both the Village of New Paltz
and the Town of New Paltz have
helpful web sites.
Over three hundred businesses call New Paltz home. The variety is as wide as
the interests of humanity. There are over fifty places to eat, from the most
elegant to the most humble. And there are numerous places to find lodging
in the New Paltz area from resorts and motels to bed and breakfasts. The
New Paltz Chamber of Commerce provides a complete listing of its members
as well as other interesting information on New Paltz.
New Paltz is a community in Ulster
County, and the county maintains a good internet site. A
search option is provided under tourism to locate services in the
various areas of the county. The City
of Kingston is the largest community
of Ulster County and the county seat, and it maintains an internet site
of that area.
East of New Paltz and across the Hudson River is Dutchess
County and the City of Poughkeepsie. Dutchess County is known for
the stately mansion of the Vanderbilts and the residence of
President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Dutchess
County maintains a good internet site. Also available in
Poughkeepsie is the excellent site of the
Poughkeepsie Journal. About an hour south of New Paltz is the
United States Military Academy.
Covering the entire
state is the New York State
internet site. All of the sites above are worth investigation.
Last Modified: September 2009