Calendar Government The Community of
New Paltz, NY

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Highlights of New Paltz

Rural/Urban Setting

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.

Scenic Beauty

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 Minnewaska 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.

Historical Heritage

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.

Educational Opportunity

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.

Recreational Resources

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.

Spiritual Vitality

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.

Governmental Leadership

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.

Business Diversity

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.

Area Connections

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