A Walking Tour of Poughkeepsie, New York
Few places host such a splendid blend of natural beauty and cultured tradition as the Hudson Valley. From the nation’s first wine-making region to today’s current blend of wineries, breweries, distilleries, and cideries, you can be sure to find an adult beverage of your choice. Then, there’s the architecture. On one of the quintessential Hudson Valley postcards, you’ll find a grand stately mansion frequented by some giant of early American History as well as some of the earliest colonial homes and historic dwellings. There are forts and lighthouses. A reasonable drive—with unreasonable beauty—from the Adirondacks and Finger Lakes, and not too far from Niagara Falls, plus New York City, there are countless charms this region can boast.
And Poughkeepsie is in the middle of it all. Halfway between NYC and Albany, halfway between Newburgh and Kingston, this is like the eye of the storm that is Mother Nature’s best. Absolute heaven, to those who can see the town for what it is and all that surrounds it. It’s like a reverse city in which the calm, quiet, down-to-earth vibe is found, in its purest form, in the middle of the city, and you find the hustle-and-bustle of the big city and the all-out, all-outdoor camping, hiking, skiing, and backpacking experience as you travel out away from the city. There’s a direction here for every personality to travel in.
Speaking of regional and architectural charms, I can tell you that you don’t have to seek out the postcard experience to be delighted, enthralled, and even slightly awed by some of the buildings right here in this quaint under-the-radar town. I love to take walks, at least when it strikes me fantasy. The rigorous commitment of a daily habit has always ruined the experience for me. Nevertheless, I’ve walked around Poughkeepsie a couple dozen times at least. The tree-lined streets, the old city center, out to the Hudson River. No matter whether I’ve chosen to head out to the cemetery, riverside greenspace, or the Walkway, simply amazing.
But what started to strike me over enough time and circuitous routes is just how amazing the everyday architecture is. I mean, the homes, sure they’re fascinating. That’s true pretty much everywhere, when you start to imagine the people who lived in the homes a generation ago, or five generations ago. But what also leaves an indelible mark over time is just how many of the public, commercial, and governmental organizations are housed in these historic but also, in many cases, visually stunning buildings. I was so fascinated by this phenomenon that I decided to make a short, curated photo series.