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Get to know Pine Plains

Once the place where P.T. Barnum’s menageries weathered out winters, Pine Plains bridges Dutchess County’s westerly river towns with the Harlem Valley to its east, a vast expanse of mountain, meadow, and woods flecked with humble cabins and discreet equestrian estates. You’ll fall a bit back in time in the hamlet proper, where there’s a bed-and-breakfast, a Revolution-era tavern, and a historic theater — recently restored — that welcomes performers from near and far. Stissing Mountain is the towering landmark here, and the trail to its fire tower at its summit ranks high on the list of the area’s most popular hikes, an ascent rewarded with unobstructed vistas spanning for miles. There’s a sandy beach at Stissing Lake Park, perfect for when things start to heat up. And, with it all equidistant to most transit arteries in the area, Pine Plains is simply the perfect accessible wilderness paradise.

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Living in the Hudson Valley

This cultured countryside needs little introduction. It’s been called New York’s Napa, the anti-Hamptons, or simply “upstate.” From rolling farm fields to mom-and-pop Main Streets, the region is blessed with easy highway access, train service via Metro-North and Amtrak, and even its own international airport, making it exceptionally attractive to New York City residents seeking a little more nature and a lot less bustle. Most of the area falls within a two-hour radius of Manhattan, making it practical for weekend or full-time residence. Straddling both sides of its namesake river (much is actually a tidal fjord), the Hudson Valley’s traditionally defined core consists of Putnam, Dutchess, and Columbia counties to its east and Ulster, Orange, and Greene to the west. Their mélange of art colonies, rustic-chic hamlets, and charming post-industrial cities — set to a landscape so breathtaking it inspired an eponymous 19th-century art movement — welcome infinite possibilities, from slow-paced small-town living to total off-the-grid seclusion. Bordering both the Berkshires and the Catskills, outdoor recreation runs aplenty, whether skiing in winter or climbing wilderness peaks in summer.