Just 2 hours from New York City on the Metro-North Railroad, Beacon, New York, offers an escape that feels like a world away from the city that never sleeps. Ideal for weekend getaways or even a day escape from the Big Apple, Beacon and its surrounding towns of Newburgh and Garrison left us feeling refreshed – all while giving us a good dose of art and history… and a few shots of local whiskey!
- 2 DAYS
Low to Mid-80’s and sunny in July
Lyft + Walking
The Roundhouse ($$$$)
Walking along Main Street
- 30-45 min
Few things are more quintessentially American than a “main town street” called Main Street. Beacon’s Main Street delivers on the promise of a town’s main thoroughfare – offering access to restaurants, bars, antique shops, and art galleries all sprinkled amongst such local staples as the town’s post office, police station, and library. The town’s 3 best known hotels, The Roundhouse, The Beacon Hotel and The Inn and Spa at Beacon, can also be found along this main road.
While we didn’t spend too much time exploring the actual shops along Main Street, we did become quite familiar with this picturesque street as it served as our “main” walkway to various locations during our 2 day-trip – including our next stop.
- $15 pp
- 2-3 hrs
Many locations in Beacon are housed within former factory spaces from the 1910s and 1920s. One such location is the town’s most popular destination, world-renowned art museum – Dia:Beacon – which occupies the former Nabisco box printing factory. The building’s concrete columns, glass windows and brink walls provide an open and luminous space that is conducive to fully immersing yourself into the museum’s peculiar art collection dating from the 1960s to the present.
Without the right context, Dia:Beacon’s art can be a bit of a head scratcher (at least it was for us!). Thankfully, the museum offers laminated cards at each exhibit hall providing a brief background on the artist and an explanation of each exhibit. These handy cards helped us make sense (and appreciate!) what would have otherwise been incomprehensible for our untrained eye. Some of the museum’s artwork includes Walter de Maria’s 360ᵒ/Ching/64 Sculptures, Louise Bourgeois’ goosebumps-inducing Crouching Spider, and light installations from NY’s very own Dan Flavit.
Gallivanting through Boscobel House & Gardens
- $15 pp
- 2 hrs
After so much modern art and a well-deserved lunch at the museum café, we took a 15-minute Lyft ride back in time to neighboring Garrison and its Boscobel House and Gardens. This 64-acre property overlooks the Hudson River, offers stunning views of Constitution Marsh towards the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and provides a glimpse into 19th century life – thanks to the work of historians and preservationists who restored this impressive home in the 1950s.
Built from 1804-1808, the Boscobel House is an example of the Federal period – represented both in its architectural style and the collection of original art and furniture that can be seen in the home today. Walking through its halls, we let our imaginations fly as our tour guide painted a very vivid snapshot of the lives of the home’s owners, a loyalist family called the Dyckman’s. This is the perfect stop for those looking to GALLIVANT (because “walking” is so 20th century, don’t you agree?) through history.
Whiskey Tasting at Denning’s Point Distillery
- $5 pp
- 1-2 hrs
- Food & Drink
Pre-dinner drinks are always in order after a day full of art and history! After unwinding back at the hotel for a bit, we decided to take the short walk down Main Street to Denning’s Point Distillery for some local whiskey and bourbon. Upon arriving, we entered a small tasting room where we got to sample 3 different artisanal spirits before deciding we wanted to buy 3 (!!!) bottles. Thanks to our purchase, the $5 tasting fee was waived.
The Denning’s Point Distillery does all of its work in Beacon – even sourcing its grains from family-owned farms in New York State. Our “support local businesses” hearts were definitely aflutter (or maybe it was the cocktails we had?) after visiting this Beacon staple.
Dinner at The Roundhouse Restaurant
- 2 hrs
- Food & Drink
Beacon’s The Roundhouse is known not only for its modern meets industrial hotel but also for its restaurant. While our food wasn’t particularly memorable, the place was bustling with clientele – making this restaurant one of THE dining hot spots in all of Beacon. Overlooking the falls of Fishkill Creek, the outdoor patio is clearly the restaurant’s most popular spot and, by the time we arrived, it had no seating available.
Muru Tip: The restaurant does not accept reservations for the outdoor patio. If you wish to sit outdoors, get there early to secure a table and avoid a possible wait. If your preference is to eat indoors, however, you can make a reservation and request a table by one of the panel windows that overlooks the patio – giving you a nice view of the waterfall.
Breathing in some History at Washington's Headquarters Historic Site
- $4 pp
- 1-2 hrs
If you are wondering what history smells like, visit Washington’s Headquarters Historic Site in neighboring Newburgh, New York. A short $13 Lyft ride away from Beacon’s Metro North train station, the site is a must-see for any history lover looking to breathe in (we aren’t kidding – it smells musty!) the story of General George Washington’s stay at this location.
Previously a family farmhouse, General Washington, his wife Martha, and the revolutionary troops rented the home to serve as their headquarters for 16 and ½ months – his longest stay at a headquarters throughout the Revolutionary War. The historical significance of the location cannot be understated. From these headquarters, Washington wrote a “circular letter” that outlined his vision for the republic, announced a cease fire that ended the Revolutionary War and created the Badge of Military Merit, the predecessor of the Purple Heart.
Tasting Local Brews at the Newburgh Brewing Company
- 2 hrs
- Food & Drink
A four-minute walk from Washington’s Headquarters Historic Site will take you to Newburgh’s very own brewing company. On a Saturday afternoon, the taproom was relatively empty which allowed us to take our pick from plenty of picnic table seating.
Founded in 2012, the Newburgh Brewing Company offers a good variety of lagers, ales, IPAs, sours and seasonal beers… and guys, there’s cornhole! New York-crafted beer, a good selection of locally-sourced bar food and games were the perfect way to unwind and wrap up our trip.
- While a 2-day trip to Beacon is feasible, 3 days may be the ideal length of time to explore all
that the city has to offer, including outdoor activities like biking and hiking.
- Services like Lyft and Uber are available in Beacon but wait times can be extensive as there aren’t that many drivers in the area – pack some patience if you don’t have a car.
Other places to visit
- Bannerman Castle Tour
- Storm King Art Center
- Beacon Memorial Park
- Scenic Hudson’s Long Dock Park