Take a drive along our country roads and you’ll step back in time to another era. Where the livin’ is easy. Where you can enjoy the best of cultural and historical sites and attractions. Or not, your choice. Where a country store offers fresh produce and baked goods, and a you-can-pay-metomorrow attitude. Where “laid back” isn’t just a label, but a lifestyle. Best of all, wherever you wander in our fair county-to shop, hear music, dine, or just explore-you’ll meander along some of best country roads in America.
More and more, Columbia County is the cultural gem of the Hudson Valley. Here in a bucolic setting you can view provocative works from international and regional artists. Avant-garde painting and sculpture. Exhilarating musicals. And classical concerts of every size and shape. Here, renowned artists, inspired by tranquility, make their home, following in the footsteps of Frederic Church, Thomas Cole, Sanford Gifford and other painters of the Hudson River school. Today, galleries dot the country and grace our towns and villages. Our renowned film festival, Film Columbia offers world-premieres in a small-town, main street movie theatre that dates back to Chaplin’s era. You can take in a play, a poetry reading, or be charmed by an old-time band. You’ll encounter a hotbed of folk music. Opera, chamber music, dance, it’s all here, year-round, for your pleasure.
Columbia County offers life’s simple gifts in a place that’s simply historic. Start with a jewel of Columbia County architecture: Olana-the masterstroke of Frederic Church, one of America’s premier landscape painters. His Persian-style mansion offers sweeping views of the Hudson that will take your breath away. Head down to Clermont, the 18th century manor home or trek up to Steepletop, the home of Edna St. Vincent Millay. Wander through the Federal mansion of James Vanderpoel, whose period furnishings take you back to a gentler age. Enjoy the Georgian and Italianate home of our eighth president, MartinVan Buren. Or, journey into classic simplicity with the Shaker way of life and the foremost collection of its culture. Visit the humble schoolhouse whose master was the model for Ichabod Crane. And save room in your historic journey for one of the world’s most unusual museums: the American Museum of Firefighting.
Deep within our rolling hills and quiet landscapes, you’ll discover the time of your life. An invigorating hike in our forests. A round of golf in a countryside setting. Trout in our crystal streams. A ski trail just waiting to be conquered. Nature lovers soak up the untamed beauty of Bash Bish Falls. Cyclists glide down quiet country lanes. Families swim in our state parks. Leaf peepers gasp at hillsides of stunning reds and golds. Skiers glide down fresh snow at Catamount. Race fans thrill to lightning-quick action at one of New York State’s best DIRT & NHRA tracks: Lebanon Valley Speedway & Dragway No matter what your outdoor passion, from every corner the views of Columbia County’s landscape are unforgettable. The towering Catskills and rolling Taconics take your breath away. Stand in awe at the wonder of the silent woods or let your senses overflow with the rush of a pristine stream. Fresh, crisp air. Boundless serenity. Or exhilarating sports. The great outdoors is simply the best part of being in Columbia County.