Recipe for a Creative hamlet: Take one down-on-its-luck former mill town located 65 miles north of New York City; add a contemporary art museum with roughly 240,000 square feet of exhibition space, sprinkle with underutilized factory and storefront spaces, stir in a revitalized main street and waterfront park, mix together innovative local residents with bright-eyed newcomers, let percolate for a decade or so. What do you get? Beacon, New York, a fantastic Hudson River Valley town that has become a haven for artists and big-city refugees as well as a fantastic weekend getaway for East Coasters looking for a little bit of culture.

What to Do: 

Towne Crier Cafe

This jazz, folk, and bluegrass music venue and supper club has hosted Richie Havens, Suzanne Vega, and many others over the past 40 years. It recently moved from Pawling, New York, to Beacon’s main drag. Upcoming performances: Rickie Lee Jones, Duke Robillard Blues Band, and Livingston Taylor.

Dia: Beacon
Like a lot of small towns along the Hudson River, Beacon declined in the late-20th century as factories closed and people moved out. But it began a renaissance in the 1990s accelerated by the opening of the Dia: Beacon in 2003. Occupying a former Nabisco box factory redesigned by the artist Robert Irwin and architecture firm OpenOffice, the museum features art from the 1960s to the present. Its giant galleries have drawn a steady stream of visitors from all around the Northeast.

 

Where to Stay:

The Roundhouse At Beacon Falls
A hotel, restaurant, lounge, and spa occupying a series of converted 19th- and early-20th-century factory buildings along Fishkill Creek, Roundhouse was developed by Rockwell Group, a New York City design and architecture firm. Rockwell hired local designers and artisans, among them Niche Modern, Wickham, and Malfatti Glass, to create pieces for the interior, giving the property a chic handcrafted look.

 

Where to Eat:

Homespun Foods
A perfect stop after visiting the museum, Homespun is a low-key café with exceptionally good sandwiches and deserts. Open for breakfast and dinner.

The Hop
Billing itself as a tasting room, The Hop serves craft beers on tap and by the bottle as well as homemade sausages, terrines and pâtés, and local cheeses and pickles. 

All You Knead
Spectacular breads made with hand-gristed grains and other local ingredients by David Meltzner and Simone Williams. 

Ella’s Bellas
A light-filled café and bakery that specializes in gluten-free food.

 

Where to Shop:

Vintage Beacon
Run by a young ex-stylist from New York City, the shop on East Main Street offers an impressive array of designer clothing.