Fall doesn’t start until late September, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start planning our sweater weather, cider-sipping days in the scenic Hudson Valley. From its magnificent greenery and stunning fall foliage to the abundance of events and activities, a visit to New York’s Hudson Valley during the autumn months strikes the perfect balance between nature and culture. And fortunately for us, festivals abound just in time for the official start of fall. Here are some worth a visit:
Hudson Valley Garlic Festival
Cantine Field, Saugerties, New York
If you’ve never been to the Hudson Valley Garlic Festival, get ready for a real treat. The two-day celebration of garlic Sept. 28-29 at Cantine Field in Saugerties includes plenty of food, music, chefs, farmers, household goods, crafts, family fun and the great taste and aromas of tons of gourmet garlic. The joyous festival, now in its 30th year, packs in thousands of garlic lovers who come for the camaraderie and eclectic assortment of culinary treats prepared by vendors from around the country. So, stock up on your breath fresheners and head to Saugerties, located at the foot of the scenic Catskill Mountains on the Hudson River. Presented by the Saugerties Kiwanis Club, all proceeds go to worthwhile community needs. Daily admission, available at the gate, is $10 (cash-only) and includes free parking. 845-246-3090, www.hvgf.org.
20th Annual Woodstock Film Festival
Woodstock, New York
At 20 years young, the Woodstock Film Festival Oct. 2-6 is as vibrant as ever, reflecting a film culture and region producing more innovative work than ever. Visitors can expect high-profile premieres, such as “Parkland Rising,” breakout shorts from newcomers as well as plenty of intimate panel discussions. Founded in 2000 as a grassroots arts organization, the festival has grown into one of the premier independent film festivals in the country, bringing together thousands of filmmakers and film lovers over the years, including notables such as Alec Baldwin, Daniel-Day Lewis, Uma Thurman, Paul Rudd, Keanu Reeves, Courtney Cox and Natalie Portman, to name a few. This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the legendary Woodstock Festival as well as the 100th anniversary of Woodstock as America’s oldest colony of the arts. 845-679-4265, www.woodstockfilmfestival.org.
Orvis Game Fair and Sporting Weekend
Sandanona, Millbrook, New York
This one-of-a-kind weekend outing, Sept. 21-22 at Sandanona in Millbrook, will provide fun activities for the whole family in a magnificent setting. The event is free to the public, sponsored by Orvis, the family-owned retailer specializing in high-end fly fishing, hunting and sporting goods. It will feature fly-fishing demonstrations, a Land Rover driving course, dog training seminars, birds of prey exhibitions and more than 70 upscale vendors and exhibitors. Plus, there’s plenty of hands-on activities for the kids. Located a short drive north of New York City, just off the Taconic Parkway, Sandanona offers an ideal backdrop to enjoy the bucolic and historic Hudson Valley region and all it has to offer – a step back in time to a place where the traditions of the field and the hunt are held in the highest regard. This venerable sporting institution is the oldest of its kind in the country, so old in fact, that the main lodge was built during the presidency of Thomas Jefferson. Expert instructors will be on hand to offer free fly-casting lessons. 845-677-9701, www.orvis.com.
Legends by Candlelight Ghost Tours
Clermont State Historic Site, Germantown, New York
Visitors will find themselves traveling back in time when they enter the 250-year old historic Clermont Mansion, one of the best preserved 18th century Hudson Valley manors. Now a New York State historic site, the mansion was built by the Livingstons, a prominent family of inventors, statesmen and land barons. Candlelight tours of the grounds Oct. 18-26, led by staff in historically based costumes, will feature dozens of hand-carved, flickering jack-o-lanterns, ghost stories and roasted marshmallows. The popular, family-friendly event is recommended for ages seven and up but sells out quickly. Reservations required. 518-537-4240, www.friendsofclermont.org.