by adeline talbot

I know! I know! It's a region, not a city...but I can think of few places in this world that like the beautiful Hudson Valley are most aptly and evocatively described as a whole rather than by naming a collection of individual cities, towns and villages.

 I happen to have been thinking about this a lot recently as I have been working on the itinerary for 'Gardens of The Hudson Valley', a June 2016 trip being offered in partnership with PAUL J. CIENER BOTANICAL GARDEN, a lovely and relatively new garden in Kernersville, North Carolina.  As always seems to happen by the end of creating an itinerary I feel as though I have not merely been thinking about a place but rather that I have actually been transported to it during the course of the several days it takes to work through the logistics and fit together all the pieces.  I like this sense of having taken a little, unscheduled junket all on my own.  And I find it's not unlike the feeling of flying in a dream--mentally moving over and across land and cityscapes.  You see things differently, but distinctly, and patterns begin to emerge as you spend this kind of time with a place. And the pattern for the Hudson Valley? That one's easy. I would say it could be summed up in a word: grandeur.  There is a pattern of grandeur in the Hudson Valley beginning with its primeval landscape.  This is the landscape, after all,  that inspired the Hudson River School, the first great, distinctly American art movement.  This original grandeur is still very much a living presence up and down the river and often in the most unexpected places, including in and around New York City.  The river is that mighty and the vistas that splendid.  What has struck me most, however, in this recent 'visit' to the region is that this grandeur seems to have acted as a powerful inspiration on the men and women who have lived there over the centuries. It shows up again and again in what has been imagined and then made. Whether it be Kykuit, the 3400-acre Rockefeller Estate in Pontico Hills; Storm King, with its 500 acres of  sculpture park or West Point, which looms over the river as a vast, gorgeous Gothic fortress.  I even see grandeur in the imperfect and soon to be replaced Tappan Zee Bridge.  This is a landscape that invites large visions, ones that seem to aspire to be the equal of nature's grandeur. 

The 'Gardens of The Hudson Valley' itinerary will be released later this week to the membership of Paul J. Ciener Botanical Gardens and shortly after that to those who have signed up through Studio Traveler for 'Early Bird Info'.  In two weeks, it will then be released to the general public.  Whenever you see it, I hope it inspires you to join us on this adventure or if that is not meant to be then that it leads you to explore this region on your own.  With a particular focus or no focus at all, it makes for a great ramble where even getting lost can have its rewards. 

Photo by Ultima_Gaina/iStock / Getty Images