When I was a kid growing up in New Windsor in the 1970s, I knew almost nothing about Kingston. It may as well have been in California. Even though it was only about 45 minutes away, we never ventured to Kingston. I guess my parents thought there was nothing much happening there. They were wrong.

I got a job in Kingston in the mid-1980s and that’s when I learned how cool Kingston really is. First of all, it’s full of history. Did you know that Kingston was actually the first capital of New York State? And it has more than one historic neighborhood. Uptown Kingston, also known as the Stockade District, is full of beautiful historic buildings including the Senate House and the Old Dutch Church. The Strand, which is the area at the bottom of Broadway, is also a designated historic district, as is the midtown area. And nowadays, all three neighborhoods are great for dining, shopping and strolling.

And there is no shortage of talent in the Kingston area. You will find live music and festivals all over Kingston all year. One of the biggest is the O+ Festival. It’s a weekend of art and music. The artists donate their time and talent in exchange for medical care. It’s a win/win festival, and it draws more and more crowds each year. Plus, Woodstock is just a few minutes away. Woodstock has long been known as a town for artists and great music.

So if you’re looking for a fun day trip, why not head to Kingston? Or better yet, make a weekend of it. History, music, art, fine dining and views from just about anywhere. I think it’s about time to celebrate this fine Hudson Valley city.

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