Author Archives: Miranda Kay

Why Barton Orchards Exemplifies All That Is Pleasant in The Hudson Valley


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A short, twenty minute, drive from Vassar College, Barton Orchards is set in a lovely rural area of Poughaug, New York. Cars pull up onto their grass to form a temporary parking lot for the unending line of visitors eager to explore this autumn staple.

Among the the masses were church groups, nuclear families, couples, and the general local populace. Although people seemed to be pouring in through the entrance way throughout the day, (in fact, the line only increased in length as the day progressed), I never felt crowded at any point.

There was so much space and so many different offerings that the crowd was very widely dispersed and frankly invisible most of the time. Admission was reasonable, just over ten dollars for access to all that the property has to offer or three dollars for general admission, making it a prime attraction for individuals and families on a budget.

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Although primarily a recreational hot spot, Barton Orchards also has a store filled with local food to support the local economy, produce grown on the orchard itself, and general goods. Nonetheless, the storefront is definitely secondary to the rest of the Barton Orchards; it most assists local businesses by bringing visitors to Hudson Valley itself, which is quite a venture in of itself.

They boast many vegetables and fruit that visitors can pick their own of, a petting zoo, a playground, a “mining” set for younger visitors, a bakery, a haunted house, a tractor-pulled hay ride, and a corn maze.

The corn maze is based off of New York City street artist Matt Siren’s work. The maze has various stations that teach wanderers about graffiti art.  For more information, check out this post by a Brooklyn Street Art Group, .

The iconic Ghost Girl connects this Hudson Valley attraction with the city that provides the most tourism to such rural attractions. A very great decision by Barton Orchard owners indeed.

Extremely scenic in a small-town type of way, Barton Orchards embodies what so many visitors to the Hudson Valley picture. The petting zoo has adorable llamas, pigs, chickens, ponies and miniature ponies, a mule, and goats. Many of the animals run right up to the fences, eager to eat fro the palms of giggling children and stone-faced adults, who are apt to crack a smile as furry noses tickle their hands.

Cups of fresh brewed apple cider appear in and out of sight as the noon sun reminds guests

Barton Orchards 9how pleasing fall drinks are to the palate. Even the buzzing of a chainsaw from a man cutting lumber in to bears and eagles rings soothingly in the ear.

The local charm is only further accentuated by the large apple orchard and pumpkin patch. The gloriously sweet and crisp apples and large, bright pumpkins exemplify what it means to be a Hudson Valley Resident in the autumn. People typically picture such benefits of fall as being beautiful, cracked leaves on the sidewalk and day trips to pick-your-own farms, and Barton Orchards certainly delivers on that expectation.

Overall, a visit to Barton Orchards makes for a memorable day trip that speaks wonders of Hudson Valleys local atmosphere and charm.

To find out more, visit Barton Orchards’ website:



Locusts on Hudson Exploration


When we came rolling up the scenic hills toward Locusts on Hudson, the pleasant aroma of farmland filled the van. The historic estate covers as much as 75 acres of land. In the distance, behind well placed trees, one could catch glimpses of a river rolling by. We met with Zach and Locusts 1Olivia, whose smiles made us feel ever so welcome. They live and farm on this land, owned by a restaurant owner who took to renovating the property three years ago, seeking out farm fresh alternatives in a fixed market. What Zach and Olivia grow mainly winds up on the plate of the New York City restaurant, apart of a hotel with a highline skyline, which is owned by the owner of the farm. Theses farmers have had difficulty working with the chefs, as the restaurant already has a set menu. Thus, the farm is not always able to accommodate the restaurant’s needs.

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Zach grew up on a farm in Salisbury, Connecticut. Olivia grew up in New York City. He then went on to study Biology in Columbia and worked for another farmer. He was accustomed to such a lifestyle, while Olivia made very drastic changes to her life.

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Locusts on Hudson has a beautiful, particularly rustic greenhouse that was renovated recently. They also boast about 10 pigs, 200 laying hens, and 6 bee hives in addition to their extensive collection of crops and other farm animals. Zach even built a rolling chicken coupe. Occasionally, they rent out pieces of land, and for about 4 to 6 months they host apprentices through an apprentice program for aspiring farmers. 

The are currently experimenting with four season growing on a larger scale, and they’ve found their medicinal teas and spinach, highly desirable in the winter months, to be more than well adapted to winter growing. Although the work is hard (the summer harvest keeps them busy hours on end two out of three days of the week), they love their job.

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Olivia said herself: “Hudson Valley is a glorious place. It’s so beautiful!”


Our next stop was Scenic Hudson, a company, set in the middle of a central business district, that protects and preserves the highest scenic, agricultural, and ecological lands throughout Hudson Valley. Their most recent project has been preserving local farms and creating parks and preserves. They have been creating objective plans and analysis to delineate which areas deserve the greatest attention. Such prioritization is based not on politics, but instead on soils composition, size, and intensity of farmland. They hope to build economic resilience by purchasing the rights to certain farms so that they may ensure that the farms cannot be subdivided and changed into anything other than a farm. As of yet, they have protected 73 family owned farms.


Adoring Amazing, Albeit Antiquated, Amenia (Ah, Alliteration!)


As a relative newcomer to the Hudson Valley, I’ve found myself unmistakably enthralled by the particularly quaint town of Amenia. My joy for Amenia and its wonderful ice cream is quite palpable in the above picture. Raised in southern Connecticut, my experiences with farmer’s market’s had always been quite an unremarkable experience. The foodstuffs would be displayed lovingly while those selling their produce would remark with the regulars about such trivialities as weather as cars drove by meters away.

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What I discovered in Amenia during my trip with Vassar College’s Field Experiences of Hudson Valley course were very warm individuals offering, what were sometimes, their primary source of income with an incredible attention to detail. A few stands covered a lot right beside the town center.

What an outsider may not realize right away is that the intentionally dilapidated  antique storefront facing the multi-purpose store is the very center of Amenia. When one notices  that the main attraction for the town is quite beyond the, largely residential, center, it becomes ever more clear that Amenia exists very much thanks to it’s amenity-based economy. Visitors come for the cute store front lined with rusted wares and for the part drive-in-movie-theatre-part-ice-cream-shoppe.

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The town’s inhabitants exhibit both pride and a subtle level of coy acceptance of their locations. I found one man working at the drive-in theatre quite pleased with the layout of modern furniture pieces placed beside an antiquated ice cream cone structure large enough to tower above the craned necks of children.

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Such wonderful experiences prevail in Amenia, where small flower arrangements adorn the the town center and small shoppes fill their shelves with local produce.Amenia Sep 6 Miranda Kay 2