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A Local’s Guide to Warwick

close-up of ice cream cone with multi-colored sprinkles against blue sky

The historic village of Warwick offers distinctive experiences among its 100 acres of parkland, boutique and antique shopping, farm-to-table restaurants, and its bevy of breweries, cideries, distilleries, and wineries. Surrounded by mountains with the Appalachian Trail coursing through it, this quaint valley is the perfect locale to leave the city behind.

Warwick offers niche encounters that make it a unique Hudson Valley destination. Many think of apples when they think of Warwick (visitors from all over the world flock to U-picks in the fall) but locals love it year-round for many other reasons—like its coveted black-dirt produce (grown in rich soils left behind by a glacial lake that melted 12,000 years ago); its Revolutionary War history (buffs and reenactors can follow George Washington’s footsteps through the Valley); and live music lovers can catch their favorite bands at venues that range from wineries to wide-open park spaces. Warwick truly has something for everyone.

A mere hour (about 50 miles) from NYC, Warwick is an easy visit for day-trippers and weekenders. Traveling by train, the Port Jervis or Suffern Line from Penn Station will take about 90 minutes to Tuxedo, just 20 minutes from Warwick. Once here, renting a bike is a good option to get around. The open roads and stunning views make it a popular destination for motorcyclists, too.

However you get here, we have the inside scoop from locals who know the ins and outs—new spots, hidden gems, and events to look forward to.

Drink it Where it’s Grown

Warwick is the heart of the Hudson Valley’s beverage scene—you can’t go far without hitting a winery, cidery, brewery, or distillery. The beverage scene is so robust and deeply rooted that it is common to enjoy a glass right where it was grown, and not uncommon to have a chat with the maker while doing so.

Pop into the tasting room at Applewood Winery to enjoy a glass with a scenic view. Choose from regular tasting flights or a chocolate flight to pair with artisan chocolates from Hudson Valley Chocolates. Applewood is also famous for its hard cider—Naked Flock. Visit the taproom to try experimental and one-off ciders that you won’t find anywhere else. Live music returns to the winery every weekend after Memorial Day.

The name says it all at Clearview Winery. Take in the views while listening to live tunes on the open-air front porch. Surrounded by rolling hills, vines and wooded areas, it’s a magical place to enjoy their estate-grown reds and whites along with beer and cider from other New York State producers. It’s no surprise that Travel + Leisure Magazine named it among the “Top U.S. Vineyards.”

girl holding glasses of cider on a wooden board
Cider flight at Pennings Farm Cidery.

At Pennings Cidery you can drink apples year-round and pick them in the fall! Hang indoors in the Amish-built barn taproom or take advantage of the sprawling fields outside, furnished with Adirondack chairs and picnic tables. There are many different food options on-premise. A summer ice cream bar, beer garden, and a wood-fired pizza café make it a one-stop introduction to the region’s bounty. TIP: Check the calendar for upcoming events like Stretch then Sip Yoga, Trivia every Thursday, and Friday Night Pairings.

Drowned Lands Brewery is a newcomer named for the black dirt soil so prevalent in the region. “We love incorporating locally grown ingredients into our process and beers.” says owner Mike Kraai. This farm brewery focuses on oak-aged ales, wild fermentations, Saisons, experimental hops, and lagers. The taproom is inside a 100-year-old brick building originally built in the 1920s by Eleanor Roosevelt as a training school for boys. Nestled within a 700-acre park, there are expansive views of the Appalachian Mountains and the Wawayanda Creek. Outside, rotating food trucks offer fare ranging from fajitas, lobster rolls, and raw oysters to pair with a pint.

A visit to Apple Dave’s Distillery during apple blossom season is a must, but there is no off- season for cocktails, which is the name of the game at Apple Dave’s. There is even an outdoor fire pit to take in the views of the lake and the mountains while you sip. TIP: Apple Dave’s is right next to Applewood Winery so plan on hitting both in one day.

Warwick Valley Winery and Black Dirt Distillery has been winning awards and accolades for its American Fruits brandies and liqueurs since it opened its doors in 2012. Many people also know it for its famed Doc’s Cider (the first cider in the region), as well as their Warwick gins, bourbons, and applejacks. Whichever beverages you choose to explore, the winery is a fun place to visit for flights, live music, and a bite at their Pané cafe which serves up fresh breads, pizza, sandwiches, and salads to enjoy on their outdoor patio. TIP: Visit mid-week to avoid crowds.

two glasses clinking
Enjoy wine, spirits, cider and live music at Warwick Valley Winery & Black Dirt Distillery.

Black Dirt-to-Table

Warwick restaurants have been taking advantage of the abundant agriculture that grows in the sought-after black dirt in the region for eons, so it’s no surprise that fresh foods and beverages are a cornerstone of the Warwick lifestyle.

La Grappa is a local fave for intimate date nights, serving up Italian cuisine using fresh ingredients. Like many other business owners, Mike Kraai considers La Grappa his go-to dinner spot in town when he’s not busy at his brewery. “Their food is amazing, and I love sitting in their courtyard on a sunny day.”

If you are under the impression that farm-to-table is a new movement, think again. Iron Forge Inn has been dishing up elevated country fare using local ingredients for 60 years! Charm abounds in this former historic forge built in 1760.

interior of historic hotel with gas stove
Iron Forge Inn offers elevated local fare in a historic setting.

Using seasonal ingredients to make sophisticated dishes, The Grange sits next to a gurgling stream in a cozy brick building built in 1903. They also have a market filled with local treats, like homemade condiments and skincare items to take home.

For something more low-key, Fetch and Yesterdays are community hangouts that serve local beverages and comfort food. At Fetch you can sit outside with your pooch or enjoy the menagerie of dog-related decor inside. Yesterdays is a Warwick institution—a quirky Irish pub perfect for a pint and conviviality.

Local business owners and residents are fans of the ever-changing special menu at Fannies which offers local comfort food. “I think of Fannies as a hidden treasure,” says local shop owner, Syd Edwards. “They have delicious farm-to-table food and a welcoming environment.”

Just opened Drifter Ferments, is the place to dork out about fermentation. Owner Tara Whitsitt, author of a popular book on the subject, has made Warwick home for her unique shop and bistro. “Some of the things that wooed me to Warwick are the Warwick Valley Farmers Market on Sundays, hikes at Wawayanda, and farm-to-table dinner at The Grange,” says Whitsitt. These places highlight the flavors, beauty, and local culture of makers in the Lower Hudson Valley.” Stop into Drifters for a tempeh reuben or fermented goods, all of which have organic, local, and wild-harvested ingredients made in-house.

If you are serious about your ice cream, Bellvale Creamery is a must-hit. Their homemade ice cream got them ranked among the top 10% of ice cream parlors in the world by Trip Advisor.

Take Home Some Memories

Take a stroll down Main Street and beyond to shops and boutiques brimming with unique gifts and souvenirs. Pop into The Bungalow, Newhard’s, Frazzleberries, and Crystals of Quartz, a metaphysical shop in the Greenwood Lake area that also throws psychic fairs—the next one happening during Summer Solstice.

For antiques and vintage, Retro Modern Antiques, The 1809 House, and Warwick House of Antiques are among the many shops to check out.

Farm markets abound in Warwick. Pennings Farm Market is where locals snag produce and goods such as honey, syrup, fresh-baked pies, as well as Pennings cider, beer and wine. And nothing beats fresh beef from Maple Terrace Farm where you can also schedule beforehand to take a farm tour.

row of vegetables in wooden crates
Bring home fresh produce and local goods from Pennings Farm Market.

The Great Outdoors, History, and Art

The outdoors is a huge part of the Warwick experience. Hop on the Appalachian Trail, or try Fuller Mountain Preserve for an easy hike with lovely views. Take a dip at the sanded beach at Wawayanda State Park or rent a boat to take in the serenity. Play a round of golf at Hickory Hill, or if animals are your thing, Shalimar Alpaca Farm will have you saying “squeeee!”

view of golf course
Spectacular views at Hickory Hill Golf Course.

Art lovers can find peace at Pacem-in-Terris Outdoor Sculpture Garden and Gallery. Check the events calendar for Wickham Works, a non-profit art organization that frequently hosts community events.

Relish in the retro vibes at Warwick Drive-In, originally built in 1950. Choose from a variety of recent releases to watch from the comfort of your car. When Annie Stubeck isn’t manning Pennings Cidery, she heads to the drive-in to unwind. “It’s one of my favorite places,” says Stubek. “I love putting a bunch of pillows and blankets in my car, getting cozy and staying for the double feature.”

Historic properties abound in Warwick. The Warwick Village Historic District, designated on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984, reflects the changes the village has undergone in more than two centuries. You can even drink in Colonial history along with your brew at Baird’s Tavern by throwing one back in the same spot that George Washington had a grog in 1783.

Live Music Mecca

While Warwick draws big-name acts year after year, the local music scene is as strong as ever. Musicians like Elissa Jones, who has toured with the likes of Wilson Pickett and Bob Dylan, has been playing local venues and at the Dylan Fest at Warwick Valley Winery since 2008. The winery is also home to the Cash and Country Music Festival and a weekend music series through the fall.

Jones filled us in on other music events to look forward to in Warwick:

Railroad Green Summer Concert Series features a variety of music styles and local talent. The streets nearby are closed off and attendees can bring blankets and chairs to claim a spot on the green. Nearby Sugarloaf has an On the Lawn Concert Series, Grappa has a Music in the Courtyard Music Series, and Pennings has a Beer Garden Music Series. Check the websites for details.

Stay Overnight

With so much to do and see in Warwick, you’ll want to maximize your experience and spend the night.

Stay in the center of the action at Warwick Valley B&B which is a short walk to many of the area’s restaurants, boutiques, and parks. Built in the early 1900s, this restored Colonial Revival is a charming place to stay, with cozy rooms and farm-to-table breakfasts. TIP: Ask the innkeeper to book an in-room massage!

Situated on nine acres of sprawling land is the Inn at Stony Creek. The grounds include a pond and a stream that attract a flock of 50 chickens and ducks (thank them for the fresh eggs served each morning!). Across the road, 200 acres of hiking and walking trails await.

Happy exploring! For more to do and see in Warwick, visit orangetourism.org

PHOTOS: Orange County Tourism

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