Once called “Esopus” (an Indian tribe name) by Dutch settlers, Ulster County is at the heart of the Valley, bookended by the Catskill Park and the Shawangunk Mountains. Though wild vistas abound, agriculture also reigns here: Ulster ranks second in apple production in the state. There’s plenty of history, too: In 1777, the first state capital of independent New York was established at Kingston in the quaint and narrow streets of the Stockade District.
Population Density: 162.33 people per square mile
Median Home Value: $200,000
Median Annual Property Tax Payment: $4,813
Median Household Income: $ 58,918
Take a hike at the drop-dead gorgeous Mohonk Preserve or on the grounds of Mohonk Mountain House, a world-class Victorian castle resort and spa.
Book a table at Perch in Marlboro, a saucy newcomer with an experienced restaurateur at the helm.
Did you know?
The Byrdcliffe Arts Colony, founded in 1903 by a British textile baron and his American wife, forever changed the sleepy town of Woodstock by bringing the first artists here. Famous residents include Chevy Chase, Bob Dylan, and dancer Isadora Duncan. Today, it’s run by the Woodstock Guild and tours are available.
-hudson valley mag.