We love the hustle and bustle of New York City, the fall colors in Central Park, and the holiday cheer near Rockefeller Center. But sometimes, well, you need to just get away from it all. Plan your escape with the help of a little extra culture! Each blog post in this “NYC: Weekend Getaway” series will talk about a new place to visit based on art destinations that are within an hour or two of the Big City.


First up: Beacon, New York


Beacon is a quaint, walkable town in Dutchess County that is bursting with art, culture and character. It’s accessible by train and only about an hour and a half from Manhattan.


Union of the Torus and the Sphere by Richard Serra // photo credit: Kathleen Reckling




If you only visit Beacon for the day, the place to visit is definitely Dia:Beacon. Dia Art Foundation is a mecca of contemporary art founded in Chelsea. However, in 2003 the Foundation expanded to Beacon as well, where it displays works by artists from the 1960s to the present and continues helping artists to realize visionary projects and installations. Collection displays include Louise Bourgeois, Richard Chamberlain, Dan Flavin, Donald Judd, Sol LeWitt, Bruce Nauman and more.


Hudson Beach Glass (photo source: hudsonbeachglass.com)




There is plenty to see right in the center of Beacon. The mile-or-so walk along Main Street includes a collection of galleries and shops that feature emerging and established artists. BAU Gallery (Beacon Artist Union), for instance, is a collaborative artist space with several gallery areas for contemporary art exhibitions. The folks at the restored former firehouse Hudson Beach Glass blow and sell sculptural and functional glass art. Finally, if you find yourself in Beacon on the second Saturday of the month, you’ve hit the jackpot. During a monthly event, Main Street comes alive with open galleries, live music, interested arts lovers and more.


A 3-minute car-ride away: For you nature-lovers, a quick trip down Route 9D will bring you to Mount Beacon Park, a popular hiking spot with a great view.


Bannerman Castle by Christopher Payne (photo courtesy of ArtsWestchester)




Check out the remnants of Bannerman Castle, a fortress once used to store a surplus of military equipment, via a kayak tour from May through October. (Take in more art: Photographer Chris Payne was commissioned by ArtsWestchester to photograph the Castle as part of its “Brick by Brick” exhibition in White Plains, which explores the collapse of the once-thriving brick industry along the Hudson Valley. His photo pictured above is on view in the exhibition through January 19.)


Storm King Art Center is a spectacular display of contemporary artworks. While it is open through December 9, it’s worth the wait to see Storm King in its full splendor. Large-scale sculptures and site-specific works by major artists sprinkle their expansive outdoor grounds, making it a delight to walk along the Center’s landscape.




The Roundhouse: This popular hotel doubles as a restaurant and overlooks a small waterfall. It’s situated on Main Street, making it an ideal locale for those who wish to do some local browsing.


Hudson Valley Brewery specializes in a range of brews, particularly IPAs and sour beers. With a slogan “Hops + Art = Beer,” you know that they value creative approaches to their ever-evolving beer selections. The Brewery is open Thursdays through Sundays with a frequently rotating offering of pop-up kitchens.


The Kitchen Sink offers “feel-good” farm-to-table meals with a global influence. The menu is seasonal, so it changes frequently to present a new experience each time you visit.


photo source: beaconarts.org




A train ride to Metro-North Railway (MNR)’s Beacon station is about 80 minutes from Manhattan. (A “One-Day Getaway Package” through MNR allows you a discounted round-trip train ride as well as discounted admission to Dia:Beacon.)


By car, you’ll take the George Washington Bridge Jersey-bound toward the Palisades Parkway. For complete directions, visit the Dia website.


top image: No End Neon by François Morellet // photo credit: Kathleen Reckling