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    8 Reasons the Hudson Valley is Better Than the Hamptons

    8 Reasons the Hudson Valley is Better Than the Hamptons

    As Hudson Valley natives, naturally we’re going to think highly of our community. From Saugerties, Hudson, all the way down to Kingston, Woodstock, Rosendale, up over the Gunks to Accord, Kerhonkson, and back into New Paltz (home of CronArtUSA’s headquarters at the Water Street Market), we’re in. And we’ve been in for a long time. And frankly, we’re glad everyone else is starting to catch on. No shade, but we were starting to get tired of constantly hearing about how great the Hamptons are.

    Don’t get us wrong: we love the Hamptons! They have the ocean and cool lighthouses and wineries -- and much like the Hudson Valley, they have lots of cool art too. But we’re also interested in a little friendly competition, so we came up with 8 things that make the Hudson Valley better than the Hamptons.

    1. Mountains (and Streams and Trails and Waterfalls)

    We thought we’d start off with a bang, you know? Here’s the deal: we have the Catskill Mountains. We have the Appalachian Trail. How about that Hudson River, eh? Or our personal favorite: we have the Shawangunk Ridge, which serves you quite the view, dawn-till-dusk, as you exit CronArtUSA’s flagship store in New Paltz, NY. You really oughta come see it in person.

    We could go on and on about the hundreds of miles of streams and trails lakes and waterfalls and freshwater swimming holes, or the hiking, or the camping, or the skiing, or the mere peace and quiet of the thunderous nature all around us, but then we’d just be bragging.

    Instead, we figured we’d leave you to ponder all this with a quote from Artist Thomas Cole: "Must I tell you that neither the Alps nor the Apennines, nor even Aetna itself, have dimmed, in my eyes, the beauty of our Catskills."

    Word, Thomas. Word.

    2. Art

    As art lovers, we’re biased, but then again, it looks the Hudson Valley is too: Storm King, Dia:Beacon, The Dorsky, Art Omi, O+ Festival, to name a few. Our neck of the woods is bursting with creatives and the institutions and organizations that support them. Throw a stone in almost any direction, and BAM! An art-filled day, full of thoughtfully-curated exhibits, installations, and more. See for yourself:

    2. Dia:BEACON
    4. ART OMI
    5. O+ FESTIVAL

    storm king

    3. Food

    Just checking: does the name Culinary Institute of America ring a bell? How about the Hudson Valley Food & Wine Festival? (Really, any of the hundreds of other food festivals in and around our neighborhoods?) Or maybe, just maybe, you caught this New York Times article that exposes the truth: chefs from NYC prefer escaping to our miles and miles of organic farmland, in order to find the freshest ingredients from up and down the eastern seaboard.

    ryan cronin farm for sale

    Look. We can’t stress it enough: we get food. It’s in our blood. So if you’re up for diving headfirst into the freshest ingredients at the dozens of farm-to-table restaurants up and down the HudVall, we’re down to have you. Because we’re proud of our food. How we source it...
                                             how we sell it...
                                                   how we buy it…
    … and how we eat it.

    …mmmmm… pickles…

    4. Beer, etc.

    With every great meal, you should expect a great beverage. And when that beverage is brewed locally, it always tastes better. Like home. And it just so happens that our home is surrounded by over 60 craft breweries/cideries, an almost 500% increase from 2012’s when that number was 11. It’s big business here, and not just the beer. We also have distilleries and tea rooms and coffee shops galore, each with its own unique, distinctive voice, taste, and style.

    And while we hate being trend-hoppers, we’re not about to turn down a wealth of options when it comes to our beverage-ing.

    PS - FYI, our recommendations all things beer/cider/whiskey are…

    1. UGLY APPLES TASTE BETTER (Twin Star Orchards) - New Paltz, NY
    2. Arrowood Farms - Accord, NY (farm brewery) & New Paltz, NY (tasting room)
    3. Tuthilltown Spirits - Home of Hudson Whiskey (where you can check out a commission our own Artist Ryan Cronin has!)

    tuthilltown artist ryan cronin

    5. Literature

    Rip Van Winkle, House of Mirth, the FDR Presidential Library. Sue us. We’re bookworms. We’re nerds. And we’re proud of it. Washington Irving, Edith Wharton, John Cheever. These are just a few in a cast of literary stars whose names are synonymous with the Hudson Valley. It makes sense too. Remember the whole nature thing we talked about earlier? Don’t let us try and convince you: all you have to do is read the first paragraph of Irving’s “Rip Van Winkle” to get a hint of how much the Hudson Valley has continued to inspire writers for generations. (Google it.)

    rip van winkle

    6. Hudson Valley Apple Trail

    We’d try to claim the entire fall, but let’s be real: New England’s got us there. (Lucky for us: we have a gallery in Westport, CT too!)

    hudson valley apple trail

    What we do have, however, is the gorgeous Hudson Valley Apple Trail, only one small part of the larger Hudson Valley orchard economy. With dozens and dozens of orchards to choose from, each offering its unique version of a “dive-into-fall-you-basic-bitches!" mentality, you’re sure to find all your fall essentials in the Hudson Valley.

    7. Lodging 

    It’s no secret that the Hudson Valley has always been a place to find sanctuary. For years, our community has been home to some of the most celebrated and stunning hotels, resorts, bed & breakfasts, and most recently, Airbnbs. Take it from us: if you’re looking for a getaway weekend with your loved one(s), a retreat to inspire your inner-artist, or simply an escape from the real world to clear your head, here are a few of our “homes-away-from-home” ideas, nestled right here in the Hudson Valley:

    Audrey’s Farmhouse
    This quaint Wallkill-based inn, restaurant, event space, and movie theater (yep) has it all: the views, the peace, and the quiet. If you’re looking for a stunning weekend trip to come visit us, you’ll love Audrey’s. (Or at least hope you do!)

    Hasbrouck House
    Located in Stone Ridge, Hasbrouck House is a local favorite-- and has been since 1757. With over 50 acres of lake property to wander as you unwind and recharge, their homestyle feel brings in fascinating cliente from all over the world.

    Mohonk Mountain House
    The historic Mohonk Mountain Resort & Spa (plopped right at the top of the 40,000 acres that make up the privately-owned Mohonk Preserve, part of the Shawangunk Ridge), is a must-visit, even if just for a peek at the stunning property.

    mohonk ryan cronin

    Love the idea of camping but hate the actual activity of camping? Tentrr can solve that problem for you. They take “glamping” to the next level: with over 150 campsites in the Hudson Valley alone, Tentrr is a sure-fire camping alternative.

    We don’t need to say much: just check out this list of popular Airbnb locations in the Hudson Valley. It’s pretty comprehensive-- and jaw-dropping.

    8. The New "Out West"

    There’s so much of it up here, and it feels endless. Where Long Island has a reputation for being stuffy and elitist (again, no shade!), the Hudson Valley is known for being laid back and spread out. Literally. Boasting over 7,000 square miles, the Hudson Valley offers a more affordable alternative to “Urbanite Weekenders” whose wallets are boasting enough income to substantiate owning a second home (or sharing one with a group of friends, as with the most recent trend). Last year, Business Insider predicted a certain doom for Hamptons real estate, placing the blame on the trending exodus from Long Island to the Hudson Valley. With new developments like the Hudson Woods popping up all over, it makes sense that a new generation of getawayers (on a much wider economic spectrum, we might add) have chosen the Hudson Valley as their weekend sanctuary.

    i love the hudson valley cronin ryan



    A huge part of Artist Ryan Cronin’s artistic mission positions his work as a platform for globally-minded philanthropy.

    senegal ryan cronin

    Case-in-point: “The Box,” a portable, public art installation co-created by Cronin and Go Doc Go founder Maggie Carpenter, MD was originally inspired by Dr. Carpenter’s work in Haiti, Senegal and Ethiopia (You can read more about “The Box” here.)

    the box ryan cronin

    This past June, Cronin joined Go Doc Go for a routine visit to Senegal, where a great deal of Go Doc Go’s work happens.

    Last week, I sat down and caught up with Cronin to learn more about his time in Senegal, how it shifted his mindset as an socially-conscious artist-- and as a global citizen.

    Blake: Senegal! Wowza! How was it?

    Cronin: Senegal was the experience of my life so far; I don’t wanna say “lifetime” because it’s not my time yet. I’ve never traveled to a third world country before, so it was completely different to anything I’ve ever seen. Culturally, socially, visually… it was right up my alley. I fit in: the pace. Life is about survival, and there’s a beauty in that, when it’s stripped down to its simplest. The environment was bare minimum. Extreme poverty and struggle is real, I understand that, but it was a reminder of how simple life really can be. It was humbling.

    senegal ryan cronin

    Blake: How did it differ from the original picture you painted in your mind?

    Cronin: Honestly? I thought it was going to be a little more polished, but it was rugged. We even stayed in nice hotels with running water, and we were taken care of, but I kept thinking, “Holy shit, this is a huge city, and there’s livestock everywhere. I kept wondering who has electricity, who has running water, what are their living conditions like? There were kids kicking soccer balls around, for hours and hours and life was happening. Everything was hand-painted, police cars, street signs. You see the presence of individuality in that and the absence of mass production. Coming from the Western World, you see people living in rugged conditions and then everyone is dressed so nice. The women were wearing beautiful dresses and the men were wearing collared shirts and nice shoes. There’s a high regard for one’s self-image there. It said a lot to me about the idea of poverty and how people perceive it.

    senegal ryan cronin

    Blake: What was your original reason for going-- and did you leave with something different?

    Cronin: I’ve worked with Go Doc Go for over a year now in the States, and I wanted to experience what they do on the ground in other countries. I was able to witness the work they do firsthand in the hospital, which was incredible, but also had time to wander and explore and interact with the community.

    senegal ryan cronin

    Blake: Was this experience something you feel has threaded itself into your larger artistic narrative?

    Cronin: Definitely. Maggie (Carpenter) was always like, “You have to go,” and now I know why. It’s truly a beautiful place: a truck driver making his truck look like his own, decorating it with his own hand. It was so individualistic and captures so much. Seeing that and seeing how the public took that in. There was art everywhere.

    senegal ryan cronin 
    Blake: You’ve been painting for so many years and you went there with just a camera. How was that?

    Cronin: Capturing a moment through a device vs creating paintings from from my mind, heart, and soul allowed me to secure the moment in time from that perspective. I used the camera as a sketchbook. It’s not the picture itself. It’s the memory and the interpretation to translate the idea into a painting.

    senegal ryan cronin

    Blake: Is there a piece in the works based on your voyage to Senegal?

    Cronin: Yep, it’s a new piece called “Self/Group Portrait As Senegal Man and Westport.” It’s a loose commentary on my experience versus our new experience in Westport: you couldn’t find two more different places on the Earth. I’m also starting another piece directly related to some of the visuals from the trip. We drove a lot, so I saw the backs of a lot of trucks, and they were really beautiful. To me, the backs of these trucks were a piece in and of themselves. Ultimately, I’d like to get a full show together and raise some money for Go Doc Go, in the fall.

    senegal ryan cronin

    For more info or to donate to “The Box,” click here. #FollowTheBox

    For more info on Go Doc Go, click here.

    To see more photos from Artist Ryan Cronin’s adventure to Senegal, visit our Facebook page.

    We've been pondering patronage.

    support art ryan cronin

    At CronArtUSA, we’re constantly reminding ourselves to lean into our main mission of F-U-N. We see art as not just a commodity or luxury-- but as a necessity. A universal need that links communities, cultures, and ideas together, under the banner of understanding. With art, we see the best and the worst of ourselves-- and through art, we find our collective consciousnesses connected. Art enables us to reach across aisles and shake hands and listen and make sense of our differences. It allows us to breathe, gives us the courage to speak, and provides an escape into the imagination, in ways that no other industry can. In art, we are able to question our beliefs, shift our perspective, and grow as responsible, curious, and engaged humans of the planet.

    untitled ryan cronin

    Art is one of the greatest wonders in the world, and we believe that the people who create that kind of work for humanity are just as important as the banker or the lawyer or the politician. Everyday, when the artist wakes up and steps up to his/her/their canvas (or in Artist Ryan Cronin’s case, board), onto the stage, or into the pages of the next great human novel, it’s a risk: perhaps the work won’t ever be seen. Or heard. Or understood-- or at the very least, respected. Then again, this isn’t news: post-Renaissance thinking steered away from the artist (the creator of the art), and focused on the art itself. The artist-patron model-- and the kind of jobs it unearthed-- vanished and was replaced with a funding model that focused on a piece or a collection, rather than an investment in the artist and his/her longevity.

    the man complete ryan cronin

    However, with recent threats to the NEA-- and a general societal shift into the digital age-- the patronage model is making a strong comeback, as observed by Jennifer Miller in a New York Times article from May of last year, wherein she notes a strong “emblematic of a shift in how some arts enthusiasts, from wealthy individuals to grant-making foundations, are relating to creators.” Rather than placing sole focus on artistic consumption, by which art is viewed without much more than a nod of financial respect to the artist, the patronage model has slowly been making a triumphant return, “...reminiscent of the Renaissance, when royal houses provided room, board, materials and important professional connections to talented artists of the day,” cites Miller. (In other words, patrons help artists prosper.)

    When the opportunity to open up a second CronArtUSA location landed in our laps, we had thought long and hard about choosing a place. Strategically-speaking, we had to look at historical trends and where artists were choosing to go based on the communities that welcomed them-- and invested in them. When it came down to it, Westport, with its rich history of artist patronage, was the logical next step in Ryan’s journey to discovering a new audience.

    artist ryan cronin

    And within the first week of our time in Westport, it’s become clear: we chose right. The Westport population hasn’t merely shown interest in the art itself: they’ve asked about the person behind the art. It’s been a solvent, fervent reminder of why we do what we do, reminiscent of the discovery of our first tribe (we love New Paltz and to this day can’t believe how lucky we are to have made our home there): art isn’t just to be looked at; it’s to be consumed, a message to digest and take with you, to encourage you think and grow and stretch and wonder.

    westport gallery cronartusa

    And have fun doing it. The conversations we’ve had with our new constituency about the joy, hope, and general F-U-N behind each and every one of Ryan’s works have given us new drive with a new perspective: art is necessary everywhere. And more and more, people are realizing this crucial necessity in this current social, political, and cultural climate. In this time of need, a new wave of patrons have stepped forward to help lead the charge. They’re paving the way for a new generation of artists to succeed and strengthen our communities with what they need: art. Much like our first gallery, located in the charming Water Street Market in New Paltz, NY, our neighbors want to see us expand and spread because they know that our work is just as important as the work of the bankers or lawyers or politicians-- or doctors, teachers, plumbers, electricians, waitresses, and all of the other important jobs that make an accessible, prosperous, beautiful community function.

    And for that, we’re very grateful indeed.

    john cookie cutters cronartusa

    Interested in becoming a patron of Ryan’s work? Come see us sometime: our house is your home. We’re located at 31 Church Lane in Downtown Westport and 10 Main Street at the Water Street Market, New Paltz, NY.

    In the meantime, learn more about the man behind the work: meet Artist Ryan Cronin.

    - Blake Pfeil, Operations @ CronArtUSA

    "The Box" Returns to Brooklyn This Weekend, June 23rd

    When it comes to partnerships, we’re lucky.

    It’s no secret: CronArtUSA is “working toward the greater good,” as Artist Ryan Cronin says about our mission. It’s why we started our 12 Months of Giving Fund in the first place, which is where our idea for “The Box” (our socially-conscious collaboration with current 12 Months of Giving Recipient Go Doc Go) even came from.the box ryan cronin

    And guess what? This weekend, in our latest partnerships with University Settlement and the LGBT Cancer Network, CronArtUSA and Go Doc Go are taking “The Box” out for a third spin: the East Flatbush Community Research School Carnival and Health Fair.

    Alongside the East Flatbush Community Research School, University Settlement and the LGBT Cancer Network will present the East Flatbush Community Research School Carnival and Health Fair. Through a plethora of sponsors (including NYU Dentistry, NYC Emergency Management, NYC Department of Education, the National Kidney Foundation, Blue Cross Blue Shield, among others), the block party-style fair will provide public health and legal services and consultations for local residents, including dental screenings, STI/HIV testing, benefits checks, as well as immigration and housing legal consultations; “The Box” will be present as one of the public services available throughout the day. Additionally, the festivities children’s activities (bouncy house, face painting, carnival games) as well as rides and food & drink. We are extremely excited to welcome the National LGBT Cancer Network to collaborate and expand our reach with “The Box.”

    lgbt cancer network university settlement

    The East Flatbush Community Research School Carnival and Health Fair will take place on E. 53rd Street (between Winthrop Street and Remsen Street) in Brooklyn, NY this Saturday, June 23rd, from 12:00pm-4:00pm (with a raindate of Saturday, June 30th, same time). Via the MTA Subway: 4 train to Utica Avenue Station, 15 minute walk to the fair. (To plug in your starting address for Google Map directions, click here.)

    A revolutionary intersection of art and medicine, “The Box” is a socially-conscious, collaborative, public art installation created by Ryan Cronin of CronArtUSA and Go Doc Go Founder Maggie Carpenter, MD.  “The Box” enables participants to circumvent the traditional pap smear used to screen for cervical cancer. Part self-collection space, part art space, “The Box” is a privacy booth installed in a public location that gives women a safe place to independently swab a sample to be tested for the HPV virus, the leading cause of cervical cancer. “The Box” bypasses traditional medical routes: No exam is necessary.

    the box ryan cronin go doc go

    Early detection is instrumental in preventing the development of cervical cancer. "The Box" had beta installations at the O+ Festival in Kingston, NY and the Old Stone House in Park Slope, Brooklyn, with future installations to come. Though too early in the sampling process to provide conclusive data, at both installations CronArtUSA and Go Doc Go found that 1 in 8 women who self-swabbed in “The Box” tested positive for HPV.  It was this early detection that allowed for referral and further evaluation.

    As a forward-thinking intersection between art and medicine, “The Box” is a true collaboration. “It intricately marries our two professions, while challenging cultural norms of institutionalized control over medicine. This makes care accessible to all audiences, with a particular focus on reaching individuals who otherwise might not have access,” emphasizes Carpenter. “The potential to impact lives is so far reaching.”

    box brooklyn cronin go doc go

    We’re firm believers in F-U-N here at CronArtUSA-- which is why we sat down with "The Box" co-creators Artist Ryan Cronin & Go Doc Go Founder Maggie Carpenter, to learn more about their collaboration. Click below to watch and enjoy: 

    PS: Want to help make sure “The Box” can continue on its journey? Click here to donate to 12 Months of Giving. #FollowTheBox