Ulster County loves a party, especially when it involves the outdoors, endurance challenges, the Hudson River, and gourmet sweets. As the warm weather arrives (finally), this little patch of paradise in the mid-Hudson Valley just two hours north of Manhattan comes alive with non-stop activities, celebrations, and festivals. Here, we present seven spring events you won’t want to miss.
1. Rock the Ridge ‘til the break of dawn
50 winding miles. 24 hours to traverse it. The endurance challenge of a lifetime. Rock the Ridge is an annual fundraiser that posits a simple challenge: cross 50 miles through the beautiful Mohonk Preserve in 24 hours—at your own pace. Make the journey solo or join a team or relay. This is not a competitive race, but a personal endurance challenge designed to accommodate a wide range of active lifestyles, from leisurely walkers and casual joggers to experienced runners and professional marathoners. The prize? The pride of bragging rights and personal accomplishment. Proceeds from the event go to preserving over 8,000 acres of the Shawangunk Mountain Region. Register today!
Rock the Ridge May 19, All Day Mohonk Preserve 3197 Route 44 Gardiner, NY
2. Have your cupcake and eat it, too
If you weren’t already aware, one of the more delightful spring events in Ulster County is the Gardiner Cupcake Festival at Wright’s Farm. Featuring over 20,000 cupcakes, the decadence will be tempered by the Gardiner 5k Cupcake Classic, which opens the festivities. Jog a few miles at the outset and then reward yourself with a sampling of Ulster County’s best in gourmet baking. Test your culinary skills with the amateur cupcake contest, and enjoy the local (non-cupcake) food, arts and crafts of local makers.
Gardiner Cupcake Festival May 19, Noon-5pm Wright’s Farm 699 Route 208 Gardiner, NY
3. Ride the rails
In Ulster County, one of the most anticipated developments of the year is the opening of Rail Explorers: The Catskills. This self-propelled tour through secluded, picturesque stretches of the Catskill Mountains utilizes seated, electric-pedal-driven carts that traverse miles of unused railroad track to provide a unique glimpse of the untouched natural beauty of the Hudson Valley normally only accessed by serious hikers. The opening weekend journey is a winding eight-mile roundtrip from Phoenicia across the historic Ulster & Delaware Railroad, running alongside the Esopus Creek and into the woods of the Catskills. Get your tickets today.
Rail Explorers: The Catskills The River Run May 26-28 70 Lower High St. hoenicia, NY
4. Celebrate diversity
Celebrate the diverse cultural heritage of New York’s first capital, Kingston, with the Sixth Annual Kingston Multicultural Festival. Presented by the Reher Center for Immigrant Culture and History, the annual festival has become a beloved tradition in Ulster County, uniting the community as one in recognition of its shared immigrant roots over a day of music, dance, food, crafts and children’s activities at the Rondout waterfront at T.R. Gallo Park.
Sixth Annual Kingston Multicultural Festival June 3, 1-5pm T.R. Gallo Park, Rondout Waterfront Kingston, NY
5. Kayak the Hudson
Grab the sunscreen and head to Kingston Point Beach. Whether you’re a hardcore kayaker who spends every spare second on the river or a canoer interested in trying something new, the Kingston Kayak Festival is where you’ll want to be. One of the largest Hudson River kayak festivals, the day will feature demos of a variety of kayaks, lessons in control and navigation, and a showcase of the newest gear in the kayak world.
Kingston Kayak Festival June 9, 10am-4pm Kingston Point Beach
6. Canter to the HITS
For fans of the equestrian persuasion, the HITS Saugerties Show Series is the event of the summer. This series of hunter/jumper horse shows concludes its third week of the year with the $25,000 International Hunter Derby on Sat., June 9, happening against the gorgeous backdrop of the Catskill Mountains. The series continues through the summer, featuring National Rated-Hunters, $3 million in prize money, and the new LEGEND VIP Club.
HITS-on-the-Hudson III June 6-10 (International Hunter Derby on Sat., June 9) 454 Washington Avenue Ext. Saugerties, NY
7. Experience New York’s glass legacy
In the developed world, glass is an elemental material we encounter daily—it’s in our lightbulbs, our televisions, our smartphones, our cars, our fiber optic internet connections, nearly every building we step foot in. But some of the brightest minds in the world toiled to harness and shape the glass products we take for granted, and much of that innovation happened in Corning. Now, in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Brooklyn Flint Glass Company’s relocation to Corning, the Corning Museum of Glass launches GlassBarge, a 30’ x 80’ canal barge carrying the museum’s all-electric glassmaking equipment. The floating exhibit will travel all over New York this summer commemorating the history and importance of glassmaking. Don’t miss GlassBarge’s stop in Kingston June 15-17 at the Hudson River Maritime Museum.
GlassBarge Tour June 15-17, All day Hudson River Maritime Museum 50 Rondout Landing Kingston, NY
Mark your calendars and start planning a trip (or two) to Ulster County today. For more can’t-miss spring and summer adventures, see Ulster County’s complete calendar here.