The town of New Paltz is known for being enchanting, wholesome and heartwarming — which is why it is the best place to explore for romantics and close friends. Take a walk down Main Street and fall in love, here are some of my favorite places to take the ones you love on a date!
1) Take a walk on the Rail Trail.
At the edge of Main Street (just past Water Street Market) is the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, a 23.7 mile long path that runs through Gardiner, New Paltz, Rosendale and Ulster to the Kingston city line. During the fall, the Rail Trail is overflowing with glorious autumn colors, but by taking a stroll along this path you’ll find small bridges, a waterfall and great views of the mountains. About a mile walk will take you to a bridge that overlooks rolling fields (which sometimes have cows), a little stream and a breathtaking sight of the mountains. If you go right on the edge of Main Street, you’ll encounter the Nyquist-Harcourt Wildlife Sanctuary. Though I’ve never personally seen too many birds there, there is a lot of nature to explore!
2) The Mudd Puddle cafe at Water St. Market!
This is one of my favorite places to sit and talk. The food is great and the coffee is strong. If the weather is nice, you can sit outside at a table and talk with an unobstructed view of the mountains just beside you. Maybe even take yourself on a date there, sit and read (perhaps The New Paltz Oracle — I heard it’s pretty good); listen to the music that makes you happy, the tunes that remind you of deeply rooted childhood nostalgia, the songs that your dad sang to you before you went to bed, the album that reminds you of when you fell in love; or start writing the short story you’ve been meditating on for the past two years, maybe write a letter to someone you care about that’s far away, as a means to bridge the distance between the two of you. Sometimes the Mudd Puddle is real cute and will have freshly baked cookies for just a dollar or two! The other coffee shops in town (like Commissary, Karma Road and The Village Grind) or dinners (like Bistro or B-side) are also great places to do similar things over food and coffee.
3) Visit Inquiring Minds or Barner Books, the independent bookstores on Church Street.
Even if you’re not too much of a bookworm, these bookstores will fill you up with creativity, inspiration and excitement. If you are a fan of literature like myself, you’ll simply fall in love with these little gems. Show whomever you choose to go with your favorite book, maybe your favorite poem — there’s nothing more intimate. Watch what your significant other or friend picks up and maybe surprise them with it one day. Play a game where you judge a book by its cover and title and make up what you think the story is about. Or maybe pick out a book of poetry and read it together. Otherwise, you could find nice stationary or neat postcards to write to the ones you love. The people that work at these shops are also real knowledgeable about literature and could totally recommend a great book.
4) Go to Tops, shop and perhaps make dinner together!
There’s no feeling more satisfying than making your own food, especially sharing it with someone close to your heart. While you’re there, you could go to the dollar store and see what absurd things they have, like weird games or funky hats.
5) New Paltz is known for having a sick DIY music scene.
The musicians are both local to New Paltz and the surrounding area, and occasionally there are touring bands that come. They are talented, passionate and totally having fun. The vibes are great and the people are better. Go to a house show, support local artists and listen to live music! Follow @diynewpaltz on Instagram for more info.
6) Visit the Dorsky Museum on the New Paltz campus and see what they’re showing in the galleries!
Usually the pieces are thought provoking and fun to look at. Currently the museum is showing a relatively new exhibit, Totally Dedicated: Leonard Contino 1940-2016. Contino has a really interesting story and truly invested himself in his art. See what it is all about, the exhibit is open until April 5.
7) Check out Mexican Kitchen!
Every Monday Mexican Kitchen has $5 veggie burritos and other meatless-Monday related foods for not too much money! Speaking from a lot of experience, these burritos are flawless and Mexican Kitchen is adorable — characteristics of a perfect date for college students on a budget!
8) Go see a movie at the New Paltz Cinemas!
Their slogan is literally “great movies, lower prices.” What’s not to love? Though the theater is a little dingy, it is quaint. I recommend going to see “Little Women” while it is still out!
9) There are two Antique shops at Water St. Market.
There you can find old postcards, some records, and a plethora of miscellaneous objects that you didn’t know you needed. It’s fun to browse around and find weird and cute things for not a lot of money.
10) Even if you suck at chess, it’s still fun to lose.
Usually there are chess boards set up on tables outside on Water St., if it’s nice out and you know the game, go ahead and play.