Located at the widest point of the Hudson River, the town of Haverstraw is readying for its spotlight. It has all the features of a Hudson Valley destination in the making: rich history, gorgeous architecture, hip new industries, and artists seeking an under-the-radar, semi-urban haven. But unlike its more well-known counterparts like Kingston and Beacon, Haverstraw has a palpable distinguishing element: its diversity. As of 2015, Haverstraw had the highest concentration of Hispanics and Latinos – at 67% – drawn in recent decades by affordable housing initiatives. Not only has this shifted the political profile of Haverstraw, it has created a fascinating landscape of retail and culinary destinations that are refreshingly low key.
The town is accessible via public transit: Metro North Railroad to Ossining, then a ferry operated by NY Waterway (only on weekdays) from Ossining to Haverstraw. On weekends, take a quick Uber to and from Nanuet, a stop on NJ Transit. You can also get to Haverstraw by bus from Port Authority on Coach USA/Rockland Coaches.
Now, without further ado, here are ten must-visit places in Haverstraw.
1. Where to Stay: Casa Hudson
Casa Hudson is a beautiful bed and breakfast in an impeccably renovated Italianate villa overlooking the Hudson River along First Street, which is dotted by Victorian and Italianate mansions of a wide range of architectural styles. Owned by couple Andrea Caccuro, a former fashion executive, and artist Nelson Diaz, the Casa Hudson was renovated by Caccuro and Diaz by hand. The interiors are modern, with large-scale paintings by Diaz, but the restoration has paid particular attention to preserving the original details, and in many cases, re-creating aspects through clever tromp l’œil. Pay particular attention to the parquet wooden floors, the facade and the columns – even the driveway – rendered to look like other materials through clever painting. In 2015, Casa Hudson was awarded the Rockland Historical Society Preservation Merit Award for Adaptive Use.
There are three rooms in the Casa Hudson, all with private baths, named after former owners like S.C. Blauvelt, the original owner from the 1890s, H.E.P (the Haverstraw Ecumenical Project), a pre-school that occupied the house from 1970-2000, and the Roma Room, short for the Knights of Columbus which used the house as a headquarters from 1930-1970.
As Caccuro and Diaz aptly describe, the Casa Hudson is more akin to a European-style penzione – as hosts, they engage only as much as their guests would like. The Casa Hudson also hosts a regular Chef’s Table Dinner, outside next to the vegetable and herb garden, or in the villa weather depending, concocted by different local chefs, and a tomato canning workshop.