City folk often wonder where exactly we live. Upstate? Catskills? Hudson Valley? Downstate? Upstate is different from the city in it’s arrangement of towns, hamlets, villages etc. We pay our taxes to the ‘town’ of Marbletown which includes the ‘hamlets’ of Stone Ridge and High Falls, but our zip code is in Kingston (go figure), and our ‘fire district’ is Lomontville! Lomontville might best be described as our neighborhood, since it is no longer a proper town, just a fire house. We feel connected to all these towns. Stone Ridge is really our town and Kingston is our closest city.
Kingston is an interesting place and, in 2016, feels very much like it’s on the upswing. Founded in the 17th century, it is full of New York history as well as colonial history. Kingston was settled, along with Albany and New Amsterdam, by the Dutch in 1651. It persisted as a Dutch settlement for many years, but like most of the area, was taken over by English-speaking colonists during the 17th and 18th centuries. In 1777, Kingston became the capitol of New York State for a short time until the city was torched by British soldiers during the American Revolution. The city thrived for over a hundred years but was negatively impacted in the 20th century by the loss of the railroad, the end of the bluestone trade, the closing of the upstate NY canal system and the departure of IBM in 1987. The current population is about 24,000. The city has it’s issues, including lack of jobs, an aging infrastructure and budget woes, but it is a beautiful town with lots to offer.
The 17th-18th century neighborhood is called Uptown or the Stockade district, and the more 19th century area, which used to be a separate town, is called the Rondout. There are some amazing houses & neighborhoods here. Many of the stone homes are open for tours, and there are walking tours of historic Kingston. You can have a nice meal in the 1679 Hoffman House.
I can’t claim to have discovered any of these houses on my own (linked below and found on design blogs, etc) but I am happy to share the info. On DesignSponge there was Hayes Clement’s home which I learned was designed by Calvert Vaux, who, with Frederick Law Olmstead, designed both Central Park and Prospect Park, among other things. Turns out Calvert Vaux married a woman from Kingston and lived here.
DesignSponge home tour http://www.designsponge.com/2014/10/sneak-peek-hayes-clement.html
Uptown Kingston was first settled at the end of the 17th century by the Dutch and there are lots of beautiful stone houses here. Like these:
This is a pretty rental/event space pictured below. We went to a party in this lovely courtyard but you can also find the entire place for rent on AirBnB. http://www.churchdesartistes.com/
Below is a fun design blog of a young Manhattanite renovating some pretty Kingston houses. http://manhattan-nest.com/
Here’s another home renovation/house rental in Kingston, also featured on DesignSponge: http://www.designsponge.com/2013/09/a-young-couples-charm-filled-hudson-valley-home.html
I can’t resist a plug for my fave restaurant in town: Boitsons!
It’s worth a trip.
Us locals are also incredibly excited about the new National Premier Soccer League team coming to Kingston, the Kingston Stockade! Read all about it here: http://www.kingstonx.com/2015/12/01/soccer-made-in-kingston-semi-pro-stockade-fc-starts-play-at-dietz-next-year
So… I realize that this is just barely scratching the surface of Kingston and doesn’t include restaurants, shops, etc. but I have been thinking about how much potential this little city has with great history, architecture, a beautiful location on the Hudson river and only 2 hours from New York City!!