The tiny town of Gardiner (Ulster County) frequently gets overshadowed by its neighbor, New Paltz. But we consider them a package deal. They’re connected by the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, a picturesque stretch that runs a straight shot from New Paltz right through the center of Gardiner, so it’s not difficult to get from one town to the other (we’ve done it on our bikes; it’s an easy-breezy pretty level 6-mile ride). And while New Paltz can be a bit overrun with fraternity types on the weekends, given the fact that SUNY New Paltz is right in the village, Gardiner is just far enough out of the way that it remains bucolic and quaint without throngs of tourists getting in your way.
Situated close to the banks of the Wallkill River, Gardiner is a cute berg with a few Main Street eateries, including the Village Market and Bakery, Cafe Mio (a locavore restaurant), and Pasquales, a solid pizza joint, all within walking distance of each other. There’s also the Gold Fox, which is still on Main Street in Gardiner but a bit farther down the road. There are even a few historic properties in Gardiner, including the town hall. Additionally, Gardiner has an active public library, and a town park with a skate park, pavilions, places to play ball, and a picnic area. Gardiner is also home to the annual Cupcake Festival. If you missed it this year, just drive up the road a piece to New Paltz and hit Moxie Cupcakes on Route 299 (GMAP) and enjoy some of the best little treats this side of the Hudson River.
The real estate market in Gardiner is a fairly mixed bag. Some more-than-a-mills, a few cute places for around $200,000, lots of land, and some fixer-uppers. Included in your house investment are the gorgeous surroundings: Mohonk Mountain and the Minnewaska Preserve are nearby. It’s also close to the Walkway Over the Hudson, and the Metro North train station is 25 minutes away, making it accessible to NYC without much trouble. And if you’re driving, it’s a quick 90 minutes away, mostly by Thruway.