The small hamlet of Sugar Loaf in Orange Couty 6 miles northeast of Warwick is, we believe, one of the Hudson Valley’s best kept secrets. Just six miles from one end to the other, Sugar Loaf is packed with shops and galleries where artists and artisans hone their skills and sell to the public. Most of the action takes place on County Road 13, which runs through the center of town.
Sugar Loaf has an interesting history, which you can check on the Sugar Loaf Historical Society’s photo and info-filled website. Established in 1749, it was once a provision stop along Kings Highway, a place for travelers to stock up and rest. That part hasn’t changed much. But instead of being a place to pass through on the way to somewhere else, Sugar Loaf has definitely positioned itself as a destination these days. It wasn’t always so in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, when the community ceased being a popular stop and transformed into a rural farming community with lots of taverns. During the 1960s, Sugar Loaf began to transform into the artsy place we see now. Think smaller Woodstock with a lot less tie-dye.
There are lots of shops in Sugar Loaf. In fact, the Sugar Loaf Chamber of Commerce provides a walking map updated every year on its website. Or just park in one of the municipal lots and walk through the center of town. You’ll find art galleries, clothing shops, herbalists, jewelry makers, leather workers, furniture, soap makers, etc. You can also take an art or jewelry making class, get your tarot cards read, grab a beer and a burger at the Barnsider, or see a show at the Lycian Centre (hard to believe but yes, Bacon Brothers tickets are STILL available for this Saturday).
Check out the Chamber of Commerce website for shops, a walking map, and more information about Sugar Loaf.