About 15 miles north of Kingston, where Route 212 meets Route 9W, is Saugerties, filled with turn-of-the-century brick buildings. Saugerties was once a river port known for its packet-trade and racing steamers. Most famous among them was the Mary Powell, the fastest ship on the Hudson between 1861 and 1885.
Between Saugerties and Woodstock is one of the most unusual spots in Ulster County, an environmental sculpture known as Opus 40 (7480 Fite Rd., 845/246-3400, www.opus40.org, noon–5 p.m. Fri.–Sun. June–Oct.). Created by artist Harvey Fite over a period of 37 years, Opus 40 covers more than six acres of an abandoned bluestone quarry. Its pools and fountains, sculptures and walkways, all center on a towering blue-gray monolith reminiscent of the mysterious Stonehenge. Behind rises the dark crest of Overlook Mountain.
Fite, a professor at Bard College, created his monumental work using traditional quarrier’s tools. Adjacent to the site is the Quarryman’s Museum, itself a work of art. The museum is filled with hammers and screws, chains and wagon wheels, with everything arranged according to size and shape. A seven-minute video on the site is featured.
To reach Opus 40 from Saugerties, take Route 212 west to Sickles Road, turn left, and watch very carefully for Fite Road on the right.
Downtown Saugerties is full of antique shops, most of which are located along Main and Partition Streets. Some are serious affairs, others sell what looks suspiciously like junk. One of the largest emporiums is the Saugerties Antique Center & Annex (220 Main St., 845/246-8234), which houses about 25 dealers. A guide to the town’s antique stores can be picked up in many shops.
Camping and Accommodations
The largest campground in Saugerties is the Rip Van Winkle (14 Robinson St., off Blue Mountain Rd., 845/246-8334), offering 170 sites. The Saugerties-Woodstock KOA (7227 Rte. 212, 845/246-4089) offers 100 sites and camping cabins.
One of the most unusual B&Bs in upstate New York is the Saugerties Lighthouse B&B (168 Lighthouse Dr., 845/247-0656, $135–160 d), where adventurous guests can watch boats pass by on the Hudson from their second-story basic rooms. From the parking lot, it’s a 10-minute walk to the lighthouse, though this can be a wet experience.
Receiving raves from the locals is the New World Home Cooking Co. (1411 Rte. 212, 845/246-0900, $15), a “funky world cuisine cafe” offering a variety of dishes with Asian, Creole, Cajun, and Caribbean influences, including a broad selection of vegetarian options. Wild art-filled walls and live music reigns, from Celtic to Zydeco, and provides a fitting backdrop to what comes out of the wall-less kitchen. The inventive menu revolves around the best of seasonal local organic and sustainable delicacies and former punk rocker turned slow food chef, Ric Orlando, makes sure the vibe is never dull.
Saugerties is fortunate to have not one, but two outstanding restaurants. The chic yet casual Cafe Tamayo (89 Partition St., 845/246-9371, $18) is housed in an attractive 1864 brick building complete with ceiling fans, an old-style bar, and a patio. On the menu is contemporary American fare.
© Avalon Travel and Sascha Zuger from Moon New York State, 5th Edition