From West Point  north to the tidy village of Cornwall-on-Hudson runs the Storm King Highway (Route 218), a twisting, narrow roadway that hugs the cliffs of the Hudson River gorge, offering stunning views of the landscape below. It’s a particularly fine drive in fall, when the hills are ablaze with maroon, bright red, orange, and yellow.
Hudson Highlands Nature Museum (The Boulevard, off Payson Rd., 845/534-7781, www.hhnaturemuseum.org , noon–5 p.m. Thurs.–Sun., admission $3), founded by a group of teenagers in 1959, is one of the oldest environmental museums in the country. The high schoolers began what was then thought of as a temporary display in a room in the Town Hall, where they exhibited specimens of plants, animals, and rocks.
Today, the museum is considerably larger but still retains a hands-on, down-to-earth feel. In the natural history wing are re-created regional habitats filled with live turtles, reptiles, ferrets, and the like. In an adjacent gallery hang the works of local artists.
The museum also owns the Outdoor Discovery Center on Kenridge Farm (100 Musser Dr.,Cornwall, 845-534-5506, $5 for all visitors over five), once a 174-acre horse farm, now an environmental-education center featuring lectures and hands on nature demonstrations each weekend. Open to the public are the farm’s interpretive nature trails (open dawn–dusk), a historic sheep trail, meadows, wooded areas, and a gallery (noon–4 p.m. Sat.–Sun.).
The luxurious Cromwell Manor Inn (174 Angola Rd., 845/534-7136, www.cromwellmanor.com , $185–410) is an elegant 1820s B&B with 12 guest rooms, some equipped with working fireplaces, Jacuzzis, or steam rooms. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the manor is situated on a seven-acre estate surrounded by mountains and has its own formal gardens and croquet courts.
A Cornwall institution since 1985, Painter’s (266 Hudson St., 845/534-2109, $12) offers an eclectic array of sandwiches and burgers, salads and pasta, along with some Italian, Japanese, and Mexican specialties. The walls are hung with works by local artists. Upstairs are seven B&B guestrooms ($95–135 d).