For the most popular resort in the New Paltz  area, head to Mohonk Mountain House , about five miles northwest of downtown, in the Shawangunks . For lodging closer to town, the family-oriented Rocking Horse Ranch (600 Rte. 44/55, 845/691-2927 or 800/647-2624, www.rhranch.com ), a family-owned resort and dude ranch is east of town in Highland. The Rocking Horse sits beside a lake and features indoor and outdoor pools, saunas, tennis courts, activities for kids, nighttime entertainment, and trail rides.
In winter, the ranch offers cross-country skiing, ice-skating, snowshoeing, and sleigh rides. A two-night high-season package costs $425 per adult/double, which includes use of all facilities, instruction, entertainment, day care for kids, breakfast and dinner; each child is an additional $185–195.
In Wallkill, between Walden and New Paltz on Rte. 208, is the 1740 Audrey’s Farmhouse (2188 Brunswick Rd., 845/895-3440, www.audreysfarmhouse.com , $115–195). The B&B offers five comfortable guest rooms with featherbeds, a swimming pool, library, and splendid views of the Shawangunks . Well-behaved dogs are welcome.
With its outdoor café and homemade treats, the Bakery (13A N. Front St., 845/255-8840) is a good spot for breakfast or a simple lunch. Main Street offers a number of dining options. Situated in a small shopping mall is the Main Course (232 Main St., 845/255-2600, $13), serving healthy contemporary American fare, including lots of vegetarian dishes and gourmet salads.
The popular Loft (46 Main St., 845/255-1426, $15), complete with skylights, cooks up innovative American fare ranging from pastas to grilled Gulf shrimp to duck breast topped with an orange sauce. The Gilded Otter (3 Main St., 845/256-1700, $12) is the place to go for live music, local brews, good pub grub, and views of the fabulous Shawangunks.
Serious diners might want to check out the Ristorante Locust Tree (215 Huguenot St., 845/255-7888), housed in a cozy 18th-century stone house with fireplaces and hard-carved woodwork. The candlelit restaurant specializes in upscale European-Italian fare, and its menu changes daily. Jackets are required; entrées are $18–28, while tasting menus are $50–70.