Beacon, New York

A local bookstore, Binnacle Books, sells new and used titles at their shop on Main Street in Beacon, NY.

Beacon, New York is a small town on the Hudson River that features a modern art museum, a walking-friendly Main Street and waterfront views.

It’s an easy trip from campus by the Metro-North train — buy tickets at Grand Central Station for the special package that includes a round-trip ticket to Beacon and admission to the local contemporary art museum, Dia:Beacon. The best ticket prices are during off-peak hours. Flash your NYU identification card for a student discount, bringing the cost of the trip to $35.50.

Sit on the west-facing side of the train to get the best views of the Hudson River during the one-and-a-half-hour ride. The tree-lined river and craggy peaks are a refreshing sight for the city-weary.

From vintage stores like Blackbird Attic to galleries, such as Catalyst and Hudson Beach Glass, Main Street is great for window shopping or indulging in sweet treats. Students visiting Beacon after dark will be hard pressed to find local shops open late, unless they are hunting for dinner or drinks.

They’ll be in luck to find Beacon’s dining options include local farm fare like Kitchen Sink to Japanese BYOB Isamu. The over-21 crowd can pick up a bottle of wine from the huge selection at Artisan Wine Shop.

Meyer’s Olde Dutch Food & Such is perfect for the burger lover — meat and vegetarian alike. The menu features regular burgers, a crispy chicken sandwich and a mushroom-pecan patty for those with plant-based diets. Orders of fries come to share.

An evening stroll to the quieter end of Main Street brings views of Mt. Beacon and some of the cheaper Air BnB options. The cost of local accommodations ($49 to $100 per night) does make Beacon a better day trip. But settle in early for a night of peaceful sleep. The only traffic sound is the distant freight train across the river.

The next morning, grab a coffee and pastry from Trax Espresso before heading to the museum or make time for a pour over coffee at Big Mouth Coffee Roasters and a doughnut from Glazed Over Donuts. Students looking for a big breakfast will find everything from pancakes and waffles to egg specials just a few minutes away at Beacon Bread Company.

Art lovers and those in for a good wander can pass hours in the contemporary art museum. Indoor and outdoor exhibits include sculptures, sound installations and interactive pieces like a giant communal mattress set out for guests to watch television — no shoes allowed. The old Nabisco loft offers infinite Instagram-worthy angles and free gallery tours.

Browse the bookstore for some creative inspiration and take in the natural sunlight through the museum’s west-facing windows. The local café inside the museum, Homespun Foods, entices anyone with an appetite for soups, salads or sandwiches.

Pack your own snack from Beacon Natural Market and eat at one of the outdoor picnic tables among the grass. Art not your thing? Take a scenic walk or grab a kayak by the river down at Long Dock Park.

An uphill walk from Dia:Beacon toward downtown brings visitors through the Beacon historic district. Thirty-two historic mansions dot the neighborhood, some dating back to the 18th century. Take note, the hills will tire out your legs before heading to the train station.

You can also take a shuttle bus from the museum to Main Street or to the Metro-North station. Catch the train toward Manhattan with memories in your pocket and a croissant in your backpack.

Read more from Washington Square News’ “Talk of the Towns.” Email Claire Tighe at [email protected] 

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