1. Where to Stay
Ask for the Magnolia Room with a deck overlooking the Hudson at Botsford Briar (from $145), a restored, five-bedroom Queen Anne Victorian home. Metal sculptures and vibrant quilts created by artists turned B&B owners Shirley Botsford and Charles Fincham are displayed throughout.
Call a month in advance to reserve one of the three guest rooms at Mt. Beacon Bed and Breakfast (from $165), a three-story mansion outfitted with antique four-poster beds, claw-foot tubs, and wood-burning fireplaces. In the morning, walk the surrounding hiking trails ranging from one to eight miles.
Purchase paintings by Hudson Valley landscape artist Roberta Griffin and watercolorist M.E. Whitehill (from $300) at Swann Inn, a restored 1866 home decorated and run by Parsons-trained fashion designer Darlene Swann Caplan (from $157).
2. Where to Eat
Arrive between 6 and 7 p.m. to snag a spot in Homespun Foods’s 35-seat backyard garden during its Friday and Saturday dinner series, through September. The Spanish-inspired small plates highlight ingredients from local farms, like Feather Ridge eggs, Old Coach Farms chèvre cheese, and Bittersweet Farms grass-fed beef.
Roll up your sleeves for the Piggy Bank’s specialty barbecue spare ribs, cooked over hickory wood on a Southern-style smoker out back and served alongside heaping portions of collard greens and coleslaw. The spot is an unofficial gathering spot after art openings at Howland Cultural Center across the street.
Splurge on seafood-laden pasta dishes and sweetly sauced cuts of pork at Union Square Café–trained restaurateur Rifo Murtovic’s three-year-old Café Amarcord, where portions are hefty enough to be shared.
Cool off with a Mexican-style ice pop from Zora Dora Paleteria, where the inventive, evolving flavors range from coconut-curry-peanut to cucumber-mint-chile, all made from fresh fruit, vegetables, and spices.
3. What to Do
View works by graffiti artist Paper Monster and charcoal-woodcut collagist Elbow-Toe during the “Electric Walls” exhibit at Open Space (opening July 24), a collaborative gallery that showcases everything from comic-book illustrations to indie rock bands. Both artists will install pieces on the exterior of the nearby abandoned electric-blanket factory during the Electric Windows project, opening July 31.
Watch Christopher Morris’s contemporary video installation Black Tide, a commentary on the environmental devastation caused by the Gulf oil spill (July 10 to August 8), at Fovea Exhibitions, a gallery that focuses on socially conscious photography.
Dredge up Beacon’s bygone textile industry with the vibrant “Threads” exhibit at Gallery G (15 E. Main St.; 914-671-2178), showcasing local artist Carla Goldberg’s paintings and installations incorporating blue serge fabric, a material once produced in Beacon’s factories that outfitted the Union Army during the Civil War (July 10 to July 31).
Shop for Italian glass vases, handblown jewelry boxes, and curvy, looping candleholders at green design store and raw-food café Superfood Citizen Cafe, opened in April 2010. Then ogle sustainable architectural installations while nibbling small-batch organic truffles at the six-month-old School of Jellyfish, a collective of architects and chocolatiers that hosts D.J.’s, video installations, and performance artists on Saturdays at 8 p.m.
4. Insider’s Tip
Skip the region’s countless fussy antique-furniture stores and drive past the small waterfall at the eastern end of Main Street to find Wickham, a year-old furniture-design studio and a closely guarded source among design professionals like New York’s FXFOWLE Architects. Jessica Wickham’s team salvages black walnut and white oak from area landscaping services, debarks the trees by hand, and dries the wood in a barn for two years, resulting in sinuous, textured slabs that showcase the wood’s natural edge. Pick your own slab from the thousands on hand to create a custom hardwood bench or dining table, then have the finished product shipped to the city (from $800; appointment only; call 917-797-9247).
5. Oddball Day
Start the day with a strong dark-roast coffee and fresh-baked blueberry muffin at Zuzu’s Leaf and Bean (453 Main St.; no phone), then head toward the riverfront to assemble a picnic lunch of Simple Valley’s lamb-mushroom spring rolls ($3) and Pickleicious’s jarringly tart half-sours ($10 per quart) from the Sunday farmers’ market (10 a.m.-4 p.m.). Make your way to the adjacent dock and board the ferry for a half-hour ride to Bannerman Castle, an imposing Scottish-style fortress built by a Brooklyn businessman in 1901 in the middle of the Hudson (Hudson River Adventures; 1:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, May through October). The $30 fare includes a one-and-a-half-hour tour around the decaying, eccentric residence and a meandering walk through the castle’s restored botanical gardens among shaded terraces. After riding back on the ferry, take a dip in River Pool, an inflatable, twenty-foot wading pool floating just off the north shore of Riverfront Park that doubles as a hot-day hangout. Cap off the day with a heaping plate of River Terrace Restaurant’s specialty—herb-crusted king crab cakes and beers—while you watch the sunset from the deck.
Keep on top of art openings and community events at the Beacon Arts Community Association website.
Maykr, a local artist’s blog, features posts about the latest happenings and hangouts.
Hudson Valley Magazine’s dining blog, the Accidental Foodie, reviews new restaurants in Beacon.
Find deals on weekend rentals and house swaps at Craigslist Hudson Valley.