New York: Hudson Valley

What is more refreshing then being outdoors, wheeling along a country road at a comfortable pace, taking in the sights. On a bike and wine tour through Hudson Valley, each day brings a cornucopia of pleasures.

The quiet beauty of the Hudson Valley is a vision of bucolic perfection: manicured horse farms, cheese farms, fragrant orchards and lush vineyards. Also of interest to bikers with epicurean tastes are the restaurants that serve fresh, local produce from the farms you cycle past.

The ethereal light of Hudson Valley inspired 19th century landscape artists.

On the bike and wine tour offered by Great Freedom Adventures, guides are on hand to introduce you to the region’s cornucopia of cultural and historical pleasures. You spend as much time in the shops, museums and wineries as in the saddle.

Hudson is home to 65 antique shops and art galleries. Architectural scholars describe Hudson’s Warren Street as a walk through the centuries, a virtual dictionary of American architectural design.

Country roads with little traffic makes you eager to ride.

Rhinebeck, another stop on the bike tour, is a 18th-century village, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. There is much to appreciate in the architectural details you see on historic homes, period barns and carriage houses. Some historic homes have been converted to comfortable B&Bs, which welcome bikers.

Each day brings another fine experience: vineyard tours and wine tastings; a tour of Old Chatham Sheepherding Co., producer of award-winning artisanal cheese. The halls and rooms of Olana, Frederic Church’s Persian masterpiece of architecture impart the artist’s creative genius. The ethereal light of the landscape inspired Church and other mid-19th century artists, who were collectively known as the Hudson River School of Art.

Built high on a hill near Hudson, Olana is a Moorish masterpiece.

The itinerary includes visits to Roosevelt’s home, Eleanor Roosevelt’s tranquil Val-Kill, and the eye-popping Vanderbilt Mansion, all fine relics of past grandeur.

Other recreation to enjoy are a river cruise and a hike at Poet’s Walk with views of the Hudson River and the Catskill Mountains that inspired Washington Irving’s story of Rip Van Winkle.

Great Freedom Adventures tour company has picked a spectacular destination for its Bike and Wine tour, a 6-day immersion in Hudson Valley’s scenery, history and cuisine.

—Donna Peck. Photography: Great Freedom Adventures.

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