An Illustrated Guide to Upstate Picnics By Emily Isabella

For as long as I can remember, picnics have been my favorite way to dine. There is something almost ceremonial about journeying to the perfect spot, laying out a blanket and unveiling the items in your basket. If you pick just the right place, it’s easy to erase the world around you and pretend to step into a Manet painting. The picnic season in upstate NY is fleeting, which makes picnics here even more special. I’ve lived in the Hudson Valley for only two years and have just begun to scratch the surface. On our days off, my husband and I aimlessly explore backroads, following signs for book barns and pulling off the road to scramble down to creeks or document a new wildflower in my sketchbook. These drives have fortuitously led us to some of our favorite unofficial picnic spots that live only in our memory. I hope you are able to wander aimlessly this summer and maybe this list below will help guide you in the right direction.

Emily Isabella is a designer and illustrator based in the Hudson Valley. She has worked with clients such as Hygge&West, Frankie Magazine, Back in the Day Bakery, and most recently illustrated The Picnic, a recipe and inspiration book.

An Illustrated Guide to Upstate Picnics by Emily Isabella.

Saugerties Lighthouse
168 Lighthouse Dr
Saugerties, NY 12477

Built in 1869, the Saugerties Lighthouse makes for the ideal romantic picnic spot. If you’re coming from the South, stop by Kingston Wine Co. for the perfect bottle of rosé and pick up provisions next door at Grounded Café. Once you get there, it’s a short half-mile hike to the lighthouse. There’s no need to carry a picnic blanket as the lighthouse is equipped with charming tables and chairs for you to use. Grab the spot next to the fog bell and watch the sun set over the Hudson River.

An Illustrated Guide to Upstate Picnics by Emily Isabella.

Awosting Falls
5281 Rte 44 55
Kerhonkson, NY 12446

Awosting Falls is a nice year round picnic spot. Stop for breakfast in Rosendale, grab an egg sandwich at the Alternative Baker, and take some treats to go. Head south to Minnewaska State Park and hike down to the waterfall to indulge in a feast by the falls.

An Illustrated Guide to Upstate Picnics by Emily Isabella.

Bubby’s Burrito Stand
194 W Market St
Red Hook NY 12571

Bubby’s Burrito Stand is one of my favorite places for an unassuming midday meal. Enjoy a top notch burrito served out of the sweetest little trailer as you take in the placid beauty of the fields beyond.

An Illustrated Guide to Upstate Picnics by Emily Isabella.

Lake Taghkanic State Park
1528 NY-82
Ancram, NY 12502

Lake Taghkanic State Park is a great spot for a large group or family get together. Stock up on goodies from Talbott & Arding in Hudson and then head south on the Taconic State Parkway to gather at the lake for a day of swimming and sun.

An Illustrated Guide to Upstate Picnics by Emily Isabella.

Pratt Rock
Rt 23
Prattsville, NY 12468

Pratt Rock is a spot with history and a view! Legend has it that in 1843 Zadock Pratt hired a stonecutter to carve his life story into the side of the cliff. Take the scenic route and fill your picnic basket with salads and sandwiches from Table on Ten. Once you get to Pratt Rock, enjoy your picnic on one of the many tables sited along the hillside, or hike up the hill to get a closer look at the carvings and the excellent view of the valley below.


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