15 Best Things to Do in Cornwall, NY

Cornwall, NY
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Some of the most beautiful scenery in the Empire State is in its smaller, more rural towns.

Cornwall is a perfect example of this.

Tucked away in the Hudson Valley, this small town brims with charm and character.

Cornwall has unlimited possibilities, from its quaint Main Street lined with locally-owned shops and eateries to its abundance of outdoor activities.

This town is the perfect getaway for anyone looking to escape their busy life.

There is something for everyone in this small town with various activities and businesses.

Don't miss out on these best things to do in Cornwall, New York!

Explore Black Rock Forest

Waterfall at Black Rock Forest
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Black Rock Forest is the largest area in the highlands at 3,870 acres with a sustained elevation of over 1,200 feet.

You can head there from the Storm King State Park via the Stillman Trail.

Camping is a popular activity in Black Rock Forest, but you can also go fishing, bird watching, and picnicking.

The breathtaking views, sweeping vistas, and fresh air will make you feel refreshed and invigorated while taking a hike or riding your bike.

Bring your camera when exploring this forest because you'll want to take many pictures of the natural beauty and wildlife you'll find here.

Jupiter's boulder at Black Rock Forest
Derek Robertson / Shutterstock.com

The Black Rock Forest also has a research center for scientists and students.

As one of the few remaining undeveloped areas in the Hudson Highlands, many different plant and animal species live here.

Because of the property's unspoiled nature, the people managing the forest also put up public policies to protect the area's natural resources.

Not only will you have a great time at Black Rock Forest, but you'll also support the conservation of this beautiful place.

Small creek at Black Rock Forest
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Learn about Nature at the Hudson Highlands Nature Museum

There's more to Mother Nature than just hiking and outdoors.

There's also a ton of history and science to learn!

The Hudson Highlands Nature Museum is the perfect place to expand your knowledge about the natural world.

This family-friendly museum has interactive exhibits, educational programs, and a wildlife sanctuary.

The Hudson Highlands Museum is a nonprofit nature center located on Muser Drive.

It focuses on nature education and nature play, teaching people of all ages about the importance of protecting the environment.

This outdoor museum has a collection of animals living in their natural habitats and nature play spaces like Grasshopper Grove for the kids.

They also feature several trails that present various programs that families enjoy.

If you want to learn more about the Hudson Valley's natural history and get closer to nature, the Hudson Highlands Nature Museum is the perfect place.

Explore Nature at the Hudson Highlands Nature Museum Outdoor Discovery Center

The Hudson Highlands Nature Museum has a couple of locations you should try.

One of them is the Hudson Highlands Nature Museum Outdoor Discovery Center, a center for environmental education located on a farm.

Following the West Hudson Trail Map will lead you to the Outdoor Discovery Center.

It features programs, including weekly family nature programs, school field trips, and adult workshops.

These programs involve getting people outside to learn and play in the natural world.

The Discovery Center is also an excellent place for bird watching, as many different species of birds live in the area.

You can also go hiking on the other trails this center offers.

The Hudson Highland Nature Museum Outdoor Discovery Center has all the outdoor activities that will teach you more about nature in a fun way.

Learn about the Wild at the Hudson Highlands Nature Museum Wildlife Education Center

The Hudson Highlands Nature Museum Wildlife Education Center is another excellent place to learn about the natural world and get up close and personal with the native wildlife.

The wildlife center features a variety of native animals, including turtles, snakes, and frogs.

They also have a raptor exhibit, home to several different species of birds of prey.

Likewise, the center hosts special events and a story walk for adults and kids.

Visitors will explore different parts of this environmental museum and learn about animals and the importance of preserving their natural habitat.

The Hudson Highlands Nature Museum Wildlife Education Center features natural and artificial exhibits that will give you a new appreciation for the wild.

Stay in Style at the Cromwell Manor Historic Inn

Exterior of Cromwell Manor Historic Inn
Daniel Case, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you plan to spend more than a day exploring Cornwall, you'll need to find a place to stay while in town.

Ideally, it should be a warm, welcoming place you can call home during your Cornwall vacation.

The Cromwell Manor Historic Inn is a perfect choice, offering both style and comfort.

They have converted this 18th-century brick manor house into a luxurious inn, with all the modern amenities you need for a comfortable stay.

There are nine elegant guest rooms, each with its unique style.

Relax in the common areas, explore the sprawling grounds, or enjoy a light continental breakfast during your stay.

Since you can find it in the heart of town, the Cromwell Manor is just minutes from some of the best attractions and activities in Cornwall.

Cromwell Manor is the perfect place to stay while exploring the town.

Enjoy the Views at Storm King Mountain Loop

If you want to get closer to nature, head to Storm King Mountain.

Located on the west bank of the Hudson River, this 1,340-foot mountain is the perfect spot for an outdoor hiking adventure.

The Storm King Mountain Loop is a long 3.7-mile hike that will take you to the summit.

You'll pass through multiple ledges and have a 360-degree view of the breathtaking Hudson Valley.

Hiking at Storm King Mountain is excellent for families and friends and gives you a great view of the landscape below.

Wear comfortable shoes and prepare supplies for a long yet fun hike!

Other activities at Storm King Mountain include bird watching, biking, and trekking.

Energize Yourself for the Day at Fiddlestix Cafe

Before and after exploring Cornwall's natural and historic attractions, you must find a place with good food to fuel and recharge your body.

Power up with a hearty breakfast or filling lunch at Fiddlestix Cafe.

This local favorite in downtown Cornwall is the ideal location for a quick bite or a leisurely meal.

The menu offers a wide range of items for breakfast, including breakfast sandwiches, pancakes, waffles, omelets, burritos, French toast, and more.

There's also a separate menu for lunch, featuring salads, roasted turkey, grilled chicken, burgers, and more.

One of their best-sellers is 'Strawberry Fields Forever,' a French toast stuffed with strawberry and cheesecake.

You should also try out their coffee, made with locally roasted beans.

If you need a break from all the tourist traps and want to eat some good food, head over to Fiddlestix Cafe.

The food and the homey ambiance of this cafe will give you the boost of energy that you need to continue exploring Cornwall.

Shop for Fresh Produce at Jones Farm

Located just a short mile from downtown Cornwall, Jones Farm is one of the best places to go for fresh local produce.

This family-owned and operated farm produces an array of homegrown vegetables.

Their country store attracts locals and tourists looking to buy fresh local produce, honey, eggs, and gourmet foods.

They also have an in-house bakery called 'Grandma Phoebe's Kitchen,' well-known in the Hudson Valley for its freshly baked goods.

Jones Farm has also opened a cafe, which serves delicious breakfast and lunch options, all made with ingredients found on the farm.

The cafe seating lets you see the farm and Schunemunk Mountain from a distance.

These factors make Jones Farm one of the best places for a relaxed and enjoyable experience.

Explore the Outdoors at Storm King State Park

The view from Storm King State Park
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One of the best things about Cornwall is its proximity to nature.

The Hudson Valley is a beautiful place to explore, with plenty of trails and parks.

Storm King State Park is the area's premier spot for outdoor recreation.

This 1,972-acre park has something for everyone, whether you want to go hiking, biking, fishing, or picnicking.

Rocky cliffs at Storm King State Park
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The Howell Trails is a famous hiking trail loop that takes you through the picturesque woods of Storm King State Park.

This moderate, 2.4-mile loop is perfect for an hour-long hike that will let you embrace nature and get some exercise.

Bring your camera to capture the stunning Hudson River views!

Whatever outdoor activities you plan to do, you'll find it here and more at the Storm King State Park.

Paddle the Hudson River with Mountain Valley Guides

The remarkable Hudson River offers many fun activities.

For example, don't miss out on kayaking in Cornwall.

With Mountain Valley Guides, you don't need to have prior kayaking experience to enjoy the calm waters of the Hudson River.

You can go on a beginner-friendly kayak trip to let you explore the Hudson River at your own pace.

The Hudson River features a gentle current, making it the perfect place to learn how to kayak or enjoy a peaceful paddle.

Experienced guides will show you the ropes and have you paddling along the river in no time.

With a variety of tours and different destinations to choose from, Mountain Valley Guides offers a kayaking experience for everyone.

Enjoy an Art-Inspired Dining Experience at Painter's Tavern

Cornwall has a great selection of different restaurants and diners that will keep your tummy full and satisfied throughout your trip.

However, none are as unique as Painter's Tavern.

Established in 1985, this long-standing restaurant is a local favorite for its food and ambiance.

The restaurant's people somehow realized that excellent food pairs well with good art, precisely what you'll find at Painter's Tavern.

The restaurant has an ever-changing collection of art on the walls, making each visit a different experience.

Some of these art pieces are for sale, so if you find something you like, you can ask if it's available.

Aside from the lovely art, the menu at Painter's Tavern is also noteworthy.

They have a wide selection of American cuisine, focusing on different kinds of seafood and meats.

To complement both the food and art experience, Painter's Tavern also offers great-tasting wine and beer.

Get a Tarot Reading at Brid's Closet

Whether or not you believe in tarot readings, getting one at Brid's Closet is a great experience.

Since 2001, this local store has offered tarot card readings at their metaphysical store.

It's an excellent place for all your spiritual needs, including buying scented candles, books, cards, resins, herbs, pendants, sage sticks, and more.

Besides their spiritual offerings, Brid's Closet also sells tea at their Tea Connection.

You can try a wide selection of natural, hand-processed herbal teas.

If you want to see what life holds in store for you, add Brid's Closet to your list of places to visit in Cornwall.

Other Things to Do Nearby

The natural wonders in Cornwall extend to the rest of the Hudson Valley.

There are many different activities and sights to explore in the area, so try some of them out!

Admire the Art at Storm King Art Center

A sculpture at Storm King Art Center
Yingna Cai / Shutterstock.com

After a long day of hiking and outdoor activities, it's time to relax and admire some art.

The Storm King Art Center is the perfect place to do just that.

This world-renowned art center features indoor and outdoor galleries, most notably the 500-acre outdoor sculpture park with over 115 contemporary sculptures.

People admiring a sculpture at Storm King Art Center
Yingna Cai / Shutterstock.com

You can stroll through the beautiful grounds, admiring the artwork from different angles.

The experience is truly unique, which you won't find anywhere else.

The indoor portion of the center is just as impressive, featuring rotating exhibitions that showcase both local and international art pieces.

She sculpture at Storm King Art Center
Yingna Cai / Shutterstock.com

Whether or not you're an art lover, the Storm King Art Center is a must-see.

The overall experience provides a nice break from the typical tourist attractions.

You can find this center in New Windsor, New York, four minutes from Cornwall.

Frog legs sculpture at Storm King Art Center
Brian Logan Photography / Shutterstock.com

Enjoy Music and Wine at the Palaia Winery and Meadery

If you love wine and live music, you must drop by the Palaia Winery and Meadery during your trip.

Located along Sweet Clover Road in nearby Highland Mills, New York—a short nine-minute drive from downtown Cornwall—they offer a wide variety of wines, meads, and ciders.

What's great about this winery is that they also have live music every weekend to serenade you while you drink.

In addition, they have both indoor and outdoor seating, so you can choose whichever atmosphere you're more comfortable in.

Palaia Winery and Meadery is the perfect place to relax, drink wine, and enjoy live music, surrounded by beautiful scenery.

Go Horseback Riding at Ivy Rock Farms

Have you ever wanted to learn or experience riding a horse?

At Ivy Rock Farms, your dream can come true!

Located in New Windsor, New York—nine minutes from Cornwall—this family-owned and operated farm offers horseback riding lessons and guided trail rides.

They have a wide variety of horses to choose from, so you're sure to find one you're comfortable with.

Ivy Rock Farms is the perfect place to experience the rustic beauty of New York's Hudson Valley while riding a horse.

Final Thoughts

Cornwall is the perfect destination for a weekend getaway or an extended vacation.

With so much to do and see, boredom is never a possibility in this beautiful town.

From exploring the great outdoors and enjoying good food to appreciating art, this town has excellent potential as a premier vacation destination.

Plan your trip today and discover the best things to do in Cornwall, New York!