Six Places You Should Check Out In New Paltz
Nyquist-Harcourt Wildlife Sanctuary
By Nicholas Realbuto
Courtesy of Nicholas Realbuto
The hidden trail full of serene fall foliage is stashed away in the quaint neighborhood of Huguenot Street.
Quietly nestled in the quaint neighborhood of Huguenot Street, this hidden gem can almost be overlooked by the unknowing observer. Open all year round and on 56 acres of land, you’ll find the sanctuary by taking the unassuming trail off the side of the road, where you’re led gently away from the racket of humanity, as the chirping of crickets and calls of crows slowly fill the oxygenated air. As you cross the wooden bridge along a peaceful marsh, nature’s own brand of silence sets in and you almost feel bad for talking aloud and disturbing the peace. Crisp, clean air blows smoothly across the still pond, rippled only by the dancing of water flies. The walking trail continues, meandering past a pond, splitting off at times during your journey among the greenery.
Later in the year there’ll be a different kind of stillness, when the ponds and marshes are frozen. The plentiful creatures will seek refuge from the bitter cold, as beautiful blankets of white snow softly cover the winter wonderland, stacking up high on each tiny branch. When the cold slush washes away at last, the sanctuary will detonate with life all around once again. Despite the trail’s relentlessly welcoming nature, it is clear you are a guest to the 140 species of birds in the treetops, such as ducks and wild turkeys, and the families of squirrels running along the trunks. However, should you remain as quiet, calm and respectful as you can, you will find something beautiful. Perhaps, you will find it within yourself.
Inquiring Minds Bookstore
By Erin Carlson
Photo courtesy of Erin Carlson
Local, independent bookstore offers customers both used and new books.
With the introduction of large, corporate bookstores such as Barnes & Noble, it has become difficult to find more locally owned shops not affiliated with a franchise. When cruising through New Paltz, be sure to turn off Main Street and onto Church Street. There, on the more secluded side of town, you’ll find Inquiring Minds Bookstore, which sells both new and used books, so you can find bargains here.. What makes this shop, which has been around since 2003, stand out, is the haphazard organization. It can almost be overwhelming gazing upon the clumsily stacked shelves. But you’ll feel excited to rifle through mounds of volumes, unsure of what treasure you will find. While getting to crack open a brand new book can be a good feeling, nothing can beat the stories that a book has carried from the people it belonged to. Adopt that outlook, and you get the tale that is deliberately written on the pages and a chance to discover someone else’s thought process as they read that book a year or 20 years ago. A ripped page could mean disdain while underlined text could show a pivotal plot point. This bookstore is sure to provide a personal experience for each customer. Not only can customers buy used books, but they can even sell their own back to the store. By doing this, the customer will receive store credit that can then be used for future purchases. When exploring the shop, it is almost impossible to miss the wholesome kiddy corner located in the back. There is a small room furnished with children’s decor where busy parents can keep their child entertained. Inquiring Minds Bookstore has definitely made quite the effort to promote a sense of comfort for everyone.
DryFly Coffee Co.
By Gianna Riso
Photo courtesy of Gianna Riso
DryFly Coffee Co.’s dining area welcomes those that want to study or enjoy coffee and food.
Need a pick-me-up before your morning jog? This local hidden gem will help you with that problem. Located just off of the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail lies a fairly new coffee shop and coffee roaster, as well as bakery. They make some of the best coffee, pastries and midday snacks in New Paltz. And as much as possible, they source locally.Inside, you will find that you are surrounded by a plethora of baked goods, including a baker making fresh bread right in front of you and the business prides itself on their “sustainably and ethically sourced coffee.” With options alternative to coffee like kombucha, tea and a variety of sparkling beverages, there’s a delicious drink for everyone, even coffee haters. There are also a multitude of delicious, hypoallergenic food and beverage options. If you are lactose intolerant, that is no problem with the variety of plant milks that they offer. If you are looking for something gluten-free, there are items specifically marked for your preference on the menu. Note: If you live here, be aware that Dryfly is also locally owned and they’re particularly trying to be inclusive towards those who have particular food preferences as well as intolerances. Dryfly is located in the Zer0 Place building, which was built specifically to be the most sustainable space in town. While visiting the complex, you can shop for groceries at Second Nature Refillery, around the front of the structure. They sell locally and sustainably sourced products, from soaps to grains (bring your own containers) while having an emphasis on zero waste.
Tweefontein Herb Farm
By Justin Donders
Photo courtesy of Justin Donders
One of the main two shoppings rooms in Tweefontein Herb Farm, filled with a variety of crystals, pendants, and wooden artwork.
If you’re driving towards the scenic Shawangunk Mountains just outside of New Paltz you’ll spot Tweefontein Herb Farm. Nestled on a secluded farm just off of County Road 7, it might not catch a wandering eye. As you pull in, you may think you’re on private land until you park and see the sign for it, adding to the cozy feeling that it evokes. The gravel road leading from the parking lot to the shop itself is surrounded by wildflowers and orange leaves hanging overhead (if you’re lucky enough to visit the spot in the fall). When you walk up to the porch, you’ll find potted flowers and spiritual statues welcoming you in. The inside of Tweefontein feels much more comforting than most stores. With minimal lighting and loads of sunlight seeping in through the windows, it’s a very peaceful shopping experience that doesn’t even feel like an errand. The two main rooms are decked out with wooden hands holding all sorts of crystals, from rose quartz to amazonite. There are oils, serums, and infusers to pick from as well. Crystal bracelets and little necklace pendants are also available for anyone looking to expand their jewelry collection. The store feels fully immersed in nature, with beautiful foliage growing outside every window. Inside, handmade wooden butterflies and crystal branches loom over the walls and below the ceilings. If you head straight down the hallway from the front door you’ll find the register staffed with very friendly faces. To the left is a kitchen with a fridge stocked full of the farm’s fresh iced teas and lemonade. I recommend the Rose Mint tea. All of their teas are grown onsite at the farm and have ingredients including freshly squeezed lemon, mint and maple syrup for sweetening. For more information and to shop online, visit their website.
Gunks Gaming Guild Cafe
By Ian Kramer
Photo courtesy of Ian Kramer
A portion of games to choose from located on the back wall on a broad shelf in Gunks Gaming Guilds.
Do you like games and hanging out with your friends? The Gunks Gaming Guild Cafe might be the place for you. This cafe is located in the Village of New Paltz, diagonal from the Inquiring Minds bookstore on 17 Church St., and can fulfill your itch for board games for a great price of $5 during weekdays and $5 during the weekend, with student ID; it costs $10 without one. When you get inside, you’ll notice how calming the atmosphere is, with indie music subtly playing from behind the counter. You will also notice the huge number of games to play. There are over 100 different card and board challenges to pick from, in categories such as strategy, and trivia. Try a new game or pick one of your favorites. My friends and I have been there, and we have always found a new game we have never played before: Two games I bet you don’t know about are called Sushi Party and Tokyo Highway. When you go inside you will notice how cozy it is, with the wall of games to your right. People of all ages flock to the cafe to enjoy themselves. If it’s time for a drink, I like the blackcurrant beer. If you’re an early bird, there is a cappuccino that is a good brew. If it’s time for brunch, you can grab an egg and cheese or avocado toast. If you want to snack, the cafe offers sundaes as well. If you’re interested in having a nice time with your friends, relaxing, and playing games, Gunks Gaming Guild & Cafe might become your new favorite spot.
Isabella’s (Secret) Treasures
By Michael Erkan
Photo courtesy of Michael Erkan
Isabella’s Treasures include the ultimate collector’s utopia of Lego sets from multiple universes and pop culture references.
Located a bit off the bustling Main Street sits a quaint boutique containing much more than initially meets the eye. Isabella’s Treasures, located on North Front Street, is an artisanal gift shop, or in the words of their owners in their Instagram bio, “a whimsical gathering of all things beautiful.” Stepping into this intimate shop, you’ll immediately be greeted by colorful hanging ornaments, a myriad of delicately crafted jewelry, intricately detailed pottery and racks of elegant garments. While you can get gifts like that at many other New Paltz boutiques, what sets Isabella’s Treasures apart is what lies in the back room and upstairs floor. Venturing deeper into the store leads to a drastic change in atmosphere as you walk through a cased opening and stumble upon a video game/comic book/pop culture collector’s dreamland. Walls are lined with tall glass cases filled to the brim with full Lego sets and hundreds of retro figurines from the Marvel, Star Wars, Transformers, Pokémon and Nintendo universes. A table piled with stuffed animals sits dead center in the space, while a separate table nearby is stacked up with old scale model cars and a couple of shelves filled with classic comic books and DVDs. No other stores in New Paltz rival the catalog that Isabella’s Treasures contains. The sheer volume of colorful figurines to get wide-eyed over is overwhelming in the most ideal way. The time and effort put into making all the displays as visually appealing and well-organized as possible is obvious. The mastermind behind this section of the store, Anthony, often strolls around and will always be happy to have a discussion about anything related to what’s sold. Prices accommodate any budget, with items ranging from a few dollars to hundreds of dollars. This is the perfect place to spend as much time as you possibly can leisurely examining every last collectible.