A Perfect Way to Spend a Day in Wappingers Falls
Walkable and picturesque, there are endless ways to take in the beauty of Wappingers. Here's just one to give you a start.
BY JANE ANDERSON from HVMAG Published: 03/07/2018
Wappingers Falls is more than just a walkable little village with a picturesque falls. Young families are moving in, and new businesses are opening, giving the sleepy little burg a new, exciting vibe. Here are some suggestions on how you can spend a day here:
8:30 a.m. Get your motor running at the Ground Hog on Main St., where you can get sweet with a peanut butter latte, or jolt yourself awake with a cup of Sledgehammer joe. Pair your coffee with one of their omelets (try the “Fun Guy,” with sausage, cheddar, and — you guessed it — mushrooms). Drive a bit north on West Main to Stonebridge Antiques, to browse an eclectic selection of beautiful things. On your way back to the village center, pass County Players at the Falls, the community theater that’s celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. Get ready for Guys and Dolls in May!
9:30 a.m. You can use up some of that breakfast energy by hitting the Greenway Trail, if it’s a nice day. The truly ambitious can tackle the entire 10-plus-mile loop; but today, we’re not feeling ambitious. You can start at the kiosk at Market Street Industrial Park: Surrounded by historical factory buildings, you can amble alongside the Wappinger Creek and catch sight of the beautiful falls. It’s near this industrial area where the original Sweet-Orr blue-jean factory got its start in 1871 — a few years before a more well-known manufacturer who went by the name of Levi. If you feel like it, follow the green-and-white Greenway Trail logos into the woods for a bit, then wander back to view the falls.
10:30 a.m. Those falls aren’t there just for looks (although they are truly impressive): the 20-feet-tall, 245-feet-wide dam powers a real 2.3-megawatt hydroelectric plant run by Windsor Machinery. Although public tours aren’t generally available, the circa-1800s building and its post-industrial location are interesting to view. Walk north on Market Street, and you’ll soon find yourself in the heart of Wappingers Falls.
11:30 a.m. The winding, hilly East Main Street is a good way to work out as well as window shop. Make sure to stop and admire the artwork that the Wappingers Falls Civic Association installed in the buildings that are undergoing renovations after last June’s devastating fire. The buildings themselves are almost fully restored. Check out the circa-1880s Grinnell Library; the Swiss/English-inspired architecture is unique.
12 p.m. Stop in at the Candlelight by the Falls Gift Shop, just off East Main, to admire the candles and home décor that’s lovingly displayed, and maybe pick up something for yourself. In season, stop next door at The Village Creamery (14 Mill St.) for a yummy ice-cream cone. If you’re in the market for a bicycle, visit Wheel and Heel across the street.
1 p.m. Hungry for lunch? Stop at County Fare on Main St. for some comfort food (like great burgers) in a hip, rustic atmosphere (don’t miss the weathered brick walls and vintage Sweet-Orr sign). As you leave, stop at the beautiful Graceland Tattoo studio a few doors down to browse the latest body-art choices.
2 p.m. Hop in the car and visit Mesier Park, not far from the village’s downtown. Loyalist tea merchant Peter Mesier’s home was the site of a “Boston Tea Party”-like revolt in May 1777, when his customers grew angry at his prices and imprisoned Mesier, his family, and his servants in the house. Today, his homestead and surrounding property are a peaceful respite.
3 p.m. Leave some room for a libation at the new Cousins Ale Works. Aaron Browne and Chris Dorn (yes, they’re actually cousins) have been brewing award-winning beer for a while, and are excited to open their tap room, which will host live music and, obviously, lots of fun. Since you’re on Route 9 already, swing by Spins Bowl for an hour or two of bowling, arcade games, and billiards.
4 p.m. On your way back downtown, stop by AJ Café (2557 South Ave; www.ajcafewappingers.com) for their award-winning chicken wings and a warm welcome. If it’s nice out, plan on a game of horseshoes out back, or just chill at their outdoor tiki bar. Check their website often for the fun benefits they hold for various causes.
5 p.m. Return to East Main Street and go retro by perusing the albums at The Vinyl Room, the quintessentially cool place to hang out; if you’re lucky, you may even score that Hendrix record you’ve wanted. If you find yourself getting hungry again, let your bartender know (did we mention they serve alcohol here?) and he can order some pizza from The Wagon Wheel next door — it’ll be served through a hinged door in the wall!
6 p.m. Head to Di’Vine Wine Bar on Market St. and grab a seat overlooking the falls. In the warmer weather, enjoy their outdoor seating. Pick some small plates from their menu, enjoy some wine or other drinks, and stick around for some live music. You’ve had a long but enjoyable day — you deserve it!