This is our tenth entry in a series of articles about the Most-Instagrammed Places in the Hudson Valley and Catskills. We do these articles because we’re curious about what inspires and excites people in different local communities; looking at social media data is one way of reverse-engineering that.
Why are we covering Beacon? We’ve been spending time there working with Laura Leigh and Samantha Abby, the owners of the soon-to-open Studio @ Beacon, a new fitness studio on Main Street that incorporates boxing and cycling for people looking for a challenging workout, as well as a smoothie bar for anyone looking to drink something delicious. Laura and Sam came to us in need of a brand identity and a website for The Studio, and it’s been a pleasure learning about them and their new business.
They’re opening in January, just in time for you to make good on those New Year’s Resolutions! Check out their website here and sign up to be notified about their first classes!
For this post, we pulled down public Instagram data about Laura & Sam’s homebase of Beacon; a city of 15,000 people that’s about 60 miles north of New York City on the Hudson River. We counted up how many times different Beacon locations were geo-tagged in Instagram photos; photos by the businesses or owners themselves were not counted. The result is the following list:
Dia is the most-Instagrammed location not only in Beacon, but in the entire Hudson Valley. We wrote about it here, but basically, a global arts empire called Dia bought and rehabbed the abandoned Nabisco factory in Beacon in 1999 with the goal of creating a “thriving tourist destination.” In addition to being home to jaw-dropping art installations, the site is home to programs like public talks, interactive workshops for children and families, and live music.
2. Mount Beacon
Mount Beacon’s Instagram location goes by many names: Mount Beacon Fire Tower, Beacon Mountan, and Mount Beacon Hiking Trail. If you see rusted wreckage on the trail, it’s from a plane crash that killed six Navy men during World War II, including a highly-decorated Silver Star awardee named Dixie Kiefer.
3. Long Dock Park
Scenic Hudson’s Long Dock Park made it to #39 on our list of the Hudson Valley’s Most-Instagrammed Places. What’s new? This year, $2M was invested by Scenic Hudson to transform a 4-acre “former industrial parcel adjacent to the park… [with amenities] including facilities for food trucks; a shaded plaza for informal dining; shade pavilions, lawns and a native-plant meadow; and a boardwalk and river overlook deck.”
4. The Roundhouse
Set in an upscaled textile factory a stone’s throw from Beacon Falls, the Roundhouse was #27 on our Hudson Valley list. Between their wedding and event venue, restaurant/brunch zone, and the falls, there’s a lot to Gram here.
5. Hudson Valley Brewery
Opened just in February, HVB is already one of the most-Instagrammed places in Beacon, and one of the most-Instagrammed breweries in the entire state. Set in a formerly abandoned warehouse with dozens of beer barrels stacked to the ceiling, the space is amazing, but it’s the beer, incorporating lots of strange, sour and fruity ingredients, that is the real draw. HVB has already been mentioned as part of Imbibe Magazine’s Best Under-the-Radar Beer Destinations by Imbibe Magazine and earned a feature story in Draft Magazine.
6. Beacon (Metro-North station)
60 miles north of Grand Central Terminal, the Beacon Metro-North station can get you to New York City in a little over an hour and is also walking distance to the Dia museum. A lot of the pictures are from passengers waiting for their train and looking across the Hudson River. On tap for 2020 is the Beacon Line Rail Trail, which will link the Metro North Station to the state-wide Empire State Rail Trail via the “Beacon Line,” which extends out to Brewster and Hopewell Junction.
Quinn’s was a beloved luncheonette that served Beacon for 30 years. In 2013, it was bought by Tom & Yukie Schmitz, who are also part of the group that opened Dogwood (the next place on this list); while they were careful to preserve the aesthetic of the exterior (down to the sign that’s missing the letter “n”), the interior was transformed into a Japanese restaurant/dive bar that bills itself as the “coolest place to see music in the Hudson Valley.” They’re host a wide variety of ongoing events; one is Club/Draw, a beloved community drawing night that is usually held there on the first Tuesday of the month, with the proceedings broadcast over Beacon’s internet radio station, The Ground Radio.
Dogwood’s location has been a bar in Beacon since the 1930s; in 2012, the Schmitzes and and George Mansfield bought it and fixed it up into its current form; a cozy neighborhood bar that anchors the eastern end of Main Street along with the Roundhouse. The menu is heavy on burgers and craft cocktails, and there’s lots of live music and fun events like “Prom Night.”
9. Stock Up
A little off the beaten path on Teller Avenue, Stock Up made a major splash when they opened in 2016; according to Google data, there was an explosion in people searching for them by name.
A Little Beacon Blog summed it up best last year: “Brought to you by the owners of Marbled Meat Shop in Cold Spring, Stock Up is a casual eating experience with a very deeply healthy and meat-intense menu that has plenty of vegetarian, or green-eating options.”
They support local artisans by not only selling their products in-store, but also by hosting events like release parties with music and food, encouraging local patrons to come out and participate.
10. Dennings Point Distillery
The distillery is the creation of a husband and wife team that combines decades of experience in distilling rocket fuel components (seriously) and marketing. In 2014, the distillery opened a stone’s throw from Main Street in Beacon, and tastings and/or tours on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Something new and interesting is their partnership with the Hudson Valley Farm Hub; they’re joining Hudson Valley Malt and From the Ground Distillery in a trial that is exploring the viability of small-grains for local agriculture.
11 & 12. Memorial Park & University Settlement Camp
City of Beacon Parks and Recreation Department, take a bow! Both of these parks are managed by the city. Memorial Park is located in the middle of the city and hosts lots of events (like I Am Beacon’s “I Run Beacon 5k”), while University Settlement Park is also home to a theater space, wedding venue and outdoor community swimming pool. The Settlement Camp has its name because from 1910 to 2007, it served as a 100-acre summer youth camp for the University Settlement organization, a group that provides services and advocacy for immigrant and low-income families. In 2008, the property was sold to the state.
13. Bank Square Coffeehouse
At the bottom of Main Street, Bank Square Coffeehouse is an indoor/outdoor cafe where coffee is the main draw, but they also dabble in some beer and bites. Couches and free-wifi make this the perfect place to procrastinate while you’re writing a screenplay.
14. Towne Crier Cafe
Opened in 2013 in Beacon, the Town Crier is the successor to the intimate Towne Crier Cafe that was in Pawling since the early 1990s (that’s now Daryl’s House Club). Artists of all genres perform nearly every night of the week at the Town Crier, there’s also an open mic every Wednesday night, and Hudson Valley One’s John Burdick wrote that the restaurant is worth eating at even if there’s no music happening.
15. Beacon High School
Kids aren’t really supposed to be ‘Gramming at school, so most of these photos are from Beacon High School’s athletics and theater programs.
16. Beacon Farmers’ Market
Besides being a home for local vendors and artisans to showcase and sell their homemade, craft good, the Beacon Farmer’s Market gives back to the community in other ways. They hosted Global to Local, a group of students and their mentors from Newburgh’s Excelsior School. Proceeds from their raffle ticket sales and donations helped to fund their trip to Ecuador. They also actively support helpful legislation like CEP, the school meals Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) which provides free meals to more than 38 million children.