Books about the Hudson Valley


When I’m planning a trip, I like to learn as much about that place as possible.  Something that helps give me a sense of a place, beyond blogs, is to read books set there, or history books about it. 

Here are books to inspire you for your trip to Hudson Valley.

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Books about the Hudson Valley

Hidden History of the Mid-Hudson Valley: Stories from the Albany Post Road (2011)

Carney Rhinevault and Tatiana Rhinevault

This is an easy introduction to the history of the Hudson Valley, based on stories of things that happened and people who lived along the Albany Post Road, the main road between New York City and the state capital in Albany in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

There are plenty of fascinating fun facts, events and characters, including safe houses on the Underground Railroad, riots, spies and more.  Worth a read if you are interested in history.


The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle

Washington Irving

Two short stories that are legendary in American literature.  TBH, when I read Sleep Hollow recently, I was underwhelmed and not at all scared.  But it is fun to visit Sleepy Hollow in the southern end of the Hudson Valley and see where it was set.  

Rip Van Winkle, a classic story of a man in the Catskill Mountains who fell asleep for twenty years, was supposedly inspired by the views of the Catskills from Poet’s Walk, so why not read the book, visit Poets’ Walk and then drive up into the Catskills yourself?


A Violet Season: A Novel (2012)

Kathy Leonard Czepiel 

Set on a violet farm in the Hudson Valley in the late 1800’s, this saga about a mother and daughter is a real page turner.  If you like historical fiction, this is a nice way to learn more about the Judson Valley.


Fathermucker: A Novel (2011)

Greg Olear 

A hilarious take on a fatherhood – about a father/ husband who is the primary caregiver while his wife is mostly absent for her work.  Witty, sad, real… You will laugh and cry and love every bit of it. 

I am not a father, but still related to its humor and ‘realness’.  Kind of in the vein of Nick Hornsby, so if you like his books, chances are you will love this one.


Happy Reading

Do you have a favorite Hudson Valley book? Let me know.

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Ian James

About the author

Ian James is a Hudson Valley local. He’s been to 82 countries and all 7 continents, but there is truly no place like home and he loves to spend weekends and staycations continuing to discover all that the Hudson Valley has to offer.

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