Tuition-free Excelsior Scholarship doesn't mean debt-free

Alaina Hinkley, a recent political science and communications graduate at the State University of New York [SUNY] at Albany, estimates that she has accumulated $21,000 of student loan debt over the past four years of her undergraduate college career. She is not so different from most American college grads. According to the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, the average debt load for graduates of a 4-year public college is $25,921. For both public and private borrowers, US News

Kayaking, Paddleboarding, and Whitewater Rafting in the Hudson Valley

Ready for summer fun? Here’s where to kayak, paddleboard, or plan a whitewater rafting adventure in the region. Ride adrenaline-pumping rapids or languidly float downstream in the Hudson Valley, Catskills, and beyond. Family-owned and operated, this Orange County business offers rafting, canoeing, kayaking, and tubing on the Delaware River between Pennsylvania’s Poconos and New York’s Catskills. Do some fishing, or enjoy birdwatching (look out for bald eagles!), photography, and more. The 5-ho

7 Amusement Parks and Adventure Spots in the Hudson Valley

Round up the family for a summer filled with amusement park rides, adventure courses, and endless fun in the region. Take to the sky for your thrill-seeking this summer by visiting this ropes and zipline park at Catamount Mountain Resort, which straddles the New York-Massachusetts border. With 12 aerial trails and 180 challenge elements it is one of the largest in the Northeast. This popular Hudson Valley tradition is operating open-air cars only this year. The Catskill Flyer ride is an hour l

Your Complete Guide to Summer Events in the Hudson Valley

From art to food to music to theater, these fairs, fests, and fun events will keep you busy all season long. Say “guten tag” to a fun taste of Germany deep in the Catskills. Riedlbauer’s Resort presents this annual festival at their Nussy’s Bier Garten, brimming with classic, Bavarian-style live music and dancing, juicy schnitzel and brats, and tons of beer. Get your craft on! Tucked away in a creative capital of the Valley, Artrider’s two-day festival celebrates artists and handmade fine arts

The Top Hudson Valley Stops on the Empire State Trail

Look no further for the top local spots to bike, run, or walk along the Empire State Trail, plus information to know before you go. The Hudson Valley Greenway Trail — a 210-mile section of the 750-mile Empire State Trail — begins at the Battery in Manhattan and ends at a waterfront park in the city of Albany. Our map begins in the first section of the trail that is entirely in Westchester County. This off-road, paved rail trail is adjacent to several busy parkways, but is relatively quiet and

The Excelsior Promise: A check-in with New York State’s (in)famous free-tuition program —

[Disclosure: This writer received an Excelsior Scholarship for three years.] “Free college” is not synonymous with “free tuition.” Unfortunately, fourth-year SUNY Albany student Alaina Hinkley found that out the hard way. In 2017, the Staten Island native and her family heard about New York State’s Excelsior Scholarship, a program passed in the 2018 Fiscal Year budget promising tuition-free schooling for students with household incomes of up to $100,000 (a figure that rose to $125,000 in 2019)

5 Mother’s Day Gift Ideas to Shop in the Hudson Valley

Celebrate Mom on her big day with one (or more) of these local products and presents that will show her how much you care. Mixing a variety of dried, burgundy and violet flowers, this bouquet measures approximately 14 inches tall and lasts up to three years. Smelling of fire, tobacco leaves, and moss, this 9-ounce soy wax candle is said to smell like the region where it is hand-poured for a burn time of 60 hours. Organic, vegan, and soy free, this mildly exfoliating bar soap is one of many sc

My Zen Den Is a Hub for Beauty and Wellness in Beacon

Celebrity makeup artist Alexandria Gilleo’s newest project combines relaxation and rejuvenating services in the Hudson Valley. After being in the makeup business for more than a decade, Alexandria Gilleo, owner and founder of Bridal by Alexandria, has taken her knowledge of health and beauty and turned to a new venture: My Zen Den, a boutique wellness studio in Beacon. My Zen Den offers services that boast both mental and physical benefits. As the first of its kind in Beacon, Gilleo intends fo