If location speaks loudly, the village of Chester in Orange County certainly has a lot to say. Though a small community (a low density population of 7,000 in 2010), it is in the center of some of Orange County most interesting features. For commuters to New York City, Interstate 87 is just 8 miles away on Hwy. 17. For recreation, Chester is close to both Bear Mountain and Harriman State Parks, with their wealth of outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, cross country skiing and nature trails.
Closer still is Goosepond Mountain State Park, not a mile from town. Sterling Forest, with its great trails and ski area is just south, as is Greenwood Lake, a superb facility for water activities of all sorts. Anglers and hunters won’t have to go far to test their luck. The region is blanketed in fields, forests, lakes and streams.
Culture and Activities
The area around Chester abounds with cultural interests as well. Minutes to the north is Storm King Mountain Art Center, recognized internationally for its large majestic outdoor sculptures created by some of the most respected sculptors of the 20th century. To the east is the States Military Academy, at West Point. Its hallowed halls are steeped in history: Benedict Arnold tried to sell it to the British during the Revolutionary War, Custer graduated from it last in his class, MacArthur graduated first in his.The academy welcomes visitors to tour the campus and attend scheduled events. It is great fun attending an Army football game in the fall, complete with tailgating, a pre-game parade and cadets in uniform in the stands. In Chester itself is its historic 1915 Arts &Crafts-style Railroad Station, now a museum. In the nearby county seat of Goshen is the Harness Racing Museum and Horse Track, at one time the nation’s premier venue for harness racing. Visiting the arts and craft artisans of Sugar Loaf, just a bit south and west of Chester makes for a delightful day out. The Sugar Loaf Art and Craft Village is a great activity for a casual weekend day, strolling through this funky, fun collection of galleries, shops and artisans.
Wine Country: Wine Tasting, Apple Picking and Farmers Markets
Chester also happens to be located near the heart of Orange County’s wine district. The region has five privately-owned wineries within an eight mile radius of the village. All are bustling centers of wine tastings, tours, musical events and activities for young and old alike. There are also several farms in the area offering apple picking, cider making and good family fun. Just outside Chester is the Rock Ridge Alpaca Farm, where visitors can get to know these gentle animals from South America. Buy home-grown alpaca yarns,or finished garments from the farm stand’s shop.