The hamlet of Pine Bush straddles two different township and county borders. Its southern half is in the town of Crawford in Orange County. Its southern half is in the town of Shawangunk, in Ulster County. The hamlet lies 14 miles east of Middletown, an hour and a half from NYC, in the shadow of the Shawangunk mountain range.What can one expect when moving to Pine Bush, NY? It’s certainly a rural community, surrounded by farms and stables, wineries and apple orchards. With a population just over 1,780, it qualifies easily as a small upstate New York village. But Pine Bush is big on interesting things to do, big on character, and a great place to live.
The hamlet of Pine Bush was founded in 1740 along with three other early nineteenth century settlements in the town. The hamlet has previously been known as “Shawangunk,” “Crawford,” and “Bloomfield.” It was an early terminus for a short line railroad, the Middletown & Crawford Railroad. This line was bought by the Erie railroad, which served the town until the 1970s. Today, Pine Bush is a thriving community, with an active downtown area offering all the goods and services necessary for convenient living. Its vibe is distinctly rural, but underneath its rural veneer, the area hums with interesting things to do and places to go.
The Pine Bush Central School District serves portions of seven townships located in Ulster, Sullivan, and Orange counties. The system, one of the largest in the area, includes four elementary schools, two middle schools and a high school. Elementary schools include Circleville Elementary School,Pakanasink Elementary School, Pine Bush Elementary School, and E.J. Russell Elementary School. Middle Schools include Circleville Middle School and Crispell Middle School. The high school is Pine Bush High School.
Parks and Recreation
Pine Bush is near the spectacular Shawangunk Mountains and has easy access to numerous state and federal parklands.
Sam’s Point Preserve is perched atop the highest point of the Shawangunk Ridge, south of Mohonk and Minnewaska State Parks. It is home to nearly 40 rare plant and animal species and three rare natural communities. The preserve covers 5,400 acres and shelters one of the best examples of ridgetop dwarf pine barrens in the world.
Mohonk Preserve provides visitors access to over 6,500 acres in the Shawangunk Mountains – including cliffs, forests, fields, ponds, and streams – and to a network of over 100 miles of carriage roads and trails for hiking, running, mountain biking, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing. Also, the internationally renowned “Gunks” cliffs offer over 1,000 technical rock climbing routes.
Minnewaska State Park Preserve is one of the most unique and beautiful parks in New York State, featuring numerous waterfalls, three crystalline sky lakes, loads of cliff-edge views, world-class rock climbing and 35 miles of carriageways and 25 miles of footpaths. Minnewaska is within a 20 minute drive from Pine Bush. The park is situated in Ulster County on a dramatic Shawangunk Mountain ridge that rises more than 2,000 feet above sea level. The terrain is rugged and rocky, blanketed by dense hardwood forest encircling two lakes. Clear streams cut into valleys, incising sheer cliffs and ledges and emerging in waterfalls. Hiking, biking, horseback riding and cross-country skiing are very popular activities. Visitors also enjoy swimming, picnicking, boating and marveling at the scenery.
The beautiful Hudson River Region is home to a host of New York wineries, all of which welcome visitors with wine tastings, tours and entertainment. Baldwin Vineyards is typical, situated on a 35 acre vineyard with a pasture like setting, complete with a stone home built by the Hardenburgh family in 1786. Proprietors, Patricia and Jack Baldwin, planted the first vineyard in 1982 and a second vineyard in 1983. By 1985, both were working full time to create a micro winery which offers a wide array of different styles of wine for the discerning palate. Dry, creamy Chardonnays, a Brut Methode Champenois and Merlot for dry wine lovers. Dessert wine lovers will revel in the Late Harvest Riesling, a Raspberry Wine and an internationally acclaimed Strawberry Wine. A total of 15 different wines await wine lovers.
Other area wineries include:
BashaKill Vineyards – Wurtsboro, NY
Brimstone Hill Vineyard – Pine Bush, NY
Enlightenment Wines – Clintondale, NY
Magnanini Winery – Walkill, NY
Pazdar Winery – Scotchtown, NY
Robibero Family Vineyards – New Paltz, NY
Tuthilltown Spirits – Gardiner, NY
Whitecliff Vineyard – Gardiner, NY
But recreation in Pine Bush isn’t just about walking around in the woods or wandering through a winery. There are two full-sized golf courses nearby, both of which are renown as challenging, well maintained links. The Wallkill Golf Club is a town owned golf course built in 1991 by landscape architect Steve Esposito. This New England-style course was designed through lagoons and around rolling terrain which meanders through heavily wooded areas lined with hemlock, oak and shagbark hickory. It is annually rated by Golf Digest’s “places to play” as a 4 star winner.
Mohonk Golf Course recently celebrated 100 years of continuous use, making it one of the oldest courses in the country. The course design was fashioned after Scotland’s famed St. Andrew’s, set against a majestic 2,200-acre backdrop. The “clubhouse” if you call it that, is a seven story Victorian-style castle, rising above the pristine “Lake In the Sky.”
Pine Bush is also close to a par 57 executive course, located next to the Winding Hills Campgrounds. Designed by Steve Esposito, Winding Hills Golf Club opened in 1997. The course was modeled after Jeff Cornish’s Blue Rock Course on Cape Cod. It is a full 18-holes and is 2,595 yards long from the back tees. The course rating is 70.0 and it has a slope rating of 113.
However, if your idea of recreation is walking around antique shops or taking in an estate auction, Pine Bush has you covered. The Painted Lady at 2998 State Route 52 in Pine Bush, N.Y. offers victorian and country gifts, vintage accessories and select furniture from across the country. The Painted Lady also partners with local antique dealers to offer diverse types of furniture to their clients. Country Heritage Antiques specializes in quality 18th & 19th century furnishings of the Victorian, Renaissance Revival, Rococo Revival, Gothic Revival, Federal, French, Country and Oak periods. Many of their pieces are representitive of cabinetmakers such as R.J. Horner, Thomas Brooks, Alexander Roux, J&J Meeks, Pottier & Stymus, Herter Bros., Leon Marcotte and others. Roberson’s Auctions has been doing business for the last 37 years. Pine Bush Auctions offers online bidding as well as in-person at their auction house. Both are open May through November.
Pine Bush and the surrounding area offers a wide selection of retail shops and consumer services. Many retail shops are privately owned small businesses; funky little shops selling unique, high quality goods.
Pine Bush holds a weekly Farmer’s Market every Saturday from mid-May to mid-October. Not only do they sell farm fresh vegetables and fruits, cheese, eggs, home made breads, sweets and meats, they’re served up with a generous side of homegrown music and eye-catching artwork.
“Mysterious” Pine Bush
Pine Bush attracts many tourists during the season, some of whom come to experience it’s -shall we say- “mysterious” side. It seems that in the late 80’s and early 90′, and some say even to this day, Pine Bush is visited by UFOs on a regular basis. Many local residents reported seeing UFOs, lights in the sky, columns of lights arising from the woods, even aliens walking through a local graveyard. The hamlet acquired quite a reputation as the “center of UFO activity in the Northeast,” which persists to this day. A website has actual photos of the phenomenon, a recorded interview with one resident, and other evidence of paranormal activities. The hamlet celebrates its notariety with a festival and parade every April, and a local diner carries the name “The Cup and Saucer.”
Pine Bush is definitely an interesting place to live, with all the amenities necessary close at hand. And who knows? Your neighbors may be out of this world!