Rockland County, NY: History, Nature, Culture & Cuisine
What’s in Store When You Visit This Lower Hudson Valley Destination
Located just 30 miles north of New York City, Rockland County offers a wealth of attractions and activities easily reached by car, train, or boat. With a mix of bustling towns, walkable villages, outdoor adventure, creative culture, and culinary-centric nightlife, there's always something to do. Let’s just say, a visit here will check off many of the boxes for a weekend getaway in the Hudson Valley.
√ Historical Character & Charm
Rockland was once home to members of the Delaware and Lenape Nations, and a key position for General George Washington’s Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. Explore its landmarks and museums to understand how early Americans lived in the Hudson Valley. The Stony Point Battlefield State Historic Site, where General Anthony Wayne defeated the British in a surprise attack on July 16, 1779, offers free activities and demonstrations on weekends between April and October.
√ Cultural Events
See Broadway-quality talent at the Elmwood Playhouse, Helen Hayes Theater, and Penguin Repertory Theater, or head to Levity Live to see some of the country's hottest stand-up comedians. The Edward Hopper House gives a peek into the artist’s Rockland upbringing and features works inspired by his legacy. Galleries and event halls also host exciting exhibitions and performances. Definitely make plans to see the Rockland Symphony Orchestra in concert.
√ Family Fun
Have the kids in tow? Visitors of every age will enjoy going to a local farm, or the Bear Mountain Zoo and Trailside Museum. A minor league baseball game featuring the Rockland Boulders at Palisades Credit Union Park in Pomona is another family-friendly hit. From Oktoberfest to Bastille Day, there are always fairs and festivals popping up throughout the county.
Palisades Center in West Nyack is one of the largest shopping malls in the United States, with the added bonus of entertainment such as 21-theater cinema, carousel, Ferris wheel, bowling alley, and indoor ice rink. The 85-foot indoor ropes course in the center of the mall is the world’s tallest, with 75 obstacles. For a unique retail, dining, and entertainment experience, head to the open-air Shops at Nanuet. Rockland's main streets in towns such as Piermont, Haverstraw, and Nyack are full of boutiques, handmade craft shops, and antique stores.
√ Award-Winning Food & Drink
Local cuisine is sure to satisfy when you get hungry. From casual pubs to award-winning restaurants, there's an establishment for every occasion. Rockland is even home to the oldest tavern in New York and the third oldest restaurant in America, the ’76 House. Nestled on Main Street in Tappan, it was Washington’s headquarters and a patriot meeting place during the Revolutionary War. Independent breweries like Ambulance Brew House in Nanuet, Seven Lakes Station in Sloatsburg, and District 96 in New City also serve top-notch eats. Wine enthusiasts should head to Torne Valley Vineyards in Hillburn, which produces Riesling, Seyval Blanc, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Franc varietals.
√ Outdoor Adventure
Of course, natural beauty is one of Rockland's most alluring attractions. Thanks to its federal designation as a Preserve America Community and Rockland's Open Space Preservation Program, the county has over 2,500 acres of parkland dotted with sparkling lakes, wildlife, and spectacular views. With opportunities for hiking, swimming, boating, ice skating, and cross-country skiing, Bear Mountain State Park is a local favorite. Other recreational activities in the county include golf, tennis, birdwatching, and horseback riding.
Did You Know? Fun Facts about Rockland County
Legend has it that General George Washington lost his watch on Torne Mountain, and that you can hear it ticking in a rock crevice near the summit.
British spy Major John Andre was imprisoned at The ’76 House in Tappan in 1780 prior to his execution.
When it opened in 1924, Bear Mountain Bridge was the world’s longest suspension bridge.
Snedens Landing, a.k.a “Hollywood on the Hudson,” was home to Vivien Leigh, Laurence Olivier, John Steinbeck, Orson Welles, and Uma Thurman.
The “ghost town” of Doodletown was abandoned in the early 1960s, but you can still hike among the crumbling stone walls.
Edward Hopper’s paintings have been displayed in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Art Institute in Chicago, Museum Ludwig in Cologne, the Tate Modern in London, the Grand Palais in Paris, and the White House.
More than half our residents have Irish heritage. The annual Rockland County St. Patrick’s Day parade through Pearl River draws over 100,000 spectators.