Of eight counties named Orange in the United States, Orange County, NY, was the first. And, that is only one claim to fame for this county on the Hudson River. It is home to America’s oldest continuously operating winery, America’s oldest continuously garrisoned Army installation, the oldest active harness racing track for trotters in North America, and Washington slept here.
After Benedict Arnold’s act of treason there was no way to be sure that the security of West Point had not been breached so Washington set up his headquarters in nearby Newburgh. He spent more time at his Newburgh headquarters than anywhere else during the Revolutionary War and it is where he created and awarded the original purple heart badge. Not far away in New Windsor is the new, interactive National Purple Heart Hall of Honor remembering those who received the award throughout America’s wars.
Shopping and more shopping
The village of Sugar Loaf has a rich and colorful history. It once served as the sacred burial ground for the Minisink Indians but the Wawayanda Patent and the building of King’s Highway in the late 1730’s led to the founding of Sugar Loaf by colonial settlers. Sugar Loaf became known as a craft and provision center for farmers and as a horse trading area. By 1830 the villagers of Sugar Loaf prospered providing the nearby farmers with supplies and services, boasting a wagon maker, cabinet maker, carpet factory, cheese factory, tannery, two coopers, a blacksmith, general store, a grist and sawmill. In the late 1960’s, America experienced a craft revival. With a history of over two centuries as a center for handmade goods, Sugar Loaf symbolized this craft renaissance. New artisans moved in and the hamlet’s population doubled.
Now, in the 21st century many of these creative people still live and work at their crafts with the same commitment and skill as their predecessors. Wander the boardwalk, stroll down the alley, smell the aroma of scented candles being made, and chat with the artists. Most of the working studios are housed in quaint homes over 100 years old and are open to the public.
If a designer label not the personal signature of the designer is of more interest then head to Woodbury Common Premium Outlets in Central Valley where they claim to have the “world’s largest collection of luxury designer and name brand outlets.” Looking for something old? No problem. In every quaint village, around every turn is a shop to thrill the antique hunter.