Warwick, N.Y.: A Hudson Valley Town That’s Under the Radar

Whether seen from a deck, a farm stand or a bend in the road, Warwick’s natural setting is quickly appreciated: a broad valley cradled by mountains. And those mountains, the Hudson Highlands, part of the Appalachians, have been a powerful preservative, checking development that might otherwise have made the town look like others in New York City’s orbit.

The city is only 35 miles away as the crow flies, but more than 50 miles as the car drives, because those mountains force roads to take circuitous routes. And Warwick lacks commuter train service, depriving it of a critical element for suburban growth.

With only 32,000 residents, Warwick has also managed to keep its many enclaves distinct over time. The most vibrant is the village of Warwick, where Main Street is awash in inviting Victorian-era storefronts that offer candy stores, an olive-oil shop and jewelry boutiques, plus many restaurants (few of them chains) that seem to bustle all day. The shopping district, one of the few true main streets for miles, including in next-door New Jersey, has become a regional retail hub.

Dozens of buildings in the village, including grand homes on Clinton, Maple and Oakland Avenues with rounded corners and peek-a-boo dormers, are part of a district on the National Register of Historic Places.

The villages, which have slightly higher property taxes, include Greenwood Lake, surrounding a finger of water in a steep valley filled with modest postwar properties. There is also the village of Florida, which abuts the actively farmed Black Dirt Region. Once marshy because of floods from the Wallkill River, the land was drained in the 1880s by Polish immigrants to get at the rich, dark soil beneath.

Uncovering what are known locally as “drowned lands” made islands accessible, including Pine Island, which today is a hamlet amid vast onion fields and home to the Jolly Onion restaurant, serving onion-topped burgers, onion soups and onion rings.




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