Washington County, NY, has natural beauty, family owned farmland, innovative culinary arts, charming Main Streets and creative artists of various disciplines.
Traverse the abundant wilderness and enjoy farm-based food culture. while taking in its languid, neighborly atmosphere. Want to find my favorite 8 can’t-miss spots in Washington County? Read on!
Off the Beaten Path
Largely rural and off the major roadways, Washington County surprises and delights new visitors! The southern part of the county is nestled northeast of Albany and Troy, east of Saratoga Springs and west of Vermont. Hugging the southern Adirondacks to the west, there are views to the Green Mountains. A day of local exploring is sure to leave you planning a return to this Capital Region pocket of wilderness and culture.
Twins Thai Food
Walk into Twins Thai Food and you’ll be greeted by the aroma of fresh garlic, ginger, lemongrass and coconut. Owned and operated by twin sisters, Siriporn and Sirilak, Twins Thai serves family recipes passed down over generations. The county’s only Thai restaurant is set along Route 29 in Greenwich. Look for a sign featuring two elephants raising their trunks in celebration, and you’ll know you’ve arrived.
Twin Thai began as a roadside food truck located at the juncture of Route 29 and Route 40. After four years of growth, Siriporn and Sirilak moved their business into a building a thousand feet down the road. Their menu boasts an impressive array of fresh curries, nourishing soups and noodle dishes. All meals can be prepared vegetarian for non-meat eaters. Splurge on their mango with sticky rice for dessert. Or stop at The Ice Cream Man, Greenwich’s locally-owned ice cream shop, for its handcrafted flavors to rival Ben & Jerry’s.
The Georgi on the Battenkill
Ask any southern Washington County local to name their favorite destination for a summer picnic or swim session. Chances are high they’ll respond with “the Georgi.” Situated in the hamlet of Shushan along the curving Battenkill River, the Georgi museum and park are the destination for freshwater. Be sure to visit during summer months at peak heat and humidity, when the park’s nine acres of land and shoreline are full of life. Pink-white hydrangea bloom alongside wildflowers and a variety of longstanding tree species. Dip into the Battenkill’s cool water and find minnows swirling near your toes. Lay a blanket underneath a sturdy oak and watch the dragonflies. You might even find the perfect spot to cast your fly fishing line. And, you can launch an inner tube or kayak and travel downstream through forest and farmland.
As summer turns to autumn, the Georgi offers lovely views of newly blazing trees overhanging its waters. It’s a peaceful starting point for local leaf peeping on nearby country roads. Witness the river snow banked in winter months. Don’t miss the first signs of spring emerging as warmth returns. The Georgi is a community gem owned and operated by the village of Salem. The museum and park are funded through membership donations and rental revenue. Hungry? A quick, scenic drive takes you to the nearby Burger Den, a diner style restaurant overlooking Schoolhouse Lake.
Salem Art Works
Salem Art Works is a non profit arts center and artist community on the grounds of a former Washington County dairy farm. They usually offer a selection of blacksmithing, ceramics and glass artistry workshops and displays. Workshops are on hiatus in response to COVID-19. During this time you can still enjoy an afternoon of leisurely exploring through 119 acre Cary Hill Sculpture Park. The park hosts a rotating collection of works created by regional, national and international artists.
Begin your journey by foot at the center’s base and wind along their trail system. If you’re driving through, take a more direct route and follow the upward earthen road to access the park’s summit. There you’ll find “For Euler” by Mark di Suvero, a sizable tangerine lacquered I-beam sculpture meets decorative tractor tire swing.
From this viewpoint you’ll see New York and Vermont farmland and thick forest. Call the SAW office in advance to arrange for bonfire usage. They supply a generous, stone stacked fire pit. Or walk the quiet woodland trail situated behind you. Above all, SAW is an all season destination. Autumnal colors burst in all their glory in fall. During winter months, go sledding, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing on Cary Hill. Pop into Steininger’s in the village of Salem to sample their delectable selection of handcrafted artisanal chocolate.
Argyle Brewing Company
At either of Argyle Brewing Company’s two Washington County taprooms, guests are met with a down-home atmosphere. ABC, as it’s referred to by townspeople, features a variety of craft beers produced from locally sourced hops and barley. You’ll find classics brews, such as India Pale Ale and Oatmeal Stout, and local favorites like Rough and Ready No. 2, an Irish style Red whose title nods to Greenwich’s firehouse of days past. The company’s flagship Greenwich brewery and tasting room sits on the eastern edge of Main Street. An outdoor courtyard festooned with lights invites evening socializing. Pastoral views of the Battenkill River are right around the corner.
In the village of Cambridge, Argyle Brewing Company reclaimed the former train depot as an indoor tasting room, heated beer garden and live performance space. Handsome original pine paneling creates an intimacy suited to their live concerts. The welcoming staff and natural lighting glow with the quiet reprieve of small town life. Both Greenwich and Cambridge locations also feature on-site food trucks to complement one’s imbibing pleasure. Feel like a stroll after your brew? Head down Broad Street to peruse the colorful windows of Battenkill Books.
Nestled within Washington County’s rolling hills is Willard Mountain. This is a treasured winter resource for winter sport novices and experts alike. Dubbed “New York’s coolest little ski area,” locals will nostalgically tell you Willard is where they first learned how to ski. Willard is a homegrown affair. Staff and guests alike are, in large part, seasonal regulars who appreciate the mountain for its unpretentious nature. The concentrated size allows for a relaxed experience. Plus, Willard offers affordable lift tickets, gear rentals and seasons passes.
With sixteen routes of varied difficulty, skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels can find their slope. Additionally, the mountain hosts a four lane tubing park for folks interested in sitting while they slide. Willard’s circular lodge is centered on a fire pit surrounded by lacquered picnic tables. It’s a perfect place to stretch and warm your toes. Treat yourself to a bite from the snack bar or local brew from the Thirst Aid Room. Explore southern Washington County’s vast agricultural landscape on your way home. During the growing season make a stop at Hand Melon Farm, a popular pick-your-own spot and local market.
Hicks Orchard and Slyboro Cider House
Situated deep within Washington County farmland, Hicks is New York state’s oldest u-pick orchard. They boast a generous selection of upstate apple varieties, including Cortland, Honeycrisp and Ruby McIntosh to name a few! Hicks is a beloved stop during all four seasons. The company’s wood cabin farm store is gently lit and punctuated with the aroma of cinnamon sugar. Browse the refrigerators for fresh pressed cider and colorful apples. Through a small window at the far end, you’ll find the orchard’s perennial favorite handmade cider donuts, fresh out of the fryer.
Hicks also crafts award-winning hard cider and apple brandy though their sister company, Slyboro Cider House. The rustic tasting room is next to the farm store. On weekends the orchard offers a series of “reserve your own campfire” packages. Visitors indulge in grilled cheese sandwiches, tomato soup and baked apples warmed directly by the fire’s flames. The Hicks’ also prides themselves on their support of fellow local food entrepreneurs. Pick up Whitehall’s Scribner maple syrup or Granville’s Myer honey. Salem’s Battenkill Valley Creamery dairy products are featured in the fridges. After stocking up at Hicks, visit the Pine Grove Diner in Granville for comfort food served in a family friendly atmosphere.
Slyboro Cider House
Sleeping Beauty Mountain
Northern Washington county serves as a southern gateway to the sprawling Adirondack Park. On the eastern side of Lake George you’ll find one of the area’s most renowned and sublime routes – a seven mile trek up Sleeping Beauty. This geological jewel is a choice destination for solo hikers and bands of adventurous friends. Begin your journey by parking at the easily accessible Hog Town Trailhead. If you and your vehicle are up for more adventurous terrain, forge a bumpy mile and a half down to Darcy Clearing.
Once on foot you’ll traverse a series of switchbacks while walking along granite cliffs and boulders. Marvel at the clear quartz and blue calcite in mossy outcroppings. Key your ears to the trail’s birdcalls. Upon reaching the trail’s summit, feast your eyes on its myriad of illustrious local mountains. To your west is Crane Mountain, look to your east for Pico and Killington. The summit outlook also delivers outstanding views of Lake George itself. Wrap your day in the sun with a fresh draft from Battle Hill Brewing Company, Fort Ann’s resident craft brewery.
Argyle Cheese Farmer Store and Bakery
Argyle Cheese Farmer Store and Bakery operates as part marketplace, part production facility. Stroll through the rows of fully stocked product coolers. Peer into the back room where tall glass windows reveal the company’s employees in action. Argyle Cheese Farmer procures their fresh milk (no artificial hormones used) from Ideal Dairy Farms, a family-owned farm in nearby Hudson Falls.
Argyle Cheese Farmer Store produces a wide selection of aged cheeses. Their cheeses have memorable names like Grace, Glory and Mrs. Robinson. You will also find familiar classics: traditional whole milk yogurt, buttermilk, and herbed cheese curds. Try the yogurt smoothies flavored with ginger pear, raspberry and vanilla chai. Take home one of Argyle Cheese Farmer’s frozen pizza pies, a handcrafted meal with dough made from the company’s whey. For dessert, pick up a homemade cheesecake laced with fresh blueberry or chocolate chips. While visiting Hudson Falls, drop by Vintage Vibe Boutique, a mother-daughter owned vintage clothing store inspiring self-expression through fashion.
Written by: Rio Riera Arbogast
Rio Riera Arbogast is a freelance writer focused on how creative entrepreneurship impacts the Capital Region’s cultural landscape. You can follow them on Instagram and Twitter at @riorawrites.