A Day Trip to Beacon, NY

Taking the train out of the city is an adventure in itself. And when the vista is endless water it’s a relaxing one at that. The scenic train route to Beacon, NY combines expansive water views with The Palisades and Storm King Mountain, creating a dramatic backdrop across the river. Beacon is located in the southwest corner of Dutchess County, on the banks of the Hudson River. It is just less than 60 miles from New York City.

Dia:Beacon is one of the town’s main attractions and occupies a former Nabisco (National Biscuit Company) box printing facility built in 1929. The former factory is built of brick, steel, concrete, and glass, and is considered a model of early twentieth century industrial architecture. It is a breathtaking space to view contemporary art. More than 34,000-square-feet of skylights bathe the exceptional galleries in natural light. With tons of space for kids to run around freely!

Each artist’s work is displayed in a dedicated gallery or galleries, many of which were created in collaboration with the artists whose works they hold. Many, because of their scale, could not be easily accommodated by more conventional museums. The collection includes Joseph Beuys, Walter De Maria, Dan Flavin, Donald Judd, Louise Bourgeois, Blinky Palermo, and Cy Twombly.

The outdoor setting of the West Garden is a perfect place for respite and the site of Louise Lawler’s Birdcalls, 1972/1981, which can be intermittently heard.

Dia:Beacon is located at 3 Beekman Street, Beacon, NY 12508  Tel 845 440 0100

Through October, 2011: Thursday-Monday, 11 am-6 pm
November-December, 2011: Thursday-Monday, 11 am-4 pm
Closed Tuesday and Wednesday

$10 general admission; $7 students, seniors; free for Dia members and children under 12

A shuttle from the museum, or a short walk, will drop you on Main Street, the hub of Beacon’s quaint town, with a number of great places to eat. Poppy’s (184 Main Street) is known for locally grown, grass-fed burgers and fries. Homespun Foods (232 Main St), a specialty food store and café, offers healthy alternatives and a spacious outdoor patio. Beacon Creamery  (134 Main Street) delivers 16 flavors of locally made ice cream, with a view of the Hudson River.

Work off full stomachs in the playground by the river before taking a dip in the Beacon River Pool. From the shore of the park, a ramp leads to the pool. The pool bottom, a high strength net made of Dyneema twine, is held in place by a rigid structural perimeter tube. Partially submerged in the water, allowing river water to flow through, it makes for a safe wading area that protects bathers from boaters and currents. The pool is free and open Tuesday through Sunday – Noon to 6pm. It can get busy so be prepared to wait. Maximum capacity is 20 people.

Beacon is an 80-minute train ride on Metro North’s Hudson Line from Grand Central Terminal. Trains leave every hour during off peak hours, and about every 15–25 minutes during rush hour.

Jillian Hillaris