The geographic part of Dutchess County that borders on Connecticut and spans the towns of Pawling, Dover, Amenia and North East is known as the Harlem Valley. The name came from the New York and Harlem Railroad that was completed in 1852 and ran through this corridor providing a connection with Albany and New York City.
For about 150 years the railroad allowed some industry to boom in this rural part of the county. Dairy products, iron ore and marble from the region were shipped to New York City.
With the birth of the highway system the importance of the railroad for shipping ended. Today the railroad line takes commuters and second home residents to and from New York City’s Grand Central Station and has been given new life as much of the railroad right-of-way has been transformed into an extraordinary bike and walking trail called The Harlem Valley Rail Trail. When completed it will run 46 miles beginning at the railroad station in Wassaic passing through extraordinary landscapes in Amenia and Millerton.
The Harlem Valley is a wonderful escape. You’ll experience endless vistas such as the one from Delavergne Hill as you head down Route 44 into Amenia or the panorama of rolling green fields, horse and dairy farms, views of the Berkshires as you drive down Route 22. You’ll be treated to architectural delights like Historic Clock Tower in Millerton or the tall brick tower formerly part of the Borden milk factory in Wassaic. You’ll visit shops in nostalgic hamlets and villages where there are historic churches and beautiful old homes. And there are treasures to be discovered: Bash Bish Falls near where New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts come together, the Dover Stone Church, Brace Mountain, The Old Drover’s Inn, Webatuck Craft Village, the Great Swamp in Pawling.
The people of the Harlem Valley are working hard to preserve the gem that is theirs.
Did you know?
In 1861 Gail Borden opened the world’s first factory for producing a milk that would not need refrigeration in Wassaic. It is known today as Borden’s Eagle Brand Condensed milk.
Dover Stone Church gets its name from the cathedral-like geologic formation that hides a unique waterfall.
Ore from the Harlem Valley was used to make munitions and weapons in the Revolutionary War.
When Thomas E. Dewey from Pawling ran against Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944, it was the only time in American history that two men from the same county vied for the Presidency.
In 1767 the Quakers who settled Pawling abolished slavery almost 100 years before Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.