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Head to the Highlands

Less than fifty miles north of New York City is a treasure known as the Hudson Highlands. Painters, sculptors, writers, designers, architects, and all manner of creative folk came—and continue to come—to this rocky, sparsely populated region where forested mountains and wildflower-strewn lowlands flank the mighty Hudson River. Although the towns along the sinuous river and inland are small, they and the region as a whole have always been prized for their strategic, environmental, and artistic significance.


At the river’s narrowest, deepest, and swiftest point, British ships during the American Revolutionary War were repelled at West Point by a giant iron chain strung across the water; and painter Thomas Cole’s wild and ruggedly beautiful landscapes inspired an artistic movement that became the Hudson River school of painting. His home/studio in Catskill appears on the bluffs like a magical detail in one of his landscapes. What makes the Hudson Highlands so surprising, too, is how quickly it appears to travelers as they head northward from New York.


Home to looming Bear Mountain and the Storm King Art Center whose undulating fields are populated with monumental sculptures, the Hudson Highlands is home also to John Danzer, founder of Munder-Skiles, the company noted for its hand-built exterior garden furniture. Like painter Thomas Cole, Danzer, too, has been captivated by the region’s rugged beauty; he and his husband, Chip Allemann, made the historic town of Garrison their home—as well as the location of Munder-Skiles’ outdoor showroom. So charmed is Danzer by where he lives, that he displays his classic outdoor furnishings over his terraced, landscaped gardens. “It’s kind of perfect,” says Danzer, “and it’s all right here for us.”


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This story appeared in the Winter 2020 issue of MILIEU