Seeking higher ground, early settlers established this quaint hamlet surrounded by farmland with not-so-distant views of the Hudson. To this day, locals still take its geography literally, pronouncing their home “high land.” Its destiny was not always assured. When Philip Elting first donated land for a church back in the 1820s and built stores to form the town center, many referred to his venture as “Philip’s Folly.” More than half century later, the railroad transformed this folly into an economic hub, including a large lumber yard that served an expanding population and building boom. Tragically, fire destroyed much of the business district in 1891, but it was rebuilt in brick and stone. A trolley, which linked New Paltz to the Hudson, once ran right through town. This presaged a peak in population which arose from a more elaborate railway system connecting Kingston and Newburgh. With the advent of the automobile and construction of 9W, the commercial center shifted away from the hamlet, nicely preserving much of its turn-of-the-century charms. Today, its industrial heyday is celebrated not only in the architecture, but with a renewed vitality where boutique shops and restaurants thrive amid the beauty and tranquility of the Hudson Valley.