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“Oldest Street in the US with It's Original Houses”

Historic Huguenot Street
Ranked #2 of 27 things to do in New Paltz
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: This 10-acre National Historic Landmark District includes a Visitor Center, seven historic stone houses, a reconstructed 1717 Huguenot church, exhibit and program spaces, archaeological sites, and an 18th-century burial ground that dates to the very first settlers. Huguenot Street also maintains an extensive archive that preserves early local history collections and family papers, along with a research library. See Huguenot Street come alive with fresh interpretations of the historic houses, tours across the settlement, and a diverse range of special programs year-round.
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities
Reviewed June 12, 2014

There are very few places in the US where you can learn about colonial era settlements that are not complete recreations. Huguenot Street is one. Homes built before our nation's first birthday. Lovely place just to stroll and take photos even when the houses are not open for tours. The little church next to the LeFevre house is a recreation, but the headstones in the churchyard are where they were placed centuries, yes centuries ago. New Paltz and the Huguenot Historical Society have done a wonderful job of making this more about history and less about tourism. This is the opposite of a "tourist trap." Enjoy!

4  Thank DeniseLS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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137 - 141 of 204 reviews

Reviewed June 7, 2014

As the description and other reviews have stated, Huguenot street is a street in New Paltz with several buildings (and a cemetery) dating back to the 1600's. We decided to take a day trip to check it out, and I was thoroughly impressed by the attention to detail as well as the passion the guides seem to have for the location.

You can choose to just wander the street for free looking at the exteriors of the buildings and enjoying the atmosphere, or pay a very reasonable $15 to tour the interiors as well. We chose the latter and toured four homes. Each of the homes are presented in a different time period. One was shown as it was in the 1700s, another the 1600's, and another the early 1900's. Two of our guides were dressed in period clothes and played characters from that time (one of which gave as oscar worthy performance). The third, who showed us two homes, was not in character but her knowledge of the area and time period was beyond impressive. She also has a fantastic wit.

As I said there is such an attention to detail, that outside each house a flag is flown that is relevant to the time (for example a 13 star American flag for the post revolution time period, a more modern one for the 1900s, and a Dutch flag for the 1600s). There are signs outside each home giving a short description, but we were told that the information isn't entirely accurate as the signs were placed almost a century ago and much more has been learned since then (they've even tested the lumber used in the buildings to get an accurate time and location).

After our tours, we went to the cemetery on our own. Some of the tombstones date back to the 1600's, and others are those of Revolutionary War veterans. The total time we spent on Huguenot Street was close to four hours, but you can easily spend an entire day there.

I would absolutely recommend this place to anyone with even a slight interest in history, architecture, or just looking for something interesting to do for the day. The buildings are beautiful, the history is fascinating, and the staff are incredibly knowledgeable and friendly.

6  Thank Jwanderer57
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 2, 2014

This is an actual street where the 12 original French Huguenots (1677) and then their many descendants lived for many years. We spent four and a half hours here and could have used more time. We first watched an 8 minute film. Then we took the tour and it was worth every penny ($15.00 each). For this fee we also became members for a year which entitles us to visit the buildings as many times as we want. Because we went on a Monday in early June, they were not fully staffed-- so our tour was a bit of everything. The new director, who used to work at Williamsburg, is making a lot of exciting changes. I think the plan is to have an interpreter in period costume playing the role of a Huguenot in every house. This is definitely going to be the plan for week-ends and maybe even workdays in the summer.

We began our tour with a guide who took an hour to tell us about two houses. One house was furnished and set up as it would have looked when it was built in the early seventeen hundreds and when it was made bigger shortly thereafter. The addition included a second kitchen in the basement where the slaves used to cook and sleep. I was shocked to find out that the Huguenots had many slaves and that their Calvinist religion totally supported slavery.

The second house was empty and focused on the architectural changes made in the house over the years. This house was inhabited until the mid 1950s even though it still had neither electricity nor plumbing. The third house we saw was done with an interpreter who was supposed to be in his early 20's in 1755 and a cousin of the owner who was at his grandson's baptism. . It was the home of a well-to-do man. The Interpreter's role was to support the British in the French and Indian War.
We found out that about 50% of the Huguenots did end up supporting the British but 50% remained neutral so that they could trade with both sides. We were amazed to find out at the end that it was this young man's first time doing this. He was so good we thought he had done it for a long time.

We next visited the replica of their first meeting house. The director of the museum was in the church and he spent a good half hour with us telling us many fascinating things about the Calvinists, including how they justified slavery. We had another tour guide for the last house which was a mini-mansion built in 1894, incorporating the original house. This house was treat for us as we do not often get to see houses of this era.

The director was very enthusiast and this enthusiasm seemed to have been caught by each of our three guides. We learned a great deal about the history of the Huguenots and thoroughly enjoyed our visit.

2  Thank bcnett
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 24, 2014

Other reviews will allude to the fascinating history of the early French settlers, but even if this was not a national historic landmark, it would still be worth the visit. The stone buildings, the simple landscaping and the quiet atmosphere near the river and bird sanctuary make this a lovely walk.
Add to this an almost forgotten part of history and it well worth the time.

Thank LetsGoWithStyle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 21, 2014

With both of my kids going to school up in New Paltz, I have always wanted to visit Huguenot Street and learn more about the early settlers. It was well laid out, yet set in it's place without disturbing the feel of the town. Wonderfully preserved. Not touristy at all.

Thank donna2468
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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