Tis' the season to be jolly, of course, but to also reminisce about the holidays of yesteryear, especially those celebrated here in the Hudson Valley. I've spent about 80% of my life living in this area between growing up in Fishkill, then living in New Paltz for quite some time, and now Wappingers.

Earlier this year we reminisced about our fond memories of the South Hills Mall, and took a trip down memory lane with a South Hills Mall facebook tribute page originated by some diehard locals.

Now it's time to shift our focus to another one-was mall here in the Hudson Valley that you may have forgotten about, The Dutchess Mall.

Google Maps
Google Maps

FYI - were you aware that the Dutchess Mall, which was the first of its kind after opening in the mid 1970's, is actually on the National Register of Historic Places?

SEE ALSO: Development Progress For Dutchess Mall Site

1. Starter Jackets at Champs

This was some sort of rite of passage for kids growing up in the '90's and or early 2000's - owning a starter jacket for a team that you didn't even like. I remember, so incredibly vividly, Christmas in the mid-1990's, opening up a bright teal colored San Jose Sharks Starter jacket (which I also remember making me mad because I'm a diehard Rangers fan). My sister got a Phoenix Suns NBA jacket so I guess I won in that competition.

rahuua3 on ebay
rahuua3 on ebay

Apparently there was also a parent rite of passage that you had to go to Champs at the Dutchess Mall and dig through giant bins of Starter jackets pulling out one for each kid in the family. My mom recently shared a story of how insane it was just before the mall closed and Champs had their massive discounts, the digging through those bins was even crazier.

By the way, if you still have your San Jose Sharks Starter jacket, these things are selling for a pretty penny on E-Bay these days...

2. Jamesway, Dutchess Mall Anchor Store

From 1988 to 1995, the anchor store in the mall was Jamesway, which was classified as a discount store. My personal Jamesway memories stem from my dad taking my sister and I there to Christmas shop for my mom for things like slipper socks, pajamas and knock-off bath and body products.

I was also informed that Santa picked up my very first bicycle from the Dutchess Mall Jamesway location.


3. KB Toys at the Dutchess Mall

Every kid remembers their favorite toy store growing up, and living in Fishkill, it was always a treat when we convinced my parents to let us 'look around' at KB Toys in the Dutchess Mall.

I don't know about you, but there was just something different about this toy store setup. The aisles were super close together, with items stacked essentially floor to ceiling, and as a kid around the holidays, we'd walk around making our lists of what we wanted to see under the tree Christmas morning.

4. Roy Rogers, Not Just For Birthday Parties

I may be dating myself, but I definitely had a birthday party or two at the Dutchess Mall Roy Rogers location during my earlier years. Those curved windows over their 'dining' area, the mediocre play area that we used to think was 'all that' back then. It was always the spot we would stop after visiting the Dutchess Mall Santa...speaking of which...


5. Dutchess Mall Santa

Back in the day, the Dutchess Mall Santa was THE Santa to see. I tried, but was unsuccessful in finding some old blackmail photos of my sister and I posing with the jolly guy in the dimly lit Dutchess Mall hallway from the '90's. No trip to see Santa in Fishkill was complete without a quick stop at the center court fountains to toss in a few pennies (or in my case get yelled at my my parents for trying to take pennies out of the water, oops).

Girl (6-7) sitting on lap of Santa Claus, portrait
Getty Stock, Ryan McVay

Honorable Mentions: Drug World, Waldenbooks, Treasure Island, Dream Machine & Radio Shack

This trip down the Dutchess Mall memory lane wouldn't be complete without mentioning some of the other great stores like the iconic Radio Shack, Treasure Island which had aisles of decorations and craft supplies, the first (and probably last) Waldenbooks I ever visited, and yes, the pharmaceutical store Drug World, which I only mention because that was the store we parked outside of, and used to enter the mall, and it had a really distinct smell to it.

We can't forget to give a nod to Dream Machine, the infamous arcade right by the movie theater. The ultimate Friday night in Fishkill included a stop at Dream Machine followed by a night at the movies.

Anyone else have some nostalgic Dutchess Mall memories, Christmas related or not, to share?

‘Dying’ Hudson Valley, New York Mall Now ‘Ultimate Destination’

Hudson Valley Small Towns Great for Shopping and Food

Seasonal shopping in the Hudson Valley can be so much fun. There are small towns up and down the Hudson River that offer unique shops and delicious dining. Cold Spring, Rhinebeck, and more. Head out for a day of shopping then pair it with an edible treat and refreshing drink throughout your travels. Here are some suggestions.

Gallery Credit: Paty Quyn