What's that smell? It could possibly be a Hudson Valley town that truly smells like onions.

While driving on roads in New York state, we could smell a lot of different scents. From fresh cut grass to farmland scents, smoke from a bonfire or even the smell from someone's outdoor barbeque are all pleasant scents to experience on roads.

For Hudson Valley locals, smelling onions in a specific area just makes sense. However, for visitors who drive through this Hudson Valley town, they may wonder what the smell is and where it is coming from.

The Most Unexpected Place You Should Visit In New York State Smells Like Onions

Canva, YouTube, PICOC PineIsland
Canva, YouTube,
PICOC PineIsland

This summer, I had the opportunity to smell onions on my way to a farm in the Hudson Valley. I quickly remembered that I was in an Orange County town where onions are the everyday smell and that this is normal.

The New York Times shard that this area is

"22 square miles of Orange County, N.Y., known as the “Black Dirt” region."

Where Is The Black Dirt Region In New York State?

Canva, Google Maps
Canva, Google Maps

The Pine Island, NY Chamber of Commerce shared information about the Black Dirt Region and its history in New York state.

The Town of Warwick is where the hamlet of Pine Island, NY is located. This area may also be referred to as the Black Dirt Region.

They shared,

"Today, the fertile black dirt farming region, located in Orange County, NY, consists of thousands of very flat acres of deep and richly organic soil, dissected by rivers, drainage ditches, and farm roads."

It's fascinating to see the miles of acres and farmland while driving through the Black Dirt Region, especially on a warm and sunny day.

The New York Times also shared, 

"the area has been known for onions, producing some of the spiciest alliums available, thanks to the soil’s high sulfur content, which boosts pyruvic acid, that irritating and delicious compound that makes eyes well up at the cutting board."

How Do Glaciers From Over 10,000 Years Ago Relate To The Black Dirt Region's Soil?

Canva, YouTube, PICOC PineIsland
Canva, YouTube,
PICOC PineIsland

The Pine Island, NY Chamber of Commerce continued to share,

"This unique valley formed from the decay of plants and the remains of a great shallow swamp as a result of glaciers melting away over 10,000 years ago."


"These “drowned lands”, as they were once called, were recognized by early Polish settlers to the region to be the same soil that had been commissioned for farming in their homeland."

Today, this historic region is still home to hundreds of small and large farm lands. These local farms provide markets, stands and even supermarkets.

The Pine Island, NY Chamber of Commerce explained that the Black Dirt Region is mainly known for its onion production. However, this region grows carrots, sweet corn, pumpkins, lettuce greens and more.

Do You Remember This Onion Inspired Eatery In The Hudson Valley?

The Jolly Onion was a popular restaurant located near the Black Dirt Region of Pine Island, NY. They are permanently closed but maybe another business will open with a similar idea of honoring this Orange County area that smells like onions.

The Jolly Onion was known for being a trademark in Pine Island, the Black Dirt Region area since the 1960's. They had over 9,000 followers on Facebook and over 8,300 likes.

Have you ever been to the Black Dirt Region around County Route 6 before to smell the onion fields? Will you visit this area near Pine Island, NY in the future? Tell us more below.

5 Must See Scenic Drives In The Hudson Valley

When was the last time that you took the scenic route or the back road? There's something so peaceful about taking in the views of the beautiful farmland and the smells of fresh grass with the windows down. 

The next time that you're out for a drive, take one of these scenic routes to capture the beauty of the area that we get to call home.


Gallery Credit: Allison Kay

How You Can Own A Former Favorite Hudson Valley Restaurant

Brother Bruno's was located on 17B in Monticello/Bethel, NY. Known for its Italian cuisine, this local business had a large menu with something for everyone to choose from. Their drink menu, holiday meal specials and signature pizza brought in foodies throughout New York state and more.

Hudson Valley residents were shocked to see a post on social media from Brother Bruno's, announcing that they closed their doors after many years.

Brother Bruno's has been permanently closed since September 2023.

The Community Was Sad To See This Family Favorite Restaurant Officially Close

Not only did Brother Bruno's officially close in Monticello/ Bethel NY, but it is now for sale. Information has been provided by Keller Williams Hudson Valley and Coldwell Banker Realty. 

Brother Bruno's located on Route 17 B in the Town of Bethel, NY is for sale. This is in the Mongaup Valley area within Sullivan County, NY. They shared, 

"High traffic location with 13,800+ cars per day, on average. 4 miles from Route 17 / Future I-86 and minutes from Bethel Woods Center for Performing Arts. 2 dining rooms to allow for ample seating and private parties or events."

"This location also boasts a full service 15+ seating bar area, outdoor seating / patio area overlooking the Mongaup River providing iconic water views. "

Outside, there is a storage building which is located behind the main building.

How Much Would It Cost To Purchase This Restaurant In Sullivan County, NY?

Keller Williams Hudson Valley and Coldwell Banker Realty shared additional information about this location.

To purchase the former Brother Bruno's in Monticello/ Bethel, NY it would cost $749,900. The taxes are $15,767 and the business type is listed as retail.

However, updates were made to the entranceway and bathrooms in 2018. The wood fired pizza oven and dining rooms were also updated in 2010.

Gallery Credit: Keller Williams Hudson Valley, Coldwell Banker Realty

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