One of my favorite things about living in New York City is actually getting out of it once in a while. I don’t own a car, but with a rental, a Zipcar, or the train, there are tons of options for weekends away. For several summers, we’ve rented a house for a month or two in Amagansett or the Springs, out on Long Island. (And we’re headed there this summer, too.) But lately, MK and I have been exploring more of the Hudson river valley, and I think it’s official: we’re in love with Hudson, New York.
A two-hour Amtrak ride from NYC, Hudson sits right on the river and is a walkable town with great food and shops, surrounded by rolling hills and small farms. (I saw two fields of sheep including baby lambs and I want one.) And when I say the food in town is good, I mean it’s really good – all the meat, eggs, etc. at the local diner is Animal Welfare Approved. Kind of amazing. We’ve had a blast trying to eat at every restaurant, poking around in the antique shops, and drooling over the postings in the real estate office windows. In no particular order, I bring you my Hudson must-do list.
1. Caffinate first, every day. The first weekend we spent in Hudson, I had at least five cappuccinos in three days at Moto Coffee Machine. They just do it right. There’s a motorcycle in the window. Tables outside in the sun. And some fine looking pastries to boot, but you may want to save your appetite….
2. Breakfast at Bonfiglio & Bread. This is the breakfast of my dreams: avocado, big crunchy delicious chunks of toasted bread, some greek yogurt, poached eggs, parsley, and chili oil. But this place is also a proper bakery, with delicious breads, bialys, cinammon buns, and a most delightful rhubarb and cream cheese danish, which is probably a day’s allotment of calories but so worth it.
3. Clothes shopping at De Marchin. The owner is really sweet and genuinely excited to show you everything, and she’s got some really great stuff… hats made from one of the oldest hat factories in Rome. Linen skirts made in France. Ridiculously beautiful dresses made out of mattress ticking that look fantastic on the mannequin but terrible on your (my?) body. Last time I was in, she had really great striped linen t-shirts, too.
4. Lunch at Swoon Kitchenbar. They know what a Kir Royale is (some bars don’t – it always blows my mind) and the food is great. The first weekend we came up here, I think we ate here three times. Salads are a true test of detail to me – some restaurants treat them like an afterthought but others treat them like an opportunity, and the kale salad here is a glowing example of what a salad should be. (Take note, Ca’ Mea. Your patio and pastas are delightful but your salads are a bit sad.)
5. Drive up to Mt. Merino, Sunday-driver style. Imagine what it would be like to have one of those little houses overlooking the Hudson River. Notice how nearly every yard has beautiful blooming lilac trees (in May, anyway). Sigh a little.
6. Shop your heart out for home goods at places like The Hudson Mercantile, Harvey’s Counter, The Finch, Red Chair, Hudson Home, Ida’s Eye, and Valley Variety. Or at least look. The antique shops in town know what they’ve got, and items are priced accordingly. This isn’t exactly the place to come hoping for a bargain, but at the very least you’ll walk away feeling inspired. Either that or you’ll find the embroidered wall hanging of your dreams.
7. Take a walk on the side streets. Warren Street is where virtually every shop and restaurant is located, so it can feel a bit bustling. Head over to residential Union and Allen Streets to gaze at the architectural detail offered by nearly every house, including the tiniest Ionic columns I’ve ever seen, doors of every color, whitewashed brick townhouses, and turquoise corbels.
8. Have a pre-dinner drink at the bar at Fish & Game. Or sit by the fireplace on a beautiful tufted brown leather sofa and drink your drink there. I tend to stick to wine but their cocktail list looks top-notch to me. I also love their red-flocked wallpaper and proper loo with wooden toilet seat! Dinner is available in the form of an ambitious (and somewhat successful) tasting menu.
9. Have dinner at Food Studio. If you’re not sure if the food at a cash-only, Asian-fusion restaurant in the Hudson River Valley will be any good, let me assure you: it’s pretty phenomenal. Fried chicken buns and crispy brussels sprouts with fish-sauce tinged aioli are solid app choices. I had a spicy chicken and rice noodle dish, garnished with loads of fresh herbs and shredded carrot. I ate way past the point of being comfortably satiated to painfully full but I couldn’t really stop myself. MK can vouch for the half roasted chicken with rice and sauteed greens.
10. Have a night cap at Red Dot. It’s a little rough around the edges, but not in a bad way. The bar is open till 4 am. I’m pretty sure that if you want to meet the town weirdos – and I say that with affection – this is the place to be. Alternatively, this is a nice brunch spot. Not exactly for the food (it’s okay) but they do offer a great Bloody Mary and a beautiful backyard space with a little waterfall.
Where to stay:
The Hudson Milliner. I loved our stay in the Fedora Room
Airbnb. Found a great house on Union Street. Listing here.
Hudson Merchant House. Haven’t stayed here yet but I’m keen to try. Looks like a beautiful reno.
image credit: top photo | second row: Moto Coffee, breakfast at Bonfiglio & Bread | third row: flowers around town | fourth & fifth row: architecture around town | sixth row: waterfall on the Red Dot patio, entrance to Fish & Game, all by lkd