top 10 things to do in hudson, ny

hudsonMainOne 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.

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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.)

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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 ChairHudson 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.

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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.

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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

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farmers market finds

gherkinsuntil this summer, i had never seen these before – don’t they look like teey tiny watermelons? during the last couple weeks of august, i kept seeing them out at Balsam Farms in Amagansett. the farm stand had them labeled as “gherkins… or mini sour cucumbers from mexico”.

well, when i see the word gherkin, i think of pickles which i hate so i totally ignored these the first time around. the following weekend they were still there and my curiosity got the better of me. as it turns out, they taste just like a super-crunchy cucumber… delicious. i’ve been throwing them in tomato & mozzarella salads and eating them plain.

some very quick internet research yielded this: they grow on a vine called melothria scabra, and are sometimes also called mouse melon. isn’t that cute?

 

explore: paris, part one

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so finally… some paris photos! i love taking photos, i just hate dealing with them once they’re uploaded. this part always takes me a while.

in june i spent three glorious days in paris before heading south to cannes for one week. it was my first trip to france since 1999, and so much was different. last time, i was about a year out of school. i stayed with my sister, who was there as a student and had way too many roommates in a strange apartment filled with inflatable furniture. it was still great, but… this time i was with mk, we stayed in the marais (here; see photos from the neighborhood above) and my goal was simply to eat eat eat, shop a bit, and relax.

well, we were super successful at eating. (and the other stuff!) but mostly at the eating. i’m talking gold medal. (translation: i made myself borderline ill.) it was totally worth it.

i’m not super at-ease, though, taking photos with my big camera in restaurants. it seems so obtrusive to me…plus there is the small fact that i’m really a hobbyist when it comes to photography, not a professional. i like to experiment and learn about my camera outside, where i’m not bothering anybody, but inside… i know i don’t have the right equipment and i’m guessing at the settings more often than not. so i stick to my iphone and instagram for those moments in a restaurant when i just absolutely have to get a photo, and have re-capped some of the food centric pics below. (and you can always follow me on instagram for more…)

as for where we ate? i’m really proud of what we fit into three days… it started with a stunning lunch at Le 6 Paul Bert, (chosen after reading this) after which i decided i really needed to get four eclair from L’Eclair de Genie. not one, to just savor and enjoy. four. a sampling, if you will. i took a bite of each back at the hotel room, decided i might die, and took a nap.

later we found ourselves at the wine bar of Frenchie, drinking a great white wine and holding out for a table, which we finally got! (at the wine bar, not at the restaurant itself – another time.) tip: get there around 7pm, and you might only wait around 90 minutes for a table. but it’s a thoroughly enjoyable wait! our table ended up having a view into the kitchen, and the food was excellent.

another day, another lunch… at Le Meurice, located within the very fancy Hotel Meurice. this was a three-star Michelin meal, and in a word, superb. the kind of meal that makes all subsequent meals suck. this three-hour affair involved duck, foie gras, pasta, octopus, a fried oyster…. and a lot more. needless to say, dinner at the very lovely Spring restaurant underwhelmed – but simply because it followed Le Meurice! judged on it’s own merits, it’s excellent. i believe this day also involved a chocolate pistachio croissant from Du Pains et Des Idees, the best cappiccino of the trip at Ten Belles, and ice cream from Amorino. i also believe this is the day i started to feel like i might be overdoing it. no wonder i could barely eat by the time we got to spring…

i don’t want to make this post too long so i’ll save shopping bits for another time. i also, for the first time ever, created a google map specifically for the trip. i’m obsessed with making maps now, and might post it here if anyone is interested…? there’s a lot of stuff on there i didn’t have time for, so it’s kind of a wishlist in a way, but i love looking at it.

paris_food_IGrow 1: the meal and the scene at Le 6 Paul bert

row 2: snippits from Le Meurice… how amazing is that “apple” dessert?

row 3: inside L’Eclair de Genie, the Frenchie bar menu, and a huge line of people outside a falafel shop in the marais. i was tempted.

row 4: snaps from the newly redone food hall at Le Bon Marche

row 5: pistachio chocolate croissant, the best cappuccino, and great packaging at one of the many sweet shops i poked into.

 

(all photos by laura kinsey for bklynprairie.com)

 

happy 4th…!

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i took these during last year’s fourth of july celebration. the highlight, aside from good friends around the chimenea, was lighting the sprinklers and watching them go!

coming up next week: some bits from my trip to france. enjoy the long weekend!

(photos by laura kinsey for bklyn prairie)

picture yourself here: the catskills

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my mother gets credit for finding this one: the graham & co hotel in phoenicia, ny.

seriously, i’d pack my bags this second for a weekend of hikes, bikes, fire pits and hammocks in the Catskills. wouldn’t you?

their branding is great, too. i love how they describe themselves: an update on the traditional weekend away. like this place, the vibe seems to be like summer camp for adults in the best possible way….probably with a lot less attitude, though.

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(images courtesy of the graham & co website)

nature days…

i love this duck. he was so chill…

pretty little mushrooms…

spur-of-the-moment, i decided to take my camera with me on a morning coffee run a couple weeks ago in east hampton. not really knowing if i’d see anything to take a picture of, but it was a gorgeous morning…. i took a different road home (past all the big ol’ mansions… i was being a total sunday driver) and drove by a duck pond i had never noticed before.

so i had to stop. it was just so…nature-y! i like nature… i forget about it sometimes, since i live in a city. but i grew up in it and i have nice memories of it. as long as there are no bees near me, nature and i get along really nicely.

(photos by laurakinsey)

summah foods!

these photos just scream “summer food”, don’t they? limeade with fresh mint. corn on the cob. b.l.t. sandwiches with in-season tomatoes. those frosty-looking delicious stone fruits. i love all of this stuff…. but the last few weeks have been super busy and as a result, sort of dry as far as cooking is concerned. i already have that dreaded feeling that summer is over, it’s all over! i have to remind myself there’s still plenty of time left to the season. we still have tomatoes to look forward to, after all.

these images help.

the photo of the b.l.t. reminds me of something else. i need to get my hands on some vegenaise. no idea why that stuff is so good… but it is. my friend tammy, (who actually is a vegan), force-fed me some when i went to cleveland a couple weeks ago, and now i’m hooked.

(from the top: 1/2/3/4/)

house envy 2.0

happy fourth of july, everyone! i hope everyone is picnicking, swimming, hiking, grilling, etc. here’s a little smattering of rooms i love, all from different houses this time. enjoy!

(image credit: top, and below: 1/2/3/4)

monday morning…

…and i’m already reminiscing about the weekend. what was supposed to be just a little pit-stop at clam bar turned into an opportunity for a quick snack and a drink. seriously, what’s better than a grilled hot dog? (some might say any of the local seafood options available, but sometimes a hot dog is where it’s at, right?)

 

(photo by laurakinsey)