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Local Getaways: An Upstate Escape to Hudson, New York

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The view through the library to the conservatory restaurant at the Maker Hotel, which opened in August in Hudson.

Photo by Francine Zaslow

The view through the library to the conservatory restaurant at the Maker Hotel, which opened in August in Hudson.

With the recent opening of the Maker Hotel, plus several new restaurants, now’s the time to visit the small town of Hudson, New York.

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If you’ve listened to the news—or ahem, recent presidential debates—you may be under the impression that life in New York City is grim in 2020. While it’s certainly no ghost town, small businesses and restaurants have struggled to stay open and have been shutting down at an alarming rate—almost 6,000 closed between March 1 to September 11, according to data from Yelp.

Just 120 miles north in the small town of Hudson, the opposite appears to be happening. Since this summer, the 6,000-person town has seen a boutique hotel, a bakery known for its sourdough bread, and a natural wine bar all open on Warren Street, the one-mile long main street that cuts its way from the Hudson River up to Route 9.

This recent burst of entrepreneurial spirit in this once industrial town incorporated by whalers in the late 18th century isn’t exactly new. Brooklynites have been decamping there for the past few years—opening hotels, bakeries, and restaurants—a continuation of a renaissance that began in the 1980s when artists and antique dealers moved in and opened up shops along Warren Street. If you’re interested in seeing what the buzz is all about, here’s how to plan a weekend getaway to the town of Hudson.

Where to stay in Hudson

The Writer studio at the Maker Hotel has an oak fireplace and built-in bookcases from the 1800s.

The Maker

Book now: from $350/night, themaker.com

Owned and designed by the cofounders of the beauty and skincare company Fresh, Lev Glazman and Alina Roytberg, the Maker Hotel opened in August 2020. Each of the spacious 11 rooms features a completely unique design that blends decor from the Belle Epoque and art deco periods—with plenty of midcentury furniture to drool over. Choose from the four Maker Studios—the slightly industrial “Architect,” the bohemian “Artist,” the lush “Gardener,” or the cozy, book-filled “Writer”—or go for the 1920s Parisian-inspired Terrace Lofts that each come with private roof decks and the largest daybeds you’ve ever seen. Spread across three historic buildings, the property also has a sultry cocktail lounge, which has been open since 2018, as well as a café and a restaurant offering seasonal American dishes from chef Michael Poiarkoff, formerly of Brooklyn’s Vinegar Hill House. A circus-themed fitness center is also in the works, with Moulin Rouge–inspired decor and acrobatics equipment like gymnastics rings and pommel horses.

Modern Glass House Airbnb

Book now: from $707/night, airbnb.com

This two-bedroom, two-bathroom modern glass home is ideal for families who want to spread out a bit. Just a five-minute drive from town, this home also has a hot tub, making it ideal for winter getaways.

Things to do in Hudson

Shop for dried flower arrangements or other small gifts at the Quiet Botanist.

Shop local on Warren Street

Chain stores are few and very far between in Hudson, even on its main drag. Take your pick from a mix of antique shops—seemingly one to suit every type of style from 19th-century France to midcentury modern—and stores selling new items from local makers.

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The Quiet Botanist: At first glance, the Quiet Botanist looks like the kind of place where a good witch doles out love potions and charms. In reality, it’s a modern apothecary that sells everything from dried floral arrangements to beauty products and teas.

Red Chair: Of the many antique shops in Hudson, Red Chair is one of the best (even Martha Stewart has been spotted here). Focusing mainly in French antiques from the 17th to 19th century, this shop has been around since 1997. You’ll find glassware in the front, but don’t miss the quirky ephemera in the back of the shop. If you’re on the hunt for furniture, be sure to carve out time to visit the Antiques Warehouse Hudson down the hill closer to the train station.

Hudson Wine Merchants: Whether you’re on the prowl for a four-pack of bottled negroni for a picnic or want to bring back some Hudson Valley–made souvenirs, Hudson Wine Merchant is your spot. Open for curbside pickup currently, this wine shop is fully stocked with wines from around the world, plus local spirits and ciders from places like Cooper’s Daughter Spirits and Left Bank Ciders.

Taste ciders 

Fall is apple season and local makers in upstate New York excel in fermenting the abundance of fruit that grows throughout the region. 

Rose Hill Farm: Sure, you can go apple-picking and eat cider doughnuts hot out of the fryer at Rose Hill Farm, located about 20 miles south of Hudson in Red Hook. But what sets it apart from other pick-your-own farms is its taproom, which serves about a dozen different kinds of wild fermented sparkling ciders and wines. There are plenty on tap to go around, but if you want to bring souvenirs home, show up close to opening and buy bottles right away. On a recent visit, they were virtually sold out by 1 p.m. 

Left Bank Ciders: Just across the Rip Van Winkle Bridge from Hudson in the town of Catskill, Left Bank Cider makes its ciders and meads from ingredients all sourced from within an hour of its cellar. Its taproom is currently open for both indoor and outdoor seating and offers flights and bottles of its housemade ciders, plus other local New York State beers, wines, and spirits.

Enjoy the views at Olana State Historic Site

Once home to Frederic Church, a pioneer of the 19th-century Hudson River School of art, Olana State Historic Site is now a 250-acre living museum. The Persian-style mansion filled with Church’s art is open to the public currently, but its hilltop location also makes it great for taking in the views of the Hudson River and surrounding valley while exploring the five miles of carriage roads on site.

Explore Art Omi

Art Omi is an open-air sculpture and architecture park located about 10 miles northeast of downtown Hudson near the town of Ghent. It’s free to enter and open from dawn until dusk. Go for a stroll to explore the ever-changing landscape with more than 60 works of art on display. It’s also a great picnic spot—stock up on sandwiches and cheese from Talbott & Arding on Warren Street beforehand.

Where to eat and drink in Hudson

Be sure to order the burnt ends hash for the table at the West Taghkanic Diner.

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West Taghkanic Diner: Located just off exit 80 on the Taconic State Parkway, the West Taghkanic Diner is an essential stop on your way into or out of Hudson. After stints at restaurants in Napa Valley and Copenhagen, chef Kristopher Schram took over this 1953 diner in 2019. While the menu is classic diner food—pastrami reuben sandwiches, buttermilk pancakes, turkey clubs—everything is made with high-quality, locally sourced ingredients. Indoor dining is closed currently due to coronavirus, but the expansive garden has amply spaced picnic tables and a full outdoor bar.

Breadfolks Bakery: Located mere steps from the Maker Hotel, Breadfolks is another recent addition to Warren Street. Currently open from Friday to Monday, it already draws lines in the mornings for its naturally fermented sourdough breads and French pastries like canele and kouign-amanns. If you get there early enough, you might also be able to snag something called a “baklava ­cruffin,” which is essentially a cupcake-shaped croissant glazed with honey and dusted with pistachios. Unsurprisingly, these sell out fast.

Feast and Floret: Hudson’s acclaimed restaurant Fish and Game recently shuttered permanently and reopened earlier in October 2020 as Feast and Floret, an Italian restaurant serving dishes like rigatoncini alla norma and pork ribs with cipollini and Concord grape reduction.

Kitty’s Market Café: Just opened in September, this casual café and market has made its name in town for its egg and cheese on a sesame bun breakfast sandwiches (sauerkraut is free, bacon is an extra $2). Its location directly across from the train station also makes it an ideal spot for getting a rotisserie chicken plate to go for lunch if you’re taking Amtrak home. Keep an eye out for an upcoming sit-down restaurant next door plus a natural wine shop on Warren Street from the same owners.

Sonder: After COVID hit, chef-owner Dan Bagnall permanently moved to his Hudson Valley home from New York City and opened this natural wine bar on Warren Street in August. The small plates menu changes often, but expect lots of locally sourced, vegetable-forward dishes like minted snap peas with homemade ricotta served in the cozy Scandi-chic dining room.

BackBar: If you’re looking for a casual spot with plenty of outdoor seating for happy hour, head to BackBar on Warren Street, which also serves chicken lemongrass dumplings, black pepper wings with fish sauce glaze, and other Malaysian-inspired dishes.

Fuego 69/Lil’ Deb’s Oasis: While the main location of Lil’ Deb’s Oasis remains closed due to coronavirus, this tropical comfort food restaurant is operating as Fuego 69, an outdoor pop-up  in the back of Rivertown Lodge every evening Thursday through Sunday as long as the weather holds up. In the spirit of giving, 69 cents from each item sold is donated to racial justice organizations and community causes.

The best way to reach Hudson from New York City

  • If you’re driving from New York City, the fastest route is along I-87 and takes two hours. The most scenic route, however, is along the Taconic State Parkway, which takes a little over two hours. From Manhattan, take FDR Drive to I-87 to the Sprain Brook Parkway where it meets the Taconic State Parkway in Westchester County and head north. At exit 80, take NY-82 toward Hudson/Ancram.
  • You can also take Amtrak directly to Hudson from New York City. The train ride from Penn Station takes two hours and costs about $30 each way. You may need to call a taxi or order an Uber to get to your hotel, depending on how far you want to walk with your bags.
  • If you’re coming from Boston, hop on I-90 and drive west for approximately three hours. Keep in mind that as of late October, nonessential travel from Massachusetts to New York is being discouraged.

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>> Next: The Best New Hotels in the Catskills and Hudson Valley, New York

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