Hudson, New York is a bustling town on the Hudson River, about two and a half hours north of New York City. Flanked by the Catskill Mountains across the river to the west, and the Berkshires to the east, Hudson and the surrounding towns are set on a backdrop of rolling hills and farmland, with stunning views of both mountain ranges. The area is known its natural beauty, for the many artists and writers who have called it home, and increasingly as a country getaway from New York City. If I’ve learned anything about New Yorkers, it’s that they love getting away.
Unlike the Hamptons, which are jam-packed in the summer and dead in the winter, Hudson feels alive year-round, and doesn’t have the Range Rovers and monster houses that make vacationing in the Hamptons a little less than quaint. Hudson really feels like the country, but it still has all the things I look for in a good “Weekending” destination – great restaurants, bars, places to stroll and maybe even hike (maybe), and a few cultural activities thrown in the mix.
Over the last couple years, I’ve spent a lot of weekends in the Hudson Valley with my boyfriend Joe and his family, and I’ve been meaning to put together a list of my favorite restaurants, stores, and activities there for ages. So, here goes! I hope this list is helpful if you’re planning a trip to Hudson, no matter the time of year!
Grazin’ Hudson The place to get your trendy diner fix right on Warren Street, Hudson’s main drag. Order a burger – the grass-fed beef comes from Grazin’ Angus Acres, just a short drive from the restaurant in Ghent, NY.
Ben Gable Savories A neighborhood cafe in picturesque Chatham, NY. The seasonal quiche and pastries made with local produce, milk and butter are excellent. Go in the summer when you can sit outside and read the paper while you wait for your breakfast.
CrossRoads Food Shop CrossRoads is tucked away in the tiny village of Hillsdale but worth finding for a quick and hearty lunch. Their soups, sandwiches, and salads are all solid. There’s a great gift store next door that’s worth perusing if you have time.
Bartlett House Hands down my favorite spot in the greater Hudson area. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are all delicious, but I have a weak spot for their breakfast menu. Try as many of the baked goods and breads as you can, especially the double baked pistachio croissant and cherry and cornmeal scone.
All the Cute Shops
Minna Beautiful pillows, throws, linens, and other home goods ethically made in Mexico, Guatemala, Uruguay and Bolivia. I love the textures and colors of everything in this store. (If you can’t make it to Hudson, they have a great website, too!)
Rural Residence The perfect place for what I call country-chic home goods and accessories. This is an excellent shop to look for host or house-warming gifts.
Hawkins New York This is a very Hudson meets NYC kind of store – and they actually have a location in New York City. A lot of their home accent pieces, would look as work in a small city apartment just as well as they would in a modern country house, and I think thats part of the store’s appeal for Hudson visitors. (Because lets’ face it, we don’t all have country houses..)
Fluff Alpaca Because you can never have too much… alpaca? Fluff Alpaca is owned by a family who has their own Alpaca Farm in Hillsdale, NY. I especially love stopping by in the winter months when I feel constantly in need of more hats, gloves, scarves and warm socks.
Les Indiennes Dreamy table linens, pillows, bedding, and fabric, all hand-dyed. Check out their fabric library online for just a taste of what you’ll find in the store.
Marx Home If you’re renting a house upstate for the weekend and find you’re missing a crucial kitchen gadget, this is your place. They have everything you could need and then some. (I can always find something I need in a kitchen store.)
Food Shopping (my favorite activity)
Chatham Berry Farm My favorite little store for local fruit and vegetables, along with just about everything else. In the fall they have what seems like every variety of squash in the universe. Chatham Berry Farm has a great butcher (try the homemade sausages) and they even make their own hard cider on-site!
Hawthorne Valley Farm Store This store on an organic farm in Ghent, NY feels like a mashup of a crunchy co-op grocery store and a speciality market stocked with curated selections of produce and cheese, an extensive pantry section, and more. While Hawthorne Valley doesn’t always have the largest selection, that makes it easier to get in, get out, and get cooking. And don’t forget the freshly brewed coffee and baked goods!
Hudson Farmer’s Market Every Saturday at the corner of N. 6th Street and Columbia Street in downtown Hudson. While I love spending a Saturday upstate popping around to different farms and markets, I know not everyone is as nuts as I am! The farmer’s market is a great one-stop-shop with lots of local vendors.
Talbott and Arding Hudson’s specialty food is a don’t-miss. Everything is excellent, from the baked goods and prepared foods to the cheeses and homemade crackers. One of my favorite foods on the planet is Talbot and Arding’s dried fruit and nut bread. Sometimes I even mail-order it.
Olde Hudson A small, upscale market and a cafe right on Hudson’s main drag. They carry fresh seafood and lots of staple and specialty pantry items, and their cafe is great for a quick coffee or sandwich.
The Chatham Cheese Company Every town should have a cheese store like this one. Chatham Cheese has the cheeses you might need for cooking, and lots of funkier options for cheese plates, too.
Drink Drink is a wine store in strip mall in Chatham, NY. While the location is not super convenient, they have an excellent wine selection and super friendly and helpful staff.
Activities (what to do when you’ve just eaten)
Art Omi More than one hundred acres of art and architecture in the great outdoors. Walk the fields and forests and check out the scultpures for free, every day of the year.
Kinderhook Farm This 1,000 acre farm raises grass-fed cows, sheep, pigs, and chickens. They offer free farm tours on the weekend. Afterwards, stop into the store to pickup the best-quality meat and eggs around. (Okay, I snuck a little more food shopping in!)
Rodgers Book Barn I highly recommend seeking out this little treasure of a place. Owner Maureen Rodgers converted a barn in Hillsdale, NY, into a book store unlike any other. Get lost in the winding aisles of books of all kinds. Rodger’s collection is carefully curated and she is very knowledgeable: the Book Barn has been open for more than 45 years.
High Falls Hike Full disclosure: I have never done this hike. I have mentioned on the blog before that I am very reluctant hiker. But this is on my to-do list, and I wanted to include something active along with all the food recommendations! I promise I will do the hike soon and report back.
Hudson Basillica This event space and arts center set in a renovated factory in downtown Hudson is a beautiful setting for lots of different events throughout the year- a huge holiday market, a music festival, giant flea market, and gallery exhibitions just to name a few.
The School / Jack Shainman Gallery A 30,000 square foot gallery in a large building that was formerly a schoolhouse. FYI, The School is only open on Saturdays.
Club Helsinki A funky music club and restaurant in the heart of Hudson. This place has lots of character and live music year-round. Check before you head up to Hudson to see who’s playing.
Drinks and Dinner
Fish & Game Fish & Game was first big deal Hudson restaurant opened by a famed New York City chef. It’s the fancy place in town that’s at the top of every must visit list. If you’re traveling with someone with deep pockets, go and try as much of their menu as you can. It’s delicious, inventive, and the restaurant itself has a eclectic, hunting lodge meets Dracula’s mansion feel. If you’re a normal person, stop in for a cocktail and a couple shared plates in the lounge.
Lil Deb’s Oasis Lil Deb’s Oasis is impossible to describe. They describe themselves as a women-powered restaurant and community-centered space that serves tropical comfort food. They host events including pop-up dinners, art shows, and even the occasional drag party. It’s also one of the most colorful restaurants I’ve ever seen. You might think it’s all about the show, but the food is uniformly delicious and interesting, too. It all makes for a very fun night.
The Maker The Maker is a brand new hotel in downtown Hudson, owned by the same team as my beloved Bartlett House. While the hotel itself is not quite finished, The Maker’s lounge and restaurant are open and definitely worth a visit. I highly recommend stopping into the lounge – set in a converted carriage house with soaring ceilings and a giant wood-burning fireplace- for cocktails on a freezing winter afternoon. You won’t regret it.
Backbar A funky bar on Hudson’s main drag. Great for drinks and not-your-average bar bites. Backbar hosts a natural wine festival every fall which is worth planning a weekend around.
Rivertown Lodge Calling something “hip” feels lame, but sometimes it’s just the right word. Rivertown Lodge is a hip boutique hotel in a converted movie theater in Downtown Hudson. I haven’t stayed there, but they have a cozy tavern that serves up seasonal dishes inspired by North-African/Moroccan cuisine.
Gaskins Gaskins is a little restaurant with a family feel and comforting, seasonal food. Their menu changes a lot but I find exactly what I feel like eating. It’s my spirit restaurant. We stop there for dinner on our way up to Hudson, doing everything we can to get there from NYC before closing time.