The Ultimate Travel Guide to Hudson, New York

Whether you’ll arrive in your electric Porsche or via Amtrak with a backpack, stepping into small town Hudson gives the impression that you’re stepping onto a movie set—Wes Anderson, no less.

Initially settled by Nantucket whalers and Martha’s Vineyard and prospering as a whaling center in the 18th century, the city has recently gained a reputation as the Brooklyn in northern New York. Amid the trendy cafés and boutique shops, Queen Anne-style mansions and Victorian homes stand still while abandoned buildings are spotted throughout the city, suggesting the fading remains of Hudson’s unnatural history. After all, Columbia Street – formerly Diamond Street – was known for gambling and prostitution in the early 1900s.

This whole jumble and multiple layers of history are revealed in the Hudson, as oddly harmonious together and relinquishing the history of the city’s rise and fall – and back again -.

Despite the Hudson Valley’s popularity in recent years, the area’s DNA is as bohemian as it has been since the 19th century when the area began to attract artistic, creative, and non-conformist genres. While the popular description of the area as a popular weekend getaway for “New Yorkers” is vaguely true, one must not forget that the vibe is definitely more Brooklyn than Park Avenue.

For those who want a quick, elegant getaway without the fuss or mass of people, Hudson ticks several boxes. Easily accessible from New York City—a two-hour drive or Amtrak—yet it feels green, lively, and historic. This deceptive dimension comes in handy with elegant hotels and comfortable Scandinavian-style residences. Restaurants and bakeries abound in abundance; Art galleries and antique furniture stores have made the city a shopping destination.

Hudson is small as a city but a great treasury of curiosity, the kind of place you need to stay and revisit to uncover and discover hidden objects, with an open mind and a desire to explore.

Although Hudson is no longer sleepy or sluggish, keep in mind that opening hours vary from place to place and many stores are only open Thursday through Sunday. Check opening days and hours when planning your trip.

What to do in the city:

The city of Hudson provides an ideal base for those wishing to explore the Hudson Valley and the Catskills. It is filled with a delightful array of antiques and furniture stores, boutique stores, art galleries, and restaurants despite its small size. Warren Street is the place to start because it is the main artery that runs through the city.

Go to Finch, the trendy shopping destination opened by stylish duo Andrew Arrick and Michael Hofemann. Their many years of experience in luxury fashion houses are reflected in impeccably curated furniture – both modern and vintage – artwork, textiles and household goods.

Modern on the Hudson has been selling mid-century American, Scandinavian, and European furniture since 1996. Although their pieces are available at 1stdib, they’re well worth a visit to the actual store while you’re in town.

For those whose sense of beauty is closer to Carl Larsson’s interior, which evokes memories of the old world, Red Chair On Warren is a shop that specializes in Swedish, Belgian and French antiques.

It’s easy to miss the hidden entrance on Warren Street, but it’s great to be inside The Quiet Botanist. This unusual dried flower shop was inspired by an ancient pharmacy and offers a range of natural skin care products as well as facials.

For a fashion fix, Nikki Chasin is a place for colorful and fun clothing and accessories that captures the bohemian spirit of the area.

Spotty Dog Books & Ale is a slightly quirky spot. Housed in an old firehouse, this independent store also serves a variety of local beers as well as wines and small bites.

Where do you eat:

Start the morning at Breadfolks, a bakery on Warren Street, but be prepared to stand in line for a while unless you get there before opening time, as I did. Everything in Breadvolks is sticky, sticky, and decadent. Think hazelnut croissants with velvety chocolate sauce that oozes with the first bite or the impossible – and possibly misplaced – kouign-amann buttery.

Talbott and Arding is an unmissable stop for cheese lovers but is much more than just a cheese shop. Started by Kate Arding who started her cheesemaking career at London’s famous Niles Yard Derry and Mona Talbot, a former chef at Chez Panisse, this airy shop also has great coffee, pastries and sandwiches for picnics as well as selected biscuits and charcuterie. With cheese.

Kitty’s Market Café is the first shop you’ll see as you leave the railway station if you’re traveling by Amtrak. It’s the kind of place to go at any time of the day. Breakfast sandwiches are very popular but very popular resistance piece It is rotisserie chicken. The bird can be ordered whole, half or quarter, alone or with sides. The sour cherry tart or the coconut-almond carrot cake are also hard to miss. They are opening a restaurant soon. See this space.

Red Dot is one of Hudson’s oldest restaurants even before the city was known for its urban and youthful population. It has a nice patio at the back of the restaurant with lovely yellow tables.

Supernatural Coffee is where the locals hang out when they need their caffeine fix. Coffee cakes, muffins and muffins are available with a morning cup of cappuccino.

Culture Cream is an ice cream shop for those who crave sweets but keep in mind that their products are made with kefir, kombucha and other fermented ingredients, thus, ‘culture’ in a biological sense. Let’s say it’s an adult ice cream shop. (My kids won’t even try it when they see miso and others on the list.)

The Maker is a place you can count on all day long. The lovely European style café serves excellent coffee and savory dishes as well as exquisite pastries delivered daily from Bartlett House in Ghent. The café offers a solid dinner menu, but for a more convenient dining experience, book a table at the adjacent restaurant set in a beautiful glass conservatory. This is where I go when I want something simple but high quality.

Wunderbar Bistro is where everyone goes when most restaurants are closed on Mondays. This cozy and lively place offers a menu that will please everyone.

Where to stay:

Maker Hotel is undoubtedly the best choice for travelers with a penchant for luxury and style. Opened in 2020 by the founders of global beauty company Fresh, the hotel consists of three historic buildings. The 11 rooms are arranged coherently and seamlessly throughout a 1800s mobile home, a Georgian mansion and a Greek Renaissance building. The interior is dark and sensual with a sense of history imbued with contemporary sophistication. The European-style café and restaurant offers excellent all-day culinary options. An outdoor pool offers an oasis during the warmer months, while the cozy and plush indoor space is the perfect haven to snuggle up in when the temperature drops. Don’t miss the bar or gym even if you’re not a fan of alcoholic drinks or a gym goer – the whimsical design is worth a visit. The juice bar attached to the gym offers an excellent selection of fresh juices.

Amelia Hotel

Although Hudson’s hotel options are diverse, not many offer outdoor space. When Amelia opened in 2021 in a beautiful Queen Anne style home, she came with 8 rooms and a backyard pool. Service is very minimal, rooms are accessed with a code but there is a phone number you can call whenever you need something. Lack of fuss in service does not mean lack of quality. Original works by Jean-Michel Baskett and Andy Walhol hang on the walls; Matouk linens and Frette towels add luxury to the stay; Homemade Nespresso and granola coffee machines and baked goods are available 24/7. The pool is set in a landscaped garden when the temperature warms up, while the fire pit is ready for a relaxing evening. The common area and library provide an inviting workspace and the hotel often hosts cultural events, lectures and concerts in collaboration with nearby Bard College.

m. Farmer and Sons near the train station offers the simplicity and efficiency of an airbnb stay and the convenience of staying in a boutique hotel. Songs from the ’60s play on Tivoli’s vintage-style radio as you walk into your room. The rooms are simply but tastefully decorated with long poster beds with plush mattresses and antique furniture. Various card and board games are available in each room. The restaurant (open Thursday to Sunday) which is also open to non-guests has a small but excellent menu. The train can be heard at night but earplugs are provided in the bathrooms. Nice touch.

Rivertown Lodge is located near the east end of Warren Street. The original building that housed a movie theater in 1920 and, later, a hotel for 40 years, has been reborn as the current hotel. It still feels like a hotel from the outside, albeit elegant. The decor is simple and unpleasant. The open plan lobby is homely and welcoming with wood-burning stoves, communal kitchen, free coffee in the morning and well stocked pantry with snacks throughout the day. Beautiful old-fashioned Papillonaire bikes are available for hire to explore around town.

Exit:

The options are endless outside of Hudson City.

Less than 10 minutes from Hudson, Olana Historic Site, a historic home that was home to Frederic Edwin Church—one of the prominent artists of the Hudson River School—is a good place to start. Aside from its historical significance as the home of a prominent cultural figure that has often hosted cultural notables such as Mark Twain, it is well worth a visit for the great view of the Hudson River and the Catskills, as well as the contemplative surroundings.

Outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty of hiking trails, scenic trails, and skiing opportunities in the Catskill Mountains by crossing the Hudson River on the Rip Van Winkle Bridge. For a quick change of landscape in less than an hour, cross the Massachusetts border to explore quaint and idyllic New England cities like Lenox or Stockbridge. Art lovers should drive south along the river to visit the plentiful art centers and museums throughout the Hudson Valley. The Storm King Art Center, Opus 40, and Dia: Beacon are all worth exploring.

In the town of Red Hook, a wander through the Bard College campus will appeal to those interested in art and architecture. This liberal arts college in a rural setting features a mixture of Gothic buildings and modern structures as well as art installations scattered around the spacious campus. See the Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, designed by Frank Gehry, and Olafur Eliasson’s real-life Parliament, a permanent outdoor installation built specifically for Bard College.

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