We've partnered with Silvercar, an app-based car rental service featuring premium Audis, to highlight awesome, food-centric weekend and week-long road trips from New York.
I’m as prone to feeling antsy when I don’t get out of the city every few months as I am to letting the usual excuses—no car, not enough time, too busy at work—get in the way of planning escapes. I recently resolved to stop complaining and start traveling more, in manageable overnights and short weekend trips. And since I’ve been hearing about how cool Hudson, New York, is for years now, I decided to make that my next destination.
A two-hour drive from New York City, the artsy village, located in the Hudson Valley near the Catskills, has everything you could want in a weekend away: plenty of arts and culture, great shopping, excellent food, and expansive nature. It’s also home to one of Food52’s favorite makers, Hawkins New York. So rather than fend for myself when it came to planning, I asked Hawkins co-founder Paul Denoly for his favorite spots in—and just outside of—town.
“There’s something to do in Hudson all four seasons,” Paul tells me by phone. “It’s a great summer retreat—all the swimming holes and hikes, cultural activities, and plenty of museums. In the wintertime you can go skiing nearby. It’s just an amazing place year-round.”
Not least of all because of the passionate and interesting folks who call Hudson home, and will happily share even more recommendations if you ask. “That’s the best way to go about it,” he says. “The local people here are incredibly friendly, and you’ll find the best tips for swimming holes, hikes, or things to do from word of mouth.” In case you don't run into Paul while you’re there, here are his best tips for hanging out in Hudson.
On your way up to Hudson—and once you’re there, for that matter—taking in the scenery and enjoying the journey is kind of the whole point. “When Nick and I first moved up here, one of our favorite activities was taking long country drives and allowing ourselves to get lost,” Paul says. “It’s such a beautiful landscape, with the rolling hills and Hudson River and incredibly diverse architecture.” So don’t forget to enjoy the drive!
Since it’s a relatively short trip, you certainly don’t need to take any breaks along the way if you’re anxious to get upstate. But if you’re interested in the arts, Paul points out that you can easily stop at Storm King Arts Center (a 500-acre sculpture garden on rolling hills featuring large-scale works by big names like Alexander Calder and Andy Goldsworthy; 1 Museum Road, New Windsor, NY; open April 4–August 31, Wednesday–Sunday, 10:00 a.m.–5:30p.m.) or Dia:Beacon (a serene and sizable outpost of the NYC-based art foundation; 3 Beekman St, Beacon, NY; 845-440-0100; open Thursday–Monday, 11:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.).
For a home base right in the middle of downtown, Paul recommends a stay at Rivertown Lodge, a cozy 27-room inn on Warren Street. But don’t just stay for the location and thoughtful design. “The food and cocktails at Rivertown Tavern are fantastic,” he says. “Especially for brunch.” 731 Warren St, Hudson; 518-512-0954.
For a unique dinner out, don’t miss Little Deb's, which Paul describes as a quirky but unforgettable tropical restaurant. “They're inspired by cuisines from all over the world that are tropical in nature,” he says. “It's a really fun, casual environment, young and hip, and they’re very supportive of the young creative community that lives up here—being part of it themselves.” Paul holds the ceviche of the day in high regard, as well as salchipapas, an addictive, crispy potato snack made with local hot dogs. And despite being “as far as you can get from a vegetarian,” his favorite thing to order is the plata tropical, a vegetarian dish of lentils and garlicky greens. 747 Columbia St Hudson; 518-828-4307.
For a casual bite, pick up delicious cheeses and meats, plus some prepared foods, at Talbott & Arding. “Everything they do is super simple, which lets the quality of the products they use really shine through,” Paul says. “Their love and passion for what they do definitely goes into what they make—and Kate, their operations manager, is one of the foremost experts on cheese in the country.” The roast beef sandwich and chocolate chip cookies with walnuts and sea salt are two of Paul’s favorites, as is chicken bouillon on a chilly night. 323 Warren Street, Hudson; 518-828-3558.
According to Paul, this spot from James Beard Award-nominated chef Zak Pelaccio is the premier fine dining experience in Hudson. “They’re extremely supportive of local farms and agriculture,” he says, “and the whole team just really puts a lot of passion into everything that they do.” The menu, which was formerly tasting-menu only, is now à la carte, but Paul points out that you can order the tasting menu if you book it ahead of time. 13 South 3rd Street, Hudson; 518-822-1500.
From the team behind Fish & Game, Back Bar is a slightly more casual, relaxed environment with lower prices and a globally inspired menu featuring dishes like ramen and ma po tofu. “In the summertime they have an outdoor area that’s really fun—plus some truly excellent cocktails.” 347 Warren Street, Hudson; 518-828-0567.
If you’ve got a car with you, drive across the river to Athens to check out the scenery and Paul’s favorite bakery (in the summer, you can take a ferry on foot). While Paul and Nick regularly cross the river “just for the bread alone,” the bakery also serves a full breakfast and lunch, including a great mushroom toast dish. 44 2nd Street, Athens; 518-444-4705.
“We have some incredibly knowledgeable antique dealers up here," Paul says. “And in my opinion, one of the most beautiful stores is Vincent Mulford. He’s been here for a long time and continues to be really active in the community and bringing Hudson forward.” 417-419 Warren St, Hudson; 518-828-5489.
According to Paul, Red Chair is another highlight. “She does a lot of European, predominantly Scandinavian and French, antiques,” he says. “She’s got a beautiful, beautiful collection of vintage linens and glassware.” 606 Warren Street, Hudson; 518-828-1158.
From a value and quality point of view, 4 is one of Paul’s favorite antiques shops. It’s named 4 because it’s actually a collective of four dealers: The Hudson Mercantile, Ida’s Eye, Warren on Warren, and Tandem Antiques. “They have a sort of funny, eclectic mix of periods in the store,” says Paul. “This is where Nick and I have probably bought the most of our own antiques, from upholstered chairs to a repurposed industrial work bench that’s now our kitchen island.” 557 Warren Street, Hudson; 518-828-0728.
Don’t miss the chance to stop by and say hello—and admire Nicholas and Paul's great taste. If you’re not already familiar, expect lots of pretty things for the home, from textiles to gorgeous ceramics to handmade wooden cutting boards. (You may recognize more than a few things from Food52’s site!) 613 Warren Street (518) 721-8394.
While there are many opportunities to hike or fish in the area, Paul suggested this state park and waterfall as a great afternoon trip for out-of-towners. The park straddles the line between New York and Massachusetts, about a 30 minute drive from Hudson; nearby Taconic State Park is another great option too.
If you feel like picking up some fresh produce, eggs, or pastured meat on your way back home, stop by Kinderhook Farm, which Paul swears is the cleanest farm he's ever seen in his life. There are free guided tours on Sundays, as well as a farm store you can visit anytime. Like it enough to stay? There’s also a farm cottage you can rent out, too. 1958 Country Road, Valatie, NY.
The Won Dharma Center hosts daily meditations and retreats, but also offers self-guided meditation walking trails through the countryside. “Architecturally, it’s stunning—it’s really modern,” says Paul. “And there are some lovely sculptures there as well.” 361 State Route 23 Claverack, NY; 518-851-2581.
Do you have any favorite road trips from New York? Let us know about them in the comments!
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