The sky was turning to blue dusk. Our headlights skimmed off the smooth dark tree trunks that lined the winding back roads. To our left the lonely fields were barren except for the brittle remnants of wildflowers. Faster we raced around each curve ,the bright glowing orb of light closely approaching. At last a break in the trees reveled a small dirt road leading up to a dairy farm. With the same anticipation and nerves of Bonnie and Clyde we wrapped around the tight curve and leapt out of the car. The dust still whirling around us, John screamed "GO, GO, GO" and the piercing headlight came into view with a long low whistle . We had eclipsed the train just in time to watch the engine lumber across the valley and were struck dumb in its presence. A seemingly endless procession passed before us, rusting, marked and skeletal. A light wind rattled the bones of the old wildflowers and mimicked the rapid palpitations in our chests. Wrapped in heavy silence, the days of depression era vagabonds on our minds , we walked back down the road. Back inside our car, headlights illuminating the tracks, the silence was broken with the words, "happy anniversary deer*, I got you a train."
We came to the Hudson River valley on a whim. Always in search of places we have never been before we dove headlong into research - places to hike, places to grab food and of course local oddities. Thanks to Air bnb, a form of booking we only could have dreamed of 6 years ago on our first round of adventures, we had found a reasonable scandinavian style apartment. We pulled onto our street just about dusk, located the key strategically placed under the flowerpot and within 15 seconds had broken it off into the lock.....luckily one of our hosts was available to come to our rescue and that's how we met Zach. Headlamp and an assortment of tools in tow we spent an hour combining our resources (aka watching you tube videos) in order to try and break back into the apartment. With our luck looking grim Zach urged us to try and find some food while he found a solution to our predicament.
While our host was forced to become a burglar to his own home we checked out one of his restaurant recommendations and ended up at Swoon. Deciding we deserved a celebration we dined on celery root carpaccio, bacon wrapped dates and drank copious amounts of wine. And yes we eventually did end up safe and sound in a real bed not in the backseat of our car as we have become accustomed to.
The next day we picked up a breakfast sandwich at the local greasy spoon and headed out on the open highway towards Woodstock. My dad had attended the very first one and there's always been a part of me that had wanted to see it for myself. The town lies on a sleepy stretch of highway consisting of one main road dotted with head shops and record stores. While currently unimposing, one could see how the area would have been transformed with an influx of thousands of colorful young hippies. From there we headed southwest stopping along the way at odd intervals to check out a vintage clothing store, a scandinavian Kafe and some abandoned train tracks. Everything along the route seemed so surreal as if placed there and forgotten. Eventually we found the much revered Phoenicia diner, a gorgeous retro glass panned restaurant nestled into the mountains foothills. Having no shortage of farms around, everything served was local and it was possibly the best breakfast we had ever had.
The rest of our days were spent tasting local brews, going on small hikes and getting lost on the back roads. While the downtown area of Hudson is predominately industrial,the surrounding areas are a beautiful mix of blue hills, pine forests,and farms. We made acquaintance of some horses, stumbled upon crumbling houses and stood before waterfalls. In contrast the overall most notable part about Hudson is that every shop seemed to be a hybrid. There is a bookstore/bar/art store, a bar/gallery/design house and a coffee bar/Waffle House/motorcycle shop - one stop shops seem to be where it's at.
Departing the city we made it a point to see Olana, the historic home of Fredrick Church which sits atop an expansive hill overlooking the river. While downtown Hudson does have its charms, the countryside atmosphere of Olana is the setting where we felt most drawn to. Being artists and lovers of history we found the structure a marvel to behold, covered in middle eastern inspired patterns, with tall towers, huge picture windows, a vast art collection and more Turkish rugs than we could count.
Overall Hudson is an old factory town on it's way to refinement. It is a destination that ultimately depends on what type of person you are. If you are like us in that that you appreciate an unplanned adventure than you will have to go outside the city to seek your thrills. However if you're the type of person who appreciates a charming town to relax, stroll and eat delicious food in than Hudson is the perfect place for you!
* the word "dear" is intentionally misspelled as "deer" in the context that it is a nickname John and I use for each other
Coffee: Moto | Single origin espresso, waffles and motorcycles for sale - a true one stop shop | http://www.motohudson.com/
Breakfast: Phoenicia Diner | Built in the early 1950s it sits nestled into the surrounding hills beautifully restored serving only fresh local ingredients.Things to try - the classic mimosa and theArnold Bennett (trout scrambled eggs with creme fresh) |https://www.facebook.com/PhoeniciaDiner/
Drinks: Or | Icelandic inspired bar with a great selection of drafts, house cocktails and cozy fireplace. Drinks to try : REFRESHÖR | https://www.orgalleryandtavern.com/
Vintage: Always Neu | Located on rt 28 shop presents an un assuming store front but don't be fooled it hosts a fantastic vintage clothing/accessories enclave |https://www.alwaysneu.com/
Modern Apparel: Artists and Revolutionaries | located at 445 Warren street this shop is host to minimal contemporary designs in linen and hand dyed fabrics | http://www.artistsandrevolutionaries.com/
Historic: Olana | The historic middle eastern inspired home of Fredrick Church sits right outside the city overlooking the river valley. Tours run ever hour - online reservations recommended |http://www.olana.org/