Use Your Vacation Time!
Susanna and I both had some vacation days to use up before the end of 2017 and we aren’t like most Americans who left 662 million vacation days on the table in 2016 according Project Time Off. We always use every single day of time off earned from our workplaces every year and 2017 would be no different. Our requirements for this adventure were a bit different than some others. It was last minute and we didn’t feel like flying so we had a couple of constraints right from the start.
Why Hudson New York?
The more I explore New York State the more I enjoy it and have come to appreciate all that it has to offer. Not only do we have the diversity, culture, energy, size, pace, food and drink mecca that is the New York City (NYC) area but we also have some of the best beaches and the millions, that’s right I said millions, of acres of nature accessible further north in the Adirondack and Catskill mountain ranges among others. However, the focus of this latest blog doesn’t focus on the beaches in Long Island or the mountain ranges in the Catskills or Adirondacks but rather Hudson, a city located two hours north of NYC on the eastern side of the Hudson River in Columbia County. Susanna had some friends who spent some time there and it garnered high marks. She did some research, we talked and agreed to go on a weekend adventure.
Hudson’s past includes that it was a manufacturing town and it experienced both booms and busts. During its boom manufacturing times in the 19th century landowners built large Victorian homes. During the bust times in the late 19th and early 20th centuries Hudson experienced a lot of gambling and prostitution. A lot of the homes built in the 19th century still exist and I was looking forward to seeing the architecture. You can access more of Hudson’s past here. In addition to its architecture, Hudson is easily accessible from NYC via the train. It is small, walkable, is experiencing a renaissance of sorts as a location for artists and entrepreneurs, and it has a blossoming food and drink scene. I purposely did not look at any photos of Hudson before the trip because I wanted to see it with a fresh set of eyes and envision the photos I would create upon arrival. As of the 2010 census, Hudson had approximately 6,700 people with 59% being White, 25% Black, 0.4% Native American, 7.1% Asian and 8.2% Hispanic / Latino. The median household income was about $35,000.
We caught the Amtrak train from Pennsylvania Station and after a two hour ride we arrived in Hudson. We took an evening train and weren't able to enjoy the views along the Hudson River. Upon arrival we de-boarded and noticed that a light snow had just fallen which provided a light dusting.
We exited the train station and walked the two blocks to the Inn where we were staying, Wm Farmer & Sons. Once we reached Wm Farmer we were greeted by Sarah Cody, the Guest Services Manager. She was quite pleasant, informative and checked us in. Wm Farmer is a beautiful place in a renovated old building. Our room had a king size bed, a nice sitting area and a gas fireplace. We were immediately comfortable and knew we'd have an enjoyable time. But things were about to get better. We went downstairs to the restaurant within Wm Farmer & Sons, secured two spots at the bar and proceeded to have an amazing meal.
I'm an oyster fan and they had oysters from Massachusetts that evening. The oysters were great and that was followed up with a queso fundido and chorizo appetizer. For the main course I ordered the steak, Susanna had the trout and we ordered up an apple crisp for dessert. At various times throughout that dining experience I had a couple of different cocktails from the bartenders who offered several recommendations. That was one awesome experience and worth every cent i.e., it wasn't cheap! We both thought the food and service at Wm Farmer & Sons were on par with the restaurants in New York City and it could easily hold it's own there. After dinner we walked around the corner to Warren Street, the main street through town, for a walk and I took a few snaps.
The following day I took some photos of Wm Farmer and Sons.
Our plan for this day initially started with breakfast at Cafe Le Perche, a bakery, bar and cafe. It was a few minutes walk down Warren Street. Once there we went to the back to the dining room and got a table. There was a wood burning fire place which was burning in the dining area. It was quite cozy and we got some recommendations from our friendly waitress on what to eat and where to go in town. There were two other patrons in the restaurant and they were talking about local politics. The food here was also amazing and they had some delicious jams. They baked their bread in a building accessible behind the dining room. After breakfast we proceeded further down Warren Street. Susanna stopped into one shop and I did some shooting. I really liked the architecture of many of the old buildings and houses. I was heartened to see that many store fronts and homes support the Black Lives Matter movement as shown by signs everywhere, which I did not expect.
There were many shops along the way but it was still early and most weren't open yet. As we kept walking down Warren Street we wandered into a gallery specializing in photography and ended up talking with the gallery owner, Jacob Elbaz and Neta Margalit, his employee. Jacob is an award winning documentary photographer, photojournalist and art dealer. He splits his time between Israel and New York and established the gallery as a way for artists to come together to create and exhibit their works of art. We spent about an hour touring this amazing gallery and talking with Jacob.
After leaving the gallery we walked a bit more and I ended up exploring some of the side streets to get some more shots of the city.
After taking photos and exploring some of the galleries we wandered into the Spotty Dog - Books & Ale. This is a bookstore that also serves beer on tap. I think you all know how this turned out but if you don't allow me to educate you. Susanna went to browse and purchase a book or two and some other items and get some tea. I planted myself at the bar and ordered up an IPA followed by a couple more. They had the friendliest staff and patrons, some of which were NYC transplants.
I could have spent the rest of the day here but we needed more food as it was past lunch time. We ended up at a barbecue joint named American Glory. This restaurant was in a restored firehouse. I had some pretty good ribs. The main draw here for me is that they had chilled whisky on tap, although I didn't partake.
We ended up heading back to Wm Farmer and grabbed a nap. Once up we went to a place called the OR Tavern. This tavern was about a 10 minute walk away and is a converted garage. It has an Icelandic theme in terms of its decor and vibe. Susanna and I have both been to Iceland and this tavern transported us back to the country. It was a spacious place where the locals hung out. It had a pool table with a nice bar and a fire place. Susanna ordered up some hummus and olives and I ordered a beer. We had found another cozy place to spend some time during our relaxing weekend getaway. After a couple of beers we went back to Wm Farmer. We weren't hungry but we did grab some oysters before retiring to the room and turning on the gas fireplace.
The next day we had to catch the train back to NYC but I created a few more images again in town and right near the train station. We did breakfast again at Cafe Le Perche as the place was that good. One of the patrons from the previous day was there again but this time he was with someone different but having another conversation about the goings on in town.
We had a really nice time in Hudson and will definitely be back. It's easy to see why people are relocating here as the place has character and charm while being laid back and cozy. We hope that the city continues on the upswing and that the local residents benefit from this increase in economic expansion. I hope you enjoyed this blog post and think about making a visit to Hudson. Until next time.