Hudson River Valley
(250 miles round-trip from NYC)
Just in time for the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s initial voyage up the river, the Hudson Valley has emerged from a deep slumber. The landmark mansions and mom-and-pop storefronts have been joined by galleries, performance spaces, and flourishing restaurants; locals run the gamut from farmers to art-world heavy hitters (is that Brice Marden at the local tavern?). History meets new energy in our ideal weekend mix.
Lay of the Land
The small cities of Hudson and Beacon bookend this stretch of the Hudson River Valley, with larger Poughkeepsie in the middle. All three suffered a period of decline in the 20th century, but have since gone to great lengths to spruce up their main streets, lined with 18th- and 19th-century buildings running perpendicular to the Hudson River. Hudson in particular has scarcely a vacant storefront left; galleries and cafés join the antiques shops on Warren Street, where goods range from the ancient to the modern—a Sheraton looking glass to a set of Frank Lloyd Wright tables. Spend a lazy afternoon browsing the 12,000-plus volumes at Hudson City Books. • Further downriver, in Annandale-on-Hudson, the Frank Gehry–designed Fisher Center for the Performing Arts landed like a meteor on the Bard College campus, its rippling sheets of stainless steel startling and spectacular amid a landscape still dominated by farms, stone walls, and Calvert Vaux cottages. • Nearby villages Tivoli, Red Hook, and Rhinebeck are abuzz with new enterprises in art, music, and food (just try to find a chain restaurant outlet amid the pick-your-own orchards and cut-your-own flower fields). • Even before the arrival of Dia:Beacon in 2003, artists were already homing in on Beacon as an affordable alternative to New York, but the opening of the contemporary art venue immediately catapulted the working-class town from former “hat-making capital of the U.S.” to essential destination on the international art map. As befits the so-called Brooklyn North, galleries—more than 10 on Main Street alone—dominate the brick storefronts; Homespun Foods, the local coffee spot, percolates all day long; and a resourceful, communal attitude prevails.
—Heather Smith MacIsaac
New York City to Beacon: 62 miles
Beacon to Annandale-on-Hudson: 39 miles
Annandale-on-Hudson to Hudson: 22 miles