For years, New Yorkers looking to escape the hustle of city life have wandered east to the small beach towns of Long Island. But the homogenization of the Hamptons, including that of its easternmost hamlet, Montauk, has exhausted much of the island’s quaint appeal. For the best of small-town New York, weekenders now turn northward to the Hudson Valley, a region comprised of more than 7,000 square miles between New York City and Albany. Within these poles lies Hudson, the region’s budding culture center, a small town with an industrial past that has amassed enough creative capital in recent years to satisfy even the most skeptical New Yorkers. To top it all off, Hudson also boasts some of the finest historic sights in the States, along with an impressive food scene that punches well above its weight. Here’s how to make the most of a weekend trip to America’s new small-town darling.
What to Do
Constructed in 1874 to guide ships around the Middle Ground Flats, the Hudson-Athens Lighthouse is an icon of the region. Though it’s certainly visible from the shore, those pining for a closer look should kayak from Henry Hudson Riverfront Park across the train tracks on Front Street. We recommend bringing along the travel-friendly Oru Beach Kayak ($1,175).
Those looking to stay on firm ground would be wise to explore the town’s score of secondhand furniture stores (Hudson Supermarket, Arenskjold Antiques) and contemporary boutiques (Hawkins New York, Flowerkraut) on Warren Street. The independent arts and culture venue Basilica Hudson, meanwhile, hosts an ongoing stream of concerts, art shows and film screenings not likely to be found anywhere elsewhere in the Valley — let alone much of the country.
TUDOR Heritage Black Bay Bronze: Bronze watches are the new reclaimed barn wood of the horological world: tough (it’s anti-corrosive) and quick to develop a beautiful patina. Take the Black Bay Bronze’s case material as an invitation to wear it in the great outdoors. If it happens to get scratched, you’re not damaging your investment — you’re building the story it’ll tell for generations. And on the leather strap, markings help construct the “well-worn” look. Buy Now: $3,975
Where to Eat
Hudson owes much of its reputation as a culinary institution to Zakary Pelaccio. The former New York City-based chef recently won a James Beard Award for his work at Fish & Game, a restaurant focusing on seasonally driven farm-to-table cuisine. Upholding his farm-to-table theme, Grazin’ on Warren Street serves ethically sourced meat via diner classics, including an excellent grass-fed burger from the farm Grazin’ Angus Acres in Ghent, New York. For coffee, try Moto Coffee Machine and peruse the selection of vintage bikes that routinely gather outside.
TUDOR Heritage Black Bay 36: Some might be shocked that TUDOR’s newest do-it-all timepiece is only 36mm. Those in the know aren’t only unsurprised; they’re elated. The Black Bay 36 exudes everyday wear in any situation, especially on its steel bracelet. Its smaller diameter and glossy black dial with white luminescent snowflake hands work just as well with a t-shirt as they do a tux. That’s perfect for Hudson, where you might find yourself helping a local get his Farmall tractor restarted before heading out to an art exhibition at the property next door. Buy Now: $2,850 (steel bracelet)
Where to Stay
For lodging, we recommend Rivertown Lodge, Hudson’s premier boutique hotel, set in a renovated movie theater from the 1920s. There are 27 rooms, each outfitted with brass light fixtures and custom-made beds from the Brooklyn design firm Workstead. If fully booked, alternatives include the Inn at Hudson, a former Dutch/Jacobean mansion designed in 1903, and Wm. Farmer & Sons, which boasts an adjacent bar and restaurant.