Monday, November 10, 2008

Pour un bon weekend: Hudson, NY

For New York City readers, here's a post-election-elation suggestion for a not-so-lazy weekend:

If you have a car, drive to Hudson in Columbia County. It's 2 hours from the city if you leave at the right time: Friday night (9:00 pm) or very early - for a Saturday - the next morning (9:00 am). There are several bed and breakfasts in town, most within walking distance to Warren Street, where most of the action is.

If you don't have a car, the Amtrak train station is just blocks from Warren Street. And if you're not interested in all the hiking and bucolic scenery available minutes away (as well as the lovely Olana, Frederick Edwin Church's historic home), you will find plenty for one rewarding day.

Hudson is an architectural gem. All of its 18th and 19th century buildings lining Warren Street have been lovingly restored and house some of the most extraordinary antiques and housewares stores you will find anywhere - it's considered a decorator's mecca. But there are also galleries, interesting clothing shops, bookstores and cafes.

Also, this region is the cradle of of the Hudson River School of painting, and you will find much of the art shown in galleries in that tradition. My favorite: Carrie Haddad, who has always shown impeccable taste in her selections. If you don't watch out, you might tell yourself that new laptop can wait and you'd rather invest in very affordable, karma-boosting, top-quality art.

Accross the street from Carrie Haddad is Le Gamin. If you decide to have lunch there, take the paper and interesting topics for conversation with you. This is Hudson and the world has slowed down. The waitresses are indeed French and luckily didn't forget to pack their attitudes; though if you visit more than once, you'll realize they're very warm and friendly. Mais plus importante, your meal will have been worth every minute waited. It's a beautiful restaurant and the back half is an antiques shop (naturellement!). They also sell hand made, unbelievably aromatic soaps.

There is lots more to see and do, just stroll down Warren Street, you will find it. And return restored and very relaxed.


Top: Warren Street
Bottom: Carrie Haddad Gallery and Le Gamin