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  • Writer's pictureAmy Leggett

Plan A Great Afternoon (or Weekend) in Hudson, New York!

Hudson is a vibrant small city located between New York City and Albany. It is surrounded by farm country that serves as an agricultural district at the forefront of the farm-to-table movement and is bordered to the west by the Hudson River. This setting adds natural beauty to the stunning architectural beauty in the city limits.

Hudson is the perfect place to spend a leisurely afternoon (or weekend), especially if you love antiques, art, history, architecture, great shopping, and excellent food! I think everyone should fall into one of those categories making Hudson a great destination that has something for each traveler in your group.

Hudson's Interesting (and Tawdry) History

  • Hudson started as a whaling port in the 1700's and was also used to get ships out to sea without drawing attention from the Royal Navy.

  • Hudson was the first chartered city in the US in 1785 and the first planned American city based on a modern grid.

  • As whaling declined, it became a thriving industrial hubs with lots of factories and manufacturing, but it also became known for added "entertainment" to sailors and laborers in the form of bars, gambling and brothels that existed all over the city in semi-secrecy.

  • Many of the homes on Diamond Street were converted to brothels and it is rumored that the longest running craps game in history (two and a half years!) took place at one of these establishments in Hudson.

  • During prohibition, Hudson became a major supplier of illicit beer to New York. It is believed that beer runners used a tunnel to the waterfront to secretly fill the barges with beer.

  • Hudson's "wild" side came to a quick and abrupt end in the 1950's when FBI agents sealed off every entrance to the city and began making arrests (starting in the brothels on Diamond Street!).Some of those arrested were members of law enforcement!

  • These facts and more can be found on the Visit Hudson NY website.

Hudson Is An Architectural Lover's Haven

When Hudson's fortune as a whaling port and subsequent manufacturing hub eventually declined, Hudson was ignored as a candidate for urban renewal. As a result, many of the city's historic buildings have remained in tact. Various architectural styles from each era in the city's history remain and many have been restored and meticulously maintained. This gives visitors to Hudson the ability to walk through architectural history as they wander the streets. There are architectural examples of 18th Century Nantucket, Federal style buildings, Victorian and 20th century Arts and Crafts style structures scattered throughout the city.

Hudson Has the Best Antique Shopping in the Northeast

If you are an antique lover, you have probably already spent some time browsing the various antiques dealers in Hudson. Hudson has been dubbed one of the best destinations for antique hunters. It makes sense in view of the restoration and renewal that has occurred over the years in Hudson. All of those restored structures must have contained a treasure trove of antiques and historically relevant items. You can be the star of your own "American Picker" show as you dig through all of the treasures with other antique hunters. There are several antique and vintage stores on Warren Street and the surrounding area. There is also a huge Antique Warehouse on the river front (where Hudson Brewing Company is also located just in case you are in need of sustenance after all that antique shopping).

Hudson Has Amazing Local Shopping As Well

Warren Street is the main commercial thoroughfare in Hudson and it is filled with local shops selling those previously mentioned antique and vintage items, designer clothes and accessories, jewelry, home decor and furniture, vinyl records, books, gifts, gourmet cheese, wine and chocolates...the list goes on. There is a vibrant mix of businesses that offer unique and hand-crafted items. There is a very artsy vibe in the town which is enhanced by the many art galleries, performance venues and shops selling the unique crafts. Find a list of all of the shops in Hudson here. Here are a few of my favorite stores on Warren Street:

  • Hudson Clothier: A clothing store for men and women with all American made items. They had some awesome accessories like bold jewelry, leather belts and adorable leather purses. Their selection of women's clothing was great with both trendy and classic options to create the foundation of your wardrobe with quality American made products. You can pre-browse their selections here.

  • loup: Another women' store, but it's styles focus specifically on "real-women" with curves and they offer a selection of pants that claim to have the "perfect fit with modern ease". I didn't make a purchase that day, but they had some very cute styles and I am definitely considering a purchase on line to try them out (since I am one of those "real women" they are targeting!). They had several other cute t-shirts and sweatshirts with trendy sayings (including an iconic line from Jennifer Coolidge in last season's White did they get it out so fast?!?). You can check out their styles here. If you make a purchase, let me know what you think!

  • Grapefruit Wines: Unfortunately this store was closed when we were visiting. I put it on my list of favorites anyway because it looks so cute and I want to taste the grapefruit wine they sell! I guess it gives me a specific reason to head back to Hudson!

  • The Spotty Dog Books & Ale: The Spotty Dog is a charming bookstore with a full bar inside! To me, there is nothing like the feel and smell of a bookstore. I miss going into a cozy little bookstore and browsing around. Here you can do it with your favorite adult beverage!

Hudson is a Foodie Mecca As Well

Due to Hudson's location in the middle of an agricultural community that was at the forefront of the farm-to-table movement, it is no surprise that there are plenty of delicious restaurants to try when you visit. Because there is an abundance of produce and products from the local farms nearby (including many from organic, heirloom and biodynamic farmers), Hudson is an attractive location for both star and up and coming chefs to open restaurants in town.

Here are some of the restaurants that caught my eye (but there are many more so do your research before you go):

Grazin' Farm to Table: Direct:

We grabbed a quick lunch at Grazin' Farm to Table: Direct, an organic diner and the first Animal Welfare Approved restaurant in the world. All of the meat served at the diner comes from a farm that is also owned by the owners of Grazin'. A majority of the other ingredients used come from organic and local/in-state farms. The owners also started Grazin' Spirits and Unburdened Distillery that produces gin, vodka and craft bourbon aged in white oak barrels made in the Adirondacks. You can sample the Unburdened spirits in the newly created tasting room at Grazin'. Check out the full Grazin' story and their menu on their website.

Bar Bene:

Bar Bene is a speakeasy style wine bar on Warren Street with a gift store in the front. Bar Bene was operating on winter hours and was closed when we were there, but we stopped in to browse in the gift shop and I captured some pictures of the bar area. It has a cool, vintage feel in the bar area and I would definitely check this out if it is open when you visit. Check out what they are pouring and what they are serving when you visit by checking out their website here.

Baba Louie's:

This restaurant serves all-natural, wood-fired sourdough pizza. They are "gluten free and vegan everyday". We didn't stop here this time, but it was packed for lunch so to me that means it must be delicious! They also have take and bake options! Check it out here.

Culture Cream:

Culture Cream serves probiotic living ice creams and sorbets made with kefir and kombucha. Again, we didn't have time to stop but it sounds really interesting! I'd like to try it out on my next visit. Check out all of their unique flavors and a description of their "healthy" ice cream here. Their tag line is "Get Cultured. Eat Culture Cream". Love it!

Hudson Brewing Company:

In the spirit of Hudson's infamous history as a supplier of illicit beer during Prohibition, having a craft brewery in Hudson only seems fitting. However, when Hudson Brewing Company opened in 2015 it was surprisingly the first brewery in Hudson since Prohibition. Hudson Brewing Company is a little off the main Warren Street drag. It is located in the large Antique Warehouse by the river front. After an afternoon of shopping on Warren Street, we took the short drive over to Hudson Brewing Company for a quick refreshment. In addition to the bar where you can sample the various craft beers (and cider), they have an outdoor food truck to provide something to gnosh on while you sip. It has a very cool and casual atmosphere with a great outdoor space when weather is warmer. We were able to catch the end of the Buffalo Bills game at the same time! Win/Win!

Conclusion..Get Yourself to Hudson for a Day Trip or a Weekend Getaway!

Hudson is a perfect day trip from NYC or Saratoga (or other upstate locations). There is a lot to see and several restaurants you may want to try, so Hudson would be a great place for a weekend getaway as well. It was a little dead in January, but it would be so much fun to visit in the Spring, Summer or Fall when things are bustling and everything is open.

Hudson has a little something for everyone and I love its' cool, artsy vibe. I highly recommend a visit!

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