With so many places to go in Hudson Valley, here are two destinations to seek out when you just need to venture out of the city.
WINE, MUSIC, WHISKEY AND LUXURY
Named for the Italian resort of ancient Romans and the Renaissance rich, this bucolic Hudson-side village (population: 1,012) in Dutchess County is heating up. Geography helps. Tivoli is only about 2.5 hours outside NYC and just 25 minutes from either Hudson or the increasingly buzzy Eastern Catskills.
This don’t-miss treasure in Tivoli counts food world titan Ruth Reichl as a regular. It’s named for Chef Francis Buitoni’s 5x grandfather, Giovanni Battista Buitoni, who founded the eponymous Buitoni food brand in the mid-19th century (now it’s owned by Nestlé). But don’t hold Nestlé against Francis Buitoni; for his now-closed Mercato Osteria Enoteca in Red Hook, he snagged two James Beard Award nominations and a fanatical following all on his own. At GioBatta, expect simple digs and wildly seductive food—there’s takeout and a market, too.
Everything’s good here, but the bialys are locally famous. Come early for the oniony, un-holed cousins of the bagel—then stay to provision your locally sourced picnic (they’re staunch supporters of local farms here).
Hillrock Estate Distillery
About half an hour east of Tivoli, this lauded producer of fine whiskies not only malts its own barley, but it grows its own grains and barrels and ages onsite. NB: Book ahead for educational tours and time in the tasting room.
Traghaven Whiskey Pub & Co.
Imagine—you’ve dropped your bags. Now it’s time to hit this stove-warmed beer garden and dissolve into summer breezes and an armlong Irish whiskey list. Look for the rarities, and check dates for live music, Irish and otherwise.
A quick walk from GioBatta Alimentari, this 11-room boutique is owned by Brice and Helen Marden, two painters who’ve designed the hotel’s spaces with unexpected furniture, lighting and art. Expect spare aesthetics shot through with arresting colors, textures and objects. Plus, there’s a friendly bar downstairs.
Organized under the focused eye of owner Jill TerMolen-Cornillon, this shop offers goods you won’t find everywhere else. Look for cool toys, natural health & beauty aids, locally made clothing and jewelry, décor and much more.
Milea Estate Vineyard
Snug inside 98 acres of vine-raked hills, the terrace tasting area of the sweet white farmhouse overlooks wide expanses of land, trees and changing skies. It’s a perfect spot for exploring the long history of Hudson Valley winemaking. In New York, the Finger Lakes and the North Fork may get all the press, but American wines were born in the Hudson Valley (Brotherhood Winery, in 1839). Comparatively, Milea is a baby—its first pressing was in 2015—but it’s winning awards, including a Slow Food Snail of Approval.
FOOD, FUNK (AND A WHOLE LOT OF NEW BLOOD)
In the last year or two, everyone’s favorite citified Hudson Valley escape was dealt a whole new hand of cards. Some of its landmarks are gone—most notably Zak Pelaccio’s Fish & Game—but others have been born. If you haven’t been to Hudson lately, it’s time to come back.
While Hudson still mourns the departure of Bonfiglio & Bread, residents are taking comfort in Breadfolks, the artisanal bakery opened mid-pandemic by Norman Jean Roy. A successful photographer, Roy’s celebrity portraits have earned him a place, according to the New York Times, “alongside Slim Aarons and Herb Ritts.” Look for Roy’s earthy, all-natural loaves and francophilic treats: buttery croissants, kouign amman, canelles, plus, novelties like “cruffins.” Given Roy’s camerawork, even its Instagram is a treat.
Dishing out of a gaily striped shack on the grounds of Backbar, this probiotic provisioner debuted in the summer of 2020. Its gorgeously flavored frozen treats are made with living, gut-healthy fermented kefir, kombucha and cream. Even better? The flavors—like Miso Kefir Ice Cream with Honey Roasted Strawberries—follow the seasons and celebrate local ingredients.
Suarez Family Brewery
Some of the finest in local craft beer can be found at this sweet brewery run by Dan Suarez and Taylor Cocalis—they’re not about novelty, so don’t look for bro-magnet hop bombs or pastry stouts here. If the tasting room is open, plan to spend several hours—if not, dedicate trunk space for takeaways.
The most anticipated hotel debut in the Hudson Valley officially opened its rooms in August 2020, though its super swank lounge and café had been garnering oohs and aahs since before the pandemic. Expect over-the-top luxury with minute attention to detail from the owners of Fresh beauty products, Lev Glazman and Alina Roytberg. Its décor draws from fin de siècle and art deco models and was executed—along with most of its furnishings—by local craftspeople.
The Quiet Botanist
A cross between florist and apothecary, this gorgeous little alleyway nook celebrates all things plant-based: exquisitely arranged dried flowers, teas, olive oils, dates, health & beauty aids, candles, incense and the now-requisite sage smudges.
Hudson has been a shopping destination since its pre-dotcom iteration as an antiques mecca. There’s no better way to spend a day here, well-fed and rested, ducking (fully masked!) into a few doors. At Nikki Chasin, you can expect stylish yet timeless clothing that not only fits your body but that can take you anywhere: city, country or even home in bed.
No random jumble of cultural detritus, this laser-curated collection of high-style vintage, contemporary and antique decor will have you dreaming of a perfect living space—well, maybe somewhere, someday.
The Hudson Mercantile
Designer and collector Chris Hebert unearths the best-of-the-best in vintage and antiques. Dying for a pair of Sergio Rodrigues Kilin lounge chairs in jacaranda and leather (circa 1973)? This place is for you.
Feature photo courtesy Culture Cream, by Katiushka Melo.