SINCE THE DAYS when Albany was a town called Beverwyck, people have come to the Hudson Valley to make their fortunes. Once these were trappers, farmers, sawyers and wheelwrights, or immigrants drawn by America’s canal boom. Today’s influx is similar: farmers, brewers, sawyers and weavers—but many of them hail from Brooklyn.
“We’re from Brooklyn and moved here four years ago, typical story,” said Kari Lorenson, who founded KHEM Studios in the town of Stanford, a maker of furniture and homewares, with husband Erik Guzman. It was the light and skies that particularly inspired her, said Ms. Lorenson, a former sculptor. (That same light captured the attention of the Hudson River School painters in the mid 19th Century.) For this wave of entrepreneurs, the Hudson Valley is a rich source of resources that have been underused since the decadeslong decline of the Valley’s former wealth and industrial glory. Those particular conditions suit their mission: to recycle, repurpose and/or hand-make locally sourced, small-batch items.
The trend—which started roughly 20 years ago, and picked up steam in the past 5 to 10—paused only briefly during the Covid pandemic, according to Mike Oates, president of the Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation. It’s yielded a charming array of new offerings, many launched within the past few years: restaurants serving creative, country-style food; shops that focus on process and design; cideries that make mead and bakeries that use wild yeast.
Also surging: hotels that recall the glory days of the great estates that once lined the riverbanks—though the guests are more likely to arrive by
than steamboat. Our three itineraries suggest such hotels as your home base, highlight the new makers and their wares, and include forays into nature and cultural activities. Smart travelers will pack a cooler, since much of the bounty is food and drink.
Hudson, N.Y. | 119 Miles from New York City
Friday 1 p.m. Head for Hudson, a former whaling town high above the river, once renowned for its red light district, and now a haute tourist town. Here the Maker hotel lets visitors role-play the maker trend: Lavishly decorated guest rooms themed after craft-professions create a fantasy of writers and gardeners living in velvet-coverlet splendor, surrounded by original art and antiques (from $475 a night).
4 p.m. Shop on Warren Street, Hudson’s main drag. At Minna, founder Sara Berks works with artisans in Central and South America to make earthy, graphic, hand-woven home goods (421 Warren St.). Unracked owner Laura Ellner sources her agate-encrusted handbags and quilted robes from small and emerging designers, some local (234 Warren St.).
6 p.m. Post-shopping, hit Cafe Mutton, where chef Shaina Loew-Banayan’s Friday night dinners test patrons’ commitment to old-fashioned foods, with a changing weekly menu of dishes such as oeuf en gelée (egg jellied in aspic) or spaghetti with chicken gizzards (757 Columbia St.)
8 p.m. A few doors from the Maker, Culture Cream scoops ice cream laden with probiotics and foraged ingredients such as wild rose petals (318 Warren St.)
Saturday 9 a.m. For breakfast, try cult-favorite bakery Breadfolks, which opened in 2020, for artful, natural-fermentation loaves made from organic ingredients by a former Vogue photographer (322 Warren St.).
10 a.m. Hit the road to Windham Mountain, 30 miles to the west, for a chairlift accessible ridgeline hike and mountain biking.
2 p.m. Refresh with hearty sandwiches and newfangled, cold-pressed juices like rainbow-carrot with pineapple-mint at new cafe Little Rico (437 Warren St.).
3 p.m. Nonprofit Churchtown Dairy, 15 minutes from downtown, gives tours on Saturday at 3:30, rain or shine. A highlight: seeing the cows come in for milking (357 County Road 12).
4:30 p.m. Kaaterskill Market in downtown Catskill, just across the bridge from Hudson, stocks home goods such as cutting boards from local KHEM Studios (428 Main St.).
6 p.m. Also in Catskill, check out Left Bank Ciders, founded in 2020 by three friends who were inspired by the natural climate-control—and fermentation potential—of an unloved cellar space. Try their crisp, delicate brews sourced from wild and mountain apples (150 Water St.)
Sunday 10 a.m. After checking out of the Maker back in Hudson, grab breakfast—and fill up the cooler—at pristine local-foodstuffs grocer Talbott & Arding (202 Allen St.).
11 a.m. Sculpture park Art Omi, about 10 miles north in Ghent, mixes city and country in dynamic exhibits, like a “tree” fruited with basketball-hoops by artist Alexandre Arrechea, or trick water-towers by Iván Navarro, set on 120 grass-covered acres (1405 County Route 22).
Kingston, N.Y. | 100 Miles from New York City
Friday 2 p.m. Hilly, hipster Kingston has long been an epicenter for creative change. Base yourself at the Hutton Brickyards, a contemporary 2021 cabin hotel on the riverside site of a reimagined brickworks factory. The grounds are so tranquil you may be tempted to book a spa treatment or a sauna session, then dine in (from about $295 a night).
Saturday 9 a.m. After breakfast, which arrives on your doorstep at the Brickyards, get an early start for A Day Away Kayak Rentals, about a 10-minute drive inland through the waterfront district. You’ll paddle along Rondout Creek, where British soldiers once arrived in ships to burn the town (944 NY-213)
12 p.m. Refuel on new-school sandwiches such as grilled cheese with kimchi, or egg salad with garden radish and pea shoots at farm-fresh Village Grocery & Refillery, which opened last year near the waterfront (2 Jansen Ave.). Then drive around the bend to the Broadway shopping strip to stroll shops that emphasize craftsmanship: Clove & Creek stocks overall-dresses, fashion work-jackets and colorful, hand-dyed Found My Animal leashes, which are made in Kingston and help raise money for rescue organizations (73 Broadway).
2 p.m. Another new project, Branchwater Farms, 18 miles east of Kingston in Milan, comes from wine-industry professionals Robin Touchet and Kevin Pike, who make spirits using their own grain. Taste their first available releases—including a dry gin and pear brandy—in a loft above the distillery (818 Salisbury Turnpike).
5 p.m. Nearby, chef Clare de Boer, co-owner of King in Manhattan, has taken the helm at historic former-inn Stissing House in Pine Plains. Ms. De Boer says she makes “luxuriously simple tavern food,” citing a smoked and glazed ham made from pigs who feed on the restaurant’s compost (7801 S. Main St.).
Saturday 10 a.m. Discover Kingston’s rich history as the first capital of New York state—as well as the eastern lock-end of a once-powerhouse canal to Pennsylvania— via two self-guided walking tours about Kingston’s history and architecture from Friends of Historic Kingston (63 Main St.).
1 p.m. On the way back to New York City, stop by brewer, distiller and hops farm Arrowood Farms, where you can dine in the polished taproom, or outdoors from food trucks, and try its farmhouse-style beers (236 Lower Whitfield Road, Accord).
Beacon, N.Y. | About 67 Miles from New York City
Beckoning Beacon, home to the Dia Beacon museum, was the original Hudson Valley renewal location. Drop your bags at the upscale, family-owned Roundhouse Hotel, housed in an old converted factory complex (from about $250 a night).
5 p.m. Wine gets a new treatment, too, at shop and wine bar Paul Brady Wine, opened in 2022 and located 10 minutes away by foot down Main Street. Mr. Brady’s line of natural-leaning house wines are made in collaboration with several New York state winemakers and have names like “Bug Dope” and “Rock + Roll Mouthwash.” Cheese and charcuterie boards are available for a light dinner (344 Main St.).
Churchtown Dairy, 15 minutes from downtown Hudson, gives tours on Saturday at 3:30, rain or shine, and sells many of its products in the farm store, including cheese, beef and pork. Wendell cheese, $24/lb, 357 County Route 12, Hudson
Branchwater Farms, 18 miles east of Kingston in Milan, is run by wine-industry professionals Robin Touchet and Kevin Pike, who make spirits using their own grain. Visitors can come for tastings and to purchase their dry gin (pictured here) or pear brandy. Branchwater Gin, $40, 818 Salisbury Turnpike, Milan
Minna in Hudson stocks graphic hand-woven home goods. Moon Shag Pillow Gold, $215, Minna-Goods.com
Barb’s Butchery in Beacon makes cleaver-stamped skin care with its excess fat. Tallow Balm in Bergamot and Lime, $15, BarbsButchery.com
Clove & Creek in Kingston stocks fashionable clothing as well as colorful, hand-dyed Found My Animal leashes, which are made in Kingston and Brooklyn and raise money for animal welfare. Prismatic Cotton Rope Dog Leash, $64, FoundMyAnimal.com
Culture Cream’s lacto-fermented strawberry ice cream with beet jam.Lacto-Fermented Strawberry Ice Cream With Beet Jam, $12, 318 Warren Street, Hudson
Kaaterskill Market in downtown Catskill, across the bridge from Hudson, stocks home goods such as cutting boards from local KHEM Studios. KHEM Studios Circle Cutting Board in Extra Large Cherry, $90, KaasterskillMarket.com
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS
What are your favorite things to do in the Hudson River Valley? Join the conversation below.
Saturday 10 a.m. Beauty products from the butcher are a natural if still surprising consequence of the movement to use everything. Barb’s Butchery, a short walk from the hotel, makes cleaver-stamped skin care with its excess fat, and serves breakfast (69 Spring St.).
11 a.m. Lewis & Pine, opened in 2018, showcases owner-maker Yali Lewis’ jewelry, much of it inspired by botanicals she picks up on her hikes (133 Main St.).
2 p.m. Couple Jacqui Ferrari Heavens and Dan Heavens bought a vineyard and farm in January 2020, and turned it into Quartz Rock Vineyard in Marlboro, making wines using all estate-grown fruit, including peaches and pears (40 Mountain Road).
8 p.m. For more tastes of the Valley, check out local chef Brian Arnoff’s new project Kitchen Sink Supper Club: The themed, five-course tasting menu called “Summer in the Hudson Valley” is available through Sept. 17. Whenever possible, the Poughkeepsie native’s homegrown menu is sourced with produce from his family’s farm.
Sunday 10 a.m. Beacon’s Little King is a hybrid bakery, cafe and housewares store—stop for scones and souvenirs on your way out of town (199 Main St.)
12 p.m. For your final stop, head about 30 miles northeast to Hickory Ridge Farm (235 Plass Road, Pleasant Valley), home of Hudson Valley cold pressed oil, which turns into a party during high season with cut-your-own sunflowers, live music and a collaborative burger, using meat from cattle that were fed on Hickory Ridge’s spent sunflower meal. Like the Hudson Valley, they’ve come full circle.
Copyright ©2022 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8