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Two hours north of Manhattan, Hudson’s main business thoroughfare is the thoroughly entertaining Warren Street, which spans an entire mile. Whether gazing at 19th century row houses, ornate Victorians or stately Federal homes, Hudson’s downtown is a trove of architectural styles.
While some antique stores remain, Hudson is now more of a dining and shopping destination — with a lot of well-curated art, home décor and clothing shops. And aside from a CVS, there isn’t a chain or mall store in sight. Makers and owners run their shops and they tend to have a very personal feel. Bad taste, it seems, just isn’t allowed.
With the hip industrial style employed by many of the business owners, Hudson has its own aesthetic that nods to the past, but with an appealing modern stamp. You can spend a whole weekend walking up one side of Warren Street and down the other while discovering treasures, eating great food and meeting some really interesting residents.
Wm. Farmer & Son welcomes you
You’ll need a place to stay and nowhere could be nicer than the extremely appealing “barroom and boardinghouse,” Wm. Farmer & Son. Although the chef/owner goes by Kirby, he really isnamed William Farmer (as was his father and as is his son). He and his wife Kristan joined three vintage buildings to create an eclectic corner of 16 antique chic rooms and suites, a coffee shop/mercantile and an inviting restaurant and bar with a seasonal menu that’s all set for fall (the Berkshire pork shank is melt-off-the-bone delicious). Plus, there’s an impressive cocktail list. Located just around the corner from Warren Street, the hotel is within walking distance of everything Hudson has to offer, including the actual Hudson River, which is just across the street.
Fragrance inspired by music
2 Note is a bright, white Warren Street shop that’s as clean and fresh as the fragrances, skincare and body care products created by owners Carolyn Mix and Darcy Doniger. Both accomplished musicians, they relocated to Hudson from Portland, Maine and never looked back. Mixing, bottling and labeling everything onsite with only the best ingredients, they’re proud to offer “products with a conscience.” The perfumes at 2 Note are wonderfully evocative — with musical names like Adagio, Canto and Nocturne, which has notes of vetiver, black tea, cardamom and cognac.
Spicy snacks and memorable cocktails
Owned by former New York City restaurant owner Zak Pelaccio, Backbar is casual, inexpensive and all about fun. Housed in a former garage, there’s an inside bar with colorful vintage lighting fixtures and a whole bunch of long wooden tables, both inside and out. Inventive drinks abound, including the Aperol margarita (who knew?). The food is Southeast Asian and the Cumin Lamb Dumplings, both spicy and sweet, comes highly recommended. The kick of the Eggplant Tiger Salad is a nice surprise. On weekends, there’s also a Dim Sum Brunch.
European flair in upstate New York
While there are lots of clothing shops along Warren Street, a favorite has always been de Marchin. Elegantly perched at the top of the street, this lovely little shop has mostly European brands that are timeless and chic at the same time. Twenty-three years ago, owner Paul de Marchin came to Hudson from Belgium, opening a store with the feel of a small shop in Paris. And it’s still thriving today. With one side for women (Pas de Calais, Elemente, Sula, and more) and another for men (Barbour, Relwen, Kato, and more), customers choose from stylish outerwear, super cool shoes, well-tailored clothing items, unique jewelry and gorgeous Italian leather bags by Campomaggi.
A gallery where every show is worth seeing
The Carrie Haddad Gallery was the first fine art gallery to open in Hudson and it’s been going strong since 1991. See an array of emerging artists, mostly from the Hudson Valley, in a variety of disciplines — works on paper, painting, sculpture and photography. Although many art galleries have followed Haddad’s lead, her space and her artists still stand out. A beautiful group show called “Painted Cities” will be on display through Sunday, Nov. 10. The varied cityscapes are the perfect complement to the city of Hudson itself.
Miles of aisles
While Hudson’s recent reinvention was all about antiques, the stores on Warren Street often cater to designers and decorators, so the prices can be high. For a more affordable experience, head down to riverfront where you’ll find The Antique Warehouse and The Warehouse — two connected enterprises with a huge selection of antique and vintage items. From mid-century dining sets and elaborate chandeliers to funky ‘60s clothing and iron outdoor furniture, you’ll find it all inside this hangar-like space. While in that area, check out Basilica Hudson, a spectacular reclaimed 1880s industrial building that’s now home to music, art and shopping events.
A few other favorites…
— For fresh croissants and other breakfast and lunch specialties, head to Le Perche. With dark wood walls and a peaceful outdoor garden, it’s a lovely place to start the day. Visit, leperchehudson.com
—For fine dining with an artisanal feel, Fish & Game is always a good choice. Visit, fishandgamehudson.com
And if a late night cocktail calls, the lush new Maker Lounge awaits in a 19thcentury carriage house. Visit, themaker.com
—Check the schedule at Club Helsinki if you’re in the mood for music. It’s one of the best venues I’ve ever visited — small (as concert calls go) and completely charming. Visit, helsinkihudson.com.