For many New Yorkers, it’s a fall rite of passage. Rent car. Book bed-n-breakfast. Drive somewhere with trees. Indulge in pastoral pleasures like hay rides, apple-picking, hiking, canoeing, etc. Return, wondering faintly if you should ditch city life to renovate a colonial home and take up beekeeping.
But often, planning a New York City getaway is a bit more complicated than that. First, there’s the cost of getting out of the city; a weekly car rental from Manhattan can often cost more than a flight to Europe. Then there’s figuring out where to go. The Adirondacks? The Catskills? Pennsylvania? Maine? And once you finally arrive at your destination, there’s the long process of disconnecting from city life. By the time you’re no longer checking your phone every half hour, it’s time to go home.
Thankfully, there is one getaway that is relatively easy to plan: a trip to the Hudson Valley, a region of upstate New York about two to three hours from Manhattan.The main town of Hudson is accessible either by car, which is more expensive but offers greater flexibility, or by Amtrak train. If you do decide to go with a car rental, try taking the PATH train from Manhattan to Hoboken, New Jersey. An Enterprise Rent-a-Car is walking distance from the train station, and rates are about 50 percent cheaper than in the city.
Accommodation-wise, Hudson is overflowing with charming bed-and-breakfasts. For cheaper accommodations with more privacy, try booking a homestay in a nearby town. I recently found a lovely two-bedroom townhouse in nearby Athens for just $125 per night, which is comparable to the cost for a single room in the region.
Apart from the stunning scenery, river views and fresh air, the town of Hudson offers a number of charming cafes, galleries, antiques shops and historic sights, which can easily be explored by foot. The food options are also top-notch. Head to Olde Hudson Specialty Food to peruse the selection of regional artisanal foodstuffs, like fresh eggs, cheeses and charcuterie. A few doors down, Hudson Wine Merchants offers a wide array of wines and liquors, including locally distilled whiskeys and spirits. The staff is familiar with the selection at Olde Hudson and can provide excellent pairing suggestions. Protip: the Hudson Red with the Chilean shiraz is pure bliss.
Cap off your artisanal picnic basket with a baguette from Café Le Perche, which also has an incredible French Roast coffee. And if you have a car, don’t miss a trip to Black Horse Farms in Athens, which sells fresh seasonal produce and gourmet grocery items from nearby producers.
Indulge carefully, though. You may never leave.
[Photo Credit: Flickr user eleephotographay]