A Weekend Guide to Hudson, New York

Hudson has long been a favorite among New Yorkers looking for a quick weekend getaway (or a second home, for that matter), thanks to easy train connections and a plethora of vintage and antique furniture stores, art galleries, and cocktail bars to dip into once you’re there. But a new hotel is giving design lovers yet another reason to check in for the weekend: The Maker, which opened amid the pandemic this summer, channels the creative spirit that has defined Hudson for the best part of three decades.

Hudson lies just 120 miles north of the boroughs, and its proximity to the snaking Hudson River and numerous hiking trails also makes it a prime fall destination, with the surrounding mountains turning electric shades of orange and red come late September. Plus, there’s plenty of architecture to take in among the foliage: Queen Anne mansions, Victorian townhouses, and 19th-century warehouses and factories all make nods to Hudson’s storied past as a whaling hub, international trade center, and most surprisingly, a red light district. Here’s how to plan a trip to Hudson—and what to do once you’re there.

Getting there

If you’re ready to start taking public transportation again, the Amtrak Empire Service runs direct from New York’s Penn Station to Hudson and takes two hours; from Albany, the journey takes just one hour. The train traces the river the whole way, so choose your seat wisely for the best view—on the left side if you’re traveling north, the right if you’re traveling south. Once you arrive, the train station is only a 10 minute walk from the center of town, but an Uber ride takes just five minutes and they’re readily available.

Where to stay

Until recently, Hudson was lacking in decent hotel options, but a slew of openings over the past few years has remedied that. Following the lead of Wm. Farmer and Sons, an 11-room inn and restaurant on Front Street, hotels like The Wick, housed in a former 18th-century candle factory, and the retro, Workstead-designed Rivertown Lodge have provided solid options. The latest addition is The Maker Hotel, which opened earlier this summer on a sunny corner of Warren Street at a limited capacity to allow for extra cleaning protocols. Sprawled across three historic buildings, the 11-room property feels like an extension of the design inspiration you find in the stores and galleries that surround it—almost every piece of furniture is either one-of-a-kind or vintage, from 1970s lights sourced in Paris and antique Moroccan rugs to mid-century furniture bought back to life by a local furniture restorer.

a bedroom with a large bed in a room: The Artist suite at the newly opened Maker Hotel in Hudson, New York

© Francine Zaslow
The Artist suite at the newly opened Maker Hotel in Hudson, New York

Each of the hotel’s four suites are an ode to a type of “maker”—The Writer, The Artist, The Architect, The Gardener—and all rooms have details like Italian linen robes, thoughtfully chosen artwork, and Fresh bath products (the hotel’s owner also founded the beauty brand), as well as obligatory bottles of hand sanitizer. Downstairs, you’ll find a cafe serving all-day breakfast and a restaurant in the conservatory, both of which have outdoor seating, as well as a low-lit, velvet-clad cocktail bar tucked inside the adjacent 19th-century carriage house. (Hudson is currently operating at 50 percent indoor dining capacity, but if your comfort zone isn’t there yet, food can be ordered to your room via an iPad.) There’s a heated pool, too, if you time your trip for that last gasp of warm weather, but as the leaves begin to turn it’s the library you’ll likely want to curl up in, complete with a Strand-curated book collection to leaf through.

What to do

Hudson has grown into a major shopping destination for furniture lovers, and for good reason: the city is rich with stores stacked floor-to-ceiling with everything from hard-to-find mid-century designs and globally sourced antiques to present-day designers like Brooklyn-based Peg Woodworking. Kickstart your day at the foot of Warren Street, the city’s main thoroughfare, and work your way up, stopping at places like Finch, where you might find a colorful 1950s Eames rocking chair or sleek 1930s Swedish smoking table, and Red Chair On Warren, filled with antique French glassware and twinkly chandeliers. (If lugging a piece of rare furniture back home on Amtrak fills you with dread, most stores will deliver directly to your home for a fee.)

For vintage clothing and home goods, don’t miss Enkyu/LikeMindedObjects. Founded by designers Elise McMahon and Enky Bayarsaikhan, the former photography studio on the corner of Park Place and Warren sells items like Klein-blue floor lamps and groovy, turmeric-colored ottomans alongside recycled denim and handmade jumpsuits. Nikki Chasin is also worth popping into for playful prints and rotating art displays (pick up one of her patterned face masks while you’re there), as is the Quiet Botanist for bunches of dried flowers and scented incense papers. 

Beyond shopping, there are hiking trails at the Greenport Conservation Area or visitors can catch a 13-minute Uber to the family-owned Crimson Leaf Alpaca Farm.

a bowl of food on a plate: A citrus dish at outdoor spot Lil Deb's Oasis

© Courtesy Lil’ Deb’s Oasis
A citrus dish at outdoor spot Lil Deb’s Oasis

Where to eat

It’s hard to miss Grazin’ Diner, which operates out of a 1940s stainless steel diner car. Come Saturday or Sunday lunchtime, locals and weekenders can usually be found waiting for a table or to picking up one of its top quality, grass-fed burgers. The organic diner sources its ingredients from its own farm, and even the sodas are homemade. For dinner, head to Lil Deb’s Oasis, which is currently operating as Fuego 69 at the back of Rivertown Lodge. The pan-Latin restaurant serves self-described “pescatarian hippie food” like tuna crudo, scallop and jalapeño skewers, and buckwheat flatbread slathered in tahini-miso spread, while also hosting takeovers from restaurants like Brooklyn-based Krueng Cambodia. Even better, 69 cents from each item sold goes to racial justice organizations. Other spots to bookmark include the cozy restaurant at Wm. Farmer and Sons and the newly opened Kitty’s Market for rotisserie chicken and sides. Before you leave, stock up on baked goods from Bonfiglio & Bread—the cinnamon swirl is a must.

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