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Tim Dodge looks out into the distance at Olana in Hudson.

UTOPIA PARKWAY HUDSON & COLUMBIA COUNTY BY ZAN STRUMFELD PHOTOGRAPHS BY THOMAS SMITH

Azim Goldrich at Helsinki in Hudson.

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he City of Hudson was inhabited by Mohican Indians until Dutch settlers purchased the land in the 17th century. In 1783, it became known as a whaling port when New England seafaring men sought safety from attacks during the Revolutionary War. The city traces the edges of the Hudson River, exhibiting breathtaking sunsets and crystal clear views of the Catskills. Dutch architecture still has a strong presence in the urban district and hints of the city’s whaling past are displayed on street signs. Lately, Hudson has gained some noteworthy attention; it’s been deemed the “New Orleans of the North” by Ulster Publishing’s Weekly Almanac and was the target of dismissive remarks from musician David Byrne about being a last refuge for expat hipsters from New York. Just steps off the train from New York City or Albany, Hudson has transformed from a place to venture on the weekends to a place to call home for nearly 6,500 people. An antiques hub in the 1980s, Hudson has evolved into a meeting ground for the arts, world-class eateries, and high-end shops on Warren Street, the small city’s focal point. Dining options are plentiful, with bits of Mexican, French, Italian, German, and American bistro at restaurants like Mexican Radio, Red Dot, Swoon Kitchenbar, Café Le Perche, American Glory BBQ, and DABA. New to the eating scene is Fish & Game, a renovated blacksmith’s shop owned by Fatty Crab franchisers Zak Pelaccio, his wife Jori Emde, and partner Patrick Milling Smith. The restaurant relies on local products they love, including those of Blue Star Farm, John Fazio Farms, Letterbox Farm Collective, and Rubiner’s Cheesemongers & Grocers. Clothing shops range from those selling vintage wear, like Sideshow and Five and Diamond, to contemporary clothiers de Marchin and Louisa Ellis. 11/13 CHRONOGRAM HUDSON + COLUMBIA COUNTY 43


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Nick Zachos at a wooden boat building workshop at Basilica Hudson.

Daniel Bigler, Catherine Popovici, Daniel McHale, and Nate Becker at Spotty Dog Books & Ale in Hudson.

Sadek Bazaraa and Shelley Burgon at Swallow Coffee in Hudson.

Veteran Alfredo Delossantos at the Hopewell Junction Depot. Leon Woodward on Main Street in Chatham.

“There was no reason to come to Hudson 20 years ago except for the DMV and Mama Rosa’s pizza,” says Rob Caldwell, owner of the community music shop Musica. “[Now] the young, hip people have found a haven here. People just do this exodus from New York.” Tucked behind Warren Street, Musica offers a variety of instruments, as well as in-store lessons and performances. Music continues to marinate throughout the city in well-known venues like Helsinki Hudson and the Half Moon, located across from the river on South Front Street. Art plays a vital role in the city’s intensity. Galleries like the Davis Orton Gallery, Peter Jung Fine Art, and the Tom Swope Gallery mix into the antiques paradise featuring shops like Arenskjold, Hudson Supermarket, and 3FortySeven. Local folk artist Earl Swanigan’s somewhat provocative and humorous paintings can be found at almost every Hudson shop; he sells 20 to 30 pieces a weekend. The Spotty Dog Books & Ale is a one-stop shop for art supplies, books, and coffee; stick around in the evening for the bar and live music. Busy Warren Street is also home to the annual Hudson Music Festival, New York State’s largest free music festival, and to arts centers like the 1855 Hudson Opera House, which hosts high-caliber programs of world class and local performances, exhibitions, and workshops. Internationally renowned performance artist Marina Abramovic has chosen Hudson as the site of the Marina Abramovic Institute, housing her legacy. Montreal musician Melissa Auf der Maur, formerly of Hole, and New York filmmaker Tony Stone opened Basilica Hudson in a renovated 19th-century factory as an art, performance, and event space. “It wasn’t until we moved into the city that I discovered the magic of Hudson. It began to reveal itself as really unique and one of a kind,” says Auf der Maur. “I consider it close to Utopia. There’s a dark side to the town—but if you’re looking for a really dynamic and inspiring [city] and you’re willing to work really hard, this is the community to join.” 46 HUDSON + COLUMBIA COUNTY CHRONOGRAM 11/13

Tim McGuire at Our Daily Bread in Chatham.

11/13 CHRONOGRAM HUDSON + COLUMBIA COUNTY 47


Fresh apple cider made at Hawthorne Valley Farm.

Owen Kenyon at Hawthorne Valley Farm.

Brett Morton and his dog Spider in Hudson.

Columbia County Columbia County sits on the eastern part of New York State, framed by the Catskill and Berkshire mountains and nestled southeast of Albany and tickling the Massachusetts border. Nearly 30 quaint towns and villages spread over 648 square miles of primarily rural terrain, with seas of agricultural land and farms.Yet while the mountainous area may be quiet, it’s not sleepy. Like much of the Hudson Valley, Columbia County takes pride in its historic heritage. Kinderhook is home to the Martin Van Buren National Historic Site, where the eighth US president was born and retired, and Steepletop, the Austerlitz home of Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Edna St.Vincent Millay.Visitors to the area learn about the American Shakers at Old Chatham’s Shaker Museum/ Mount Lebanon, the notable Livingston family at the Clermont State Historic Site in Germantown, or Greenport’s 250-acre Olana estate of Hudson River School painter Frederic Church. The rural landscape isn’t shy of entertainment, either; each October, Chatham hosts the five-day FilmColumbia festival at the Crandell Theater. For the adventurous type, Hillsdale’s Catamount doubles as a ski resort and aerial adventure park. Hiking and biking tend to draw attention to the county, whether on the beautiful trails or back country roads.Visitors can spot bald eagles and other diverse wildlife while walking along the Hudson River, says Columbia County Land Conservancy Director of Outreach & Resource Development Thomas Crowell. “Columbia County is unique in that we’re at the crossroads of habitat types [from the] northern end of southern species and southern end of northern species,” says Crowell, which creates a rare overlap of birds. 48 HUDSON + COLUMBIA COUNTY CHRONOGRAM 11/13

“Agriculture is one of the defining features of our community in terms of the overall land use in the county,”Crowell says. “There’s been a resurgence of young farmers in the county. Most of them are recent college grads or in their 30s and wanting to get back to things local, which includes a desire for eating fresh, locally raised food.” Slightly northeast of Hudson is Ghent, home to the Hawthorne Valley Association. Turn down County Route 21C to discover the association’s dual purpose: the experiential Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School sits on one side of the street and a 438-acre biodynamic farm and locally and regionally sourced grocery store rests on the other. Self-guided tours are recommended, just watch out for tractors, says Karen Preuss, director of marketing for the Hawthorne Valley Association. The farm and store keep a strong focus on organic and nonGMO products as well as supporting other farms in the county and farther, similar to the small but loved Chatham Real Food Market Co-op. “When (people) are here they can really feel the spirit of community, it’s not isolated,” says Preuss. “How can you come here right now and not fall in love with Columbia County? It’s so beautiful.” Apple orchards trickle throughout Columbia County, including Love Apple Farm in Ghent, White Oak Farm in Hillsdale, and Samascott Orchards in Kinderhook, among many others.Yet Valatie’s Golden Harvest Farms has been hitting the headlines with its famous apple cider donuts. “I’ve seen people almost crash their car because they couldn’t wait to eat their donut before they left the property,” says Peter Upstill of Harvest Spirits, which ferments hard apple cider, among other varieties, from the orchard’s unused crop. Other county breweries also stick to using the farm-to-table method. In Ancram, Hillrock Estate Distillery creates 100-percent barley, rye, and bour-

bon whiskey through the incredibly rare field-to-glass operation, using organic rye and barley straight from its land. The brand new distillery is also known for its solera-aged bourbon, which is unlike any other bourbon in the world, says Hillrock’s director of operations,Timothy Welly. Hillrock also hands some of its bourbon barrels over to the Chatham Brewery, which makes its own barrel-aged beers. For a daily visit or to follow an urge to escape the city life, Columbia County is worth the visit. “It may be this idyllic dream people have, but it’s realized here,” says Preuss. “It’s buccolic, pretty. There’s enough going on around here where you don’t get bored.”

RESOURCES Classic Country (518) 392-2211 Columbia County Tourism Columbiacountytourism.org Copake Country Club Copakecoutnryclub.com De Marchin (518) 828-3918 Lea’s Clothing, Jewelry, Gifts (518) 392-4666 Valley Variety Valleyvariety.com Winter Walk Hudsonoperahouse.org

Andy Stack at Musica in Hudson.

11/13 CHRONOGRAM HUDSON + COLUMBIA COUNTY 49


community pages: hudson + columbia county

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Katrina Sinno at Warwick Valley Winery and Distillery.

Community Pages

MaryBeth Schlichting at Frazzleberries Country Stores in Warwick.

Peter Vonuchtrup at 18th Century Furniture and Builders in Sugar Loaf.

caption

Black farm soil in Chester.

I

t’s a cliché to say a view looks like a painting, but there’s really no better way to describe the views one sees driving through the communities of Warwick, Chester, and Sugar Loaf. Here, the mountains and hills frame majestically rolling fields, and this time of year fall foliage lights the region in multicolored splendor. The area is known as the black dirt region and is home to a rare, dark and extremely fertile soil. This dark earth provides a striking contrast with the green corn fields and cow grazing pastures. But there’s more to the region than the views. These hills are alive with the sound of music (there are several wonderful concert venues in the area) and also with the sounds of artisans hard at work and villages bustling with high end shops that offer unique wares. Main streets in quaint villages maintain their historic charm, and despite the peaceful country vibe there is plenty for visitors to do.The area is a great destination for hikers and bikers in the warmer months and in the winter is a skiing hotspot. It’s the type of place that residents say people come to in order to escape from the stress of their regular lives, where visitors can wander for an afternoon, a day, or even a week. However, visitors should be warned it’s a place where—as made evident by the abundance of farms all around—roots tend to take hold.

Matt Rinaldi at Frank’s Pizza in Warwick.

Warwick Occupying over 100 square miles of land with multiple hamlets and three villages (Florida, Greenwood Lake, and the Village of Warwick), Warwick is a big area and has a big country feel. It’s the kind of place where it’s easy to picture John Wayne galloping across a field. A historic area (it was here

Jeremy Kidde at Warwick Valley Winery and Distillery.

Adam Powers at Fetch Bar && Grill in Warwick. caption

82 WARWICK + CHESTER + SUGAR LOAF CHRONOGRAM 11/13

PICTURE PERFECT WARWICK, CHESTER, SUGAR LOAF By Erik Ofgang Photographs by Thomas Smith

Peter and Manin Vonuchtrup at 18th Century Furniture and Builders in Sugar Loaf.

Jill and Steve Penning at Penning’s Farm Market.

11/13 CHRONOGRAM WARWICK + CHESTER + SUGAR LOAF 83


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that Sterling Iron Works built the Hudson River Chain that kept the British Navy from sailing up the Hudson during the Revolutionary War) ,Warwick continues to honor its past. Main Street in the Village of Warwick remains free of generic chain stores. Shops such as Blue and Frazzleberries Country Store sell products in a specific style. “We call it country-politan,â€? says Katie Schlichting, who owns Frazzleberries with her mother-in-law, Mary Beth Schlichting. The rustic and simultaneously high-end and sophisticated wares offered at Frazzleberries include jewelry, candles, and country-themed furniture. “It’s things that make people feel good,â€? Katie says. She adds that Warwick also gives off a feel-good vibe: “It’s a step back in time, I think Warwick provides an escape for a lot of people.â€? While wandering along Main Street, you’ll find places like the Sugar Shack CafĂŠ, a cute pastry shop overlooking a brook that offers tasty, glutenfree options, and Fetch Bar & Grill, a canine-themed restaurant that caters to humans but also offers complimentary water and small treats for our fourlegged friends. Main Street is also home to classic bars, such as Yesterday’s Restaurant and Pub and Eddie’s Roadhouse. Hungry visitors won’t want to miss a chance to dine at Taco Hombre, where this reporter enjoyed an extensive burrito with everything in the name of field research. One of the newer additions to Main Street in Warwick is Ye Olde Warwick Book Shoppe. A bookstore that features new, used, rare, and collectible books. Owner Tom Roberts opened the store about a year and a half ago. He had wanted to open a shop in Warwick for a while but available spaces “rent very fast.â€? So far business is booming for the new bookstore, and Roberts hopes to expand to the floor above his current shop by November. He says he’s happy to be a part of Warwick’s Main Street. “It’s just a charming, Victorian-esque village,â€? he says.

Leaving the Village of Warwick, one can be moved by the spirits at the Warwick Valley Winery and Distillery and the Applewood Winery. Hikers can pick up the Appalachian Trail at several points within Warwick. A popular stop for travelers is the community of Greenwood Lake, located on Orange County’s biggest freshwater lake. Celebrities including New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter have homes here, and the community served as the backdrop for last year’s film The Magic of Belle Isle, whhich was directed by Rob Reiner and stars Morgan Freeman. The views from Thomas P. Morahan Beach, the town beach, are stunning. The gazebo at the beach is bordered on three sides by water and is an ideal picnicking spot. In warm weather months, there’s a concert series held at the park on a waterside stage. When leaving Greenpoint Lake Village and heading down the mountain, visitors won’t want to miss the chance to stop at Bellvale Farms Gourmet Ice Cream Creamery. The ice cream shop location offers an unparalleled view of the valley below, not to mention the ice cream, which is produced from cows at the farm and will delight your taste buds. Sugar Loaf If you leaveWarwick, you can drive a short distance to the nearby village of Sugar Loaf, a hamlet within the town of Chester. As you enter Sugar Loaf a sign welcomes you with the words “Sugar Loaf—Community of Craftsmen— Founded Circa 1749�; banners throughout the village state the community’s proud slogan “Shop—Work—Live.� Visitors will find that the signs don’t lie; here, the word artisan can be used again and again to describe almost everything you encounter. Located under Sugar Loaf Mountain, the village is home to about 30 independent business people, many of whom live and work in original barns that date back to the 1700s. 11/13 CHRONOGRAM WARWICK + CHESTER + SUGAR LOAF 85


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At Sugar Loaf Candle Shop, visitors can choose from a variety of wellcrafted candles that provide a soft, comforting light, as well as various scents. They can get clean with fewer chemicals if they shop at Rosner’s Traditional Soap Makers. Owned by Kiki andYaron Rosner, who learned the art of soap making while living in France, Rosner’s offers soaps, body oils, and bath salts that come in a variety of styles and scents. There are multiple resident artists in Sugar Loaf and visitors can tour open art studios and meet the artists who live and create in the village. Sugar Loaf is a place that visitors will want to linger in—just remember to bring a bag to fill with new purchases. In addition to the galleries and stores, Sugar Loaf is home to a bustling music scene. The Sugar Loaf Performing Arts Center is a nonprofit volunteer run organization that brings world-class entertainment to the village. The village also hosts the Sugar Loaf Music Series, which will present jazz guitarist Jack Wilkins and bassist Harvey S. on November 17 at the Seligmann Center for the Arts. Chester In nearby Chester, you’ll find a small but quaint downtown. From the downtown you can see the black earth of nearby farms, and there’s a strong sense of the region’s agricultural connections. Chester was a major player in the 1800s dairy industry, and it was here that Philadelphia Cream Cheese was born—despite what you might expect from the product’s name. In the 1870s, Chester dairy man William Lawrence accidentally developed a method of producing cream cheese while trying to reproduce a French cheese, and Philadelphia Cream Cheese was born—much to the delight of bagel lovers everywhere. The downtown connects to the Heritage Trail behind the old train station. The Heritage Trial is an 11.5-mile, paved rail trial that runs from Goshen to Monroe passing through Chester on the way. This trail is great for biking, rollerblading, or just strolling. Walking on this peaceful trail, one gets more views of the black earth farms and a powerful sense of the land. Visitors can

Thanksgiving Egg Rolls at Fetch Bar and Grill in Warwick.

11/13 CHRONOGRAM WARWICK + CHESTER + SUGAR LOAF 87


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sample some of the agricultural offerings of the region at the Chester farmer’s Warwick. market on Sundays from 9am to 3pm from June to October. You can end your visit to the region at Touch Base Bar and Grill. Located across the street from the Chester entrance to Heritage Trail, Touch Base is a bar dedicated to sports and craft beer. At Touch Base there’s a concerted effort never to be snobby about the bar’s craft beer offerings, as the about section on the bar’s website states it is “a fine craft beer bar and grill without the pretentiousness of a Manhattan gastro pub.” Recent tap offerings at the bar include the Warwick-brewed Doc’s Pumpkin Cider, Twisted Pines IPA, and Lake Placid Ubu Ale. There are others as well, but they proved too numerous for this journalist to sample, even in the name of journalistic integrity. All and all, Touch Base is a great place to sip a cold brew as you toast your day’s adventure and maybe catch a game or two.

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RESOURCES

LOCAL MUSIC + DANCING Big Joe Fitz + The Lo-Fi’s

B & R Wine and Liquor (845) 988-5190 CertaPro Painters Certapro.com Charlotte’s Tea Room Copakecoutnryclub.com

LOCAL GOODIES Silent auction of the Hudson Valley’s best

Fetch Bar and Grill Fetchbarandgrill.com Frazzleberries Frazzleberries.com

LOCAL YUMMIES Complimentary hors d’oeuvres + cash bar

Frederick Franck Frederickfranck.org My Sister’s Closet Mysistersclosetsugarloaf.com Newhard’s (845) 986-4544

LOCAL SURPRIZES!

Nick Zungoli Photographs Exposures.com Noble Pies Noblepies.com

rethinklocal.org

Penning’s Farrm Penningsfarmmarket.com Pisces Passions Art Boutique PiscesPassions.com Ye Olde Warwick Book Shoppe Yeoldewarwickbookshop.com

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November Chronogram  

Excerpt from the community pages of Chronogram magazine. This month I traveled to Hudson and other towns in Columbia County as well as Warwi...

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