Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Visit to Hudson, NY

Yesterday, Jae and I took a day trip up to Hudson, NY. We've been hearing this town is a destination cultural center with lots of galleries and such opening up. An art jewelry gallery that we admire is located up there too, giving us even more enticement to go. Plus we wanted to score some farm fresh apples! So we ventured forth into the warm late summer day to check it out.

The drive took a little over 2 hours from Brooklyn up the beautiful Taconic Parkway. On the way, we stopped at Eger Brothers Farm where we stocked up on the freshest apples, gorgeous red peppers, green beans, okra, nectarines, grapes, watermelon, pears, zucchini bread, and the most complex and succulent white peaches I've ever tasted.

Our farmer's market fix sated, we proceeded into Hudson. I took a bunch of photos that you can view here. Click the picture for a description. (If you don't have a Flickr account, you may log in as "greenjeansguest1" and password "brooklyn1".)

We found the town to be quaint and quiet (it being an off-season Monday), redolent of Belfast, Maine, or Portsmouth, NH. We parked the car in the shade and started walking up Warren Street which is the main drag, passing dozens and dozens of beautiful antique shops, boutiques, and art galleries. Many were closed, but they offered great window-shopping.

We stopped for lunch at Swoon, an airy, pleasant cafe with tin ceilings painted silver and paintings by local artists on the honey-colored walls. Our Cuban panini sandwich, heap of local organic baby greens, and cold beer (Belgian for Jae, British for me) hit the spot.

At the cafe we read about an equinox event called "Riverfire: An Ancient Celtic Fire Festival" coming up Sept. 23. The idea of an ancient Celtic fire festival excites me, but we won't probably make it back.

Eventuallly we made our way up to Ornamentum, the art jewelry gallery. We took our time examining the fascinating and unusual baubles and brooches created by jewelry makers from all over the world -- Vietnam, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Korea, the US. I especially loved the brooches made from small pieces of driftwood inlaid with tiny pearls and uncut diamonds by a German artist whose name I can't remember. There were also amazing gold pieces involving finger prints by Gerd Rothmann and rings and cuffs with salamanders and ants suspended in clear acrylic by Ted Noten. And the little gold coathanger earrings shown above.

I fell for a pair of little oxidized silver earrings with gold posts cast in the shape of a violet blowing in the wind (or that's how I see them) made by New York artist John Iversen that instantly became my new favorite earrings. We talked with Laura, the owner of the gallery whom we'd met briefly this past spring at SOFA NY. Later on, her adorable blonde 2-year-old came running in followed by her husband and gallery co-owner Stefan.

Hudson closes down at 5pm, and so after our visit to Ornamentum, window-shopping was the only option. We admired the impressive red art deco doors of the Mark McDonald gallery that we were told is one of the most important modernism galleries in the world. We caught a glimpse of a singer practicing inside the Hudson Opera House. We peered through the glass at the many vacant spaces in the midst of reconstruction (this is definitaly a growing area). And we marveled at a variety of strange and wonderful chairs, tables, and unidentified objects in the windows of some of the 150 antique shops in the town.

At last we reached our car and drove away from Hudson feeling satisfied and edified. Hudson is a great day trip, but be aware that many businesses are closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and shops close at 5. The trees are just beginning to show signs of fall color, so going up in the next few weeks would be prime. We hear there are nice inns up there too...

1 comment:

Sam Pratt said...

There is a lively restaurant and bar scene after 5 pm in Hudson, particularly at The Red Dot (in the 300 block). There are also art films at Time & Space Limited, gallery openings on weekends, etc. Also, the amazing live music Club Helsinki is moving to Hudson in Spring 2007, which will add a major new entertainment draw.

A documentary about Hudson (during the 6-plus year controversy over St. Lawrence Cement's proposal to build a massive, coal-burning plant here) aired nationally on PBS in November 2007. The longer "director's cut" is available on DVD from the filmmakers: