About the Author | Jesse & GregWe earn our living selling New York City. The next day is never like the last. The last is never ordinary. We witness all sorts. We listen to the City’s noise. We devour its phenomenal food. On the Real is our documentary. It is your pack of unfiltered New York 100s.
We have news for you. If you plan on driving somewhere today, you should have already left. That’s because 43.6 million drivers are estimated to travel 50 or more miles from their homes to gobble turkey with friends and loved-ones this weekend. So, we just wanted to remind you that this is about what your day is going to look like if you’re still procrastinating your exit.But seriously, be careful out there. Today through Sunday are the deadliest days of the year on our highways. Keep it real and lay off the booze if you’re getting behind the wheel. And of course, have a great trip!
It seems to me that the secret to being a long-term and semi-mentally well-adjusted Manhattanite is to locate a periodic weekend escape hatch outside of town. Doesn’t have to be fancy; just a quiet place where you can unwind, walk on some wet leaves or sit in the sand. I respectfully submit that even the most hard-core urban dweller can benefit from a place where you can connect with nature a bit. And for a few years now, we have enjoyed traveling up north for a Columbia County weekend and finding small cottages to rent.If you’ve never been to Columbia County, it’s about two and a half hours north towards the eastern part of New York State, southeast of Albany and immediately west of the Massachusetts border. The land up there is completely beautiful with gentle rolling hills, winding roads and charming small towns like Hudson, an antiquing mecca for decorators and collectors.To our shellshocked city senses, it truly seems like virtually unspoiled country. There are no shortage of great weekend rental properties, and one of our favorite sites to find a home is VRBO. With VRBO’s help, we’ve stayed on a working farm from 1801 in Ghent, a sunny house up on a bluff that surveyed the twists and turns of the Hudson river in the (aptly named) town of Hudson and most recently, a charming little house in Hillsdale that sat right by a chattering stream in the woods. Other than the peace and scenery, one of the other things that keeps us traveling back is the sweet eats. Due to it being an agricultural region, the proximity of amazing produce makes for some pretty fantastic farm-to-table feasting. Half the fun is scouting fresh local ingredients and then cooking a big dinner in our borrowed home for the weekend, but the options to dine out are also stellar. If you’re planning a weekend trip (and you should, it’s great any time of year) here’s some of our own “must-visits”:
Stroll Warren Street in the town of Hudson (“Upstate’s Downtown!”) – over 60 antiques shops from high-end to low-brow, lots of cool home stores (Courtney loves Lilli & Loo) and a disproportionately large amount of galleries featuring wonderful art & photography exhibits.
Swoon Kitchenbar. Terrific food, great atmosphere. It’s all about the Brown Sugar Brined Pork Loin.
Old Chatham Sheepherding Company. Award winning sheep’s milk cheese and yogurt, and you can visit the sheep. For the kids, you sickos.
Local 111 Restaurant. We went here on a date night one time. As fresh and delicious a menu as anything I’ve ever had. For real.
Olde Hudson Specialty Food. Man, I love this little grocery. They’ve got the whole shebang there, much of it sourced locally. And the staff really seems to love working there. Refreshing.
Grazin’ Angus Acres. Strictly grass-fed animals that have more freedom to roam than we do. The steaks are thick and juicy, and here’s a tip: get a dozen eggs to scramble at home. Like nothing you’ve ever tasted.
Hudson-Chatham Winery. This historic farmhouse winery sits among a fragrant carpet of grapevines and makes for a happy place to have a tasting. Grab a couple of bottles on your way out; we suggest the Merlot, the Blanc de Blanc, or the Baco Noir Reserve. Or all three.
This morning, I woke up thinking of a place where design, fauna and wildlife coexist seamlessly. Where time stops, if you let it.Where the phone doesn’t ring and emails don’t exist. Where each meal, while not a transporting experience, nevertheless fills you with utter glee…enough so that you’ll make it to the next without that rotting pit of urgency and hunger.Where you wake up to an amazing cup of espresso and a great blue heron getting his morning started on a perch enjoying the morning sun not far away from yours. Where you lay in the sun pampered by an amazing staff delivering you snacks, drinks and cold massages to your warm head while your mind toils over the decision on whether it’s time for a swim in the ocean or the pool.This morning I woke up in New York City happy to be home, but dreaming fondly of our short getaway to the Mayan Riviera last week. It was a very special occasion for Lesa and me, so we left the kids with Grandma and treated ourselves to three super-luxe days at the Rosewood Mayakoba.Three quiet and pampered days that recharged our batteries. Three days of much needed “what can we do for you?”