Hudson Valley communities offer visitors and residents alike a chance to slow their tempo and be inspired by the region’s treasure trove of artisan purveyors and curators of style. There are farms to visit, quaint towns to roam, exciting history to absorb and one-of-a-kind shops. No matter what you’re looking for, you’ll find a warm, creative spirit that runs through the eclectic storefronts, galleries and marketplaces. Here are some “think local” Hudson Valley favorites:
McGrath Cheese Company, Hudson, New York
New York’s scenic Hudson Valley has many Instagram-worthy locales, but the city of Hudson is perhaps is one of the most widely known, attracting a slew of New York City weekenders in need of a retreat from the daily hustle. Amid farmlands and forests, Hudson packs enough restaurants and artisanal shops to keep visitors busy year-round. The craft of making artisan cheese is an age-old tradition in the region and a delicious one, too. Local veteran cheesemaker Colin McGrath, founder of McGrath Cheese Company and a Culinary Institute of America grad, is an artisan producer who handcrafts every batch of cheese using the finest milk from small local dairies. With names like Rascal, Goliath and Bambino, he launched his award-winning line of cow and goat milk cheeses in 2016, working out of leased space at Churchtown Dairy, a 250-acre working biodynamic farm in Hudson that promotes sustainable agriculture. His cheeses now can be found in a host of farm markets and retailers. 845-235-6259; www.mcgrathcheese.com.
Bread Alone, Various Locations
Artisan bread-baking is an art form and one that Bread Alone has taken to a new level with its rustic, handcrafted, hearth-baked loaves. This family-owned bakery in upstate New York has been serving fresh bread and pastries to local communities for over 35 years. In 1983 Daniel Leader moved his family from New York City to the Catskill Mountains to bake organic breads on the hearth of a wood-fired brick oven. A chef by trade, he learned to bake naturally fermented, artisan breads by touring bakeries in Paris but wanted to bring this honest craft to his home community. Bread Alone locations across the Hudson Valley include Boiceville, Lake Katrine, Rhinebeck and Woodstock, not to mention the 40-plus farm markets throughout the New York region. www.breadalone.com
SallyeAnder, Beacon, New York
Just 90 minutes north of New York City in southwest Dutchess County, Beacon is a quaint oasis for city dwellers in search of more subdued settings. With its Victorian and Tudor homes and artistic inclinations, Beacon has strong appeal to artisans and the shoppers who love them.
Planning a visit? Beacon-based SallyeAnder has been making olive oil soap bars since 1982, when the first bar was designed by maker Gary Austin for his son, who had a sensitive skin condition. Each bar is made from essential oils and hypoallergenic ingredients. Be sure to stop at the flagship store on Main Street to see, smell and try the products firsthand, while getting expert advice on all your skincare needs. 315-343-0793; www.sallyeander.com.
Local Artisan Bakery, Kingston, New York
Who doesn’t love a visit to the bake shop? Satisfy your sweet or savory tooth at Local Artisan Bakery in historic Kingston, a vibrant city 100 miles north of Manhattan dating to the arrival of the Dutch in 1652. Once New York’s first capital, today Kingston is home to a thriving artisan community. After years of selling her wares at pop-up shops and farmers’ markets, owner Karianna Haasch opened her own brick and mortar shop on Broadway offering treats as varied as linzer tarts with raspberry jam to cupcakes and pecan pie bars, all crafted by hand from scratch, using high-quality, locally sourced ingredients and baked in small batches. The word “local” in the bakery’s name underscores the shop’s commitment to supporting farmers and producers in the Hudson Valley. Bakers vary the menu regularly with tasty new flavors offering a choice of sweet and savory goods, so there’s something for everyone. Visitors also will find locally made artisanal goods like honey, salted caramel, maple syrup and gluten-free treats. 845-481-3860; www.localartisanbakery.com.
Hummingbird Jewelers, Rhinebeck, New York
Located on the banks of the Hudson River, Rhinebeck is a beautiful historic area in Dutchess County, complete with breathtaking views of the Catskill and Berkshire mountains. A weekend could be happily spent shopping the village’s many charming shops and specialty stores. Browse one-of-a-kind jewelry at Hummingbird Jewelers, a landmark in the area celebrating nearly 40 years in business. The shop, which represents over 75 designers, has an on-premise workshop specializing in custom creations to match any customer’s creative vision of the perfect piece of jewelry. 845-876-4585; www.hummingbirdjewelers.com.
Meta44, Millerton, New York
Founded in 1851, historic Millerton is now a cosmopolitan village featuring art galleries and thriving artisan shops. Small and selective, Meta44 sells modern furniture designed and fabricated locally by architect John Allee, who also sources artisanal home décor finds from coast to coast. The products reflect the store’s aesthetic values: well-designed and beautifully crafted art and objects that are modern, natural and fun while supporting the artists who make them. 518-592-1370; www.meta44.com.