Hudson has been in the news as a great place to visit for about a decade. I was very interested when my friend, Lynn, suggested we go there for lunch at Cafe Le Perche. Every time we planned to go, the weather was uncooperative or a conflict arose, so I had an extra month or two to read up on the new and improved City of Hudson. Coming from a few decades of poverty, drugs, gambling and prostitution, Hudson has re-invented itself as a New York City getaway, especially for anyone interested in antiques, art galleries, gift shops, and restaurants.
Google recommends driving down route 9 from Albany which may be a bit faster than my choice of route 9J. On this early spring day, the 38 mile trip took me 55 minutes. I enjoyed my drive along the Hudson River with its rural and charming scenery and occasional views of the Catskills. Lynn, coming from her home in nearby Chatham, arrived a few minutes ahead of me.
A recent article in the Chronogram had touted the bakery's signature baguette. When Bill heard that I was headed to Le Perche, he requested a loaf. I also purchased half a loaf of still-warm peasant bread that Lynn recommended.
After perusing (and salivating over) the bread selection, Lynn and I chose to have lunch in the cafe area. In warmer weather, outdoor seating would also be very appealing--one of many reasons to go back! My brie sandwich with pear cranberry chutney on walnut sourdough bread was delicious, along with a refreshing glass of lemonade flavored by crushed fresh mint that tasted like summer.
Having met while working at Honest Weight Food Co-op, Lynn and I spent a pleasant couple of hours talking about food, family, and a variety of topics we had touched upon during fleeting moments at the Co-op.
Afraid that dessert goodies might sell out, Lynn had bought a buttery chocolate croissant when she first arrived for us to share. Sure enough, that had been the last one. I definitely profited from Lynn's previous experiences here and swooned over the flaky butter pastry and creamy chocolate filling!
|(looking West along Warren Street)|
After lunch, we took a walk along Warren St., the central part of the revived shopping area. Small businesses line both sides of the street for a few blocks. Lynn suggested that we go into Liliandloo, her favorite gift shop. We saw many unusually crafted items in the two-floor multi-roomed store. This is a place to buy a wedding gift, if you like to give "off the registry." Items come in every price range. I saw linen towels on a roll for $8 as well as a 10 oz. pottery pitcher with a pretty leaf handle for $115.
|(Liliandloo on the corner)|
Parent to a young and lively golden retriever, Lynn knew her time away from home was limited. After she left, I spent another 45 minutes wandering Warren Street. Fifty or sixty years ago, this may have been a typical Main Street USA, before the city's decline. Today it caters to an upscale clientele reflected in lovingly restored buildings. I particularly liked the shop, Rural Residence, another home store with unusual items and a large table of Hudson Valley related books.
|(Rural Residence is tucked in among restaurants and galleries)|
Just as I intended to seriously begin my return trip, I saw Verdigris Tea. Tea shops are hard to resist. I parked the car again and checked it out. All the accoutrements for the tea lover are here: tea pots, books about tea, many loose teas with samples to sniff, as well as tables for relaxing moments of drinking tea and eating a scone.
|(Verdigris Tea is painted true to its name!)|
While I didn't have a puppy at home, I did have a rehearsal in Schenectady in the evening, so my time here also had limits. I returned to 9J heading north, admiring homes and brilliant spring flowers all the way.
|(Hudson River view looking north from the house above)|
Further north, I was taken with the town of Schodack Landing. Passing storm clouds made for a dramatic sky behind this little Dutch Reformed Church.
And just beyond the village of Castleton-on-Hudson, I could see the skyline of Albany. Traffic increased as I hit 787 and I began to focus on my evening rehearsal. Still, I retained a relaxed frame of mind from my good lunch at Cafe Le Perche visiting with Lynn, my walk along Warren Street in Hudson, and the peaceful drive through Hudson Valley countryside.