We recently fled to Red Hook for a long weekend. No, not that Red Hook in Brooklyn with the Fairway Market, lobster restaurant and somewhat made-up maritime bars. Rather, the small town a two hour drive up the Hudson River and into the woods of the Hudson Valley and Catskills region.
Because we can’t manage to pull off a normal spring break on a beach like everyone else, we tend to run in other less-populated directions. This trip it meant we had snowy paths of the just-waking-to-spring woods practically to ourselves – an incredible contrast to our daily life. And with over 60 parks protected and maintained by the Scenic Hudson conservancy group, you could easily fill the days following birdsong and the trickle of ice-melt streams in a maze of pines. We tracked critters, poked at the lip of the still-frozen Hudson and even passed a few stoic saints (the path is part of a Dominican Sisters retreat center) as we crunched through the snow at the Falling Waters Preserve.
We spent Saturday morning sampling pickled green tomatoes, stinky cheese and jams at the Hudson Valley Farmers Market at Grieg Farm. Later, we stopped off of Route 9 and met Michael and Callie, the couple (along with their chickens, pigs, cows and sheep) behind the bounty of gorgeous steaks, chops, sausages and just-collected eggs for sale at Sawkill Farm. A little daydreamy window shopping is always in order wherever we wander, and for that we spent time running our hands along the expertly planed tables and trying out chairs Goldilocks-style at Sawkille, a beautiful furniture and goods store in Rhinebeck.
Not entirely removed from civilization though, we did venture into Rhinebeck and snacked on crispy wood oven-fired pizzas and a towering salad of shredded greens at Market St. In Red Hook, we were welcomed as regulars by the fine folks at Mercato. Warm reception aside (a woman from the kitchen picked Soren up and took him over to the chef for a special treat) the house made pastas – in particular, the toothsome tagilatelle bolognese – were the true reason to stick around.
Friends tipped us off to a simple, tastefully decorated two-bedroom rental house. Large windows maximized the views of the deep woods where we’d catch deer loping early in the morning. As an added bonus, it also had what Todd considers to be cherry on top of any vacation rental: a hot tub. Who needs the beach, anyway?
We are chronic weekend escape house renters. Here are a few other finds a pleasant drive from the city:
Overlook Nook Plenty of bedrooms, an inviting living room, a killer record collection, a sprawling garden and a pleasant blue stone pond.
Woodstock Cottage We tucked away in this little cottage one snowy January weekend. It’s compact and cozy, but it was just right for a last minute off-season escape.