Live the Good Life for Less

The recession may have officially ended in June 2009, but times are still tough for many folks throughout the Hudson Valley. Unemployment remains high, housing prices are low, and the wild spending sprees of the 1990s seem like ancient history. But just because you are pinching pennies, it doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the finer things in life. So from hip consignment shops to budget Broadway shows to daring dining deals, here’s our guide to champagne living on a beer budget. You’ll never pay full price again!



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Food & Dining

Virtual Source, Actual Savings

If full-fare dining at half price sounds delectable, check out www.halfpricehudsonvalley.com. The site offers gift certificates to restaurants and other regional businesses at 50 percent off face value. At press time, bargains included $50 gift certificates for $25 to 36 Main in New Paltz, and half-off deals at Jumpin’ Jakes in Fishkill and Middletown, and the Rondout Golf Club in Accord. New offerings are posted each Wednesday, and they often sell out fast.

Growth Stock

If you’ve been leery of the stock market lately, consider investing in a share of a Community Supported Agriculture program (CSA) instead. For one fee (which can be as low as $25 per month), participants receive a weekly share of a farm’s bounty: usually vegetables, but — depending on the farm — fruits, meats, herbs, and flowers as well. Most CSAs run from May through October, and many offer half-shares too. Advantages include getting a variety of fresh, local produce, and having a relationship with your food source. For a complete list of the region’s 50-plus CSAs, visit www.hvmag.com.

Can’t wait for spring? Fishkill Farms offers a winter CSA through March, featuring winter-hardy vegetables, greenhouse-grown salad greens, eggs, lamb, and cider. Through the end of this month, Common Ground Farm in Beacon has hardy crops that can be stored through the winter, and greens grown in its new passive-solar greenhouse, for sale at the Beacon Farmers Market. •

Gourmet Frugality

Several of the Hudson Valley’s finest restaurants offer significant savings for discerning diners.

For instance, download the coupon from their Web site and get two entrées, one appetizer, and one dessert for $59 at Sapore Steakhouse in Fishkill (through February 1).

An Albany legend, Jack’s Oyster House honors its 98th year in business with a $19.13 special: salad, one of three entrées, and dessert (available for lunch or dinner through February).

The Riverview in Cold Spring has a Wednesday night deal, with a selection of prix-fixe dinner options at $14.95.

After a cold run down the slopes at Windham, warm up with Bistro Brie & Bordeaux’s Le Tour de France, a $14.95 three-course meal offered each Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday evening.

In Rockland, Wasabi of Nyack (owner Doug Nguyen is pictured at left) and Wasabi Grill of New City battle the winter blues with weekly Bento Box specials. At Wasabi, you can feast on such entrées as Chilean sea bass or filet mignon for $19-$22; at Wasabi Grill, the $14 Bento Box is offered from 3:45-6:45 p.m. along with a cup of tea.

Add the Value Card from Vintage Hudson Valley to your discount dining arsenal. For $25, the card entitles you to a 10 percent discount at member restaurants and hotels for a year (www.vintagehudsonvalley.com).

And don’t forget about Restaurant Week, which this year takes place from March 14-27 — yes, that’s technically more than a week, but who’s complaining? Dozens of participating restaurants (see www.hudsonvalleyrestaurantweek.com for the list) serve three-course lunches for $20 and/or dinners for $28.

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