Best Of The Hudson Valley 2007 (Part 3)



Shopping

 

 

 

Bargain Shopping

Woodbury Common Premium Outlets

Central Valley

A favorite of locals and fashionistas from around the world (note the loudspeaker announcements in Japanese and other languages) who flock here on buses, this bargain-hunter’s paradise contains some 220 shops offering a wide range of high-end outlet items at affordable prices. u845-928-4000; www.premiumoutlets.com/woodburycommon

 

Bookstore

Oblong Books & Music

Rhinebeck, Millerton

There’s nothing quite like an independent bookstore. The coziness, the quirkiness, the knowledge, and the personality — these twin treasures have all that and more, including a bounty of books and lots of local author events. Read on! uRhinebeck 845-876-0500, Millerton 518-789-3797; www.oblongbooks.com

 

Boutique

Trends Boutique

Poughkeepsie

Best-known for their selection of velvet items (and their friendly service), Trends also carries high-end denim brands such as AG Jeans and Citizens of Humanity, so hip nearby college students no longer need to hop the train to Manhattan. u845-473-1950

 

Crafts/Hobby Store

Hobby House

Poughkeepsie

A great range of collectibles, radio-controlled cars, model trains, and rockets make this store the go-to place for hobbyists of any age or persuasion. u845-297-3341

 

Gift Shop

Rare Finds

Millbrook

You can find gifts galore at this lovely shop. Whether the occasion is big or small, chances are there’ll be something just right. Check out the elegantly packaged chocolates or the cute, dress-shaped wine jackets. u845-677-1776

 

Place for Wedding Invitations

The Paper Trail

Rhinebeck

Wedding invitations once needed to be only informative and elegant. Nowadays they are often meant to reflect the spirit of the wedding itself. While they have been in business only two years, Maureen Missner and Serine Hastings have established the Paper Trail as the top destination for busy brides who need personalized service. This duo will spend the time to find out what kind of invitation best suits the bride’s intentions. From fashioning the graphic designs and motifs, to choosing the paper stock and assembling and “layering” the pieces of the invitation, crucial decisions at the Paper Trail become joyous aesthetic adventures. Matters of etiquette and “family politics” are taken care of, as well. Budgets are respected, too: Though some invitations can cost several thousand dollars, “we can do an absolutely beautiful job for just $500,” says Hastings. u845-876-8050; www.papertrailrhinebeck.com

 

Farmer’s Market

Riverside Farmer’s & Artisan’s Market

Catskill

A merry mix of farmers and crafters, this market is set in a former warehouse whose big bay doors overlook the Hudson. Stop in for just-picked produce, locally raised meats, artisanal breads and cheeses, honey, or flowers, and check out the crafts while you’re there. It’s all handmade, high-quality stuff — paintings, quilts, pottery, jewelry, soaps and weavings. Adding even more merriment: live music, ranging from folk, blues, and ragtime to Celtic, Cajun and jazz. u518-622-9820; www.greenecountytourism.com

 

Comic Shop

October Country

New Paltz

While the focus is still on comics — and lots of ’em — this pop culture emporium also carries toys, role-playing materials, and the largest collection of trade paperbacks and graphic novels around. Interestingly, the shop’s name stems from a story by science fiction author Ray Bradbury which captured the feeling of the Hudson Valley. Shazam! u845-255-1115

 

Menswear Shop

Christopher’s

Poughkeepsie, Albany, Middletown

Even Esquire has given kudos to this local chain, and readers agree. With three locations in the Valley, there is no excuse not to keep your in step with the styles. uPoughkeepsie 845-296-1249, Albany 518-690-STYLE, Middletown 845-692-4322; www.christophersclothing.com

 

Toy Store

Enchanted Toys

New Paltz

David and Pamela Tate opened this playful store in 2002 to remind us why being a kid is so much fun. Everything from natural wood toys and beeswax clay is sold here to stir up young imaginations. This year’s big hits: Rocket Balloons, Benders (small wire action figures), and anything about pirates. u845-255-1429

 

General Store

American Pie

Chatham

Yes, American Pie is a “general store” — but if you’re looking to buy baking soda or batteries, go elsewhere. This unique emporium offers a wide variety of interesting and outlandish items, from stylish ladies’ hats and handbags to cheese graters, kiwi slicers and cookie jars. The selection of kitchen items (including Le Creuset cookware) is extensive, but the attractively arranged aisles are perfect for browsing for that one-of-a-kind whatsit that you didn’t know you needed, and now just can’t live without. u518-392-6632

 

Custom-Made Bracelets

De’S jewelers

Poughkeepsie

If you’re looking for some extra sparkle and shine to brighten up your jewelry collection, scope out the fabulous selection of bracelets, pearls and diamonds at this family-owned business. Their customized bracelets make a great gift — especially the Add-A-Link style: Start out with one or more diamond links, then add additional ones on special occasions. u845-452-0026; www.desjewelers.com

 

Place for Irish Items

Back in Ireland

Cold Spring

From Guinness gifts to claddagh rings to Bewley’s Regency Tea, this Main Street merchant carries everything you could want from the Emerald Isle. It’s also the perfect spot if you need a few things for an Irish wedding, including the traditional bridal five pence or an Irish wedding blessing pillow. Erin Go Braugh! u845-265-4570; www.backinireland.com

 

Outdoor Sports Store

Gander Mountain

Kingston

A one-stop-shopping mecca that’s a nature lover’s dream. Find all the supplies you’ll need, plus innovative, durable head-to-toe garb for camping, jogging, skiing, biking and virtually anything else you’d like to do in the great outdoors. There’s also a huge selection of top-notch gear and accessories. u845-382-2500; www.gandermountain.com

 

Boutique for All Ages

Birch Tree

Woodstock

No matter what age (or size or height) you are,  this stylish boutique carries something you’ll look good in. There are lots of clothes by Flax, quilted vests and coats by Iridium and more tailored things from Gerties and Bryn Walker. The clothes are aimed at sophisticated, professional women who have a slightly artistic bent and don’t want run-of-the-mill mall wear. Says owner Eliana Smith, “Even the socks are unusual.” u845-679-7585; www.birchtreewoodstock.com

 

Florist

Morgan’s Florist and Nursery

Poughkeepsie

Readers love the contemporary designs and unique arrangements of this family-owned and operated fleuriste, which imports its flowers directly from Holland within 48 hours of being cut. u845-471-3960; www.morgansflorist.com

 

Home & Garden

 

Antiques Shop

Antique Barn at Water Street Market

New Paltz

Two full floors of antiques fill this charming, old-fashioned red barn. You’re sure to find something unique as you browse through the spacious emporium’s collection of rarities and oddities of all sorts. u845-255-1403; www.waterstreetmarket.com

 

Auction House

George Cole Auctions & Realty

Red Hook

Whether you’re looking to buy, sell or just enjoy watching the live action, you’ll love this roomy, air-conditioned auction hall. They specialize in estate liquidation, real estate, and antiques, but also have experience auctioning vehicles and equipment. SOLD! u845-758-9114; www.georgecoleauctions.com

 

Hardware Store

Davies Hardware

Poughkeepsie

Tired of those huge, impersonal, big-box retailers? Head to Davies, where the wide range of products at affordable prices is enhanced by the friendliness and one-on-one support only the little guys can give you. Don’t worry, you won’t get screwed here. u845-452-6741; www.davieshardware.com

 

Home Design Center

H.G. Page & Sons Home & Hardware

Poughkeepsie

Customers have been stocking up on supplies (not to mention advice) for building, decorating and remodeling at Page for more than 80 years. The store sells everything from paint to power tools, but it’s the quick, easy access to items — plus highly rated customer service for contractors and do-it-yourselfers alike — that sets this shop apart. Their kitchen and bath design center is adjacent to the hardware store; it features cleverly laid out (and beautiful) walk-through rooms, where customers can see the latest design ideas in action. u845-452-7130; www.pagehomecenter.com

 

Plumbing Supplies

N&S Supply

Kingston, Fishkill, Brewster

This company has been in the plumbing supply business since the Depression — but they’ve certainly kept up with the times. And they’re not all about copper pipes and u-bend widgets, either. Their three Valley showrooms display a tantalizing array of elegant sinks, hand basins, whirlpools, saunas, and a host of accessories like  towel warmers to help transform your ordinary bathroom into a spa. uKingston 845-331-7100, Fishkill 845-896-6291, Brewster 845-279-8075; www.nssupply.com

 

Plant Nursery/ Garden Store

Sabellico

Hopewell Junction

Not only will you come home with dozens of plants, vegetables, and flowers, you’re sure to have a grand case of green thumb as well. Sabellico’s has teamed up with the National Audubon Society to encourage the creation of wildlife habitats in our own backyards. So along with making the Valley a much prettier place, Sabellico’s is making it better for our feathered friends as well. u845-226-5943; www.sabellico.com

 

Furniture Store

Davis Furniture

Poughkeepsie

Need a new couch? Dining room set? Davis offers 14 product lines — all at reasonable prices. And the friendly, professional staff aren’t paid on commission, so you know you’re getting real advice. u845-473-1990; www.1davisfurniture.com

 

Garden Ornaments

From Europe to You Antiques

Saugerties

Whether you’d like to give your garden a touch of horticultural haute with a simple iron bench, an ornamental urn, some Grecian-style statuary, or a cast-iron tortoise the size of a compact car, you’re bound to find something among the bronze, marble and cast-iron objects at this emporium. Best of all, prices are reasonable. u845-246-7274; www.fromeuropetoyou.com

 

Place to Buy a Tractor

Pine Bush Equipment

Pine Bush, Holmes

Ready to trade up from your Lawn Boy to the real deal? Pine Bush Equipment has a complete inventory of full-size, 3,000-plus-pound tractors to call your own. You can even add a cool attachment like a rake or brush-cutter. This company has been keeping customers happy since 1956, so even if you need a less-ambitious machine, like a log-splitter or generator, you can also buy or rent one here. uPine Bush 845-744-2006, Holmes 845-878-4004; www.pbeinc.com

 

Kitchen Supplies

Bluecashew Kitchen Pharmacy

High Falls

This store’s two rooms are packed with high-end, attractive food-related goodies: Emile Henri clay ovenware, Staub cast-iron and enamel cookpots, , a few select small appliances (like espresso makers), Match Pewter dinnerware, and more. Even if you can’t cook, this stuff will make you want to learn. u845-687-0294

 

Golf shop

Pro Golf of Brewster

Brewster

Owner Anthony Valentino (along with some of his staff) is a graduate of the Mitchell Golf Equipment Institute. In other words: These guys can fix your clubs, and luckily, they’re also experts at club fitting . In addition, the shop is stuffed full of colorful golf apparel and footwear. But our favorite thing is the computerized simulator: Step in and see how your swing measures up. These folks will analyze every detail to match you with the best possible equipment — and insist that you test everything out before buying. u845-278-4600

 

Do-It-Yourself Help

Williams Lumber & Home Centers

Rhinebeck (and seven other locations)

Let’s face it, even the handiest of us could use a little help when it comes to those home improvement projects. Whether you’re taking advantage of their “close to cost” estimating system, their computerized paint matching system, their new power tool repair center, or just attending a demo day, the friendly folks at Williams Lumber take away the fear and make the whole experience more fun. u845-876-7011; williamslumber.com

 

Jewelry Store

Zimmer Brothers

Poughkeepsie

Family-owned and operated since 1893, this Hudson Valley institution is a reader favorite for the best place to snag sparklers, stones and simply stunning jewels of all varieties. u845-454-6360; www.zimmerbrothers.com

 

Window Dressing

Rambling Rose Boutique

New Paltz

Sure, sometimes they just arrange the merch in the window, but Julie Mazur (who owns this lovely boutique) and assistant Kathryn Stephenson usually have a concept. Every once in a while, they really bust loose. Last year, Stephenson, who is also studying fashion merchandising at Marist, created Elizabethan gowns for a winter window. Made of construction paper, tissue, and handmade papers imbedded with flower petals, they were so gorgeous we wished we could wear them. u845-255-3899

 

Kids & Pets

 

 

Way to Introduce Kids to Nature

Hudson Highlands Nature Museum

Cornwall-on-Hudson

For a nature class that doesn’t feel like learning, take the young’uns on a Discovery Quest. Purchase a guidebook at the museum’s visitor center for any of four quests — Pond, Field, Woodland, and Hiking — then set off on your outdoor adventure. By referring to the book at various learning stations throughout your walk, you’ll be clued in to the environment’s sights, sounds, even smells. Riddles and poems keep the learning lighthearted. Each quest ends with a hidden message. Don’t be surprised if the message you get from your kids is, “Can we go on another Discovery Quest?” u845-534-5506; www.museumhudsonhighlands.org

 

Free Thrill for Kids

Spouting Sprinkler Turtles at Bowdoin Park

Poughkeepsie

These giant reptiles snap up children and don’t let go. No, it’s not what you think. The trio of plastic turtles shoots 10-foot geysers of water that make the little ones squeal with delight. Kiddies have been known to climb on, clamber over,  and cuddle with the critters for hours, making parents squeal with delight for this respite from child-rearing chores. u845-298-4600

 

Hike for Little Kids

Minnewaska State Park Preserve

New Paltz

Red-blazed Minnewaska Carriageway, which skirts the eponymous lake, is a first-rate trail for introducing tykes to the great outdoors. There are interesting rock formations to explore, a gazebo perched high above the water, and a superb view of the Hudson Valley halfway along. But best of all, if you come in summer, make the 1.9-mile loop in a clockwise direction, and you can finish up with a dip at the lake’s sandy beach — the perfect enticement to keep those little feet moving. u845-255-0752; www.lakeminnewaska.org/state.html

 

Way to Introduce Kids to the Classics

Powerhouse Theater

Poughkeepsie

A summertime tradition at Vassar College for 23 years, Powerhouse is known as the place where future hit plays and musicals get their first tryouts. But the performances put on each year by its Apprentice Company, featuring some of America’s finest young talent, are equally enthralling. Their abridged takes on classic plays — last summer’s lineup included Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya and Shakespeare’s As You Like It — are a perfect way to immerse children in the world of grown-up theater. The plays are performed outdoors, so if the little ones get antsy, they can go off and play while you keep watching. And if you have to leave early, you’re out nothing — the performances are free. u845-437-5902; www.powerhouse.vassar.edu

 

Place for Kids to Learn Horseback Riding

Hollow Brook Riding Academy

Putnam Valley

It’s just off the Taconic State Parkway, but this great horsey hangout might as well be in the old Wild West. One of the few places in the Valley that teaches Western-style riding (as opposed to the formal English style), kids love the academy’s relaxed, friendly atmosphere as they learn to feel at home in the saddle. From an introductory lesson to a three-week camp which culminates in a horse show and cowboy barbecue, kids are happy as they access their inner cowboys and cowgirls. Scenic trail rides are available for cowpokes over 12. u845-526-8357; www.hollowbrookriding.com

 

Place to Eat with Kids

Sweet Sue’s

Phoenicia

No mystery here: “Kids really like our pancakes,” says owner Susan Taylor. They especially clamor for the shop’s clever pancake variations including chocolate chip, Red Monkey (strawberry-banana), Blue Monkey (blueberry-banana) and the famous Pancake Sundae (with vanilla yogurt, fresh fruit and homemade raspberry syrup). Kid-friendly waitresses — “they’re all moms themselves,” Taylor says — and colorful pancake-themed artwork keep the little ones amused as they fill their tummies. u845-688-7852

 

Exotic Pet Place

The Bird House

Saugerties

Birds, like most animals, are instinctively afraid of humans. Which is why the most labor-intensive part of the process for these popular purveyors of plumed pets is the all-important nurturing period of a bird’s life, which begins about 10 days after hatching. “This is when imprinting takes place,” explains Mike Della Chiesa, who opened The Bird House with his wife Judy nearly 20 years ago. “So, if you want a bird to be sociable and comfortable perched on your hand, you have to create that bond right away.” Join Mike and Judy as they nurture and coddle canaries, cockatiels, parrots, parakeets, small finches and cartoon-like macaws. u845-246-6302; www.snkgraphics.com

 

Animal Sanctuary Makeover

Pets Alive

Middletown

Sara Whalen founded the Pets Alive no-kill animal sanctuary in Middletown nearly 35 years ago, offering a home to abandoned, abused and neglected “throw-away” animals, many of which had been turned down by other shelters. When Whalen developed cancer and eventually died last March, the more than 500 animals she had cared for, as well as the sanctuary itself, needed lots of tender loving care — and fast. Enter the “rapid-response team” from Utah-based Best Friends Animal Society — the largest no-kill sanctuary in the nation for all kinds of abused and abandoned critters. The same crew that coordinated much of the animal rescue in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina descended on the Pets Alive facility, which had deteriorated extensively during Whalen’s illness. The Best Friends team and dedicated volunteers alike pitched in, resulting in a remarkable transformation. In just 90 days, they redesigned and rebuilt the entire 80-acre shelter, largely with donations from animal lovers around the Valley and across the country. And since then, at the request of the Pets Alive board of directors, Best Friends continues to run the sanctuary — now a cheerful, inspiring home to more than 70 dogs and 90 cats (many are available for adoption), plus cows, goats, pigs, chickens, parrots, and even “retired” New York City carriage horses. “Our goal is to keep alive the Pets Alive mission — to rescue, rehabilitate and find homes for animals in need, thanks to Best Friends’ help,” says new manager Kerry Clair. u845-386-9738; www.petsalive.com

 

Pet Bakery

Beacon Barkery

Beacon

Think humans are the only ones moving toward more natural, wholesome foods? Nope — Fido and Fluffy have jumped aboard the health food bandwagon, too. Fresh-baked dog treats made with ingredients like eggs, honey, and cinnamon fill the shelves of this charming new place for pets, where you can also find all sorts of goodies and accessories for your furry friends. Treat your kitty or canine to a gourmet snack — they have pet-friendly versions of cannoli, bacon-cheddar biscuits, and

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