It seems that the drive to find the best begins in childhood and continues throughout our lives. As kids, we want the best toys; as little girls it is imperative to have a best friend. And sometimes we long for the best cereal. When I was growing up, my mother didn’t allow us to have sugared cereal. No amount of begging, pleading, whimpering and whining that everyone else had Cocoa Pebbles for breakfast did any good (and the cereal box concealed under the paper towels in the shopping cart never worked either). But there was one exception: Every summer we went on a camping trip, and my sister and I were allowed to divvy up one or two eight-packs of Kellogg’s mini-cereal boxes. For those of you not familiar with these, each pack contained at least four sugared cereals and four of the healthier options, like Corn Flakes or Rice Krispies.
The choosing occurred during a tense sit down summit. We flipped a coin to see who went first, and then one by one we chose. It took hours. Why the hold up? I knew that my older sister was trying to outsmart me — and it usually worked. A week earlier, I’d hear her singing the praises of Froot Loops and as soon I nabbed them, delighted at my coup, she’d announce that she was only kidding — nobody liked Froot Loops any longer. I was left confused: Did I still want the Froot Loops? Were they, I wondered, the best cereal?
And if not, what was?
Choosing the Best Of winners for our annual roundup can also be tense — although it is certainly a lot more fun. Throughout the year, our team of editors, correspondents, and experts sample different foods, attend shows, test out spa treatments, and visit the people and places that make this region so appealing. Then, we all meet up and discuss and debate — sometimes heatedly. We all feel very strongly about our picks, but eventually we come to a consensus and make our final choices.
So, choosing the Best is an art, not a science. Mostly, we’re thrilled that we are able to share with you some of the wonderful things that we’ve discovered throughout our extensive travels, and to bring attention to the people and places that enrich our lives in many ways. Of course, just because someone wasn’t chosen doesn’t mean that they are not wonderful and worthy of recognition, too. And we’re hardly the only authority. Each year, we can’t wait to see who and what our readers pick as their favorites. And if we have encouraged you to try a new restaurant, take a weekend drive, or stop by a new shop, then we’ve accomplished something important.
Another way that you can see how our picks measure up is to join us at our annual Best Of Hudson Valley Party on Oct. 25 (to learn more about the party, turn to page 137). That night, the Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel will be hopping, so come on down and sample some of the region’s finest food, sip some local wine (and whiskey), and see what makes the Hudson Valley such an outstanding place to live or visit.
And just for the record, I now know that Froot Loops are delicious, regardless of what my sister says, although I’ll stop short of calling them the Best Cereal.
See you on the 25th.
Olivia J. Abel
Editor in Chief