Best of the Hudson Valley 2008
(page 13 of 16)
* denotes Readers' Picks
Rare Books Store
Hudson City Books
Wide aisles, wood floors, and very high ceilings create a serene atmosphere for browsing among the 12,000 or so volumes in this well-organized shop. Westchesterites Karen and Neil Montone (who formerly owned Scarsdale Books) “fell in love with Hudson” on a visit in 2003; soon after, they purchased the 1865 building, and opened for business in 2006. “The books are more scarce than rare,” notes Neil, although he does have a valuable copy of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, and a first edition Samuel Beckett. There are other firsts, including modern ones, fiction, poetry, literary criticism, cookbooks, and a few maps, as well as gently used classic paperbacks like those you once loved and lost. Find them again here.
If you’ve got a hobby — be it buildng model airplanes, trains, or collecting just about anything on earth — this is the store where you’ll find more to fuel your passion.
Place to Prepare for Halloween
Whether it’s a witch, pirate, or Spiderman you’re looking to disguise yourself as this month, Columbia Costumes has the apparel and accessories you’ll need, thanks to its vast assortment of theatrical makeup, large selection of wigs and hats, and tons of masks. And if you’re not within easy driving distance, it’s not a problem — visit their user-friendly Web site and order your gear on-line.
The Merino superfine sheep on this picturesque farm produce (as you may guess) super-fine, super-soft wool that spins into yarn that’s even more super — and not itchy. Morehouse Designs, a retail store a mile from the farm, opened 10 years ago to the enthusiastic approval of local knitters, who flock in to buy the gorgeous yarns. There are more than 70 colors, in weights from bulky to gossamer, as well as knitting supplies, patterns, and kits. Ready-made hats and mittens (check out the quirky Critter Collection), shawls, scarves, and sweaters are available for those who don’t know a purl from a pearl.
Adams Fairacre Farms
Kingston, Newburgh, Poughkeepsie
Searching for a packet of seeds, a boxwood hedge, or a bushel of local apples? Adams has it. With five acres of greenhouses, they grows over two million bedding plants each year. Not a green thumb? The nursery sponsors a annual lawn and garden show to help novices and experts alike. And as the crowds at the market shops indicate, this is the place to buy everything from bananas to bok choy.
Kingston, 845-336-6300; Newburgh, 845-569-0303; Poughkeepsie, 845-454-4330; www.adamsfarms.com
Handmade and More
This artsy boutique is stocked full of whimsical crafts and home decorations. You’re sure to find the perfect gift for that special someone at this welcoming shop, where the friendly staff happily help you weave through their eclectic collections of pottery, vases, chimes, music makers, and jewelry.
At Babette’s, customers have the pleasurable experience of enjoying “simply good food” in a country casual, yet upscale atmosphere. Diners at the two and a half year old restaurant can feast on fresh baked goods, local cheeses, organic coffee — but you have to try the famed meatloaf and the freshly baked pastries and seasonal fruit pies. Babette’s also offers catering as well as lunch and dinner options to go.
Davies Hardware, Inc.
At Davies, you don’t have to worry about that overwhelmed feeling you get when entering one of the enormous chain home improvement stores which seem to be sprouting up in every available strip mall. In business for 120 years, our readers choose this family-run firm as the place to buy everything from canvas tarps to corn brooms, hedge trimmers to hinges.
*Outdoor Sports Store
Mountain Tops Outdoors
The brainchild of Beacon natives Leonard Behney and Katy Bell, this oasis for outdoorsy types has hiking gear for you (clothing, shoes, backpacks, hydration systems, maps, you name it) and your dog (leashes, collapsible water bowls, even sunglasses). A community-oriented business, they also provide info on local running and hiking events on their Web site.
Warren Kitchen & Cutlery
This store just might be knife nirvana for chefs and other hardcore foodies. With more than 1,000 sizes and styles of knives, plus cookware, appliances, bakeware, and serving pieces, the shop serves both professionals and home cooks searching for the perfect kitchen tools. They’ve also linked services with on-line giant www.cooking.com to offer more than 50,000 kitchen-related products available on the Web. And the emporium doesn’t just sell kitchen stuff — they teach you how to use it by offering cooking classes and other special events throughout the year.
Pleasant Valley Department Store
The Pleasant Valley Department Store, which first opened its doors in 1946, has survived the advent of discount outlets, malls, and on-line shopping by maintaining a small-store, customer-friendly atmosphere. Its menswear department offers affordable and classic brands like Carhartt and Dockers to meet guys’ business-wear and dress-down needs.
Hyde Park Antiques Center
Nestled comfortably — and conveniently — between the Franklin D. Roosevelt and Vanderbilt estates, this quaint “antiques mall” is the place to look for treasures from the past. Everything from Chinese porcelain and vintage handbags to gargoyles and miniature soldiers is collected and sold here.
George Cole Auctions and Realty
Valley bidders can’t stay away from this auction house, where anything goes — from estate liquidation, real estate, and antiques to vehicles, boats, and farm equipment. On-line auctions, too.
Oblong Books and Music
This independent book house offers a personal touch that can be hard to find in the big-box stores. Nowhere is this more evident than in their knowledgeable staff picks, which eschew the obvious flavor-of-the-month selections in favor of unique literary gems.
Millerton, 518-787-3797; Rhinebeck, 845-876-0500; www.oblongbooks.com
Woodbury Common Premium Outlets
Why trek to the city for nice threads when you can find your favorite designer brands (Dolce & Gabbana, Oscar de la Renta, Salvatore Ferragamo) here at thrift-store prices?
In business since 1893, this full-service jeweler (with the ultra-friendly staff) is the place to go for fine jewelry, diamond rings, Rolex watches, and distinctive gifts for the home.
The supremely satisfying catering operation stays local and sustainable, combing the area for the freshest organic produce and meats, to deliver a classy, delectable final product.
The Cheese Plate
Drop by this reader favorite and sample all sorts of imported and local gourmet cheeses and jams. It might be just a cute little village shop, but as far as we’re concerned, it’s the big cheese.
Morgan’s Florist & Nursery
Our readers aren’t the only ones who love these amazing arrangements. Morgan’s design team was awarded “Best in Show” at the Dutchess County Fair two years running.
Contemporary fashion-lovers, look no further. This trendy shop has all the season’s must-haves — plus fun hats, scarves, belts, boots, and bling — that’ll make you say “next!” to other retailers.
Fleischer’s Grass Fed and Organic Meats
Quattro’s Game Farm
Beef buffs need not leave the Valley for a first-rate meat market. West of the Hudson, Fleischer’s offers a healthier alternative for carnivores with its organic philosophy; on the eastern side, Quattro’s carves up free-range and natural-fed fowl.
Fleischer’s Grass Fed and Organic Meats 845-338-6666; www.grassfedmeat.net
Quattro’s Game Farm 845-635-2018
High-end Antiques District
The ongoing transformation of Hudson has turned the city into one of the Valley’s most popular destinations for browsing — and serious antiques shopping. With 65 antiques shops clustered within five historic blocks around Warren Street, you can find anything from 17th-century paintings to 20th-century furniture — and everything in between. The resurgence has also spawned an influx of art and antiques restorers, designers, galleries, and restaurants to the area. “There’s always something new to discover in Hudson,” says John Anderson, owner of Foxfire Antiques.
Budget Antiques District
With several streets of antiques shops and a growing number of restaurants, Saugerties has emerged as a daytrip destination. One bargain hot spot: the Saugerties Antique Center, an 1800s building that’s home to about a dozen vendors of real-deal Victorian antiques, cool modern collectibles, pottery, glassware, furniture, and what-have-you. “One customer the other day called it tchotchke heaven,” laughs co-owner Henrietta Dunham. “We’re not concerned with making a zillion dollars. We like to buy, sell, and have fun.”
If you just want to know what time it is, check your cell phone. But if you want to feel connected to time in a more profound, philosophical sense, consider the grandfather clock. It’s a tradition, an heirloom, a piece of family history that can be passed from generation to generation, says Paul Mancarella, president of De’S Jewelers. “It’s also a beautiful piece of furniture, not a dust collector sitting in the corner,” he says. He carries two of the best lines, Howard Miller and Bulova, which feature hand-crafted cherry and oak cabinets, German-made movements, and a variety of chimes, including the Westminster, “the Big Ben chime that everyone knows,” he says. You can start your own family tradition for as little as $1,000, or you can set your kids up with a clock worth 10 times that. “When you hear that chime it just fills the house,” Mancarella says. “It’s a warm homey feeling you can always count on.” And you can count on the helpful staff at De’S to help you find the perfect clock — and to start your own family tradition.
Hip Duds for Dudes
Catering to teens and 20-somethings, this colorfully decorated shop offers a different T-shirt design for every day of the month. Owner/designer Mark Capicotto’s cotton-blend tees use witty sayings and vibrant colors, creating up-to-the-minute fashion with a touch of attitude.
Up next: Best of the Hudson Valley winners in "Home & Garden"
You're reading about the crème de la crème of the Hudson Valley, as voted by your fellow Valleymen and loyal Hudson Valley magazine editors. Do you agree with us? Disagree? Tell us your top picks in the comments box below — and be sure to check out our favorite places, shops, and people throughout the region that we call the best.