Discovering the Charms of Hudson, NY, via Amtrak Train

Tracks to Tranquility: NYC's Urban Escape to Hudson, NY
Hudson Night Street View
Hudson Night Street ViewPeter Blandori (Photo courtesy of Columbia County)

The History:

Embarking on a 120-mile north journey up the Hudson River from New York City leads you to the historic town of Hudson. Situated on the east side of the Hudson River in Columbia County, Hudson was established in 1783 by a group of whalers and fishermen from Massachusetts and Rhode Island. This once-factory town has gone through several economic ups and downs. The 21st century has transformed Hudson into a destination known for art galleries, antique shops, and restaurants. Currently,  Hudson is popping, making it a popular destination for tourists and new residents seeking a blend of history, culture, and beauty. The best thing about Hudson is that it is entirely accessible by Amtrak, and the main strip is within walking distance once you arrive, making it perfect for a day trip or a quick overnight. 

The Trip:

Amtrak Terminal
Amtrak TerminalMarc Glucksman (Photo courtesy of Amtrak)

Before boarding your train from Penn Station, check out The Amtrak Metropolitan Lounge in the Moynihan Train Hall. Single-Day Passes are available for $50 but are complementary to private room customers and Amtrak Guest Reward members. The lounge resembles a comfy living room, where you can relax and enjoy complimentary snacks, pastries, yogurt parfaits, fruit, salads, sandwiches, and specialty coffee drinks. Guests can enjoy an array of beer, wine, and cocktails, purchased from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Paying homage to the breweries in New York state—numbering more than 400—the menu showcases an array of seasonal picks from local establishments such as Five Boroughs Brewing, Brooklyn Brewery, Ithaca Beer Company, Empire Brewing Company, and Montauk Brewing Company.

Embarking on a train journey up the Hudson River from New York City to Hudson is a scenic adventure with beautiful landscapes and charming riverfront views. As the train departs from the bustling hub of NYC, you gradually relax into the tranquil flow of the Hudson River. Sit on the left side of the train to enjoy the river view. You will notice lighthouses stretching from New York City to Hudson  as you head up what's known as “America's First River." An alternative to a coach seat is to travel in one of the private rooms Amtrak offers. Since no private room option is available directly to Hudson, we recommend taking the train to Albany. A daily 3:20 pm train departs from NY Penn Station and arrives in Albany at 6:20 pm, offering breathtaking river views, especially during sunset. A private room includes a tasty 3-course meal and one alcoholic beverage per person. You can also bring your own if traveling in a private room. This makes for a romantic travel experience—perfect for sharing with a loved one or someone you enjoy conversing with within a cozy space for a few hours. Upon arrival in Albany, a southbound train departs 15 minutes later, taking you back one stop to Hudson. While it might seem like a lot, most New Yorkers are accustomed to hopping on and off the MTA; it's a seamless and enjoyable journey.

Welcome to Hudson:

Hudson NY
Hudson NYPhoto by That Girl Orange

Once you arrive in Hudson, check out the vintage train station with an old-warm charm before you head down the main strip, Warren Street, which is a mile long and begins three blocks from the station. The only downside about Hudson is that Ubers are not readily available, so plan accordingly and contact a local cab company if you are traveling with overnight bags. Warren Street is Hudson’s hub, offering various options from restaurants and bars to clothing stores, art galleries, and hotels. Whether on a day trip or a quick getaway, you can find a lot of excellent activities on Warren Street. It won't take long for you to grasp why Hudson is affectionately referred to as Upstate's Downtown. One of the main things you will enjoy about Hudson is how friendly everyone is; it feels like so many NYC neighborhoods combined.

Warren Street Stroll:

WM.Farmer & Sons Hotel
WM.Farmer & Sons HotelPhoto courtesy of WM.Farmer & Sons

Wm. Farmer & Sons: This boutique hotel is a great place to stay because of its history and two-block proximity to the train. The vibe is cozy and fitting for a romantic or family trip. They also have a fantastic dining experience. More than just bearing the title "farmers," they incorporate local farmers and producers into their cuisine.

Verdigris Tea & Chocolate Bar
Verdigris Tea & Chocolate BarPhoto by That Girl Orange

Verdigris Tea & Chocolate Bar: This spot offers delightful hot chocolate and a diverse array of herbal teas. The proprietor, Kim Bach, inherited her love for tea from her mother, who ran a tea shop in Park City, Utah, for over two decades. Kim moved to Hudson in 2007 and established her tea shop. Next, check out Talbott & Arding Cheese & Provisions. This shop is a busy, 'in and out' foodie spot. They describe themselves by saying:  Our provisions are the product of a love affair with the Hudson Valley that plays out in our storefront each day. Next up, check out 225 Warren Bar & Grill, a locally-owned restaurant and a favorite of locals and visitors. It offers excellent outdoor seating, weather permitting.

Warren Street Art Galleries
Warren Street Art GalleriesPhoto by That Girl Orange

Warren Street features a variety of art galleries, evoking a reminiscent vibe of Soho in the late 80s and early 90s. Susan Eley Fine Art, Carrie Haddad Gallery, and Stair Galleries are vital galleries to visit. We also suggest visiting  FRG Objects and Design- Art, an interior design service and art gallery. We chatted with the owner, Francis Rick Gillette, who describes his style as an eclectic minimalist take on glamour. The ambiance mirrored FR Gillete's essence. The former hair and makeup artist turned photographer has a career in capturing distinctive and creative expressions. Engaging in conversation with him in his surroundings instantly gives you the sense of being a close friend, delighted to be a part of his world.

If you want to bring home an eclectic souvenir, visit The Social Type. We left with a one-of-a-kind Christmas animation of Grace Jones, which we will display yearly. Don’t forget to visit Hudson Hall at the historic Hudson Opera House. This is New York State's oldest surviving theater, hosting year-round visual arts, performing arts, and cultural/educational programs.

The Social Type
The Social TypePhoto by That Girl Orange

Next, we will head to The Maker, a unique and sophisticated merge of a restaurant, cafe, and boutique hotel. The bar/ lounge makes you feel transported back to old money grandeur. Having dinner at The Maker is an authentic experience, so book your reservation far in advance. The rule applies to staying at The Hotel since space is limited. We had the chance to sit down with executive chef Alex Napolitano, from Northern New Jersey, who has spent time living and cooking in Italy. He shared with us that he has worked under some of the best Italian chefs in NYC for over a decade.

The Maker
The MakerChristian Goulette (Photo Courtesy of The Maker)

Chef calls his cuisine upstate Italian; he sources all of the produce locally and has personal relationships with farmers. Using regional Italian cuisine, he can have it reflect a specific Italian region as the ingredients become available. Here is how he describes it: In the peak Summer season, when there is an abundance of tomatoes, peppers, and zucchini, the food represents Southern Italy and Sicily. When the weather cools off, the food represents Tuscany. In the Winter, the food represents Northern Italy. In Spring, it goes back south. This approach makes it possible to create specific regional cuisine with local ingredients throughout the year.

Dish by Executive Chef Alex Napolitano
Dish by Executive Chef Alex NapolitanoPhoto Courtesy of The Maker

Additional Hudson Highlights:

There are plenty of activities on Warren Street that you can explore without needing to venture elsewhere. We suggest visiting the scenic Olana State Historic Site in Greenport, New York. Olana is a historic house, museum, and landscape. This estate was once the residence of Frederic Edwin Church (1826–1900), a prominent figure in the Hudson River School of landscape painting. The stunning views make it worth calling a taxi for a visit.

Olana State Historic Site in Greenport, New York
Olana State Historic Site in Greenport, New YorkPhoto Courtesy of Olana State Historic Site

We have all recently heard about the beautiful houses in Hudson, and it's a known fact that a few Hamptons residents have ditched their homes for this northern destination. During our visit, we stopped into HOUSE Hudson Valley Realty and spoke with the owner, James Male, about the current real estate boom. Here is what he had to say: " The pandemic brought us new people relocating from NYC, which, of course, raised the real estate values, but lately, the prices of houses have stabilized." 

Here is an example of an 1880 Victorian in Hudson, NY, that sold for $1.795 m

1880 Victorian in Hudson, NY
1880 Victorian in Hudson, NYPhoto Courtesy of Realty

As you head back on the train, think about your adventure in Hudson, NY. The cool art, historic places, and yummy food make it a great break from the city. It's a nice reminder that easy getaways are closer than expected.

Hudson Night Street View
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