You know how sometimes you imagine how something is going to be and it ends up being totally different in reality? I’m not speaking in code, here, either. This is not about romance or relationships. What I’m trying to say is more like, you picture one thing and from the moment you arrive there are a series of unexpected interactions that you never would have foreseen occurring?
Realtor friend, N, and I rode together Saturday afternoon to Hudson to attend the Peripheral Wine Fest, hosted by Miss Kitty’s and held under a tent in a muddy-in-places parking lot. The first surprise was the size of the tent. It seemed small.
We got in line to check-in, and flash our proof of vaccination, just in time for the angry exchange between guests (self identified as in their 70s) and an employee of the event. The ticket holders wanted refunds because the tent was too crowded during these wild Covid times and they felt uncomfortable with the set up. Refunds were not offered. F yous were exchanged.
The scene under the tent, threat of virus transmission aside, was a feast for my eyes. So many interesting looking people, so many cool pairs of eyeglass frames and sturdy ankle booties. Lots of hair, too – beards and haphazard buns abounded. It was great.
Wine glasses in hand, N and I stepped inside unsure of which table we should elbow a path to reach. It’s been a long time since either of us had been that enveloped by people and I know I felt unsure how to proceed.
In theory, everyone there was vaccinated, yet it still felt weird. But…
…wine and cider beckoned. I suppose life is about risk, right?
We started with some interesting stuff from Asheville, NC, an area I’ve known more for microbrews than wines. Since there were a couple of dozen tables, and a limit to how long we wanted to expose ourselves, we jumped around sampling some orange wines, a couple of delicious things from Alsace, a really nice Pinot or two, including one from near Buffalo, NY., and a number of wines from Oregon and Washington. And even something from Virginia!
That part of the fest was really great. Reps and winemakers worked super hard to be heard in the noise of the tents and you just know it makes for a long day for them, repeating themselves dozens and dozens of times. Exhausting, yet exhilarating after so many months of lockdown, I imagine.
There was a festive vibe for sure, but I think it would have been even more enjoyable if fewer tickets were sold and/or a larger tent had been pitched. While all the attendees we encountered were lovely – and my ‘fit of Fluevog’s paired with a rose velvet duster earned me a couple of sweet compliments, there remained a sense of irresponsibility in the gathering, at least to me.
All in all, the afternoon was a success. We broke up our “tent time” by stepping outside of it to order and slurp down a 1/2 dozen perfect Wellfleet’s. They truly were fantastic – briny and clean and oh so delicious. A quick post-oyster lap again through the tent (more of that German Pinot, bitte!), and we were done with the tasting and ready for something more substantial to eat.
N and I walked to the western end of Warren Street and then strolled east. Hudson has amazing architecture, and we had gotten lucky with the weather, making for an enjoyable walk. While there were a few empty storefronts there was no shortage of cool shops featuring mid century modern and antique furniture, curated gift items, art and clothing.
We settled on Le Gamin Country, a bistro with expanded sidewalk seating, for a late lunch. I went with a cup of the cauliflower soup and a mesclun salad, while N had a tasty looking croque monsieur. My soup had a lovely, velvety consistency and the salad was well dressed and satisfying. I’d definitely go back again – the crepes looked great and the service was friendly and reasonably capable.
Hudson never fails to provide plenty of options for an afternoon or evening out with friends, a date or solo, even without a specific destination or event. While we drove down to this hip river town, I love the idea of jumping on a train and enjoying the scenery along the river on my way to some fun. We’re so fortunate to live in an area that features cool towns with stimulating activities – and I love getting to know as many of them as I can.
What are your favorite Hudson Valley towns? Where have you explored?