Sunday, September 9, 2012

A Beacon on the River

The Hudson River, that storied wondrous waterway, snakes her way through the Adirondacks and down to New York Harbor before slipping into the Atlantic Ocean.  Over time, her verdant banks have carved out small and vibrant creative communities.  As fate would have it, a fellow Farmer introduced me to one such place.  So I put down my brushes in search of the homespun hamlet.

A short stroll to the Harlem depot and just one hour up the river lies Beacon, New York.  Inviting as it is smart, the entrepreneurial spirit is strong here. Main Street is simply that.  Genuine, unpretentious and quite literally the main street.  Dappled with fine and friendly galleries, antique shops, junk stores, and a surprising variety of good eats, the stretch is cradled between the Hudson to the east and Mount Beacon to the west.  The town folk are relaxed and down right neighborly and they embrace their smallness with big pride.

PhotoThe first order of business is to fuel up and for that I always head straight to Poppy's at 184 Main St. The beef is 100% grass fed, local & is a purists burger heaven!  If you're a carnivore like this art farmer, this is as ethical...and it gets!  And the sweet potato chips are, in a word, addictive.  To wash it all down, a root beer does the trick.

Across the street and a few doors down you'll find the delightful Mad Dooley Gallery at 197 Main St., one of my favorites.  Bright, airy and always rotating fresh work by regional Hudson artists, you can often find whats on view by visiting  Gallery owner/artist, Catherine Welshman, opens the back doors for a good old fashioned alley party for the town-wide Second Saturday and a good time is guaranteed. 

Afterwards, I backtrack and head west towards the Hudson & pop into one of the most innovative, crafty boutiques in town, Clay Wood and Cotton at 133 Main St.  The entire collection of comfy home decor items is hand stitched, hand printed, hand cut, and hand painted.  The artisans that stock the shelves here take their craft very seriously and it shows. I'm nuts about the animals in the kids section!

For smart & sensible eating that is quick & healthy, I like to step into Homespun Foods at 232 Main St. And for not quite so healthy, but undeniably worthy, desserts and great coffee, Ella's Bellas at 418 Main St. is the place to hit for a mid day suger fix!  The husband-wife team that are behind these delicious treats are so friendly and welcoming you might just feel like you've dropped in on a neighbor!

In a town all things artisanal, it only makes sense that the watering hole bears the same standard.  The Hop at 458 Main St. offers a wide variety of hand selected craft beers from the area and if your a beginner, you're welcome to put together a sample board. It's a fine way to unwind with friends, discuss all of the great art you just saw in town and plan your next outing.



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