The Hudson Valley has only really come alive to me in the last 5 or 6 years. Growing up just north of there, tiny main streets and old farmhouses had little charm. I wanted more activity than the quiet street I grew up on. Now, trips up from New York and down from my parents house are very much a treat, and long meanders around the same tiny (but evolving) main streets unveil both history and a very changed landscape.
We were in Hudson, NY a few weeks back, perhaps the most changed of all the Hudson Valley towns of this last few years. Lots of antique shops, mid-century scandinavian furniture shops and boutiques line Warren Street, the main drag. Storefronts are being transformed by city transplants. Wander on the parallel streets, however, like Cherry Alley and Prison Alley, and you'll see lots more color, wandering vines, crumbling buildings -- some being revived, others falling into despair. And, locals and their stories are ever the backbone of this place.
Stop for a coffee at Swallow (if LOAF is open, grab some bread for later), wander down the street to Cafe La Perche, and ask if the cheese danish are warm. If so, it's going to be the finest cheese danish of your life, oozy. flaky, with cardamom crumbs rolling off your hand at every bite. You plan to get one to share, but you end up each needing your own.
Keep strolling, walk off your breakfast (snack), then hit Baba Louie's for sourdough pizza for lunch. Get the pie with the figs, prosciutto, gorgonzola and onions, get beer to share, bring home lots of leftovers.