AFTER LIVING IN Brooklyn for nearly a decade, I had the misconception that I had to be in the city to access the gluttonous pleasures that initially drew me in. Every time I took off a weekend from tending bar at King Mother, packed up the car, and drove to the Hudson Valley, I felt like a resistant tourist. If I wasn’t working, my weekends were meant for indulging, and it made zero sense to me that I’d leave the city for that. So, as you can imagine, it was downright preposterous to me when my husband suggested we move here.
I was naive not to understand the vast range of well-regarded restaurants in the Hudson Valley at the time, or that so much of what I was eating and drinking in the city had been grown or made upstate. We began to spend more time here, and I softened to the idea of moving. Cautiously beginning our house hunt, it became clear that moving here could mean having a little bit of it all. With each listing I came across, I started scouting the town for local gems. I was surprised to build a hefty list of restaurants, bakeries, wineries, breweries, and cider bars that pushed me toward what I knew was right for my family (and my stomach).
We eventually purchased a full-time home up here that we love and have found some Hudson Valley staples we now couldn’t imagine our lives without. So whether you’re a Hudson Valley resident or just looking for an escape from the city, the guide below encompasses all of my favorites, plus a handful of suggestions from the rest of the well-traveled team here at Departures.
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Southeast Asian cuisine.
Just off of Mill Hill Road in Woodstock sits Good Night, an unexpected Southeast Asian restaurant from the same folks that brought you the farm-to-table gem Silvia. Maybe it was the allure of a date night, the vibey interiors, or the attentive yet casual hospitality, but from the moment I stepped inside this place, I felt good in my skin. I highly recommend going hungry, ordering a variety, and sharing. We started with cocktails — a Thai 75 and a Hemingway Daiquiri — which did not disappoint as we plotted our meal. Standout dishes were the Sichuan Filet Mignon Carpaccio, Walnut Larb, and Crispy Wild Shrimp and Shishito. For dessert, look to their menu of natural wine. One of the best meals I’ve had in a long time. 15 Rock City Road, Woodstock, NY 12498
Wood-fired pizza with a twist.
There is no shortage of wood-fired pizza in the Hudson Valley, but there is something special about Ollie’s pies that makes them simply the best. And while they’re known for their pizza (my personal favorite is The Famous Onion Pie with a sesame seed crust), don’t sleep on their appetizers and sides. I have thoroughly enjoyed their wings, arancini, and salads. I’m always on the hunt for kid-friendly places, with plenty of indoor and outdoor space, that don’t compromise on quality ingredients, and Ollie’s checks all those boxes. To top it off, they have both vegan and gluten-free options and a solid beverage program. 4 Bruceville Road, High Falls, NY 12440
Naturally leavened bread and more.
I first tried Kingston Bread at Accord Market. They sell their breads and pastries wholesale to several establishments across the Hudson Valley, so if you’ve made it up here for a visit, you’ve likely seen or heard their name. Their brick-and-mortar location, Kingston Bread + Bar, serves all their fabulous baked goods, plus small plates, sandwiches, coffee, and cocktails. While you’re here, check out their micro-market packed with a curated selection of local cheeses and dry goods. 43 N. Front St., Kingston, NY 12401
Diverse Mediterranean cuisine.
If you’re familiar with Taavo Somer and the success of Freemans, you’ve likely heard of Hotel Kinsley, Lola, or Inness — his latest venture. The restaurant and bar provide an escape for city dwellers and locals alike, with elevated dining and breathtaking views of the Catskill Mountains. Their seasonal menu is simple yet executed to perfection, and a handful of their beverages were designed by You & Me Cocktails. When I last visited, I had the Sawkill Martini and local chicken (from Snowdance Farms) with pomme puree, roasted carrots, and pan jus. The property also houses a hotel, golf course, retail shop, and (coming soon) a spa. 10 Bank St., Accord, NY 12404
Farm-to-table prepared foods.
Talbott & Arding is heaven for me. The space is massive and filled with quality prepared sandwiches and salads, plus a showcase of the best the Hudson Valley has to offer: cheeses, breads, coffee, charcuterie, pasta, ceramics, and more. Their menu changes often, but I’ll never forget the focaccia sandwich I inhaled after a long drive up. At this moment, I first thought, I could live here. If you’re planning on hiking, having a picnic, or just need a quick meal, don’t think twice. 202 Allen St., Hudson, NY 12534
Butterfield is well regarded by the Departures crew and is at the top of my list for many reasons. One, they offer what seems to be rare across the Hudson Valley: a Sunday brunch — enough said. Two, they make premium food accessible to families by providing the option of kids meals (thank you!). Three, their outdoor patio and tent allow for a casual way to consume comfort-food staples like burgers, tacos, and fries on your own blanket. Four, they bring community into the mix: Throughout the summer, they host free outdoor films, with a family-friendly night too. 3805 Main St., Stone Ridge, NY 12484
Rabble Rise makes cake, brioche, and (vegan) sourdough doughnuts, all from scratch. I made the unfortunate mistake of taking both of my kids — under the age of 10 — here solo. We all got a little too excited and ordered nearly one of everything. To survive their impending sugar high, I got an icy cold brew and was happy I did. There are a handful of tables inside their industrial-style space, but we took our baked goods to go. Standouts were the classic glazed brioche doughnut and frosted sourdough Pop-Tarts. By far, my favorite doughnuts in the Hudson Valley. 138 Main St., New Paltz, NY 12561
At the top of Huckleberry’s menu is a killer double-smash burger and fries alongside other comfort-food classics like a fried chicken sandwich, tacos, and noodles. The restaurant and bar are open seven days a week, making it a Hudson Valley favorite since so many places are open only Thursday through Sunday. Inside, you’ll find an old-school bar, but the majority of seating is outside (pets and kiddos are welcome), so come prepared for the weather. There is plenty of shopping and exploring to do on foot here if you choose to make a day or night out of it: Inquiring Minds Bookstore is a favorite, and Jar’d Wine Pub is a must-visit. 21 Church St., New Paltz, NY 12561
The team at Mama Roux explains their menu as “Southern Cajun cuisine meets country French,” and that marriage of flavors is one you don’t want to miss. Nestled on Broadway in Newburgh, this Southern-style restaurant is an intimate retreat just an hour north of New York City. Next time, if I can convince my partner to share, I will be satisfying my never-ending gumbo craving (Mama Roux’s is made with blackened red snapper), while also enjoying barbecued Brussels sprouts, and for dessert, a drool-worthy, amaro-based cocktail called Mama’s Night Cap. While you’re in the neighborhood, make sure to check out Flour Shop for coffee and pastries. 96 Broadway, Newburgh, NY 12550
Unique, coveted beers.
Hudson Valley Brewery produces beers that are so unique, rare, and coveted in the local beer scene that they sell out almost immediately. If you see one of these unicorn beers in a restaurant or liquor store, it’s best that you snatch it up and enjoy it because it will be gone in a flash. Make sure to visit their taproom to experience the small-batch magic from Thursday through Sunday. If you’re interested in grabbing a case or two, place your pre-order for their new releases here. (Beer can also be shipped to a number of states in the U.S.) 7 E. Main St., Beacon, NY 12508
Light bites and experimental wines.
Brunette is as Instagrammable as they come. But I have to hand it to them: They match those stunning interiors with delicious light bites, snacks, and a stellar, low-intervention, biodynamic, and organic wine program. Don’t get too attached to their wines, because the list changes weekly, but trust their curated menu and try something unfamiliar. Last time I was here, I threw back oysters, a hot dog, and a couple of exceptional wines by the glass. 33 Broadway, Kingston, NY 12401
Conscious family brewing.
Suarez Family Brewery’s outdoor tasting patio, The Tap, is open Thursday and Friday from 1–7 p.m., making the window of opportunity to consume their beers very limited — but I assure you it is worth the visit. If you can’t make it during the week, swing by Saturday for beer to-go only, or check and see if your state is on their approved shipping list. They always seem to have their hands in something creative and interesting. I am currently gushing over their recent collaboration with Jasper Hill Farm on a special beer-flavored edition of my favorite cheese (Willoughby) — available at Saisonnier in Kinderhook, New York. 2278 U.S. Route 9, Hudson, NY 12534
A love letter to the Hudson Valley.
Westwind Orchard is dangerously close to my home. It’s the Italian restaurant and cidery that officially sold me on our little hamlet, Accord. Here, they serve up wood-fired pizzas (my current favorite is a white pie topped with roasted artichokes and spicy capocollo), pastas, appetizers, salads, and a handful of hefty entrees like oven-roasted pork ribs and shrimp scampi — all sourced locally. They have the kindest staff, plus ample space for our kids to run and play outside among the picnic tables on the grass. They don’t allow you to pick your own fruit in the orchard, but you can purchase produce in an on-premises farm stand alongside other local goods. 215 Lower Whitfield Road, Accord, NY 12404
Solid brewery with gluten-free eats.
Rough Cut Brewing is located in the hamlet of Kerhonkson, right next door to Accord on the Shawangunk Ridge. Before digging into their menu, I highly recommend taking a hike or nature walk at Minnewaska State Park Preserve, just a two-minute drive from the brewery. After you stretch your legs, enjoy one of their 10 beers on tap, some solid comfort food (with plenty of gluten-free and vegetarian items), and a kids menu impossible for your little ones not to love. Pull up a seat inside or out at this family-friendly spot. 5945 U.S. Route 44 #55, Kerhonkson, NY 12446
Sustainable brewery and distillery.
I have watched nearly every friend I’ve brought here consider moving to the Hudson Valley. The explanation to me is simple: breathtaking scenery from every angle; casual, locally inspired barbecue from their food truck; elevated farm-to-table dining at The Apiary (their on-site restaurant); sustainable, local beers and spirits. We almost always sit outside, let our kids run free in the grass (along with the chickens), and take in live music on the weekends. Depending on our mood, we order from one or both of their food spots and top it off with a Negroni or a porch beer. 236 Lower Whitfield Road, Accord, NY 12404
Not yet ready to leave upstate New York?
Hailey Andresen Writer
Hailey Andresen is an audience development strategist at Departures. A New York–based writer and editor, she founded the digital lifestyle publication Household Mag and has spent more than a decade in the hospitality industry.
Alexandra Brodsky Writer
Alex Brodsky is a photographer and filmmaker whose films have screened at venues such as New Directors/New Films, the Los Angeles Film Festival, and the Nantucket Film Festival, among others. Her film "Bittersweet Place" premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, garnering a special jury commendation. She is a founding partner, along with Mary Stuart Masterson and Cassandra Del Viscio, of Quality Pictures, a production company dedicated to social impact, located in the Hudson Valley.