All Photos by Arian David Horbevetz
I reclined in my comfy seat, watching the sun rise over the upstate New York countryside, a steaming cup of coffee and my computer on the tray table in front of me. The scenery danced like an inspirational backdrop as my train crossed the state to my destination, Hudson.
Making my way to the cafe car, I spotted four travelers happily playing Monopoly. I asked them where they were from, getting an answer I didn’t expect.
“Turkey! We work in Buffalo at the new Marriott Harbor Center. We’re all interns there. We’re going to New York City.”
“Who’s winning?” I asked. Three players pointed to the fourth, a smirking young man in the back right corner.
Later that morning, I sat down with Conductor Robert Ploss, who summed up why people like me love to ride the train. “Here on Amtrak, people have a chance to interact, maybe come back to the cafe car, where they can get work done, or play a game. You get people from all walks of life coming together.”
And he was right.
After arriving at the classic Hudson station, I made my way up to Warren Street, a historic but dynamic mile and a half of independently owned shops, boutiques, galleries and restaurants. I was completely surprised by this stretch that boasted the high-end shopping and dining experience of New York City, while maintaining an intimate, small town feel. I took in the artistic ambiance, popping in to shop after shop. One was the Jeff Bailey Gallery.
“I used to have a gallery in New York City, but it’s great to be in Hudson because there are so many great restaurants, galleries, things to do,” Jeff told me. “It’s so close to everything. It’s just a beautiful place. It’s one of the best examples of beautifully preserved architecture, with stores, galleries and restaurants to match.”
After a day of shopping and browsing, I stepped into Spotty Dog Books and Ale, a genius combination of a bookstore and a bar. I wanted to stay there all night, perusing the bookshelves with a chilled adult beverage in hand. My stomach grumbling, I stopped at Swoon, a fine dining Mecca featuring incredible oysters and one of thebest steaks I’ve ever had.
After a day of exploring, I spent the night at the marvelous Country Squire Bed and Breakfast, where owner Paul Barrett’s attention to detail and comfort was surpassed only by his genuine spirit.
“What makes living here so nice is we’re a city but we may very well be a town or a village,” Paul said. “There is a closeness and a sense of intimacy here, and it’s felt by people in the community and the many people who visit. There is a whole arts energy that pervades everything, which is what makes living here so special.”
Too soon, it was time to head home. I settled in my Amtrak seat overcome with feelings about my city adventure. It was a place where an adventure was only steps away, all the time. On any given weekend, anyone can hop on a train and travel to a place where creative souls unite, doing their part to maintain and grow an oasis of arts and culture.
Whatever your love, whatever your taste, your passion, your palate, Hudson’s re-imagined charm has something in store for you.
Arian David Horbovetz is a Rochester-based professional photographer and blogger who writes about his statewide train travels.