August is a time of lazy river tubing, tall drinks in the shade, and as much heat-relief as you can engineer throughout the long, sunny, humid days. In years past—in decades past—August was the month when you began to think about making the most of the rest of the summer because by the time Labor Day made its way on to your calendar, temperatures would drop, and fall would begin to nip at your heels in the night.
The Hudson Valley is oriented generally on a north-south axis. Besides the river itself (one of the very few rivers in the world that run north-south), all the major roads in the region reach north from New York City directly south. The New York State Thruway, Routes 9 and 9W, The Taconic Parkway and several smaller roads all follow the course of the river. Amtrak runs north and south through Hudson. From Poughkeepsie the Metro North trains run south to Grand Central Station.
July is high season, and in summer Hudson provides a base for exploring the leafier precincts of Columbia County, the Catskills and beyond. Now is when you’ll think about brunch in town and spending the rest of your day on a mountain. Now is when you might even have your breakfast at home (if you are fortunate enough to live here!) and strike out for the trailhead. Or you may decide to come for a weekend of camping at any of the hundreds of sites between the Catskills and the Berkshires. Some have said the best hiking and camping is high up into the deeper hollows of the Catskills in Greene and Ulster counties—both of which are less than an hour from Hudson. Imagine spending the day in a virtual wilderness near Shokan or Big Indian—and then home for supper.
Hudson may lack a main-street movie theater, but it has certainly starred on more than one occasion upon the silver screen. And while it’s true that Time and Space Limited shows movies regularly out of a former warehouse on Columbia Street, and there’s a mainstream multiplex, Hudson Movieplex, up the road on Route 9 a couple of miles from town, most of the cinematic action in Hudson has taken place on or very near Warren Street.
In June, Hudson begins what for all the world seems to be a summer-long celebration. The sidewalks are busy, the restaurants are buzzing, and the shops are enjoying the beginning of high-season. There is little reason to wonder why. With a mile-long street of unique stores and restaurants plus a view of the Catskills, Hudson begins to enjoy its reputation as the “metropolis” of Columbia County.
While folks from town and its surrounding towns make their way down Warren Street, they mix with a healthy number of visitors from New York City and beyond. Hudson in the summer blends sophistication with country charm, but it’s those same attractions that make it a great place to live and work.
Norman Rockwell, decades after his last Saturday Evening Post cover, remains an iconic American artist.
At their best, his paintings are painstakingly humanistic, highly evocative and masterfully rendered. Many today find his works almost in the realm of kitsch—but too often the critics will forget that Rockwell painted for a commercial market. He was an illustrator and a keen observer of the American scene of his day.
Today you can drive from Hudson to the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts in less than an hour. There you will find yourself confronting dozens of deeply affecting, highly realistic paintings that depict an America that seems to have left us—or perhaps never was, at least not for most of us.