A Perfect Weekend in Hudson, New York: Habitas-on-Hudson

Upstate New York has always served as a refuge for city dwellers, offering wide swaths of open pasture only a few hours train from the bustling heat of city centers. Every time I visited the Hudson Valley during my five years in New York, I jumped at the opportunity to witness seasons in full swing.

Photos courtesy of Our Habitas

Upstate New York has always served as a refuge for city dwellers, offering wide swaths of open pasture only a few hours train from the bustling heat of city centers. Every time I visited the Hudson Valley during my five years in New York, I jumped at the opportunity to witness seasons in full swing. The vibrant hues of greens after heavy rains made Spring even that more exciting. It’s an area where clean air is greatly appreciated and many people choose to purchase homes for the best of the urban-to-rural lifestyle balance. When visiting Habitas-on-Hudson, I was instantly reminded of the magic I’d experienced on my first visit to Upstate New York.

The welcoming entrance
The coffee bar

The hotel itself is a renovated 18th Century neo-baroque manor house that evokes country living from a different era. Large white columns frame the entrance of the building and a beautiful, deep green ivy laces itself on all outside walls. The original interior, owned and designed by Andre Balazs, was thoughtfully reconfigured by Our Habitas with secret nooks around every corner. Each room has its own personality with warm color profiles, Noguchi-esque lighting fixtures and Mid Century furniture, all of which honor the massive windows that peer onto rolling hills and leafy trees. My favorite room was at the entrance to our bedroom: a small drawing room with a chess set and a green velvet sofa. It reminded me of late nights in the 1920s, of writers and painters, smoking cigars and discussing politics over a heated game of chess. 

Perfect for enjoying breakfast or getting some work done
A stately red bar

After settling in our room, we ventured out to explore the town of Hudson, which is roughly a 45-minute drive from Habitas-on-Hudson. A necessary stop for lunch is the famed Cafe Mutton, a cafe started by Chef Shaina Loew-Banayan who previously worked at the beloved restaurant Prune in New York City. Normally I am quite skeptical of restaurants receiving lots of buzzy online attention but I will say, Cafe Mutton’s earnestness results in all its well deserved praise. Loew-Banayan specializes in unapologetic and hearty meals from her Hungarian heritage, oftentimes highlighting cuts of meat rarely used in modern American cuisine. Surrounded by feminist literature, we sat in the quietest booth in the back and ordered porridge with a poached egg and a plate of crispy lamb shoulder. Each element was packed so thoroughly with depth and flavor that I think I shed a tear after the first bite of lamb. Paired with an acidic chermoula and perfectly cooked potatoes, the meal honored each ingredient by subscribing to ‘low and slow’ cooking methods and high quality ingredients. Cafe Mutton is a revolutionary act, from its bad-ass all female staff and ownership down to its vibrant flavors.

A cozy light-filled bedroom

In the spirit of a bold afternoon, we headed back to Habitas-on-Hudson to take advantage of the unique programming they offer to guests. Led by John Michelotti of Catskills Fungi, my partner and I embarked on an afternoon of mushroom foraging. Hiking amongst large canopied trees and dense forest, we learned about native and invasive mushroom species that can be found all throughout the East Coast. Navigating through fallen logs and overgrown ivy, we filled out baskets with fresh yellow oyster mushrooms while learning impressive facts about the intelligence of mycelium. As taught by Michelotti, “the mycelial web is basically an interconnected network that runs between the bark and the cambium of the tree. It is said to cover 2400 acres in size and be 2,000 years old. [This organism] kills off the tree as it runs and makes sure that not one species of tree overrun the forest. Once the trees die and other fungi break them down, light comes through the tree canopy and regenerates new life and habitat for other species in the forest. It helps with the cycles of life.” There is a poetic nature to the life of mycelium, an ancient, interconnected network of fungal threads that can communicate with each another. I felt profoundly moved by the foraging experience and grateful to reconnect to the environment in this way.

As we rounded out our trip in Hudson, I made sure to stop at my favorite U-Pick farm in Redhook. Greig Farm has been a family-owned-and-run property since 1942, providing the community with opportunities to harvest their produce in the fields. Since I was a child, I’ve had a strange fascination with picking fruits and vegetables so of course, I jumped at the opportunity to round out the day by picking warmed snow peas in the afternoon sun. I was joined in the field by a seven-year-old girl who taught me how to properly twist the peas from the stem so as not to ruin the rest of the plant. We spent a while there together, bent over in the heat, tasting the pea flowers and making an impressive collection in our baskets. 

Honoring both the environment and its history, Habitas-on-Hudson offers a window into the precious lifestyle of Upstate New York. With its abundant farmland, ever-changing wildlife and budding culinary scene, it feels like a perfect excuse to escape the city for a few days and reconnect to simple pleasures. There has never been a more important time to disconnect from our screens and venture to places where fresh air and clear skies are a priority. 

Where to Stay: Habitas-on-Hudson

What to Do: Mushroom Foraging with Catskills Funghi (through Habitas)

Which Farm to Visit: Greig farm


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