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Best of Hudson Valley 2010

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Food & Drink

Crêpes
Le Gamin Country Café

Hudson
You’ll swoon “Ooh la la” over the menu at this tiny slice of Paris in the Catskills. French restaurateur Robert Arbor first opened a café in Manhattan’s Soho in the ’90s. Lucky for Valleyites, he expanded north (you might also spot Le Gamin’s nifty mobile food truck, which serves an abbreviated version of their café menu, including crêpes, sandwiches, and salads). As for those crêpes, they’re “formidable!” Choose from among goat cheese, leek, chicken, or ratatouille. On the sweet side, Le Gamin also offers mouthwatering classic butter/sugar crêpes; or opt for lemon or fresh-fruit fillings. It’s the joie de vivre! • 518-828-2885; www.legamin.com

Chunky Cookie
Lisa’s Cookie Shop

Warwick
Lisa Ciriello left a corporate job in Manhattan to follow her bliss: opening a bakery where she could duplicate the baked goods that reminded her of yummy edibles from her childhood. “I have a passion for baking and a true desire to offer my customers memories of the past,” says Ciriello. Her Kitchen Sink cookie honors her aunt Bernadette, who loved to bake and would toss unexpected pantry leftovers into her cookie batter. Ciriello’s version includes coconut, cranberry, macadamia nuts, and chocolate chunks. (These sweets gained fame when this year’s Daytime Emmy Awards ordered 1,000-plus of the munchies, which Ciriello shipped to Las Vegas.) And when it comes to chocolate chip cookies, Ciriello’s buttery, chock-full-of-chocolate recipe is “inspired by my quest for the ultimate take on this classic,” she says. If you’re planning to stop by the shop, become a Facebook friend, or follow it on Twitter — Ciriello will alert you when a new batch of tasty treats comes out of the oven. Now that’s service! • 845-987-2167; www.lisascookieshop.com

» Read our feature story about Lisa’s Cookie Shop, “Happiness in a Bag,” here

Chocolate Brioche
Tivoli Bread & Baking Company

Tivoli
This cute takeout bakery draws locals and weekenders alike, and it might seem like delicious torture to choose between its melt-in-your-mouth sticky buns, croissants, lemon pound cake, muffins, and other items. But chocolate-lovers and pastry mavens insist there’s really no problem deciding — they swear by the chocolate brioche, perfectly made by baker/owner Mike Gonnella. • 845-757-2253

Use of Lemons
Lemoncakes at Alternative Bake
r
Rosendale
When life gives you lemons, buy a lemon cake from Essel Hoenshell-Watson. He’s the alternative baker behind Alternative Baker, Rosendale’s artisanal storefront bakery. Hoenshell-Watson learned the art of handmade desserts and breads from his grandmother and mother, and honed his craft in the pastry program at the CIA. His signature lemon cakes are baked in old-school fluted molds using a Depression-era recipe, which includes all-natural butter, fresh whole eggs, pure lemon juice, and fresh buttermilk. The result: a soft, velvety interior; a crisp but delicate shell; and a taste that’s like a pastry version of lemonade. • 845-658-3355; www.lemoncakes.com

Healthy Hangout
The Rosendale Café

Rosendale
Is it a vegetarian restaurant? Is it a swingin’ nightclub? Hey — it’s both. The four-star food features such vegetarian delights as Cuban Mojo Seitan and Indonesian Tempeh and Veggies, along with salads, homemade desserts, organic coffees, wine, and three microbrews on tap. The music side has been likened to Manhattan’s Knitting Factory, with weekend concerts showcasing local and international singer-songwriters and jazz, blues, world, and experimental artists. This combination of good food, good music, and a welcoming, no-worries atmosphere has made the café a destination for locals, out-of-town visitors, and anyone who happens to be passing through. • 845-658-9048; www.rosendalecafe.com

Food & Drink

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Shopping

 

City-style Sushi
Momiji Japanese Restaurant

Stone Ridge, Rhinebeck
While the Stone Ridge outpost of this popular Japanese restaurant has something of a country atmosphere, the Rhinebeck location — with its indoor waterfall, stone floors, and extensive use of glass throughout — has a true urban feel. Boasting four hibachi tables and a sushi bar, the Rhinebeck spot also offers an expanded menu that features more Asian fusion cuisine. • Stone Ridge, 845-687-2110; Rhinebeck, 845-876-5555

Alternative to a Big Mac
Poppy’s Burgers & Fries

Beacon
Sure, the interior of this storefront eatery is just a half-step up from your local Mickey D’s. But the similarity ends there. Made with 100-percent organic, grass-fed beef — supplied by Kiernan Farms in Gardiner — Paul “Poppy” Yeaple’s burgers are juicy, flavorful, and taste the way a burger should — like real food. (The fries are to die for, too.) Not a carnivore? Try their bean-based veggie burger, topped with jalapeno aïoli. Trust us, you’ll never go back to a chain burger joint again. • 845-765-2121; www.poppyburger.com

Modern Malt Shop
All Shook Up Cafe & Juice Bar

Poughkeepsie
This corner eatery near Vassar College looks about as retro as you can get — checkerboard floor, stainless steel bar stools, and pictures of ’50s icons (Marilyn, Elvis, Fats Domino) on the walls. But the menu is decidedly 21st century: the all-fruit smoothies are sweetened with agave nectar (no sugar here), and their meal replacement shakes are both low-glycemic and low-cal. Bacon and other meats are antibiotic- and hormone-free; many of their cheeses come from the grass-fed animals at nearby Sprout Creek Farm. • 845-485-1955; www.allshookup44.com

Dessert Soufflé
The Arch

Brewster
Let’s face it: Finding a local restaurant that offers a dessert soufflé is not that easy. And — as anyone who’s tried to make one at home can attest — getting the perfectly risen confection from oven to table without having it collapse is no mean feat. But George Seitz, chef/owner at this Putnam County landmark restaurant, has got it down pat. His dinner menu offers not one, but four different dessert soufflés: chocolate, raspberry, toasted coconut, and Grand Marnier. Any one of them sounds the perfect end note to a meal of Seitz’s eclectic-French cuisine. • 845-279-5011; www.archrestaurant.com

Blue Cheese
Ewe’s Blue from Old Chatham Sheepherding Co.

Old Chatham
Fans flock to buy hand-crafted sheep-milk cheeses from Old Chatham Sheepherding Company, where more than 1,000 woolly critters graze contentedly in the rolling hills of the upper Valley. The family-run business’s artisanal Ewe’s Blue cheese — farm-made, creamy, Roquefort-style — draws raves: Wine & Spirits judged it tops among American cheeses in wine pairings. The farm’s other cheeses, including the award-winning Hudson Valley Camembert Square, are super palate-pleasers, too. Shop online, or stop by the farm’s 24/7 self-serve cheese store. • 888-743-3760; www.blacksheepcheese.com

Popovers
Hudson’s Ribs & Fish

Fishkill
With their fall-off-the-bone ribs and fresh fish delivered daily, this very popular Route 9 restaurant already has plenty to recommend it. But their signature popovers are really worth writing home about. A light and airy alternative to the bread baskets most eateries offer, these just-baked beauties come to the table hot from the oven, along with whipped strawberry butter for spreading. It’s like having dessert before the meal. • 845-297-5002; www.hudsonsribsandfish.com

Gluten-free Pasta
Rock Da Pasta

New Paltz
This one-of-a-kind Main Street joint invites you to “rock out while they get the pasta out.” Their gluten-free pasta dishes pay tribute to jukebox heroes; the menu includes David Bowtie Seafood Alfredo, Peter Frampi Scampi, and Stevie Ray-violi, to name a few. A variety of dishes are also vegan-friendly. And don’t forget to try a James Brownie for dessert. • 845-255-1144; www.rockdapasta.com

Gluten-free Baked Goods
Jenny Teague of Soul Dog

Poughkeepsie
Cookies, cupcakes, muffins, coffee cakes: These are just a few of the flavorful desserts baked by Soul Dog co-owner Jenny Teague, many of which are gluten-free or vegan-friendly. And her fresh-baked breads (also without gluten) can be found at locations throughout the Valley, including Nature’s Pantry in Fishkill, Rhinebeck Health Foods, and Merona’s Market in Millerton, to name a few. Although the eatery has previously won a BOHV award for its tasty hot dogs loaded with a creative variety of toppings, these yummy but health-conscious treats should not be overlooked. • 845-454-3254; www.souldog.biz

Portuguese Restaurant
Quinta Steakhouse

Pearl River
Brothers Ricardo and Armando Cerdeira run this six-year-old steakhouse, which features dry-aged Prime and Choice steaks. But the menu also includes traditional specialties from the brothers’ Portuguese homeland, including caldo verde (potato and kale soup with chouriço, a type of Portuguese sausage), mariscada (shellfish stew), and carne alentejana (pork loin with clams and fried potatoes). And they’ve got a fine selection of Portuguese wines, too. • 845-735-5565; www.quintasteakhouse.com

Restaurant Redo
Le Chambord Restaurant & Inn

Hopewell Junction
Now in its 25th year, this stalwart of the Dutchess County dining scene is housed in an 1863 stone mansion set on 10 acres (making it a popular choice for wedding receptions). The American Continental menu features favorite dishes like pistachio-crusted rack of lamb and rainbow trout with white wine and capers; this year, chef/owner Roy Benich updated the bill of fare by adding a selection of tapas items. Diners can now enjoy cheese empanadas, garlic shrimp, oysters casino, and other small plates from 4-10 p.m. on weekdays. • 845-221-1941; www.lechambord.com

Baseball-lovin’ Restaurant (south)
The Stadium

Garrison
Are you the type of hardcore baseball fan who still gets choked up when Kevin Costner’s character gets to play catch with the ghost of his dear old dad in Field of Dreams? Then you’ll love this place, where you can dine among relics of baseball greats. Enjoy meaty dishes like an Angus burger or Bourbon-marinated steak — or keep it light with a salad or wrap — while you drool over items such as Mickey Mantle’s 1956 Triple Crown award, Babe Ruth’s 1934 New York Yankees contract, a Brooklyn Dodgers’ World Series ring, and Hall of Fame plaques, to name just a few. • 845-734-4000; www.stadiumbarrest.com

Baseball-lovin’ Restaurant (north)
Hudson Park Restaurant

Hudson
The dining area at this baseball-themed eatery makes you feel like you’re right in the clubhouse, with its wood-paneled walls displaying portraits of players in action. They serve classic stadium eats, including items named for each of your favorite New York teams: Try the Yankee Classic hot dog (with melted American cheese), the New York Metropolitan ’dog (with onion sauce, sauerkraut, and deli mustard), and the Hudson Valley Renegade chicken tenders. Or just hang and watch the game on the flat screen, snacking on peanuts and Cracker Jack. • 518-851-2228

Scallop Dish
Coquilles at the Postage Inn

Tillson
These tasty little fruits of the sea are prepared in a rich, sherry-and-shallot cream sauce and served alongside rice and veggies. Made to perfection — we’ve never had an overcooked, rubbery one in the bunch — the flavor of the tender scallops is nicely complemented by the thick-but-not-too-heavy sauce. When paired with a dry white wine, c’est magnifique! • 845-658-3434; www.thepostageinn.com

Latin Night Out
Coquito Fine Dining

Warwick
Every Latin night out should involve music, and at this Spanish-influenced restaurant, you can fill your evening with salsa, merengue, or cool jazz. Then take your pick of the American and Puerto Rican menu options, including mofongo al pilon (mashed green plantains with beef, pork, or chicken), octopus salad (octopus tossed with peppers, onions, sofrito, and greens), and paella. Every Tuesday is singles’ night, Wednesday is ladies’ night, and Thursday evenings are for the fellas, all with drink specials. • 845-544-2790; www.coquitony.com

Selection of Italian Beers
The Villa Pasta & Grille

Lagrangeville
Italy may be known for its distinctive wines, but the country’s many breweries ought not to be ignored. This Italian restaurant recognizes that lesser-known fact and sells a selection of Italy’s finer bottled brews. Take your pick from the crisp Peroni; the double-malted Moretti La Rossa, with its caramized malt flavor; or the Tappeto Volante, a fine blonde lager. • 877-341-2494; www.thevillapastaandgrille.com

Fruit Brandy and Liqueurs
Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery

Warwick
There’s lots of fruity fun going on at this Hudson Valley institution — and the pear remains front and center of it all. The delightful Pear Brandy won Double Gold at a big international competition last year, and we’ve been fans of the oak-finished Bartlett Pear liqueur since its 2007 debut. Apple, sour cherry, and black currant are also turned into luscious libations. But come and see for yourself: Take in an orchard and garden tour, listen to music, pick pears and apples (in August/early September), and stop by the bistro. Life is just peachy in this part of Orange County. • 845-258-4858; www.wvwinery.com

Whiskey
Tuthilltown Spirits Distillery

Gardiner
It’s been a big year for Tuthilltown Spirits. This small-batch distillery was named Craft Distiller of the Year by the American Distillers’ Institute. And last spring, it began a partnership with William Grant & Sons, makers of Grant’s Scotch and single malts Glenfiddich and the Balvenie. Grant purchased the mom-and-pop distillery’s Hudson Whiskey brand for worldwide distribution and contracted Tuthilltown to produce it. It’s no wonder Tuthilltown has legions of loyal regional — and soon-to-be global — fans: 90 percent of the ingredients in its products come from local or regional sources. Valley apples, for instance, are distilled into its vodka; the new line of Tuthilltown “white” whiskey comes from heirloom corn grown on nearby farms. Cheers! • 845-633-8734; www.tuthilltown.com

Place to Pair Wine and Food
Artisan Wine Shop
Beacon
Make your next dinner party a hit. Not only does this Dutchess County shop sell an array of divine wines and affordable spirits, but they also offer pairing classes to share what food goes best with your vintage selections. • 845-440-6923; www.artisanwineshop.com

Wedding Cakes
McKinney & Doyle Fine Foods Café and The Corner Bakery

Pawling
There are a multitude of choices when it comes to picking that special cake for your big day, but this eatery’s sumptuous selection of fine baked goods with sweet, light, or chocolaty fillings really takes the… well, you know. Best known for their brunch and other bakery items, McKinney & Doyle can also become your one-stop shop to cater your wedding: they’ll ensure you and your guests are taken care of by providing tents, china, glassware, restrooms, and a waitstaff that prepares and cleans up. • Bakery, 845-855-3707; café, 845-855-3875; www.mckinneyanddoyle.com

Captions: Ciao bella Pizza from La Bella in New Paltz looks good enough to eat right off the page

That’s Italian A Rossi’s Deli sandwich with red peppers, fresh mozzarella, and pesto

Rise to the occasion A perfect dessert soufflé from the Arch in Brewster

Good and Gallic Le Canard Enchainé is the choice for real-deal French fare

Meal with a view The outdoor deck at Poughkeepsie’s Shadows on the Hudson

Best Restaurants By Cuisine

New Restaurant:
Crave Restaurant and Lounge

Poughkeepsie. 845-452-3501; www.craverestaurantandlounge.com
Want to know more about our readers’ choice for the hottest new restaurant? Our food writer raves about Crave in her Table Talk review.

American:
American Bounty at the Culinary Institute of America

Hyde Park. 845-471-6608;
www.ciachef.edu/restaurants/bounty

BBQ:
Max’s Memphis Barbeque

Red Hook. 845-758-6297; www.maxsbbq.com

Cajun:
Big Easy Bistro

Newburgh. 845-565-3939;
www.bigeasybistro.net

Chinese:
China Rose

Rhinecliff. 845-876-7442;
www.chinaroserestaurant.com

French (tie):
Le Petit Bistro

Rhinebeck. 845-876-7400; www.lepetitbistro.com
Le Canard Enchainé
Kingston. 845-339-2003;
www.le-canardenchainesrestaurant.com

German:
Mountain Brauhaus

Gardiner. 845-255-9766;
www.mountainbrauhaus.com

Greek:
Yanni Restaurant

New Paltz. 845-256-0988

Indian:
Tanjore

Fishkill. 845-896-6659;
www.tanjoreindiancuisine.com

Italian:
Cosimo’s Poughkeepsie

Poughkeepsie. 845-485-7172;
www.cosimospoughkeepsie.com

Japanese/Sushi:
Tokyo Sushi

New Paltz. 845-255-1335

Mediterranean:
Gigi Trattoria

Rhinebeck. 845-876-1007; www.gigitrattoria.com

Mexican/Latino:
La Puerta Azul

Salt Point. 845-677-2985; www.lapuertaazul.com

Seafood:
Gadaleto’s Seafood

New Paltz. 845-255-1717; www.gadaletos.com

Steakhouse:
Schlesinger’s Steak House

New Windsor. 845-561-1762;
www.schlesingerssteakhouse.com

Thai:
Sukhothai Restaurant

Beacon. 845-440-7731; www.sukhothainy.net

Vegetarian:
Karma Road

New Paltz. 845-255-1099; www.karmaroad.net

Best Restaurants By Atmosphere

Bistro:
Backyard Bistro

Montgomery
845-457-9901;
www.holbertscatering.com

Breakfast:
Main Street Bistro

New Paltz
845-255-7766;
www.mainstreetbistro.com

Brunch:
The Thayer Hotel

West Point
845-446-4731;
www.thethayerhotel.com

Cheap Eats:
Eduardo’s

Salisbury Mills
845-496-0141

Comfort Food/Diner:
The Eveready Diner

Hyde Park, 845-229-8100;
Brewster, 845-279-9009;
www.theevereadydiner.com

Dessert:
Apple Pie Bakery
at the Culinary Institute of America
Hyde Park
845-471-6608;
www.ciachef.edu/restaurants/apbc

Late Night Dining:
Palace Diner

Poughkeepsie
845-473-1576;
www.thepalace­diner.com

Lunch Spot:
Amedeo’s Pizzeria

Lagrangeville
845-454-4563

Place to Eat with a Date:
Twist

Hyde Park. 845-229-7094; www.letstwist.com

Place to Eat with a View/Romantic Dining:
Shadows on the Hudson

Poughkeepsie
845-486-9500;
www.shadowsonthehudson.com

Special Occasion Dining:
The Culinary Institute of America

Hyde Park
845-471-6608; www.ciachef.edu/restaurants

Waterside/Al Fresco Dining:
Torches on the Hudson

Newburgh. 845-568-0100;
www.torchesonthehudson.com

Best Restaurants By County

What’s the big news this year? Well, for the first time,the River Bank in Cornwall-on-Hudson debuts on the list as our readers’ favorite restaurant in Orange County. Housed in a gorgeous old building that used to be a bank (really!), this restaurant delights patrons with a varied American/fusion-style menu.

Albany County:
Jack’s Oyster House

Albany. 518-465-8854;
www.jacksoysterhouse.com

Columbia County:
Mexican Radio

Hudson. 518-828-7770; www.mexrad.com

Dutchess County:
Terrapin Restaurant

Rhinebeck. 845-876-3330;
www.terrapinrestaurant.com

Greene County:
Bistro Brie and Bordeaux

Windham. 518-734-4911;
www.bistrobrieandbordeaux.com

Orange County:
The River Bank

Cornwall-on-Hudson. 845-534-3046;
www.theriverbank.biz

Putnam County:
Riverview

Cold Spring. 845-265-4778;
www.riverdining.com

Rensselaer County:
Arlington House

West Sand Lake
Housed in a former 19th-century hotel, this restaurant and bar offers American cuisine with a delicious twist. The menu changes with the season, but diners can always find a wide selection of tasty salads and soups, a variety of specially cooked seafood (parsnip-encrusted salmon, anyone?), and steak, duck and game seasoned and cooked to perfection. The restaurant also offers an array of gourmet pizzas, including its unique peanut butter Thai shrimp concoction.
518-674-1880; www.thearlingtonhouse.com

Rockland County:
Xaviar’s

Piermont. 845-359-7007; www.xaviars.com

Ulster County:
Ship Lantern Inn

Milton. 845-795-5400; www.shiplanterninn.com

Westchester County:
Blue Hill at Stone Barns

Pocantico Hills. 914-366-9600;
www.bluehillfarm.com/food/blue-hill-stone-barns

Readers’ Picks: Food

Appetizers:
Terrapin Restaurant

Rhinebeck. 845-876-3330;
www.terrapinrestaurant.com

Bagel:
New Paltz Bagel Café

New Paltz. 845-255-4594

Bread:
Bread Alone

Boiceville. 845-657-3328;
www.breadalone.com

Buffalo Wings:
McGillicuddy’s Restaurant & Tap House

New Paltz. 845-256-9289;
www.cuddysny.com

Burger:
Red Brick Tavern

Rosendale. 845-658-8500;
www.redbrickrosendale.com

Chili:
Andy’s Place

Poughkeepsie. 845-452-2525;
www.gotoandysplace.com

Chocolate Treat (tie):
Alps Sweet Shop

Beacon. 845-831-8240;
www.alpssweetshop.com
Krause’s Chocolates
Saugerties. 845-246-8377;
www.krauseschocolates.com

Cup of Coffee/Latte:
Crafted Kup

Poughkeepsie. 845-483-7070;
www.craftedkup.com

Ice Cream:
Holy Cow

Red Hook. 845-758-5959

Pasta:
Casa Mia

Highland. 845-691-2923;
www.casamiagroup.com

Pizza:
La Bella Pizza Bistro

New Paltz. 845-255-2633;
www.labellapizzabistro.com

Sandwich:
Rossi’s Italian Deli

Poughkeepsie. 845-471-0654;
www.rossideli.com

Soup:
Crew

Poughkeepsie. 845-462-8900;
www.crewrestaurant.com

Takeout:
Main Course

New Paltz. 845-255-2600;
www.maincoursecatering.com

Tapas:
Elephant

Kingston. 845-339-9310;
www.elephantwinebar.com

Readers’ Picks: Drink

Beer Selection:
The Gilded Otter

New Paltz. 845-256-1700;
www.gildedotter.com

Cosmo:
Twist

Hyde Park. 845-229-7094;
www.letstwist.com

Happy Hour:
P&G’s Restaurant

New Paltz. 845-255-6161;
www.pandgs.com

Irish Pub:
Mahoney’s Irish Pub & Restaurant

Poughkeepsie. 845-471-3027;
www.mahoneysirishpub.com

Local Wine/Vineyard:
Millbrook Vineyards & Winery

Millbrook. 845-677-8383; www.millbrookwine.com

Margarita:
Armadillo Bar & Grill

Kingston. 845-339-1550;
www.armadillos.net\

Martini:
Blue Martini

Newburgh. 845-562-7111

Mojito/Singles Scene:
Shadows on the Hudson

Poughkeepsie. 845-486-9500;
www.shadowsonthehudson.com

Sports Bar:
Darby O’Gills

Hyde Park. 845-229-6662

Wine Bar (tie):
Chill Wine Bar

Beacon. 845-765-0885
36 Main Restaurant & Wine Bar
New Paltz. 845-255-3636; www.36main.com

 

casey o'connell of stellar sunshine hoopsHoop it up: Casey O’Connell of Stellar Sunshine Hoops feels the burn

Photograph by Jennifer May

Health & Beauty

New Workout
Hooping at Stellar Sunshine Hoops

Goshen
Beyonce’s doing it. So is Liv Tyler. Hooping is swooping through the Valley, and it’s the next great workout. Although “it doesn’t feel like a workout,” says Casey O’Connell, owner of Stellar Sunshine Hoops. Two years ago, as a junior in college, O’Connell took up hooping in her dorm room (which was just big enough to accommodate the hoop rotation). When the weather improved, she moved outside, where she worked on more difficult maneuvers, such as “angling” — moving the hoop at an angle to the ground. “I started losing weight,” she recalls. “But that’s not why I did it. I love it, and I’d do it even if it didn’t burn any calories.” The intensity of the workout surprises newbies. “A lot of people don’t expect to sweat like they do.”

Can’t get your little girl’s hula hoop to rotate more than once around your hips? Take heart. Children’s hoops “turn into an octagon after a day,” O’Connell says. Adult hoops are bigger and heavier than the kids’ version, and easier to spin. Pros like O’Connell use smaller, lighter models. She also makes custom hoops, which run from $25-$40.

Almost anyone can hoop. O’Connell is organizing a children’s hooping class, and the demographic extends the other way, too. “I gave a hoop to my 80-year-old neighbor,” she says. “He loved it!” • 845-699-8636.

Sexy Way to Burn Calories (tie)
Woodstock Tango

Woodstock
Although we all know it takes two to tango, you can go solo to Woodstock Tango’s weekly tango lessons, held at Mountain View Studios (Wednesdays) and New World Home Cooking (Thursdays). Elevate your heart rate (and make new friends) while learning the moves involved in this sensual Argentinian dance (which is often demonstrated by professional dancers direct from Buenos Aires). Then practice your fancy footwork at one of their monthly milongas (a dance party; this month’s is on the 30th at the Rhinecliff). • 845-246-1122; www.woodstocktango.com
Pole Dancing Classes at Studio 9 Walden and Pure Symmetry Fitness
Pine Bush
Inspired by Studio 9’s “pole dancing tour” (during which instructors from the studio gave introductory pole-dancing-for-fitness classes at 12 local gyms), Pure Symmetry now offers one session a week of the sexy, swinging activity. With about the same calorie burn as other moderately intense exercise classes, pole dancing “uses muscles you didn’t know you had,” says Pure Symmetry’s Debbie Hauser. Classes at both gyms are open to the public; Hauser says most of her students “are mommies and grandmas. It makes you feel very beautiful. It’s fun, and good for a change.” • Studio 9, 845-866-7653; www.dancestudio9.com • Pure Symmetry Fitness, 845-744-6769; www.puresymmetryfitness.com

Way to Work Out with Your Partner
Thai Partner Yoga Class at Bamboo Thai Massage

Tivoli
Pamela Herrick says that the native practitioners call Thai massage “the lazy man’s yoga. It has all the benefits of yoga with none of the work.” Herrick has run Bamboo Thai Massage since 2005. “Thai massage is different in that it’s done on a mat on the floor,” she explains. “We use deep stretches — based on yoga — and acupressure as a form of movement-based self-massage.” Because many of these stretches are done in pairs, she offers a partner class to learn the easiest and most effective stretches. But be forewarned — she can often tell the status of your relationship as soon as you and your partner hit the mat. “It’s easy to tell the state of communication for the pair,” she says. “Thai yoga is a way of communicating nonverbally, which is a very helpful skill that we don’t often think of in the west. Couples often come in with all their stuff, and go out with a whole new way of relating to each other.”
Partner classes are $15 per person (singles are also welcome and are paired off in the class). They are offered about every three weeks on Saturday morning from 9:30-11 a.m. Call for upcoming schedules. • 845-392-5868; www.bamboothaimassage.net

Scrubs and Wraps with Vichy Shower
River Rock Health Spa

Woodstock
Owner Babs Moley describes these treatments as a return to your earliest childhood. “It’s like being bathed as an infant,” she says. A scrub and wrap is like a facial for the entire body. You recline on a cushioned table in your bathing suit, while the therapist uses exfoliating gloves to vigorously brush the skin to remove dead cells. Then, you’re covered in organic skin care products made from fruits, vegetables, essential oils and vitamins (“the fragrances are terrific,” Moley says) and wrapped in a “space blanket” that retains body heat and helps the oils penetrate the skin. That’s followed by an invigorating water massage under the Vichy showers’ seven jets. Finally, the therapist massages your body with creams or lotions. The treatments last 45-60 minutes, but the effects linger much longer. “When’s the last time someone bathed your whole body in a caring, safe way?” Moley asks. • 845-679-7800; www.riverrock.biz

All-Natural Facial
Red Lotus Skin Care Studio

Ellenville
“People don’t think about how many harsh chemicals there are in skin care products — even the expensive ones,” says esthetician Anitra Brown, who opened this diminutive studio earlier this year. “Using pure products naturally improves your skin.” Brown’s creams and lotions come from a clinical aromatherapist and naturopath in Texas, who makes them with plants and therapeutic essential oils designed to relax your whole body while your face is being pampered. Brown’s studio may not be as opulent as Manhattan’s Mandarin Oriental, where she trained, but the sheets and blankets are organic cotton, the mood is soothing, and her touch is as gentle as the hard-to-find, natural products she uses. Once you see how dewy fresh you look, you may want to use them at home. • 845-901-6634; www.redlotusskin.com

No-Cost Alternative to the Gym
Learn to Run classes at the Highland Rail Trail

Highland
For the past four years, Rafael Diaz has been “teaching” people how to run for fitness along the Highland Rail Trail. His classes, which meet once a week for 10 weeks each spring and fall, begin with stretching and warm-up exercises. Diaz then encourages the participants (who range in age from teenagers to senior citizens) to run for one minute, then walk for two. Over the course of the program, the running intervals gradually become longer, the walk breaks shorter; by the 10th lesson, most of the dozen or so students are able to run continuously for 20 minutes. While the lessons are free, you must be a member of the Hudson Valley Rail Trail Association to participate (cost: $15). “It’s very gratifying to me to watch these people,” says Diaz. “They’ve taken the class, and it’s changed their lives. One woman reached the 20-minute mark, and broke down in tears. They get great satisfaction from their accomplishment.” • 845-691-2066; www.hudsonvalleyrailtrail.net

READERS’ PICK:
Best Manicure/Pedicure
at Styles Hair Studiostyles hair studio

Readers’ Picks

Beauty Salon:
Studio One
Hair Design
New Paltz. 845-255-5505;
www.studioonehairdesign.com

Day Spa:
The Spa at Mohonk Mountain House

New Paltz. 877-877-2664;
www.mohonk.com

Health Club:
Mike Arteaga’s Health & Fitness Center

Poughkeepsie, 845-452-5050; Highland, 845-691-6161
www.mikearteaga.com

Manicure/Pedicure:
Styles Hair Studio

Hyde Park. 845-229-7688;
www.styleshairstudio.com

READERS’ PICK:
Best Yoga at Yogascape and Spaamy pearce-hayden at yogascape and spa

Amy Pearce-Hayden of Yogascape and Spa, which offers a variety of classes in different types of yoga

Photograph by Jennifer May

Pilates:
Pilates at the Bungalow

Accord. 845-626-5600;
www.pilatesatthebungalow.com

Yoga
The Yogascape and Spa
Carmel
The soothing yoga classes and spa treatments this haven offers help to ground and center your mind, body, and spirit. With a variety of classes to take — from Hatha, vinyasa, Kundalini, and more — yoga instructors go beyond the basic poses to teach traditional yoga philosophy, meditation, breathing techniques, guided imagery, and offer group discussion. Knowing that not all bodies are alike, classes that cater to those with special needs are available, including for specific age groups and in-home/out-of-home instruction. 845-225-9642; www.theyogascape.com

 

catamount adventure parkBalancing act: Test your skill — and nerve — at Catamount Adventure Park

Fun

Way to Get Roped Into the Great Outdoors
Catamount Adventure Park

Hillsdale, NY/South Egremont, MA
“This is not your average walk in the park,” says Rick Edwards, marketing director of Catamount Adventure Park. We’ll say. During the off-season, this popular ski mountain, which straddles the border of New York and Massachusetts, transforms into a one-of-a-kind, treetop test of will. With eight courses of varying difficulty (marked, like ski trails, from yellow up to double black), enthusiasts can tackle a range of challenges from climbing rope ladders to crossing bridges to cruising on ziplines. Some of the most difficult: walking on rotating and swinging logs (pictured above) and climbing a vertical rope ladder that twists as you ascend. While every course includes ziplines, “they are not the primary feature at this park,” says Edwards, who adds that Catamount is New England’s largest high-ropes aerial forest adventure. And let’s not forget the site’s commitment to going green. “Our course is 100 percent naturally built-in trees, we don’t use telephone polls,” says Edwards. The park is open on weekends (and Columbus Day) through the end of this month. $46 for adults for three-and-a-half hours; $35 for children ages 10-11; $29 for ages 8-9. Adds Edwards: “In fall, the views really open up, too.” • 518-325-3200; www.catamounttrees.com

Alternative to Broadway
Mac-Haydn Theatre

Chatham
The Great American Musical lives — and delights audiences of all ages — at the charming, comfy Mac-Haydn Theatre. Its summertime repertoire — this season’s shows included Chicago, Bye-Bye Birdie, and Damn Yankees — is staged in an intimate 350-seat theater in the round, with top-notch actors (Broadway’s Nathan Lane is just one well-known alumnus), costumes, and stage design. Even kids can get into the act — they’re sure to be bitten by the musical bug during Mac-Haydn’s Children’s Theater shows; a summer kids’ musical theater workshop is also offered for budding thespians. • 518-392-9292; www.machaydntheatre.org

Hipster Hangout
The Moviehouse

Millerton
Whether all you hipsters out there prefer to spend your Saturday nights gazing at art with a good cuppa’ joe (black, of course) or catching the latest indie flick, this cinema in artsy Millerton is your kind of scene. They feature a range of independent and foreign films, but also the occasional blockbuster. Upstairs, you’ll find a small café and an art gallery. And for hipsters on a budget, Tuesdays are discount nights. • 518-789-3408; www.themoviehouse.net

New Restaurant Bar
The Elephant Bar at Schlesinger’s Steak House

New Windsor
You’ve already been there for a good steak or fine cigar, now head to Schlesinger’s Steak House’s newest addition for an after-work cordial or cocktails with friends. The laid-back bar is tastefully decked out with elephant-themed décor and comes to life after dark, catering to a mature crowd that likes to live it up on the dance floor. In the warmer months, the party extends to two outdoor patios with live entertainment. • 845-561-1762; www.schlesingerssteakhouse.com

New Music Venue (tie)
Club Helsinki

Hudson
This new hot spot will appeal to a variety of arts enthusiasts, but it is a music-lovers dream. Originally located in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, the club moved to an 1800s industrial complex in Hudson earlier this year. With two performance spaces and recording facilities, Helsinki already offers more than many other venues in the area — but it doesn’t end there. The building also houses a gallery space, green rooms with lounges, a restaurant, bar, and other amenities. • 518-828-4800; www.helsinkihudson.com
The Falcon
Marlboro
Dubbed “an unlikely haven for jazz” by the New York Times, this Ulster County space is a rare gem. Between the lineup of talented musicians, the delicious dinners (some made with local produce), and gorgeous waterfall views surrounding the place, what’s not to love? Not to mention that, rather than charging for admission, they accept donations — and all proceeds are given to the performers. • 845-236-7970; www.liveatthefalcon.com

Place to Learn Sailing
Chelsea Yacht Club

Chelsea
On the Hudson, it seems you can’t swing a life preserver without hitting a watercraft of some sort; to say boating is a part of river life is an understatement. The Valley’s most famous waterway sports a plethora of sailing organizations, with this mid-Valley club going full speed ahead. Docked at Wappingers Falls, the Chelsea Yacht Club offers activities for both old salts and greenhorns: racing, adult sailing instruction and youth programs, educational seminars (with topics ranging from knot-tying to tide navigation), first aid and CPR instruction, and even cruises on New York’s mecca of maritime fun — Long Island Sound. • www.chelseayacht.org

New Way to Promote the Local Food Movement
Columbia County Bounty

Chatham
It’s easy to overlook our region’s many farm stands and CSAs for the big-box shops and supermarkets. Columbia County Bounty aims to change that. Established in 2007, its mission is simple: to bridge the gap between local farms, culinary businesses, and consumers for a more sustainable Valley. The organization has found great success with regular food and wine tastings, cooking classes, and annual festivals, like the Taste of Columbia County, Farm-to-Chef Tour, and Columbia-Greene Chili Cook-Off and Riverfront Fair (where masters of the spicy stew from both counties face off). Need to find a market near you? The Bounty’s Web site lists more than 90 participating businesses in its database. • 518-392-9696; www.columbiacountybounty.com

New Hotel
Glenmere Mansion

Chester
After a three-and-a-half year (and multimillion dollar) makeover, Glenmere — a 1911 Italian-style villa designed by famed architects Carrere and Hastings — has been completely restored, from the grand marble staircases and columned porticos to the wrought iron railings. The 35-room mansion is now a luxury boutique hotel and fine-dining restaurant. Guests at the inn sleep in antiques-laden rooms decorated with original works of modern art. • 845-469-1900; www.glenmeremansion.com

New Way to Be Part of the Local Food Movement
Hudson Valley Food for Thought

You know that buying local is the way to go; now go out and do it! Hudson Valley Food for Thought, a small, homegrown group of food appreciators from around the Valley and New York City, began in early 2009 on Meetup.com as a culinary concept. Current organizer Betsy Ho of Beacon took the reins last fall; now, with over 110 locavores in the group, HVFFT tours the Valley, attending monthly chat-n-chews and visiting farmers’ markets, CSAs, community potlucks, and food festivals. • www.meetup.com/hvfood

appalachian trail stepsStep class: The newly installed stone steps on the Appalachian Trail at Bear Mountain

Photograph courtesy of New York-New Jersey Trail Conference

Park Improvement
Appalachian Trail Steps at Bear Mountain State Park

Bear Mountain
Originally constructed in 1923, the section of the Appalachian trail that ascends the slope of Bear Mountain is traversed by more than 100,000 day- and through-hikers each year. Erosion brought on by all these visitors has required that the trail be rebuilt numerous times over the decades. But last June, the Bear Mountain Trails Project officially unveiled the first section of the path’s latest (and hopefully last) renovation: 800 hand-hewn granite steps, fashioned from stone found on the mountain, now lead hikers up (or down) the famous slope. More than 700 trail-building volunteers spent four years positioning the steps — each of which weighs about 1,000 pounds — without the use of motorized equipment. Work on the trail’s refurbishment is slated to continue through 2013. • 201-512-9348; www.nynjtc.org/bmp/bear-mountain-trails-project

the white whale by zack stellaMini masterpiece: Zack Stella’s The White Whale, the first-place winner of HV Gallery’s Smallest Stretched Canvas Painting competition

Creative Arts Contests
The Hudson Valley Gallery

Cornwall-on-Hudson
It’s hard to imagine that you could squeeze a whole lot of art onto a one-by-two-inch canvas. But Paul Gould, owner of the Hudson Valley Gallery and sponsor of this year’s third annual World’s Smallest Stretched Canvas Painting competition, insists it can be done — and done well. “You’d be surprised at the subject matter that you can get on there,” says Gould. “Last year’s winner painted a whole scene with a whaling ship and a whale jumping out of the water. It was great.” There were about 150 entries in a recent contest, and “it is definitely gaining in popularity each year,” says Gould. While he admits that many artists are initially “intimidated” by the miniature size of the canvas, “they end up being motivated by the challenge. I know one artist who was really down on his art — he had stopped painting — but this revived him.” Gould knows a thing or two about staying motivated: This year he celebrates his 50th anniversary as a painter with an exhibit, opening October 9, at the gallery. Gould, who grew up in the biz (his father John was a successful illustrator for pulp magazines in the ’20s and ’30s and founded the Bethlehem Art Gallery in Salisbury Mills) also teaches art and is well-known for his painting restoration work. This year, Gould started a new tradition with the “Just for Squares” painting and drawing competition — inviting eager artists to create their masterpieces on any square canvas up to six-by-six inches. But back to that little bitty canvas: Get your entries in by November 15 for this year’s competition and a shot at the $500 first prize. An exhibition featuring the tiny works opens December 3. • 845-401-5443; www.hudsonvalleygallery.com

Readers’ Picks: Fun

Bed and Breakfast:
Caldwell House

Salisbury Mills.
845-496-2954;
www.caldwellhouse.com

Bike Trail:
Walkway Over The Hudson

Poughkeepsie.
845-454-9649;
www.walkway.org

Community Theater:
The Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck

Rhinebeck.
845-876-3080; www.centerforperformingarts.org

Fair:
Dutchess County Fair

Rhinebeck. 845-876-4000; www.dutchessfair.com

Golf Course:
McCann Golf Course

Poughkeepsie.
845-454-1968;
www.mccanngolfcourse.com

Green Initiative:
The Solar Energy Consortium (TSEC)

Kingston. 845-336-0100; www.thesolarec.org

Hotel/Inn:
The Mohonk Mountain House

New Paltz. 845-255-1000; www.mohonk.com

rip van winkle cruiseCruise control: Throughout the season, the Rip Van Winkle provides river cruises from Kingston

Hudson River Cruise:
The Rip Van Winkle

Kingston. 845-340-4700; www.hudsonrivercruises.com

Indoor Venue for Plays and Concerts:
The Bardavon

Poughkeepsie
845-473-5288;
www.bardavon.org

Karaoke:
Mahoney’s Irish Pub & Restaurant

Poughkeepsie
845-471-3027;
www.mahoneysirishpub.com

Live Music Joint:
The Chance Theatre

Poughkeepsie.
845-471-1966;
www.thechancetheatre.com

Mini Golf:
The Castle Fun Center

Chester. 845-469-2116; www.thecastlefuncenter.com

Museum:
DIA:Beacon

Beacon. 845-440-0100;
www.diabeacon.org

Orchestra:
Hudson Valley Philharmonic

Poughkeepsie.
845-473-2072;
www.bardavon.org

Outdoor Venue for Plays and Concerts (tie):
Bethel Woods Center for the Arts

Bethel. 866-781-2922;
www.bethelwoodscenter.org
Boscobel House and Gardens
Garrison. 845-265-3638; www.boscobel.org

Park:
Bowdoin Park

Wappingers Falls.
845-298-4600;
www.co.dutchess.ny.us/CountyGov/Departments/DPW-Parks/PPbowdoin.htm

Place for a Picnic:
Vanderbilt Mansion

Hyde Park. 845-229-9115; www.nps.gov/vama

Place for a Wedding:
The Grandview

Poughkeepsie.
845-486-4700;
www.grandviewevents.com

Ski Area:
Hunter Mountain

Hunter. 800-486-8376;
www.huntermtn.com

Thing About Living in the Valley:
The views/scenery

 
dogs
Kids & Pets

Relaxing Kid’s Birthday Parties
Happy Buddha Yoga Birthday Parties

Goshen
This healthy alternative to the usual sugar-filled shindig is a perfect pick for parents who love throwing birthday bashes, but are tired of dealing with hoards of screaming kids. These yoga-themed parties are designed to fit your child’s age group and can include fun yoga games, henna, and hair braiding; the folks at Happy Buddha even assist you with food and décor. And when the kids can relax, mom and dad can, too. • 845-239-8879; www.happybuddhayoga.com

Way to Get Your Kids to Turn Off Their Tech Gadgets
The DEC’s Junior Naturalist Program

Various state forest preserve campgrounds
Kids can test their outdoor knowledge with this fun and rewarding program. Pick up a Junior Naturalist Journal at a participating campground (North-South Lake and Woodland Valley are two nearby ones), complete all of the appropriate activities, then bring it back and receive a patch that displays one of our region’s native animals. Run by the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation, the program aims to teach kids more about the natural environment (and help them have fun in the process). • 518-457-2500; www.dec.ny.gov/education/21673.html

Maternity/Newborn Boutique
Waddle n Swaddle

Poughkeepsie
Part retail store, part wellness center, this forward-thinking boutique sells an array of necessities — including unique, hard-to-find, and eco-friendly clothes; safe carriers; and natural toys — for your bundle of joy. But new moms have special needs, too; for them, the shop offers nursing bras, breastfeeding classes, groups for new/expectant mothers, and cloth diaper info sessions — all of which can help ease the transition into an exciting (and sometimes overwhelming) new life. • 845-473-5952; www.waddlenswaddle.com

Doggie Camp
The Pet Camp

Middletown
Up at 7:30 a.m. for walkies; then breakfast; another walk; swimming in the pond; romping and running on 18 fenced acres; group playtime under the guidance of counselors — about the only thing this doggie camp is missing is ghost stories around the campfire. In the made-over barn, each pooch has its own room (a whitewashed, onetime horse stall) with a window and a wooden platform to hold a cushion or bed from home. Dogs from the same family can bunk together. Owner Chuck Elmes, who lives with his dog, Mel, in a house next to the barn, says regular canine campers have so much fun they start getting excited on the way in — especially those who live in New York City. Fees are $30 a night; $45 for two sharing one room. Elmes even has some longterm boarders. If you want your fur-baby to look his best when you pick him up, there are bathing services, too. • 845-692-2922; www.thepetcamp.com

Outdoor Pooch-friendly Restaurant
Armadillo Bar & Grill

Kingston
Man’s best friend can wave a fuzzy paw goodbye to stuffy, locked cars! Not only does this colorful Tex-Mex tavern serve Nuevo Latino fare to Kingston’s (human) crowd, but it provides an outdoor patio for all the well-behaved Fidos and Fifis of the Valley to hang out alongside their owners as they nosh. Proprietor and animal activist Merle Borenstein — who participates in organizations like Paws Unlimited and the Have a Heart Animal Welfare Fund — was tired of seeing pups wait in their owners’ cars while they ate. “Your pets are like family,” she explains, so Lassies are leashed and seated next to their owners under the awning. “We give them all-natural biscuits and poached chicken. They love it!” Borenstein says. “It’s nice just to be able to enjoy the day, and picnic on the patio with your pooch” — and maybe take home a doggie bag or two. • 845-339-1550; www.armadillos.net

Readers’ Picks:

Place to Eat with Kids:
Pizza Mia

Highland.
845-691-4545;
www.casamiagroup.com

Baby/Children’s Boutique:
Quackles

Poughkeepsie.
845-471-2250;
www.quackles.com

Toy Store:
Enchanted Toys

New Paltz.
845-255-1429

Pet Store:
Sues Zoo & More

New Paltz.
845-255-5797

 

cow jones industrials bootieGreen gear: Cow Jones Industrials stocks footwear made from unusual materials — but not leather

Shopping

Eco-Friendly Clothing
Cow Jones Industrials Vegan Boutique

Chatham
Animal lover and longtime vegan Donna Oakes opened this charming eco-friendly store in 2007 and stocks it with high-quality, up-to-the-minute shoes, handbags, and clothing that prove “compassionate fashion” is every bit as hip (if not hipper) than any other kind. Oakes buys only from fair-trade or vegan companies like Cri de Coeur, olsen Haus, and Vaute Couture. They carry clothes made of organic cotton, hemp, bamboo, and the latest microfibers as well as shoes, boots, and bags made of anything but leather. “The newer vegan footwear designers are making shoes from recycled plastic and TV casings — breathable, durable, very cool stuff that looks like suede with beautiful texture and color,” says Oakes. Local fashionistas have formed a devoted following — even the carnivorous ones. • 518-392-2139; www.cowjonesindustrials.com

Concrete Counter Makers
Counter Culture

Woodstock
Christian Lincoln trained as a painter and sculptor, but wound up working in New York’s dot-com world. After “fleeing for the hills” (aka moving to Woodstock) in 2001, he planned to be a carpenter and furniture maker, but a weekend workshop in concrete reawakened his inner sculptor. Now he employs all his artistic and crafts skills creating beautiful concrete countertops, sinks, tables, mantels, and planters whose subtle earth tones seamlessly fit in to both traditional and contemporary homes. Who knew such a humble material could be so lovely? • 845-399-3843; www.countercultureconcrete.com

Ornamental Stonework
Christopher Layman at Fox Stonework

Hannacroix
Stoneworker Christopher Layman builds beautiful dry-laid stone walls, patios, walkways, and steps. But what this self-described “stonescape artist” enjoys most is creating unusual focal points and garden decorations, like the four-foot-tall “vase” on his property. Another specialty is meditation rooms — walled enclosures with pillars, colored stone decorative accents, and perhaps a porthole or two framing a pretty scene. • 518-731-6804; www.foxstone.weebly.com

Modern Furniture Store
Lounge

High Falls, Hudson
When Don La Fera and Michelle Lay opened their first furniture shop in High Falls 13 years ago, their friends thought they were crazy. How many sofas are you likely to sell in a sleepy little hamlet? Enough, it turned out, that six years ago the couple opened a second, larger branch amid the antiques emporiums in Hudson. Both stores carry sofas, sectionals, and chairs by Mitchell Gold+Bob Williams and Lee Industries — companies noted for their timeless designs, clean lines, and quality construction. You’ll also find tables; buffets; beds; shelving; lighting; and accents like mirrors, candle-holders, bowls, and pillows. • High Falls, 845-687-9463; Hudson, 518-822-0113; www.loungefurniture.com

sawkille furnitureSimply chic: A Shaker-inspired table and chair from Sawkille

Rural American Furniture
Sawkille

Rhinebeck
“Rural” here means point of origin, because the hand-crafted wood furniture in this new gallery/showroom ranges in style from rustic to 21st-century — but it’s all made in the Catskills. Jonah Meyer, an artist known for the twig furniture he created and sold in his quirky Hurley shop, Serv ce Station (sic), teamed up with other artisans inspired by country living for this new enterprise. Pieces fashioned from beautiful woods include three-legged stools and benches, “stump” side tables, beds, and a sleek credenza in oxidized white oak. You’ll also find lighting, sculpture, and art. • 845-876-2228; www.sawkille.com

Wallpaper and Paint Store
Sun Wallpaper and Paint

Beacon, Fishkill, Poughkeepsie
An editorial favorite (what can we say? We love to decorate), Sun is your one-stop shop for all things décor. Whether you’re handy with a brush or a steam roller, this depot stocks thousands of hues, stains, and wall coverings from dozens of high-end brands — including Farrow & Ball and Ralph Lauren — to color your world. A design-minded staff provides the kind of personalized advice you just won’t find from a big-box store, and frugal folks appreciate Sun’s discount programs and Internet coupons. Looking for more? Each of Sun’s three showrooms offer window treatments, furniture, carpeting, moldings, and other design ideas. • Poughkeepsie, 845-471-2880; www.sunwallpaperandpaint.com

Plumbing Supplies
N&S Supply

Seven locations
Whether you’re looking to update the kitchen with a stunning new sink or give your bathroom a green makeover with an energy-efficient shower and toilet, visiting this third-generation supply store is a must. They offer a huge selection of plumbing products at affordable prices, and their expert staff can answer all your questions. And N&S is conveniently located in seven spots throughout the Valley, with four luxury bath showrooms to boot. • Fishkill, 845-896-6291; www.nssupply.com

Place to Buy a Tractor
Pine Bush Equipment

Pine Bush, Holmes
Now in business for more than 50 years, PBE is the number-one place to help you get that heavy lifting job done. Whether you’re looking to rent or buy (besides tractors, they also offer backhoes, trailers, forklifts, and other machinery) or just need a repair done, call the experts at this family-run business. And should you have any questions along the way, their equipment specialists are always available to offer backup support. • Pine Bush, 845-744-2006; Holmes, 845-878-4004; www.pbeinc.com

New Specialty Market
Grand Cru Beer & Cheese Market

Rhinebeck
Norwegian beer, anyone? Gluten-free brewskies? How about double-chocolate stout? You’ll find each of these — and plenty more — at this brand-new establishment. Browsing through the changing beer selection — it includes lots of organic and New York State brands — will quickly have you yearning to wet your whistle. There’s a small café on premises, where you can sample a beer (wine is available, too) coupled with artisanal cheeses and smoked meats — many of the other products are from the Empire State, as well. And if a growler is more your style, you can buy ’em and refill ’em here. • 845-876-6992; www.grandcrurhinebeck.com

New Local Food Market
Otto’s Market

Germantown
A former VP at Whole Foods, Otto Leuschel opened his store in December 2008 in the space formerly occupied by the Central Market (which had been supplying groceries to Germantown residents since 1927). The market is winning raves by combining the feel of an old-time grocery with a wide-ranging array of foods. (Where else can you pick up both sriracha sauce and Velveeta?) Local products — Ronnybrook Farm dairy items, Rick’s Picks pickles, Eger’s Cider — are a specialty; the spot also does catering, and has a few tables where locals can mingle over espresso and scones (made fresh every day). • 518-537-7200; www.ottosmarket.com

Place to Buy a Grandfather Clock
De’S Jewelers

Poughkeepsie
A family-owned business, De’S has been selling bridal and diamond jewelry, watches, pearls, and specialty gifts to mid-Hudson residents for close to 65 years. But those looking for a fine grandfather clock also would do well to head to the Route 9 shop. Offering timepieces by well-known makers Bulova and Howard Miller, De’S expert staff can help you select the clock that will match both your décor and your budget. • 845-452-0026; www.desjewelers.com

Boutique For All Ages
Elizabeth Boutique

Poughkeepsie
Fashionistas of all ages, shapes, and sizes regularly flock to this haute-spot — voted “Best Boutique” by our readers in 2009 — for its varied selection of up-trend attire. Owner Beth Madsen, who sees customers “from 16 to 60,” hand-picks affordable pieces from brands such as Lilla P, Tulle, Free People, Hudson Jeans, LA Made, and the durable, ever-forgiving Spanx (“A must-have for every woman,” Madsen says). • 845-471-2817; www.elizabethboutique.com

Boutique with Heart
Women’s Work

Poughkeepsie
It may be tucked into an unassuming strip mall on Route 9 (near Marshall’s), but Women’s Work could not be further from your run-of-the-mill chain store. This colorful little boutique just bursts with exotic merchandise — jewelry (think ostrich eggshells), bags, baskets, bowls, scarves, housewares, and that famous marula oil that we’ve touted before — all of which is crafted by women from Africa and around the globe. Proprieter Cecilia Dinio-Durkin, who lived in Botswana for three years with her husband and children, promotes “fair trade” business practices that enable these female artisans to make a decent living. Dinio-Durkin recently returned from a trip to Pakistan where she signed up several new product lines and has led the charge to turn the Poughkeepsie Plaza into the country’s first fair trade mall. So why not stop by — you can pick up a one-of-a-kind gift and support women around the world. Sounds like a win-win to us. • 845-849-1858; www.womensworkbw.com

Auctioneer/Auction House
George Cole Auctions & Realty

Red Hook
Everybody knows that if you want to buy or sell just about anything, from antiques to fine art, real estate to off-road vehicles, you need to meet with the absolute experts at this longtime Valley establishment. We’re sold! • 845-758-9114; www.georgecoleauctions.com

harriman clothing companyLooking good: Women’s sportswear — as well as special occasion dresses — can be found at Harriman Clothing Co.

Photograph by Chris Ware

Boutique You Didn’t Know About
Harriman Clothing Company

Harriman
Tucked between an automotive garage and a café along a busy stretch of Route 17M, this half-boutique, half Army-Navy outpost is a hidden gem. One side of the 8,500-square-foot space is a paradise for “guys who don’t wear ties,” says co-owner Jennifer Carillo. Leather jackets, tee shirts, jeans, and boots appeal to your average (but fashionable) Joe, while men in uniform shop for all sorts of tactical gear, from ballistic vests to batons. There’s outdoorsmen’s and construction workers’ apparel, and even paintball equipment, too. Ladies take refuge in the other half of the shop, where stylists offer customized fittings in brand-name casualwear, glamorous special occasion dresses (which have been worn to the Emmy and Tony awards in past years), sky-high heels, and accessories galore. The store also offers screen-printing, embroidery, and in-house alterations — a rarity these days. • 845-783-6053; www.harrimanclothingco.com

Readers’ Picks:

Antiques Shop:
Hyde Park Antiques Center

Hyde Park. 845-229-8200;
www.hydeparkantiques.net
Bakery:
The Bakery

New Paltz. 845-255-8840;
www.ilovethebakery.com
Bargain Shopping:
Woodbury Common Premium Outlets

Central Valley. 845-928-4000; www.premiumoutlets.com/woodburycommon
Bookstore:
Oblong Books and Music

Millerton. 518-789-3797;
www.oblongbooks.com
Boutique:
Surviving Sisters

Hyde Park. 845-229-0425
 

fleisher's grass fed and organic meatsCut to order: An old-fashioned butcher shop, Fleisher’s offers meats that are free of hormones and antibiotics

Photograph by Jennifer May

Butcher:
Fleisher’s Grass Fed and Organic Meats

Kingston. 845-338-6666;
www.fleishers.com
Caterer:
Main Course

New Paltz. 845-255-2650;
www.maincoursecatering.com
Chocolate/Candy Store:
Commodore Chocolatier

Newburgh
845-561-3960
Crafts/Hobby Shop:
Hobby House

Poughkeepsie
845-297-3341
Deli:
Rossi’s Italian Deli

Poughkeepsie.
845-471-0654;
www.rossideli.com
Farmer’s Market:
Rhinebeck

www.rhinebeckfarmersmarket.com
Fish Market:
Gadaleto’s Seafood

New Paltz. 845-255-1717;
www.gadaletos.com

Plant Nursery/Garden Store:
Sabellico Greenhouses & Florist

Hopewell Junction
845-226-5943; www.sabellico.com
Florist:
Green Oak

Hyde Park. 845-229-9111;
www.thegreenoakflorist.net
Fresh Produce/Gourmet Shop:
Adam’s Fairacre Farms

Poughkeepsie. 845-454-4330;
Kingston. 845-336-6300;
Newburgh. 845-569-0303;
www.adamsfarms.com
Furniture Store:
Davis Furniture

Poughkeepsie. 845-473-1990; www.1davisfurniture.com
Gift Shop:
Handmade and More

New Paltz. 845-255-6277;
www.handmadeandmore.com
Hardware Store:
Williams Lumber and Home Centers

8 locations;
www.williamslumber.com
Healthfood Store:
Mother Earth’s Storehouse

Poughkeepsie. 845-296-1069;
Kingston. 845-336-5541;
Saugerties. 845-246-9614;
www.motherearthstorehouse.com
Jewelry Store:
Zimmer Brothers

Poughkeepsie. 845-454-6360;
www.zimmerbrothers.com
Liquor Store:
Arlington Wine and Liquor

Poughkeepsie. 866-729-9463; www.arlingtonwine.net
Menswear Shop:
Pleasant Valley Department Store

Pleasant Valley. 845-635-2220
Outdoor Sports Store:
Kenco

Kingston. 845-340-0552;
www.atkenco.com

 

levon helmRock royalty: Woodstock’s Levon Helm gets the nod for best local musician

Photograph by Paul Le Raia

People

Faux Painter
Muriel Calderon at Down Under Faux

Red Hook
Australian faux-finish artist Muriel Calderon is a master at making an ordinary flat surface look like marble or linen or old Tuscan plaster. She recently helped jazz up the CIA’s swanky Escoffier restaurant, last renovated in 1985 — and the result may have the old-fashioned chef turning in his grave. “Escoffier believed his restaurants should be pink to appeal to women,” Calderon says. “It was bloody awful, like someone’s grandmother’s house, with pink rose wallpaper. Now it’s very cool” (if she does say so herself). Calderon’s trademark hand-brushed and hand-troweled plaster finishes and glazes left the dining room and grill looking sleekly sophisticated in parchment, camel and espresso tones, while the library walls got a tissue-paper-and-plaster treatment that resembles bamboo. “Such a transformation!” Calderon says. • 845-758-1040; www.downunderfaux.com

Garden Blog
A Way to Garden by Margaret Roach

On the last day of 2007, Margaret Roach did what many weekenders dream of doing: she left her high-powered job in Manhattan (in her case as editorial director of Martha Stewart Living) and moved to her weekend house in Columbia County to tend her beloved garden full-time — and blog about it. The well-designed site she created and named after her 1989 prize-winning book is overflowing with information, tips, wisdom, and enviable pictures of her lovely property, but it’s Roach’s delightful writing about plants, her “frogboys,” Jack the Demon Cat, and her wonder at the marvels of nature that make it irresistible. Roach says gardening is “healing, relaxing and fulfilling.” Her inspiring blog suggests it’s a lot of fun, too. The New York Times calls it the best garden blog around — and so do we. • www.awaytogarden.com

our lady of lourdes high school crew teamRapid rowers: Members of the Our Lady of Lourdes Junior Varsity 4 boat

High School Sports Team
Our Lady of Lourdes Girls Crew

Poughkeepsie
In the world of scholastic crew, winning the state title is great. Coming out on top in the national event is even greater. But placing first in the Stotesbury Cup Regatta in Philadelphia — the oldest and largest scholastic rowing competition — is akin to winning the Super Bowl and the World Series combined. Last spring, the girls Junior Varsity 4 boat from Our Lady of Lourdes High School won all three of these regattas; to capture the Stotesbury Cup, they beat out 68 other boats, moving from fifth to first place over the final 1,000 meters of the race to win. “I have never seen a Lourdes crew compete at this high a level,” says Erik Haight, the school’s proud varsity coach. “This boat is worthy of any and all accolades.” • 845-463-0400; www.ollchs.org

Community-focused Restaurant
Union Restaurant & Bar Latino

Haverstraw
This Rockland County restaurant is already well-known for filling our bellies with mouthwatering meals; now, it fills our hearts. Owners Paulo Feteira and Chef David Martinez — not satisfied with just dishing out hot plates — established the “We Care” Foundation, which provides free meals to community members in need. Organizations big and small also benefit from Union’s generosity, from festivities to support the Haverstraw Fire Department to fund-raisers for the Susan G. Komen Foundation and Nyack Hospital during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Its latest project — a rooftop garden — is a collaboration with Rockland BOCES students, who help maintain it, while unused produce is donated to local food pantries. If that’s not community spirit, we don’t know what is. • 845-429-4354; www.unionrestaurant.net

franc palaia

Friend to the Poughkeepsie Arts
Franc Palaia

A Hudson Valley city, once an industrial boom town, bottoms out after decades of economic decline, only to ascend after reinventing itself as a haven for the arts. It happened in Beacon. It happened in Hudson. And if Franc Palaia has anything to say about it — and he does — the next reclamation-through-commitment-to-the-arts project will be the Valley’s unofficial capital: Poughkeepsie.
“You’ve got to have an identity,” says Palaia, a versatile artist and Poughkeepsie resident whose media include painting, sculpture, photography, murals, film, lamp design, and sign-making. “Beacon has Dia. Hudson has antiques. Poughkeepsie has nothing.”
But, says Palaia, “Poughkeepsie is an important historical city. People should realize that and build on it. It’s the biggest city between New York and Albany. It has four colleges. It has two bridges. It has the Walkway, which is a world-class attraction.”
Poughkeepsie also boasts a staggering 100 works of public art, “more by a mile than anywhere else in the Hudson Valley,” including murals, paintings, sculptures, and monuments. That’s why Palaia conducts a downtown public-art walking tour. “This is what Poughkeepsie already has. Let’s make it the mural capital of New York State. That makes us different. That makes us a tourist destination.” Philadelphia, he notes, has 3,000 murals, which that city’s mayor is quick to trumpet. “People come to see the murals. They eat in a restaurant. They stay overnight. They buy things.”
Palaia, who hails from Jersey City, would like to see the same result in the town he’s called home since 2002. And he’s not sitting on his hands waiting for things to happen. If he’s not showing a film he made with Salvador Dali, he’s installing a sculpture at the Ulster County Transportation Center. If he’s not hosting Arts Focus on cable TV, he’s busy curating local exhibits. If he’s not painting banners for an Italian-American festival that he helped organize, he’s painting a mural on a formerly blah city wall. If he’s not putting together arts festivals, he’s exhibiting his own work. The man is busy. “I go at the Jersey RPM,” he says. And much of his energy is dedicated to making Poughkeepsie realize its potential as a center for the arts. “People here have waited way too long.”

Readers’ Picks:

Actor:
James Earl Jones

Pawling
Actress (tie):
Mary Tyler Moore Millbrook Melissa Leo

Stone Ridge
Artist:
Peggy Catherine-Choate

Milton
Author:
James Patterson

A Newburgh native

thieves and villains

Readers voted young musicmakers Thieves and Villains this year’s “Best New Band”

Photograph by Jesse DeFlorio

New Band:
Thieves and Villains

You might recognize the music made by this Orange County-based pop-rock band from its play on a number of TV shows, including Gossip Girl and The Real World. However, they’ve been rocking audiences throughout the Valley since 2007. This past August, they released their second album, South America, an eclectic, uptempo mix of songs with creative instrumentation and honest, heartfelt lyrics. Check them out at www.thisisthievesandvillains.com.
Chef:
Marcus Guiliano at Aroma Thyme Bistro

Ellenville. 845-647-3000; www.aromathymebistro.com
Golf Pro:
Rhett Myers at Vassar Golf Course

Poughkeepsie. 914-204-7304; www.vassargolfcourse.com/lessons.htm
Local Musician:
Levon Helm

Woodstock. www.levonhelm.com
Massage Therapist:
Natasha Althouse of Prashanti

Ellenville. 845-853-3590; www.prashanti.biz
Morning Show Personality:
Mark Bolger
(Star 93.3)
Poughkeepsie. 845-471-2300; www.933star.com/pages/bolger.html
Politician:
U.S. Representative Maurice Hinchey

Middletown. 845-344-3211;
www.house.gov/hinchey

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