When I was about 11 or 12 years old, I announced to my mother that someday I was going to live on the Hudson River. My mother was surprised by this declaration, not because there was anything odd about wanting to live on this magnificent waterway — after all, many of the most prominent Americans (think Vanderbilts and the like) have been wanting to play house on the Hudson for generations — but because at that point I had had minimal exposure to the river.
I was lucky enough to have grown up in a Westchester town that bordered the other waterway: Long Island Sound. The waterfront park in my hometown is a truly singular spot, with lots of rambling paths, hidden benches, gazebos, and amazing rock formations jutting out into the water. When I was a child, my friends and I would often ride our bicycles down to the park, and, later, when I would come home from college, my mom and I would often head down there (after a good meal, of course), and wander around before nestling into a comfy spot and catching up as we watched the sailboats bobbing in the water.
So I’m still not sure how a single trip to Tarrytown in my youth sparked my love affair with the Hudson, but the amour never really cooled. Today, I’m happy to call Beacon home and, although I don’t live on the river, or have river views, I can walk to the waterfront park — and often do. And, of course, I’m not the only one. Thousands of people are rediscovering the charms of the many river towns that dot our region. While many of these towns were bustling manufacturing centers (producing everything from bricks to hats to ice) in the first half of the 20th century, hard times fell upon many of them as factories closed and residents abandoned Main Street for the malls. It’s a familiar story, but, happily, the ongoing revival of many of our river towns has also become a popular tale. And just as the waterfront park near where I grew up is completely different from Long Dock Park in Beacon, each town has its own flavor and its own slew of attractions. They are all worth exploring and we make it easy for you with this month’s cover story, which begins right here.
Also in this issue, we track a trend that lends credence to the old adage “Everything Old is New Again.” We’re talking about the re-emergence of record stores. Yes, believe it or not, shops selling good old-fashioned vinyl records are in vogue again. Recently, new shops in Nyack and Beacon joined more than a dozen already established retailers in the Valley. So, in honor of Record Store Day, which this year is on Saturday, April 18, you’ll want to read our story that starts here.
There are lots of other great stories in this issue, too, including one about how goat is becoming the hottest new entrée at area restaurants; in addition, it’s being sold at a growing number of shops and farmers’ markets. I admit that I haven’t tried it, yet, but top local chefs assure us that goat meat is not gamy, and is actually very good for you to boot. So, maybe it’s time to get your goat, and enjoy another amazing Hudson Valley experience.
Olivia J. Abel