What’s up Upstate

Driving home from Albany now after two whirlwind days ‘upstate’. We went to spend some time with Dear Husband’s folks who live in a lakeside community just outside the charming if somewhat worn Hudson River town of Athens, NY.

DH and I decided to take advantage of grandmom babysitting to have a night alone. We crossed the River to stay at the magnificent Inn at Hudson. Like the town of Hudson itself, this B & B is an over-the-top antique, only recently saved from decrepitude by sophisticated new residents.

The owner/propieters Dini and Wyndel have revived this decorative Arts & Crafts confection (the pipe-dream castle of a 24-year old frat boy/soap heir) with love, pride and taste and serve their clientele similarly. Dini mans the kitchen and gardens, creating scrumptious breakfasts and growing enormous elephant ear plants that would make Dumbo blush. Wyndel is the one driving the renovations-this is their 6th!-and he must have enormous patience to have revived the intricate woodwork on display throughout the mansion.

My morning run revealed the startlingly diverse economic population of Hudson. The Inn abuts a cul-de-sac with huge, beautifully restored Victorian mansions while other impressive homes run up Allen street. But there is a soup kitchen around the corner and running down the street I passed lovely well-kept homes surrounded by many others in various states of decay and abandonment. And unfortunately, like in many Hudson river towns, what could be a stunning waterfront (with views out to the little island-bound lighthouse) is abandoned to rusting industrial complexes and hidden beyond train tracks.

The antique shops, cafes, restaurants and galleries on Warren street, however, would jibe with any well-to-do city with a hip population. DH and I spent a rushed but happy hour rummaging through antiques at Sutter Antiques and Stair galleries (a low-end auction house) before heading back to the family. We didn’t buy anything this time but are much relieved to find that the current recession has brought prices down from the stratospheric levels of a few years ago.

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