Secrets to Gourmet Living in The Catskills & Hudson Valley

Posted by Coldwell Banker Village Green Realty Webmaster on Monday, March 21st, 2022 at 12:58pm.

Some say, “It’s all about the journey,” others, “It’s about the thrill of the hunt,” others take great joy in being “in-the-know”; living a gourmet lifestyle in the Upstate New York communities of the Catskills and Hudson Valley is an exciting combination of all of the above. As the local experts in Hudson Valley and Catskills real estate for the past thirty years we’ve been both helping our clients find the luxury homes they’ve dreamed of and pointing them to the secret and not-so-secret spots that will make them feel that everything about the change they’ve made by moving Upstate is an upgrade.

If you’re considering a move or a weekend escape Upstate you may think you’re going to sacrifice the elegant in favor of country comforts, just-picked corn from the farm stand, and being able to see the stars at night. But, those who move to the Hudson Valley and the Catskills will find that living a gourmet lifestyle Upstate is not only possible but almost impossible to avoid! Yes, you may have your artisan bread and eat it too. You may gaze out over magnificent vistas while you sample the creations of top chefs. You may savor a cocktail from the hands of a master mixer in a superior setting. You just need to know where these indulgences are. We’ll help.

Part of the loveliness of the area is that wonderful things are sprinkled across the region, set like gems into the scenic villages and towns of the Hudson Valley landscape. On your way to cure a craving there will be pretty country roads, friendly people, charming shops, the smell of hay, and perhaps a fox or porcupine sighting. Whether it’s a road trip to a gourmet food shop or an evening drive for a drink and/or a meal, the journey contributes to the experience.

We’re sharing just a few of our favorites here so you can feel “in-the-know”.

 

The Beauty of Freshness – Hudson Valley Gourmet Shops 

Let’s start with the luxury of fresh fruits, vegetables, cheeses and baked goods. Generations of farmers have made the Hudson Valley and Catskills region a destination during the growing season, and a renewed interest in living a sustainable lifestyle centered around growing has lately swelled their numbers. Whether you’re seeking the pleasure of picking fruit for a few hours, buying cheese from the maker or discovering open shop windows where the aroma of baking bread wafts, you’ve come to the right place.

One of the region’s finest destinations for beautiful cheeses and prepared foods is Cheval Farmstead Dairy on Route 9 in Stuyvesant (Columbia County). The friendly owner, Suzanne Levesque, makes everything she sells right there on the farm. There’s pansy-covered crottins and organic pomegranate spreadable goat cheese with local Bash Bish honey from nearby Copake; a kale, goat cheese and mushroom quiche, and her famous Goat Medley - a mason jar filled with cheese medallions, fresh garlic, rosemary, home-made pesto, assorted peppers and olives in extra-virgin cold-pressed olive oil… she calls it her “party in a jar.” Park on the grass, have a chat with Suzanne and stock up on her gourmet delights.

 
 
 
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If you aren’t a baker and are in need of a tasty vehicle for your goat’s cheese, visit Tivoli General where patrons stand in line for freshly baked baguettes as they come out of the oven. You’ll also find other excellent home-baked breads there, bagels and delicate knishes, gourmet groceries, including local cheese - some from Churchtown Dairy - sauces, specialty drinks and beautiful sandwiches. Relax outside at a pretty openwork table with one of these and take in life à la Tivoli. In summer there’s always a crowd across the street at Fortunes ice cream. Speaking of Churchtown Dairy, you might like to go there to see their astonishing round barn and visit their provisions shop, too!

 
 
 
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Farther south on the same side of the river is Stella’s Fine Market in Beacon. Here’s an opportunity to enjoy the beauty of Columbia and Dutchess counties, by driving from Suzanne’s place to Stella’s mom’s shop, from the countryside of Stuyvesant to Main Street in Beacon. Some of our favorite items at Stella’s—where you’ll find limited-ingredient groceries, non-alcoholic beverages, cookbooks and other tastefully displayed household goods, not to mention the delightful proprietress herself—are the variously flavored De Soi apéritifs. Champignon Dreams combines extracts of gentian and burdock root, passion flower, green tea, reishi mushroom, juniper berry and other delectable things in a base of apricot-strawberry-black current-grapefruit juice… it’s a tasty elixir!


Down the street, the simply named Beacon Pantry is a place of culinary largess. As the name suggests they have gourmet pantry staples and treats, but they also have a large selection of cheeses cut by a knowledgeable staff, wonderful cookies, and ready-to-eat gourmet snacks. You may want to check both shops before making purchases for your charcuterie board or risk overstocking!

 
 
 
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Hudson Valley Dining Recommendations


When you’re ready to sit down for a delicious meal in a rare Upstate New York setting, try Garvan’s, at the New Paltz Golf Course. The 1759 farmhouse is set amidst tall, graceful locust trees and faces the golf course and a view of the Catskills. Be seated in the historic bar and have a glass of wine with the owner, Garvan McCloskey, who’s a doll. Or take your seat in the fireplace-warmed dining room or, in fine weather on the porch or in the garden. The menu is simple, but its gastropub staples are always perfectly done.

 
 
 
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A few thruway exits north in Saugerties is the Red Onion, where you’ll find handsome, warmly lit rooms and an atmosphere of ease. It’s one of the best restaurants in the region with a fantastic wine list. You’ll want to take your time over a meal here, especially with a glass of something special! Two people can dine very nicely for $100 including the wine. That’s not to say the food isn’t priceless! It’s always superb. The mussels appetizer in a savory broth, served in a cast-iron pan, is a favorite of the bar crowd here.

 

Woodstock’s Silvia restaurant is a Coldwell Banker Village Green favorite. First, because it’s right across the street from our Woodstock location on Mill Hill Road, second, because we can always be sure that Silvia’s will have added their secret ingredient to everything we order. The essential ingredient in all Silvia’s dishes is relaxation, which has also been built into the ambience, the décor and the service. Take your choice of the wide-open main salon and porch or the cozy Brit-style, art-lined bar. If you’re an olive fan we recommend the marinated olive starter!

 
 
 
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Fine Dining at the Hudson Valley’s Spas and Inns

If you feel you need a full day of Silvia’s secret ingredient you may want to take a drive to one of these three boutique hotel/spas also known for their restaurants. You can spend the day wandering beautiful grounds and being treated at the spas, and the evening out. Glenmere, in Chester (Orange County), is set in a Gilded Age mansion and has been voted the most romantic hideaway hotel in the world. In Sullivan County The DeBruce’s simple dining room belies the sophisticated creations of Executive Chef Eric Leveillee, and Henry’s Restaurant at Buttermilk Falls, bustles with excitement over the farm-to-table meals created from ingredients grown on-site.

 
 
 
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Hudson Valley Cocktails


On nights when you’re not seeking a meal but simply looking for somewhere special to raise a glass, the breweries, wineries and distilleries of the Hudson Valley and Catskills will meet the moment, even if you prefer to stick to drinks of the non-alcoholic variety. Some are known simply for the products they sell, some for the place where they serve them, and some for both! 

One happy example of the latter is Cooper’s Daughter Spirits at Olde York Farm in Claverack, a distillery sourcing Hudson Valley ingredients to make seasonal, small-batch spirits amidst apples orchards and black walnut groves. Part of the historic Jacob Rutsen van Rensselaer House and Mill complex, it’s one of the loveliest places in the Hudson Valley to hang out. The year-round cocktail garden at Olde York Farm is where you’ll find a drinks menu separated into dry, sweet and “mocktails”. All the beverages are made with their own Cooper’s Daughters Spirits which are some of the most luxuriously delicious and elegantly bottled liquors you’ll find with flavors like Black Walnut Bourbon, Thai Basil Liqueur and Rhubarb/Honey Vodka. Every weekend a food truck, such as This and That, provides nibbles to go along with all those lovely liquids.

 

Over the bridge and up the mountain in Hunter is Scribner’s Prospect, not long ago voted one of the world’s most romantic hotel bars by UK’s The Telegraph. They said, “Prospect is a striking and permanently buzzing space, with floor-to-ceiling windows and an attractive central bar serving great cocktails.” Along with that we add that you can enjoy your drinks by the fire pit on the deck, at the circular bar or cuddled up by the cast-iron stove. Mocktails start the menu with original flavors and clever names (“Thorn In My Side”)! Their cocktails are delicious; especially recommended is the Old Man Scribner. Or you might like the Alpine Negroni, blended from gin, Cynar, Alpine Liqueur, Antica, Benedictine and Yellow Chartreuse.

 
 
 
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Our third choice for elegant bars in the area is the one at Le Petit Bistro in Rhinebeck, a beautiful restaurant inside and out. It’s such a pretty room. Their cocktail selection is limited but spirited.

 
 
 
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We hope you enjoy your journey and the hunt!

Please let us know your favorites, and we’ll raise a glass to Upstate Gourmet Living!

 


 

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