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  • By Susan Welsh

Hudson River Valley State of Mind

Thomas Cole 1837

Driving to the Hudson Valley in October is exactly the way you should spend time reconnecting with an old college friend. Stay at the new Mirbeau Spa and Resort in Rhinebeck, add a day in neighboring Kingston for the fabulous Field & Supply, and you’ve got yourself an ideal autumn weekend

As Steph drives and I queue up podcasts, dole out snacks and provide endless query and commentary on the scenery, we see “The Gunks,” the nickname for the Shawangunk Mountains—technically, the southeastern edge of the Catskill Mountains. “The Gunks” are the birthplace of America’s Hudson River School, the mid nineteenth century movement of landscape artists whose work is characterized by detailed and realistic portrayals of nature. The landscapes primarily explored three American themes: discovery, exploration, and settlement. Artists of this school depicted romantic views of the Catskill Mountains (among others), to elevate reverence for the wilderness and search for the sublime.

Field + Supply in Kingston New York

At Field & Supply, the brainchild of Manhattan-based designer Brad Ford, one quickly becomes aware of the hip and elite design aesthetic. Here you’ll find beautiful people--boho chic creatives and designers, hats strategically dipped, mingling with their exquisitely groomed city dogs. Despite the prevalent elan, it’s an “upstate and chill” kind of atmosphere— autumn light gleaming off the Hudson and an aura of hushed appreciation and creative respect.

The Bones of J. R. Jones, aka singer, songwriter Jonathon Linaberry gets in your ears and lingers—a fusion of blues, folk and country notes that provide the perfect soundtrack to the event. Listen for Linaberry’s music in the new film Chasing the Blues.

Village Common Mercantile hand-poured, small batch soy candle

When my friend Heidi walks over to tell me there’s a candle I’ve got to meet, so authentically redolent with the fragrance of Monterey, I follow. One hit of “South of Monterey,” and I’m passing my cash to Blake, co-owner of Village Common Mercantile and and author of the poem that adorns the candle, with this standout line: “Just south of Monterey you will find, a home for you of solitude and peace of mind.” Indeed, Blake’s iteration in eucalyptus, basil, and lavender, evokes all the wonders and magic of Monterey.

Back in Rhinebeck, a few suggestions:

Best Place to Stay: The Mirbeau: especially for the eucalyptus-infused steam room and the “aqua terrace” (a heated salt water whirlpool)

Best Restaurant: The Amsterdam, great atmosphere and delicious food, especially the Delicata Squash Rings

Best Drinks: Liberty Public House, originally the Starr Institute, founded in 1862 "for the intellectual and moral improvement of the inhabitants of the town of Rhinebeck.”

Steph has an Old Fashioned and I more than one Jalapeño Margarita—you know, just to test if my intellect and morals have improved. . .

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