Escape from New York|Find Your Upstate Soulmate
May 20, 2020
This is part two of our five-part series on moving to the Hudson Valley. Be sure to check back each day for a new blog.
One of the hardest parts of finding where you fit in upstate is that every place is just so charming, it can be hard to get out of the vacation mindset and imagine what day-to-day life might be like if you bought a weekend place or made a permanent move. We used a strict scientific method (thinking about all the places we love) to come up with what towns you might want to visit based on your Brooklyn faves. Read on and let us know how these pairs match up!
Beacon | Boerum Hill
Nearly everyone who loves the Hudson Valley has a place they hope not too many people find out about and ours is Beacon. Yes, we know it’s a perennial sweetheart but with good reason. Just like when you’re walking around Boerum Hill, in Beacon, you can’t quite believe people get to live here. In the middle of everything but somehow feeling a little bit like a good secret—that’s Beacon. Both places are home to artists and a thriving art scene (in Beacon that’s partially thanks to DIA: Beacon) and lots of independent shops and restaurants.
And just like its Brooklyn counterpart, its hills make for incredible views (even if it’s only the people in high-rises who mainly get to appreciate them in Boerum Hill). Because Beacon is bisected by water and roads, the town seems larger than it is but most homes are still walkable to downtown. A trip into the city takes about 2 hours but you’ll enjoy gorgeous Hudson River views the whole way. And while prices are on the rise, Beacon still offers some surprisingly affordable options.
Poughkeepsie | Bensonhurst
OK, so neither Bensonhurst or Poughkeepsie is going to talk themselves up so we’ll do it for them. What makes Bensonhurst so great—an ever-changing mix of cultures, great food, a diverse housing stock at every price point, and easy access to transportation—are also waiting for you in Poughkeepsie. The Walkway Over the Hudson has brought in some much-deserved tourist attention as of late and Vassar College means the town retains a youthful vibe.
So what can you buy in Poughkeepsie? Well, the city has six official historic districts and it remains a place where you can buy a 2,000+ square foot home for $125,000 or $450,000. If you don’t mind some sweat equity and you’re a sucker for river views, Poughkeepsie could be the perfect place to land.
Rhinebeck | Park Slope
If you like Park Slope, you’ll love Rhinebeck. For a town its size, it boasts a truly impressive array of indie shops, art galleries, and events. Family-oriented but never dull, it’s a great spot for just poking around on a weekend afternoon or stopping by the farmer’s market.
Like Park Slope, Rhinebeck is boosted by its proximity to so many other cool places—whether it’s Hyde Park and Tivoli farther north or using it as a jumping-off point to explore Connecticut or The Berkshires. Everything feels close and everything feels possible. Because of all that likability, home prices are pricier here than some other options in the Hudson Valley but some bargains can still be found in the village.
Newburgh | Red Hook
You might think we’d pair Red Hook, Brooklyn and the Red Hook in Hudson Valley but we’re pulling a fast one. It might be because of all the Red Hook folks we’ve known who’ve headed up to Newburgh. Yes, Newburgh is a working town that’s a bit rough around the edges but that’s why you love it. If you like grit over glitz and are a sucker for historical architecture, Newburgh is an often-overlooked treasure. Like it’s downstate counterpart, Newburgh is not shy about gorgeous water views and its proximity to other towns mean you’re never far from a new place to eat or shop.
Newburgh is on the rise and if you can buy and wait till some more people follow your lead, you might be making a smart investment. There are bargains to be had but if you’re looking for the quiet, bucolic life, this ain’t it. Newburgh is strictly for people who want to be in a city and love the buzz of New York but just want it with a more attractive price tag.
Athens | Kensington
OK, so Athens, New York sits on the Hudson River, while Kensington, being right in the middle of Brooklyn, is pretty landlocked. This isn’t a perfect science. But what we like about both is the same: a little bit of scruff means good bargains on gorgeous homes—and a wide variety of architectural styles. Both places are extremely walkable and have a similar neighborly vibe (neighbors gossiping on front porches is a common scene in Athens).
Up here, you’re close to Hudson and Kingston but the town seems to move at its own pace. Housing options abound, with village options offering period details and river views or find a place nestled in the woods for some quiet time.
Kingston | Bay Ridge
With the Catskills on one side and the Hudson River on the other, not to mention a pretty straight shot up the Taconic Parkway, Kingston is a kind of best-of-all worlds pick without any of the compromise.
Like Bay Ridge, Kingston seems always on the cusp of happening without getting subsumed or changed by hipster culture. And also like it’s borough twin, Kingston offers up affordability, walkability, a solid business core, mix of available housing stock, and still plenty of green space. You get the impression of daily life going on everywhere in Kingston; it’s no quiet retreat. But if you want a welcoming small-town atmosphere amid lots of restaurants, small businesses, and amenities, it’s a gem.
Phoenicia | Bed-Stuy
Just like Bed-Stuy, Phoenicia has been cool for as long as we can remember. And while population stats can’t compare (Phoenicia totaled just over 300 residents in the 2010 Census), both places hold their own against regular influxes of tourists. In Phoenicia, you’ll find the long-standing attractions (the Phoenicia Diner is actually as good as its reputation) alongside new boutique hotels. A t-shirt we recently saw in a Phoenicia store read “Don’t hassle me. I’m local.” We think Bed-Stuy can sympathize.
But the reason both places are so popular is because they’re both just that great. The town of Phoenicia offers plenty to do but the real secret might be the nearby nature. Hiking trails and waterfalls offer plenty of reason to day trip it out of town. A compact downtown means most of the homes in town mean a quick trip to the Phoenicia Supermarket where you can ogle the mountains that surround the town or check out the Esopus Creek while you’re at it.
Williamsburg | Hudson
Both Williamsburg and Hudson have had their reputations tarnished by frequent accusations of hipsterdom but ignore the haters—we think they might just be jealous. After all, it’s the way a place makes you feel that counts, not its reputation. And Hudson’s incredible restaurant scene and warm downtown will make you feel a little bit like you’re in a storybook. And just as the Williamsburg Bridge will take you across the river to the Lower East Side, the cool factor between Hudson and its growing-in-popularity neighbor across the river, Athens, feels reciprocal.
While the days of finding a bargain in Hudson may be long over, the housing is still ridiculously affordable compared to Brooklyn and the size of the town means you have plenty of options. A recent search showed dozens and dozens of the 120s up over $2.5M, so, you know, you have options.
Wasaic | Bushwick
Do you approach life with a DIY attitude? Do you not mind being a little off the beaten path? Are you into industrial chic? If Bushwick appeals to you, definitely check out Wasaic. This tiny town has an outsized presence in the Hudson Valley thanks to its thriving arts scene (like its BK twin, Bushwick). If you have any mental picture of the town, you’re probably thinking of the silo that’s home to the year-round art residency program, Wassaic Project. And while there’s not much in Wasaic (grab a pizza at The Lantern), you’re close to nearby towns Amenia (check out the drive-in) and Millerton (thrifting fun).
Wasaic is even on the Metro-North—the last stop in fact. Honestly, your biggest challenge to finding a place here is availability of homes for sale. But if you can wait it out, your patience might be rewarded.