This post is about a day-long Fall leaf-peeping outing on Thursday, September 28th to Hudson, NY and to OLANA, the National Historic Preservation site home of Hudson River painter Frederick Church. Tickets are $115. Departure time will be 7:30am and the group will return at approximately 5pm. A lunch reservation (perhaps several, depending on how many of us go) will be made in Hudson. Space on the tour is limited, so this event will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. This was one of the MWC’s very first outings – we went in September, 2011 – and it’s time for more of us to go! MWC’ers, please sign up by clicking on the “SIGN UP!” tab on the menu ribbon of the Members’ site (available after you sign in).
Hudson, NY (often called “Brooklyn on the Hudson” or “Upstate’s Downtown”) is a historic river town which after being practically abandoned is now thriving with a local arts scene, antiques stores (more than 70!),galleries and restaurants. (Click here to read a recent NYTimes article.) Yes, there has truly been a Brooklyn to Hudson exodus (Etsy, the crafts-retail site has a major office there!) because of the gorgeous riverfront setting, good transportation with a Metro-North/ Amtrak station at the northern edge of town, the creative and chill vibe and a plethora of antique stores as well as an auction house. Just as fun are the architectural artifacts with pile-like Queen Anne and Victorian houses lining the side streets. In fact, we’ve chosen to take this trip on a Thursday because Hudson semi-shuts down on Tuesdays and Wednesdays when many of the antique stores are closed while their owners are off scouting for wares. This was also scheduled for a time when the renowned Hudson auction house, Stair & Co., will be having a viewing for an upcoming auction. Big question: Have never figured out Hudson, NY’s history as a whaling town – and yet there’s a whale right there on the city seal! Anyone have an answer to this question?
Not too far away is OLANA, the Persian-style home of Hudson River School artist Frederick Edwin Church,. It still rests high above the Hudson with its views and beauty intact. In around 1870, Church commissioned Calvert Vaux (half of the duo which designed both Central Park and Prospect Park in New York City) after he and his wife returned from an extended trip to the Middle East. Over the years, Church himself added many decorative elements to the house – stencils, “exotic” colors and he lived there until his death in 1900. Especially interesting for those in the MWC who have spent time in London, this house is considered to be the companion to the Islamic-themed Leighton House, the Holland Park home of Frederick, Lord Leighton who was the founder of the Royal Academy of Art and was a colleague and friend of Church’s. Artistic giants of their day, Church and Leighton built and decorated their homes at the same time although on different continents – both using decorative influences from the Middle East. Fortunately for all of us, New York State purchased and maintained Olana with its original furnishings AND enough land to preserve the classic Hudson River School view of the waterway snaking along in the distance so it can be seen from the property. Your tax dollars at work! There’s no better time to see Olana than during prime upstate leaf-peeping !This is a very special and rare property and appointments for groups are made far in advance – the MWC reservation was made last March!
Do yourself a favor and celebrate the season with this luxurious day out with great views, great company and the fabulous Hudson Valley to boot!