Your head is buried in your hands, resting on the grimy countertop of your local dive. Donned in a stained white oxford and a silk tie hanging loosely around your neck, Celine Dion belts “All By Myself” over the speaker as you catch the reluctant gaze of the bartender polishing a glass on the far side of the bar. After attempting to order another Whiskey Ginger through the drunken stupor, you’re verbally slapped across with, “Go home, you’re drunk.” Sh*t. Another melancholy Valentines Day.
Maybe you couldn’t scramble fast enough to make last minute dinner plans with your hot date, so she left you for Chad Chadsworth who booked his reservations at Hudson’s hottest restaurant weeks in advance.
But it doesn’t have to be this way, right?! Luckily, here at Hudson Valley Happenings we’ve got your back to put together one KICK-ASS day for you and your lover. Love it or hate it, you can’t run away from it. Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, ladies and gentlemen, and it’s coming in hot.
Sorry boys, but take the keys out of your ignition. I’m cancelling your trip to C.V.S.; your pharmacy chocolates simply won’t do it this time around. The Hudson Valley is home to some phenomenal chocolatiers sure to satisfy any sweet tooth, a bountiful resource not to be squandered.
Krause’s Chocolates (Saugerties, New Paltz, Rhinebeck): You won’t find any cheap waxes or oils in these chocolates (like you would find in many lesser quality sweets). Third generation confectioner-extraordinaire Karl Krause uses only the finest ingredients imported from around the world to make his grandfather's recipes come to life. This Hudson Valley icon has been helping Valentine love crusaders since 1928 (that’s 90 years people!) and has reigned supreme in the valley by winning the ‘Best Chocolate & Candy Store’ accolade for the past sixteen years in a row (Hudson Valley Magazine’s ‘Best Of’). Maybe you’ve seen them around— with locations in Saugerties, New Paltz, and Rhinebeck there’s no reason for you to not pay them a visit.
Photo by: Krause Chocolates
Verdigris Tea & Chocolate (Hudson, Catskill): Kim Bach, owner of Verdigris, followed in her mother's footsteps who had owned a tea shop in Park City, Utah. After moving to Hudson and opening up a shop of her own, some could say that she has tea coursing through her veins. In addition to exotic teas, Kim Bach has created a “world of chocolate” within the historical Hudson District. Serving everything from rich chocolate beverages to the finest chocolate delights from the surrounding areas (Oliver Kita, Fruition, and Fine & Raw to name a few), you’ll more likely than not to walk away with more than you came for. Bach has teamed up with CIA alumni Regina Simmons to procure a delicious baked goods section to top it all off. Verdigris Tea & Chocolate also offers monthly chocolate and drink pairings, which can be found on their website @123Warren.
Photo by: Verdigris Tea & Chocolate
Thanks to these thriving florists, we don’t have to wait for April showers to bring May flowers.
Flowerkraut (Hudson): Your one-stop-shop for blooming bouquets and succulent sauerkraut. Yeah, you heard that right. Mairead and Seth “Sauerkraut Seth” Travins founded Flowerkraut after combining their two passions, flowers and lacto-fermented vegetables, to create a lovely space featuring hand-picked artisanal gifts, ceramics, probiotics and more. Amanda Bruns was an employee at Flowerkraut before eventually taking over and becoming owner. "I had been a customer of Flowerkraut for years and always loved it. It seems serendipitous that I got a job here and then became an owner. Life is good." Her sister, Nicole, traded her legal career in the city to join her. Flowerkraut’s legacy is now carried on and made stronger by the two sisters, who continue to curate the store with local goods and wares. It’s time to order your Valentine’s arrangements now, for pick-up and local delivery!
Photo by: Kathryn Lucia
Flowers by David Anthony (Highland Mills): With his window panes brimming with bright and cheery flowers, David Anthony’s flower shop in Highland Mills adds a splash color to even the grayest New York winter day. Starting out in a local shop and then designing for a florist in New York City, David Anthony finally has the store he has always dreamed of, and has been in business for more than 30 years. He was also The Knot’s 2018 pick for Best of Weddings, which means he’s a good man to have in your rolodex when it’s time to take your relationship to the next level. But for now, he’s happy to help you pick out flowers for your beloved on this special day.
Photo by: Flowers by David Anthony
Whether you want to get out and active to work up an appetite for dinner or stay cozied up indoors, there’s something here for you.
Winter Activities @ Mohonk Mountain House (New Paltz): Although Mohonk sheathes their throwing axes in the winter time and advises people against attempting any rock scrambles (because, you know, ICE!) there are still plenty of outdoor activities to indulge in. Baby, it’s cold outside— but these blood pumping activities will keep you and your loved one(s) warm. Mohonk offers ice skating ($27pp) in their beautiful 9,375-square-foot outdoor pavillion, and since it’s larger than Rockefeller Plaza, you won’t have to fight tooth and claw for space! Also on site is over 30 miles of cross country skiing ($26pp) that offer breathtaking views of the Catskills, snowshoeing ($26pp) and snow tubing! It’s no secret, these prices aren’t exactly cheap, but neither are the views that Mohonk has to offer. We think that it’s worth the extra few (dozen) dollars for this special day.
Photo by: Mohonk Mountain House
Minnewaska State Park Preserve (Kerhonkson): If the prices at Mohonk seem a bit steep, Minnewaska State Park Preserve offers cross country skiing and snowshoeing just a short drive away with an entrance fee of only $10. You’ll have to rent some XC skis if you don’t already own a pair, so don’t forget to pay Rock and Snow outdoor sports store in New Paltz to rent your skis, poles, and boots for $18. Rock and Snow also offers snowshoes for $15.
(Website: ROCK AND SNOW https://www.rockandsnow.com/store/ )
Photo by: Danny Wild
High Falls Conservation Area Loop (Philmont): Lace up your hiking boots and head to High Falls for a 1.2 mile loop through the wilderness to reach the roaring waterfall at the end standing at a proud 150 feet tall. The Columbia Land Conservancy makes sure the trails are well marked and well maintained for a laid back hike accessible to most. It’s even okay to bring your dog along, just make sure to keep them on a leash!
Photo by: Larissa Runkle, Outdoor Project
Live Music @ The Sloop Factory (East Fishkill): Don’t feel like getting outside? Too cold for your taste? Well fret not, because you can spend your afternoon indoors with the The Sloop Factory with a refreshing glass of their ‘Juice Bomb’ IPA in your hand. The Sloop Factory is Sloop’s brand new Dutch post and beam facility in East Fishkill that boasts a 25,000 square foot space.
(Website: https://www.facebook.com/events/2181613832055951/ )
Photo by: Robert M. Davidson
The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center (Poughkeepsie): While smaller than the museums you’d find in the big city, Vassar College has a magnificent collection of well-presented art in its gallery. On Thursday nights (that means VALENTINES DAY) hours are extended to 9pm with an “envilvened atmosphere and creative happenings.” Appreciate the finer things with your partner! The best part is that the gallery and it’s exhibits are free and open to the public!
(Website: https://fllac.vassar.edu/ )
Photo by: Vassar Alums
This is it fellas— the big one. Book those reservations as soon as possible, because this time of year, they’re going to fill up soon! These places are sure to kick your Valentine date night up a notch (or three).
Serevan (Amenia): For Chef/Owner Serge Madikians cooking isn’t just a craft, he says, but a way of life. “I discovered that cooking for me is essentially musical: I compose with flavors and seek lyricism on the plate.” And Serge certainly is an artist, having won previous accolades like “Best Chef in the Hudson Valley” and being a James Beard Semi-Finalist. This romantic restaurant nestled inside an antique farmhouse, in the warmer seasons, surrounded by lush gardens in which Serge grows all his herbs, vegetables, and flowers. As soon as you set foot in the restaurant, no matter where you come from, you feel right at home. (WARNING) It’s rumored that Serge gives out potted roses to all of the ladies here on Valentine’s day, so watch out and make sure that he doesn’t steal your lady.
Photo by: Hilltop House Bed and Breakfast
Fish & Game (Hudson): In May 2013 when Chef Zakary Pelaccio opened Fish & Game, he made a big splash. Well, more like a tsunami. Just a year after opening he was a James Beard semi-finalist for best new restaurant, and now in 2019 continues to impress with numerous James Beard and Wine Enthusiast Magazine accolades under his belt. Surrounded by local farms, it would be harder to import food than it would be to use the ingredients around him— more often than not, your food is coming from right down the road.
(Website: https://www.fishandgamehudson.com/reservations/ )
Photo by: Fish & Game
The Amsterdam (Rhinebeck): Nestled in one of the oldest buildings in Rhinebeck, a Dutch townhouse constructed in 1798, is Rhinebeck’s swankiest hospitality institution. The Amsterdam was brought to life by owners Howard and Chris Jacobs in 2017, and in 2018 they appointed Executive Chef Alex Burger (of the Daniel Boulud restaurant group) to the helm of their culinary enterprise. The dining room is beautiful with a rustic-modern ambiance, high vaulted ceilings, open kitchen and absolute dapper furnishings. Their wine list is vast and varied with something for every palate, and their cocktail program headed by the sartorial Connor Dineen is classy and highly refined.
(Website: https://www.lovetheamsterdam.com/ )
Photo by: Stephanie Purzyki
The Roundhouse (Beacon): “Whether you’re a proud Beacon local, a city day-tripper, or a far-flung visitor from across the globe, welcome to The Roundhouse.” Sip on a glass of red while you enjoy the view of a stunning waterfall and rushing creek through original floor-to-ceiling windows. The award-winning Roundhouse in Beacon offers views unparalleled to anything in the area. It’s polished appearance, stunning views, and impeccable service are sure to wow.
(Website: https://rhbeacon.com/menus/ )
Photo by: The Rockwell Group
Alright folks! Now that your day is planned, your reservations are set, with chocolate and flowers in hand, there’s no way you can fail. Not this time, Chad. Forget Celine Dion and the soppy sad melodramatics, “Eye of the Tiger” is the tune of your soul as you walk to your dates front door. Congratulations, you’re not only crushing Valentine’s Day but you’re crushing life too. Now get out there, you busy bees, and make Saint Valentine proud!