Christmas Shopping in the Hudson Valley

Christmas Tree

Christmas shopping is among us! As convenient as it is to order gifts online, there are so many great stores to visit in the Hudson Valley area. Whether you prefer shopping malls, quaint boutiques, or a combination of both, there is something for everyone!

Here is a list of places to shop categorized by price, type, and location.

Price Key:
$=Gifts Under $25
$$=Gifts between $25-$50
$$$=Gifts between $50-$100
$$$$=Gifts $100 and up

Please note this key is designed as a guide and does not guarantee there are only items in the price ranges listed next to the stores.

=My personal favorites (I’ haven’t been to every place on this list so my favorites could definitely expand!)

Boutiques & Quaint Shops:

 Bop To Tottom Kingston, NY $, $$

The products in this store are as much fun as its name! This has always been one of my favorite go to stores for fun and affordable jewelry, handbags, and accessories. You never know what goodies you will find in here. They recently expanded so now there is twice as much fun stocked inside.

Wondrous Things Briarcliff Manor, NY $, $$, $$$, $$$$

Bella’s Boutique Tarrytown, NY $, $$,$$$

Nectar High Falls, NY $, $$, $$$, $$$$

High Falls Mercantile High Falls, NY $, $$, $$$, $$$$

Green Cottage High Falls, NY $, $$, $$$, $$$$

Global Home Beacon, NY $, $$, $$$, $$$$

Say Cheese and Thank You Dobbs Ferry, NY $, $$, $$$

Woodstock Chimes Saugerties, NY $, $$, $$$, $$$$

Dry Goods Saugerties, NY $, $$, $$$, $$$$

Merriweathers Rhinebeck, NY $, $$

 Paper Trail Rhinebeck, NY $, $$, $$$, $$$$

Paper Trail is one of those stores that makes you feel enchanted once you step inside. The layout of the store and all of the wonderful paper products and other fun finds make shopping here a divine experience. This is the ideal place to get unique gifts as well as creative paper to wrap them in!

Hammertown Rhinebeck, NY $, $$, $$$, $$$$

 Cocoon New Paltz, NY $, $$, $$$, $$$$

From quirky to elegant, you can find an array of great products here. They specialize in items for the home, jewelry, and children’s gifts. I am a huge fan of all the great kitchen and cooking related items they have in here!

 Groovy Blueberry New Paltz, NY$, $$, $$$

The Groovy Blueberry is home to many great products. This is a great store to go accessory shopping. They have a wide variety of unique jewelry, scarves, and other accessories to adorn your gift recipients (and of course yourself)!

Antique Shops:

 Antiques Barn New Paltz, NY $, $$, $$$, $$$$

Antiques Barn has fueled my enjoyment for antique shopping. Of all of the other antique shops I have visited, none have been able to replicate the experience I have when I am here. You never know what great finds you will have here. This is the ideal place to look for vintage gifts. Check out their vintage Christmas related  gifts such as ornaments and figurines for some unique gift ideas!

Tivoli Mercantile Tivoli, NY $, $$, $$$, $$$$

Fed On Lights Saugerties, NY $, $$, $$$, $$$$

Cold Spring Antiques Center Cold Spring, NY $, $$, $$$, $$$$

Pretty Funny Vintage Tarrytown, NY $, $$, $$$, $$$$

Malls, Shopping Centers, & Department Stores:

Ridge Hill Yonkers, NY $, $$, $$$, $$$$

The Westchester White Plains, NY $, $$, $$$, $$$$

 Bed, Bath, and Beyond Elmsford, NY $, $$, $$$, $$$$

There are many Bed, Bath, and Beyond locations in the Hudson Valley, but this is my favorite. It is two floors and houses Harmon and World Market inside as well. World Market has an awesome collection of gourmet goods that are often difficult to find other places. This is a great spot to visit if you are thinking of putting together a gourmet food basket. They even have miniature versions of many goods, as well as baskets so you can put them together there!


 Village Bookstore Pleasantville, NY $, $$

Village Bookstore is a quaint place with a friendly atmosphere. If you are looking to give books as a gift, I recommend a visit there. This is also a great way to support your local community while you shop!

 Womrath Books Bronxville, NY $, $$

Womrath Bookstore has a wide selection of books and gives you that comforting experience that smaller bookstores offer. It is nestled among other great stores and restaurants in Bronxville where you can visit and grab a bite to eat whole you are shopping.

Oblong Books & Music Rhinebeck, NY $, $$

Our Bookshop Saugerties, NY $, $$

Toy Stores:

A Nu Toy Store Tarrytown, NY $, $$, $$$, $$$$

 Tinker Toys Woodstock, NY $, $$, $$$, $$$$

Tinker Toys brings out the kid in everyone. This is the ideal toy store for kids toys and nostalgic items that can be used for stocking stuffers for adults.

Wood Workers Toy Mount Kisco, NY $$, $$$, $$$$

Try and Buy Toys Pleasantville, NY $, $$, $$$, $$$$

Art Supply Stores:

 Manny’s Art Supplies New Paltz, NY $, $$, $$$

Manny’s offers an array of awesome art supplies, unique paper goods, calendars and other great items that are perfect for gifts at wonderful prices!

Catskill Art Supply Stores in Kingston, Woodstock, & Poughkeepsie $, $$, $$$

These are just some of the many great places to shop in the Hudson Valley. Please post more suggestions in the comments section!



Red Hat on the River


I have wanted to try Red Hat on the River for some time now so I decided Hudson Valley Restaurant week would be a great time to do so. The cozy and romantic restaurant sits along the Hudson River in the quaint town of Irvington, NY. Although it was a chilly night, it didn’t stop me from admiring the stunning view of the Manhattan skyline from outside of the restaurant. My husband and I started off with cocktails at the intimate U-shaped bar. The bartender was excellent, and I enjoyed the most delectable pear cocktail along with the tasty sweet potato chips they have at the bar.

When it was time for our reservation, they seated us upstairs, where we enjoyed our dinner in the restaurant’s serene atmosphere. The mini baguettes they serve with dinner added to the authenticity of this French-inspired restaurant. I chose to order from the Restaurant Week menu and my husband ordered from their traditional menu.

We both had the French onion soup to start, which was savory and delightful. I rarely have the pleasure of enjoying french onion soup at restaurants because most places make it using beef broth, and I don’t eat red meat. Red Hat On The River, however, created a delicious vegetarian soup which could satiate the palettes of carnivores, vegetarians, and all others in between.

For the main course, I enjoyed the Pan-Roasted Free Range chicken. The portions were generous and the food was cooked to perfection. My husband ordered the ‘Banh Mi’ Style Beef Sandwich, and enjoyed every bite!

Last, but certainly not least, we both ordered delicious desserts. My husband ordered the key lime pie, which was made in house and fresh as can be. The combination of its light texture with the right amount of tartness made for a pleasant dessert experience. I had the Lemon Tea Cake, which was from By The Way Bakery in Hastings-On-Hudson. The cake, which was also gluten-free, was moist in texture and rich in flavor. I think it’s especially wonderful that Red Hat supports local businesses…what a great way to promote buying local in the Hudson Valley! I hope to visit the By The Way Bakery and taste their other delicacies soon.

We left the restaurant feeling very full and satisfied. I hope to return soon and try more of this wonderful restaurant’s specialties.

Restaurant Week ends on 11/17/13. I highly recommend trying one of the many amazing participating restaurants! Here is a link to them:

Here is a link to Red Hat On the River’s website:

Here is a link to Red Hat On the River’s Restaurant Week Menu:

By The Way Bakery Website:

xoxo, Jessi

Halloween in the Hudson Valley

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Happy Halloween Hudson Valley Residents! The cool weather, fall foliage, and unique events that are offered make this region is an especially fun place to celebrate the holiday. Whether you are looking for low-key events, family friendly activities, or a fun night out dancing in costume, there is something offered for everyone. Here is a sampling of some of the many  Halloween happenings that are going on today. Enjoy!



Low-Key & Family Fun Activities:

Night of 100 Pumpkins hosted by The Bakery in New Paltz, NY

Halloween Parade in New Paltz, NY

Kids in Costume get a FREE small cone today from 4:00-6:00 p.m. at Stew Leonard’s in Yonkers, NY 

Brick or Treat at Legoland in Yonkers, NY

Halloween Parade in Sleepy Hollow, NY

Events that will Make You Shiver:

Sleepy Hollow Cemetery Events

Jay Ghoul’s House of Curiosities at the Lyndhurst Castle in Tarrytown, NY

Headless Horseman Hayrides in Ulster Park, NY

Night Life:

Halloween Party at Murphy’s in New Paltz, NY

Halloween Celebration at Oasis in New Paltz, NY

The Halloween Covers Show at The Chance in Poughkeepsie, NY

Halloween Party at Elements in White Plains, NY

Annual Halloween Extravaganza at Rory Dolan’s in Yonkers, NY

In honor of the holiday, here’s the video for my favorite Halloween song:


Hudson Valley Restaurant Week

Attention Hudson Valley Residents: It’s time to indulge in old and new favorite restaurants in the area once again!

Hudson Valley Restaurant Week will be from November 4-November 17 this Fall.

You can access a list of participating restaurants here:

For those of you who are new to the area or have not yet participated, Hudson Valley Restaurant Week offers pre-fixe lunches and dinners at some of the best restaurants in the area. This is a wonderful time to visit a restaurant you have been wanting to try…the meals include appetizers, a main course, and dessert at great prices ($20.95 for lunch, $29.95 for dinner). You can see some of the Restaurant Week menus on the Hudson Valley Restaurant Week website or by visiting the sites of the participating restaurants.  I am trying to decide which restaurant(s) to visit this time…maybe Red Hat on the River? I have been wanting to go there for some time…Or an old favorite like Half Moon or Chutney Masala? (Can you tell I really enjoy restaurants right on the Hudson River?) With so many fabulous places in the area, it can be difficult to choose. I hope you all can get out to try at least one place!

Let me know if you have any recommendations!

Also, for those Open Table users, here is a list of the participating restaurants that use Open Table for reservations for Restaurant Week: .



My Antique Shop Find

Hi everyone, it’s been awhile since I posted on here. Sorry about that! I am hoping to get back into posting soon. I wanted to share a link to another blog I have started,               Cumin & Going, a cooking related blog. In my most recent post, I share a recipe from a vintage cookbook I found at Antiques Barn in New Paltz, NY. The link is below. I hope you enjoy!

My Vintage Find: All About Home Baking



Westchester Magazine Subscription Discount


Photo Courtesy of Westchester Magazine’s Facebook page:

 Hi everyone, I came across a discount for a subscription to Westchester Magazine through LivingSocial…This could make a great gift for Mother’s Day or for yourself! 🙂

Here is the link:


Girls Night Out in the Hudson Valley


With the warm weather approaching and wedding season underway, many ladies are planning bridal showers and bachelorette parties for the bride-to-be. Here are some great places to host these events in the area. Even if you are not hosting an event, these places can also be great for a ladies day/night out!

For A Refreshing & Relaxing Day:

A great way to indulge and have fun with your favorite girls is by going to a spa. The Hudson Valley has some wonderful spas that allow you to enjoy time with your girlfriends as well as have a moment of solo tranquility as you enjoy your spa service in private. One of the most magnificent places for a pleasant spa experience is Mohonk Mountain House located in New Paltz, NY. When you make a spa appointment, you also have access to the grounds. A great way to start the day is with a nice hike, enjoying the beautiful scenery. After that go to the spa and enjoy all of the extra amenities as you wait for your appointment. The outdoor mineral pool is a great place to relax and chat with the other girls. The spa also offers a scenic veranda, a sauna, a steam room, and a co-ed room with a comforting fireplace and rocking chairs that overlook the stunning views. This is a fun and unique way to celebrate as part of a bachelorette party or just as a fun day out with your girlfriends. Here’s the link to the spa menu so you can see what types of spa services they offer:

Another unique spa experience can be found at La Tua Bella Beauty Bar, located in Rhinebeck, NY. This beauty bar offers an array of great services accompanied by complimentary coffee, tea, champagne, wine and water while you wait for your service. You can make appointments for individual services of your choice or schedule makeup & spa parties. Visit their website to learn more about their services and the unique parties that they offer:

For Outdoor Adventures:

For the outdoorsy women out there, a fun way to have a ladies weekend is to go camping. North/South Lake in Haines Falls, NY is a prime camping spot. For recreational activities, you can hike, swim, rent a boat, play volleyball, or have a picnic. Get creative and see what kind of delicious dishes you can concoct for dinner. Then, enjoy some nice wine and good conversation around the fire (and don’t forget the s ‘mores!) Here is more information on the campground:

For a more intense outdoor adventure, check out Big Bear Ziplines in Hyde Park, NY. Enjoy the forest as you zipline through. They offer discounts for groups of 8 or more. If you call them about a bachelorette party, they will let you know what else they can offer. This is an adventurous and unique way to celebrate a bachelorette party or a ladies day out!

Here’s the link to the website for more information:

For a Day of Culinary Creations:

Stores such as Sur La Table offer an array of cooking classes, a fun and tasty way to spend time hanging out with your girls! There are two Sur La Table locations in the Hudson Valley. One is in the fairly new outdoor shopping center, Ridge Hill, in Yonkers, NY and the other one is in the mall, The Westchester, in White Plains, NY. No matter which location you choose to do the cooking class, they are both near so many other great places to enjoy cocktails and other food afterward. Here are the class schedules for May for each of the Sur La Table locations:

The Westchester White Plains, NY:

Ridge Hill Mall Yonkers, NY:

In addition to stores, there are also many cooking classes that get offered as non-credit courses through Community Colleges such as SUNY Ulster in Stone Ridge, NY and Westchester Community College in Valhalla, NY. Some classes are even taught right within area restaurants so you can see how some of your favorite dining spots make their food!

Here is the link to SUNY Ulster Continuing Education site to see what classes they have to offer:

Here is the link to SUNY Ulster Continuing Education site to see what classes they have to offer:

In addition to cooking classes, there are also other fun classes to try out such as art classes, bartending ones, and dance classes!

Additional Cooking Classes:

I hope you enjoyed some of these ideas. Of course, any of these days/evenings can be concluded with a lovely cocktail from one of the many great restaurants/lounges in the area! Please let me know if you can think of any other great spots for bachelorette parties/bridal showers or a fun girls day/night out.


Kingston Waterfront

A great place to spend a warm spring day is the waterfront in Kingston. I met my sister and her boyfriend there with my fiancee over this past weekend. They were feeding the geese and enjoying a nice picnic; two of the many wonderful ways to enjoy this area! Other fun activities include boat rides, sightseeing, museum tours, visiting antique stores, shopping, dining, and attending the many great events that are held in the district.

Some of the big events that this area is know for having include the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the Hooley on the Hudson. Although St. Patrick’s Day has already passed by, try to check out the Hooley this year on September 1, 2013 from 11:30 am-9:00 pm. It’s a fun event filled with Irish music, dancing, food, and vendors. For more information, visit their Facebook page here:

This area also has a wide variety of restaurants for many different palettes. Love seafood that makes you feel like you’re in New England? Check out Mariner’s Harbor. Craving a delicious brunch? Visit Ship-To-Shore for some of their unique culinary creations. Looking for a nice place to get together over tasty Italian food? Visit Savona’s and enjoy their fresh Italian dishes. Websites to these restaurants can be found below.

I hope everyone takes some time to visit this wonderful historic area and enjoy the delicious food, quaint shops, and beautiful sights it has to offer.


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Enjoying a nice afternoon picnic along the water

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The geese swimming to where the food is

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The Rip Van Winkle is a fun way to explore the Hudson River. I have many fond memories of boat rides with my Grandmother here when I was younger. This is a great activity to do with family and friends!

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Flowers blossoming beneath the shade of a tree

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A close up of nature’s beauty

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The Kingston–Port Ewen Suspension Bridge can be seen

behind this beautiful blossoming tree


Kingston–Port Ewen Suspension Bridge

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Mariner’s Harbor-a great place to meet for delicious food and drinks

Here are some additional links for information on the area and events happening here and throughout Kingston. Please share if you know of any other links or events!

Events Calendar:

Rip Van Winkle & Other Boat Tours:

Kingston’s Waterfront & Other Surrounding Areas:





A Walk Along the Hudson

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One of my favorite places to view the Hudson River  is at the park that is located next to the Dobbs Ferry train station in Westchester County, NY. It offers wonderful views all year long and was especially beautiful when I visited over the weekend, and walked along the river. The flowers and trees were blossoming, the ducks floated by, and kites were flying high as the river’s breeze elevated them way above.

Perhaps one of the greatest aspects of the park is that it offers a variety of unique views from one spot. When facing the water, you can see mountains directly across from you. If you turn right, you have a view of the Tappan Zee bridge as well as the Sleepy Hollow lighthouse. If you face left, you get an amazing view of the Manhattan skyline.

This park is a great place to have a picnic, walk your dog, or relax and read a book. There is also a playground there for children to enjoy. It is also a nice place to spend time if you are waiting for a train. Right beside the park is the restaurant, Half Moon, which I have previously written about. This is a great place to eat before or after taking a stroll through the park.

If you are in the area during the summertime, the park offers  free jazz concerts on Wednesday evenings. Bring chairs and a blanket and enjoy the music as you watch the sunset over the Hudson River. It is a unique and wonderful way to hear new music while relaxing and enjoying the outdoors.

I hope you will all get a chance to visit this park or any of the other wonderful ones along the Hudson River. Please share any of your suggestions of great parks along the river in the comments section!


Ludwig Montesa-The Angel of New Paltz


Flowers and trinkets symbolic of Ludwig left on Main Street in

New Paltz in honor of his memory

This special post is dedicated to the life of the amazing Ludwig Montesa, who sadly passed away last week. Ludwig was one of the people you meet that touches your life forever. As a resident and a staple in the New Paltz, NY community, Ludwig brought a smile to everyone he came across. My heart broke the other day when I drove down Main Street in New Paltz, knowing I wouldn’t see him there again. The candles and memorial for him on the sidewalk brought a tear to my eye for him, his family, and the town.

Having since moved out of Ulster County, I haven’t had the chance to see and chat with him as often in the past few years. However, a few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of catching up with him when I was in the area visiting. I am extremely grateful that I was blessed with a chance to see him and receive one of his genuine and caring hugs one more time. He truly cared for people on a level unknown to many. One of my fondest memories of him was at my graduation from SUNY New Paltz. He was even more excited and happy for me than I was. Of course, he gave me one of his amazing heartwarming hugs accompanied with his contagious smile, which made the moment all the more memorable. Reading through is Facebook Fan page, it is evident that he shared many memories similar to this with others and truly loved and inspired many.

Although still a wonderful place, New Paltz’s Main Street will never quite be the same without his friendly face. Ludwig, you are deeply missed by many but live in the hearts of the lives and town that you so greatly impacted.


Here is an article about Ludwig on the Mid-Hudson News website:

For those who knew Ludwig, here is a link to the Facebook fan page for him: