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‘River Crossings,’ a Contemporary Art Exhibition at 2 Historic Sites of the Hudson River School

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WHEN warm weather arrives, artists by the hundreds, including me, venture outside with paint boxes and portable easels. This passion for plein air painting is a phenomenon of recent years that has come to include competitions, workshops and shows in towns, villages and scenic spots like the Eastern Shore of Maryland, which hosts more than 200 artists each July at Plein Air Easton. I now have seven paint boxes and folding easels, ranging from watercolor sets the size of a cigarette pack to a full-scale French easel made just the way it was for the Impressionists.

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Why New York Is Celebrating a Vegetable This Weekend (Ramp Festival)

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Take a trip to New York’s Hudson Valley to taste one of the season’s most elusive flavors.

Now that the seemingly endless winter is truly over, there are harbingers of spring everywhere: cherry trees blooming, arms and toes exposed. For foodies, the change in seasons is exciting for another reason: For a very brief moment, farmers’ markets will be overrun with ramps, a spring vegetable that’s also known as a wild leek. Its flavor is pungent, sort of like a cross between a spring onion and garlic, and its presentation varied: pickled, grilled, used in pesto, as a pizza topping…the list goes on. Because of their scarcity—ramps show up early in the season in the northeast, mid-Atlantic, and Midwest, then hit their peak for just a few weeks—they’re enormously popular among the food obsessed; in the past week alone, Eater.com, Bon Appetit,and Serious Eats have all published articles extolling the elusive allium’s virtues.

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Big Time: Hudson’s Moment in the Spotlight

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When asked how the city of Hudson has changed since she first arrived in 1991, Linda Mussmann says, “People talk about real estate now and not as much about art. The gentry, to some degree, has landed.” Mussmann has run Time and Space Limited, a multidisciplinary art warehouse, with partner Claudia Bruce since 1993, planting the first artistic seeds of the latest wave or creative regeneration. Mussmann and Bruce created an environment for edgy art (political theater, independent films, and in-your-face exhibitions) and community resources for underprivileged kids that continues to this day. “The goal is to have the opportunity to work until we die,” Mussmann says. “We’re never finished.” What defines Time and Space Limited, like much of the rest of this city percolating with hope and hype in equal measure, is the spirit of creative entrepreneurship: Hudson has the highest self-employment rate in New York state—almost 10 percent—and is ranked 83rd in the country. It’s a place where you’ll find antique stores and auction houses alongside vintage clothing and record stores, and an empty lot where a handful of food trucks have created an impromptu food court. Hudson even has its own version of a neo-vaudevillian circus troupe: Bindlestiff Family Cirkus.

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Hudson trek reveals breathtaking scenery

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Harrier Hill Park is a culmination — not a destination. It is the journey through the city of Hudson, and the Town of Greenport, that yields this vista as its reward. Traveling through the Hudson Valley countryside, I reminisced about descending through the Grand Canyon to its bottom at Phantom Ranch. I was captivated by the recollection that every step down the canyon trail was an unfolding panorama of texture, vistas and color, and that my boots changed color from the dust of each hue of rock strata — red, brown, orange, green.

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