In Hudson, N.Y., Painting by Numbers

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Last month, Isidro Blasco and Sarah Jay invited a few friends over to help renovate the 164-year-old, brick two-family house they bought in November. But if you’re imagining an episode of “This Old House,” think again.

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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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On the Trail of the Old Fashioned, Through Wisconsin and Upstate New York

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The old fashioned may be the world’s first cocktail. The earliest print reference occurs in 1806 in a magazine published in Hudson, New York, called by its original name of Bittered Sling. This “cock tail” was probably made from rye whiskey (virtually the only kind available at the time); it also contained bitters, sugar, and water. Later, a twist of citrus peel became common. By 1833 the concoction was pandemic in New York City bars. But by then the liquor of choice could also be brandy, rum, or even gin — sometimes grated nutmeg was added as a flavoring. New York City’s premiere bartender, Jerry Thomas, published his recipe — calling it Whiskey Cocktail — in 1862, using Boker’s bitters and a sugar solution thickened with gum arabic, very science-cheffy. He added a twist of lemon peel after straining the drink into a wine glass. No ice!

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