Guest blog post by Eavan:
There’s a difference between cramped and quaint. In Manhattan–a lot of places described as quaint are absolutely the former. Luckily, the Hudson Valley is filled with small towns along the river that live up to the true definition of quaint and adorable… so much so that it’s easy to bellow “how the hell are we 45 minutes from Union Square?”
One of my favorite “so close to Manhattan it’s weird” towns is Nyack, New York. It’s the sort of town that you’d find in a Nicholas Sparks novel. There aren’t any chain stores–just independently owned coffee shops, bookstores, chocolatiers, and clothing stores lining the Main Street just a few yards away from the water.
Perhaps most noteworthy is Pickwick Book Shop. Used books from random classics and old cookbooks to the Twilight series line the shelves, are stacked on top of the shelves, on the floor, and in every nook and cranny. It’s delightful chaos that the store owner can expertly navigate while most buyers fumble about. It’s the closest thing to Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley and provides enough entertainment to fill an afternoon.
After several hours exploring Pickwick, Nyack visitors can walk a couple blocks to Strawberry Place for a bite to eat. This cash-only establishment has incredible brunch and updates their menu seasonally based on what’s fresh. From chocolate-banana- peanut butter French Toast to fresh salads and veggie burgers with sweet potato fries, Strawberry Place has something for everyone without the NYC attitude. It’s delicious with huge portions and best of all–nothing on the menu is more then $10 or $11. (Average price is about $7.50.) While you digest and grab a coffee across the street at Art Cafe, your body will thank you for a day filled with fresh air sans the familiar sight of yellow taxi cabs.