Verdigris Tea Room
135 Warren Street Hudson, NY 12534
This is an olive and white painted corner tea shop and gallery along Hudson Street, as well as tea they also do a nice line in cakes, chocolate and cookies too, not to mention the odd Tarot reading evening. The interior is a perfect mix of modern clean lines accompanied by antique shelving and glass fronted cupboards containing the teas and other goodies.
Running the place were ‘ladies of a certain age’ who chatted quietly to each other pausing only to smile at me on occasion to ensure I was at ease as I mooched around the goods.
I decided to sample one of the teas on offer and asked for a menu. They noticed the English accent immediately. I went on to ask their recommendations. ‘Well, why not try Wuyi Rock? It’s a hand plucked wild tea from a UNESCO world heritage site. The raw flavour notes belie a classic toasty oolong.’ ‘Sounds great I’ll have one!’ I piped and off they went.
I sat down and rooted through the menu while I waited. There must have been over well 100 teas in this menu (not one Tetley or Typhoo) and each supported by a small description. This tiny space had far more teas than Fortnum and Masons in the heart of London’s Mayfair, of that there is no doubt.
I was still sitting there in wonder when my tea arrived. I thanked them, poured and raised the cup to my lips. Over the top of the rim there were the ladies, still there. Their quiet, slight inward lean was near imperceptible. Clearly as I was English and therefore an aficionado on tea I had the distinct feeling that my approval of their infusion emporium was somehow important.
OK here we go I thought, better make this good. I sipped, and I confess paused for some theatrical affect then announced in my best PG Woodhouse accent ‘Splendid! Completely splendid.’ That broke the ice and we all smiled together. Once they had gone I slurped down the rest of the tea which I may add was divine and tucked into their fine home baked cookies.
If you, like me love tea and cakes and being treated like a movie star then Verdigris Tea is the place to go.
After eating I carried on down the street until it came to the high banks of The Hudson River itself with its clear views of tens of miles up and down.
A final word about Paul the Landlord I stayed for a few days in Hudson and on my first morning Paul served breakfast to all the guests. You could have a selection from the middle of the table though each guest was given a number of items as standard on their plate. Among these were scrambled eggs. I don’t like scrambled eggs and left them untouched.
The next morning Paul again dished out breakfast to each guest in turn, and again each guest was given scrambled eggs, he finally got to me he placed the plate down: Two gleaming fried eggs. Paul gave a quick smile and slipped back to his kitchen. He had noticed one of his guests did not like scrambled eggs and delivered fried instead. He was a fantastic landlord and noticed the small details that make a stay worthwhile and special.
If you are ever in Hudson then a stay at The Country Squire certainly add to your trip. 251 Allen Street Hudson, NY 12534
It was good to visit Hudson, that bit of small town America I was looking for. As I have said some things were as I expected. They do eat lots of apple pie and they are fairly conservative in their outlook though of course when you do encounter the genuine communities clichés tend to melt away and this is true here too. It would still be a great place to set a slasher movie though.
Back to New York City
The final part of the trip was back in New York City and this time rather than staying downtown I managed to find a small room midtown. And rather than the dash around of my previous few days I decided to slow the pace and take a walk over the Museum of Modern Art. Once there I was particularly struck by Edward Hopper. I had never ‘got’ Hopper before though in the short time I had spent in New York it started to make sense. Especially ‘House by the Railroad’ painted in 1925. It reminded me of the houses in Hudson.
I did not see his famous ‘Nighthawks’ painting of 1942. The night time view through a window of a doorless New York diner, the three customers inside all seemingly alone. Previously I just saw it as a simple night time picture though after being in New York for a while I get a sense of what Hopper was all about, New York is like most metropolises, you can feel quite lonely in the busiest of places.
Back to London In the cab back to JFK again I made a point of looking through the back window at the receding skyline and made a note of my thoughts. It still looked intimidating that’s for sure, a bit of a rakish thug, though one that had taken a bit of a shine to you and for now at least you would be left unharmed. The predominant feeling however was one of mild frustration. A week was just not long enough to experience such a place of shear difference. It felt as though I had viewed the Sistine Chapel though a letterbox. I expressed this to my friend George an ‘Ex pat Brit’ who has lived in New York for 23 years. He agreed and added that he still feels like that now. ‘You could never see it all he mused and it would probably kill you if you tried’.
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