The world renowned Dia: Beacon museum is reason enough to follow the train tracks north for a city escape. But the town of Beacon is also an enclave for art lovers looking for a cultural getaway. This weekend, artists around town will once again open their workplace for Beacon Open Studios, a town-wide artwalk, and the old printing factory will participate in the free Smithsonian Museum Day. Beacon’s signature event, the 32nd annual Spirit of Beacon Day, takes over the city on Sunday with a full parade including marching band, floats, and costumes inspired by the quad-centennial honoring Henry Hudson.
“The richness and history of the city itself is alive on Main Street. The community, its residents and the city’s growing success all comprise the spirit and essence of Beacon,” said Ann Meagher, president and CEO of Greater Southern Dutchess Chamber of Commerce.
When we last visited Beacon for the bi-annual Fall Cavalcade, we wound up exploring old red bricked buildings, the historic railroad at East End, and secret garden cafes, and in the process found several must-see Main Street stops for artists and foodies alike.
You’ll smell the fresh bagels at The Beacon Bagel before you step inside its expansive space. The highlight of Art and Anick’s six month old shop is their warm and perfectly crusty gluten-free bagels.
Across the street, wicker furniture and antique dressers hug the sidewalk at Dickinson’s Antiques (440 Main Street, 845.838.1643). Prepare yourself for the wall-to-table collectables like turn of the century clocks, aged doorknobs, out-of-use rotary phones, and vintage Wellington and Underwood typewriters.
Locals like to loiter in the parking lot of The Piggy Bank for a community block party or laidback outdoor (vegetarian-friendly) barbecues. When the city lights come on, ease inside for a full menu of down home fare and suburban-priced drinks.
For a not-so greasy burger and sufficiently seasoned French fries, you must stop your storefront hopping and have a sit down at Poppy’s, an orange themed burger joint that locally sources its food. Try the popular black bean burger with avocado and jalapeno aioli.
Beacon Bookmark co-owner, Kristy and CakeHouse Designs’ Kristen just opened the house wares storefront Clay Wood and Cotton, which peddles art, pottery, and tea napkins to suit ones fancy.
Beacon Bath and Bubbles (464 Main Street, 845.440.6782) has a hodgepodge of scents, homemade rose and coconut soaps, and personal care items are easy on the nose and light enough to bring back to the city.
Before making your way down the hill to the Metro North station, be sure to indulge in a sweet at Beacon Creamery. Their classic Neapolitan staples and other choice flavors are served courtesy of Janes Ice Cream made locally in the Hudson Valley. You’ll be tempted to have it for breakfast—which we did—and then again for desert, paving the way for a nice train ride home.
How to get there: Beacon is located five minutes from the Beacon train station, which is served by Metro-North Railroad trains from Grand Central Terminal. After exiting at Beacon, head North on Railroad Dr. towards W Main St. Turn left onto Beekman St, Right onto North Ave, left onto Main Street. For train information, visit mta.info or call 212.532.4900.
Photo: Courtesy of katyopolis