American Migration Winners: Travel to Hudson, NY

People have been moving out of blue states and urban areas for a while. Due to results from the last census, New York lost a congressional seat, and Texas got two. The pandemic has created more shifts as people moved from locations, which were the least conducive to a pandemic, to places that didn’t suck this past year and a half.

About two hours north of New York City is the town of Hudson, whose population peaked back in 1930. Hudson has always been on the radar of people who want a weekend getaway for antiquing and hiking. It has some very nice attractions, like Olana, the home of Frederick Edwin Church, the noted Hudson River School artist. Martin Van Buren’s home is nearby. For those who wanted a more permanent weekend place outside the city, it was possible to buy a massive old mansion for $100,000 and then renovate it on weekends.

When the pandemic arrived, New York City went into a tailspin and hasn’t hit rockbottom yet. The schools never really opened. Without restaurants, clubs, museums, the fun died. Many New Yorkers have never used their ovens before, so the whole sourdough bread thing wasn’t a big fad there. Previously, their apartment was only a place to sleep. Now, city folks were crammed into a studio or one bedroom for months on end. When they did walk outside, they were accosted by homeless people. People started getting stabbed on subway platforms. Anyone who had anywhere else to go did so.

And one of the places that people went was Hudson, NY and other little towns along the Hudson. Before those towns were the home of methadone clinics, social workers, day trippers, and those looking for a renovation “project.” Suddenly, Hudson became a home to all those disaffected New Yorkers with remote offices and home schooling wives. Real estate prices soared.

I do wonder whether all those former city folks are going to stay there. The city still sucks. Even the private schools and elite public schools are in chaos. The crime rate is higher than it has been in years [edited]. If CEOs make people go back to work, then those Hudson residents might have to move back, because the commute would be too long. Maybe wealthier workers can get a Monday-Thursday studio in the city and keep their families in the country. Not sure.

This weekend, my folks watched Ian, so Steve and I could escape to Hudson for a night for our anniversary. It was raining the first day, so we hunkered down at the bar at the Hudson Brewing Company for the afternoon. We got dressed for dinner at the Rivertown Lodge, with its antique and Scandinavian accents. Because we were still stuffed from our afternoon at the brewery, we split a meal at Wm. Farmer and Sons. The next day, the rain let up, so I went for a jog and discovered Etsy headquarters; I took lots of pictures of old homes that still need renovation. We checked out Olana and did a little shopping for quirky gifts and fresh bread.

It was a sleuthing trip. We’ll be back again soon. Next weekend, we’re going camping across the Hudson in a similar area.

Some pictures (Click on one to start the slideshow):