American Express sponsored my trip and blog post. All opinions are my own.

Almost every year, I promise myself that this would be the year I complete more local travel and almost every year, as we get closer to the final weeks, I get the sudden realization that I did not do nearly enough. The East Coast offers so many weekend escapes and getaways and it would be a shame to not get to experience it all.

So, as soon as a free weekend opened up, I knew I had to plan something. The timing couldn’t be more perfect, Fall had come late after a long unreasonably warm October.  Normally I would have missed leaf peaping season, but the leaves were only just beginning to turn, actually they were at their peak in brightness and vibrance of colors. I knew I had to head North, not too far North, somewhere easily drive-able in the 2-3hour range. Hudson Valley areas seemed to suit the bill perfectly.

But where exactly to go, what to do, more importantly where to eat?  The ultimate travelers dilemma. Well, thankfully, as part of my ambassadorship with American Express, they shared some tips and deals with me. First up, they already have a digital guide created in partnership with the Infatuation and available on the Infatuation website of the Best Restaurants in Hudson. But even better, Amex Gold Card members earn 2X Membership Rewards points not only in the restaurants in the guide, but at restaurants across the country (terms apply).  While you’re at it, now is a good time to look into the American Express Premier Rewards Gold card especially if you’re a traveler like me and looking to earn up to 25,000 points in your first 3 months of membership, just by doing what you would regardless (traveling, eating and seeing).

I literally used this guide in making every single dining decision on my weekend trip and I wasn’t disappointed. In fact, I was upset that I didn’t have more to check out more places.

We pulled into Scribner’s Catskill Lodge for our one night stay relatively early Saturday. we wanted some time to wander the premises before heading out for dinner.  The lodge which has been around since 1966, had recently reopened after an extensive renovation and I knew there was much to see and so much to take in. I’m a sucker for good design and I’m slightly obsessed with the details in hospitality.

Modern redesign doesn’t mean the lodge forgot it’s heart- still very much a lodge with all wood panels on the exterior and interior, warm fires roaring in different corners (outdoor fire pits, indoor fireplaces), think warm feelings and orange hues.

The bedroom offers a slight but welcome contrast in its stark whiteness, made even more impressive by the tall ceilings. I literally spent some time laying on my back looking up, just looking up for no reason- who needs a reason to let your mind wander when on a break).

When we finally managed to pry ourselves away from the room, we realized we would have to stay put for the night. We had what had to be one of the best burgers at the hotel restaurant and sat lazily in the library area with the knowledge that Sunday was another day.

Sunday, we woke up early, early an hungry. Our first stop had to be Sunday brunch at Market Street Rhinebeck, one of our infatuation guide picks.

Market Street restaurant, so unassuming and disarming from the outside, opens into a perfectly elegant space- one that feels refined but unpretentious. It was already buzzing when we got there, even though we thought we would be one of the first in the door. Hungry people do stupid things and we ordered way way too much food. We justified our poor decision making by saying we would treat it as a tasting menu and only eat a little of everything instead of stuffing our faces. And try a little of everything we did. Thankfully our trusty Amex Gold card was there to handle the damage with a side of reward points.

We spent our time between meals, leaf peaping- literally oohing and aahing as we drove down windy roads, stopping for pictures, bookmarking streets, neighborhoods and places to check out next time (as there has to be a next time). I could share more about that now, but I’ll save it for next time as I know you’re most interested in where we got to eat next.

Considering the size and scope of brunch, we wanted a place to stop for ambiance, drink and bites and the Brunette checked all boxes.

The Brunette, located in Kingston NY is a local wine bar in the waterfront district of downtown Kingston. They opened only 2 years ago and have been serving natural wines, beer, cider, cheese, meats and savory snacks all in a delightful space. Interesting note about the space, it used to be a barbershop- I admire the owners vision and how well they have used the space.

We ordered their signature hot dog, a meat plate, an Orange sparkling wine and a sandwich. Everything was tasty but that hot dog was the highlight for me. Do not confuse their hot dog for the generic type that may come to mind. There’s a reason almost every table while we were there ordered one.

Travel- local or international is not just about discovery and seeing but really about interactions. It was so nice to get away from the city and see, meet and chat with upstaters. Interestingly enough, there’s a ton of downstaters (Brooklyn, Queens) who visited, fell in love and now find themselves living in the Hudson Valley.

Just as quickly as it began, our short getaway was over, so we pulled to the gas station, filled up our rental – don’t forget that Amex Gold Card Members also earn 2X Membership Rewards at US gas stations (terms apply), and hit the road vowing to return, sooner, much sooner rather than later.

American Express sponsored my trip and blog post. All opinions are my own.”

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