Last weekend was my bachelorette party, so my closest girl friends in the city & I packed and headed to Beacon, NY. It is a lovely town, 90 minutes away from NYC by train. There are already some good guides on exploring Beacon, so I won’t bother with a list. This blog is just a token of a good time, and a nice break from the wedding planning (I’ll always have time for writing!)
1-Beacon is a quintessential small town.
All of us have lived in New York City for a long time, and we have gotten so used to the city life we almost forgot our roots as alumni of small liberal arts college. Beacon is a pleasant reminder of those younger years, with one Main Street on which everything is, from homemade foods and indie coffee shops to brick & mortar stores, and no trace of franchise businesses. The reminiscence is extra special for me, because just like New London (the city of my alma mater Connecticut College), Beacon’s train station and railway are right by the water, making our ride very scenic and “classic American”.
And then there are festivals named after as many crops as you can list, and on as many occasions as you can imagine. We went on corn festival, last month was strawberry festival, and I saw a sign for Native American festival this upcoming week. Fortunate enough, our visit also overlapped with the “Second Saturday”, when art galleries and special events go on until 9PM (yes, that’s a small town curfew for you), so there were a lot of exhibitions going on. Hundreds of people strolled among the hustle & bustle of talks and sales and culinary tastings. But as soon as we drifted off Main Street, the sounds faded and the lights blurred into the night, and the town went back to its tranquility.
2-The town is very couple-friendly.
Most accommodation listings in Beacon are family B&B, so finding a place spacious enough to host 7 of us was a hassle. It is easy to understand though; the town is more suitable for a day trip, and moreover, it’s not really a “bachelorette destination”. Nightlife with clubbing is a foreign idea, unless you mean a bar with live music for people to dance to. We went to Max’s on Main, where we doodled on the tables and sang along to Don’t Stop Believing (we were one expressive “Ohhh my goood this song is totally about me” from becoming the stereotype).
Fortunately, with all of us at the upper side of 20s, our definition of fun has slightly changed. Stressed with work, pregnancy and wedding planning, we just wanted to chill away and relax, the same way we’d love to do with our loved one.
That’s why Beacon was the right choice… for my kind of bachelorette party, and my kind of relationship.
3-The town is serious about their morning eats!
But then again, so are my friends and I! That is why I’m glad we decided to spend more than one day here, otherwise we wouldn’t be able to cover all the restaurants on the list. Many blogs and guides I read swear by Homespun Foods, and while we had a hearty breakfast in their lovely patio, my favorite goes to Beacon Bread Company. My Bleu Boar (crumbled bleu cheese, pulled pork, strawberry chipotle on brioche) was fantastic, sweet, creamy, soft, spicy, and grilled at the perfect level. And then there’s a cafe dedicated to bagel that I definitely will try next time.
It makes me think that no matter how suburban it is, Beacon is still partly New York at heart. Like an elderly, retired New Yorker who goes out for an early brunch at 10 o’clock.
- Beacon Creamery: a homemade ice-cream shop on the South end of Main Street. We tried the apricot orange blossom flavor, and damn if it wasn’t the most refreshing thing I’ve ever tasted.
- Alps Sweet Shop: my fiancé and I have made a habit of buying artisan sweets for each other, so I couldn’t pass the chance for the life of me. Have you ever heard of sunflower seeds covered in colorful chocolate? You should because just like me, you’ll be glad you did!
- Denning’s Point State Park: a rocky trail located further South, overlooking the river. Not a pleasant bike ride because of the rocks, but I imagine it will be fun to hike here!
- I discovered a beautiful flower called Queen Anne’s Lace that looks more like a snowflake than a snowflake flower bulb.
- Metro-North packages: Back in college, I used to take the train from New London to visit my then-boyfriend in Providence all the time. 5 years later, I almost forgot how special it felt to travel by train. MNR has some good deals for traveling in Hudson Valley and beyond. 90 minutes seem very short when you have your friends around (and of course, a view to ponder to).
Photo credit: My friend Dieu Nguyen. The one of chocolate covered sunflower seeds is taken from foodspotting.com.