09.18.2014
By Terry Flanagan

Exploring Beacon, New York

By Shannon Ostrowsky, Markets Media Life Correspondent

Upon entering the town, the restaurant The Barking Frog is on my left. I keep driving. A sign tells me to go to the left for boutiques and cafés. Yes, let’s go that way.

After I park and start walking down Main Street in Beacon, New York, there is an immediate sense of community; families smile as they walk by, couples hold hand-in-hand with their soy, double-shot macchiatos, and husbands are soaking in the rays on a chill 68 degree day as their wives glide from one boutique to another.

Beacon, situated about 70 miles north of midtown Manhattan in the southwest corner of Dutchess County, was established in the early 1700s and served as a fort and manufacturer in the Revolutionary War. More recently, after the destruction of numerous historical buildings and sharp decline in the economy in the 1970s, Beacon has steadied itself as lively little city,  due in part to the opening of one of the largest contemporary museums, Dia: Beacon, and the growth of inviting shops and boutiques that even stay open late for fun and entertainment every second Saturday of the month.

Exploring Beacon, New York

Photo via Flickr/ Doug Kerr

I’m immediately drawn to all the antique stores that seem to occupy nearly half of the shops on the street. To my surprise, each antique shop offers something a little different but all with very affordable treasures. One shop you can find classic movies and novels, with maybe some not-in-season hats and purses. Places like Studio Antiques sell lovely furniture and decorative pieces that would add an instant rustic or classic touch to your household. The exposed brick on the interior of these shops are divine, still characteristically welcoming in these 19th-century buildings.

Along with the art galleries, niche stores are placed here and there, like After the Barn which features hand-crafted furniture, embellishments and other knick-knacks. Then you have The Tailored Mermaid with items that vary from crochet pieces to clothing and laundry soap to jewelry, all handmade. Many boutiques exhibit similar ambiances, typically playing casual music, a candle section, and a familiar scent that tries to trick you into thinking you’re at Pier 1.

Beacon New York

Photo via Shannon Ostrowsky

The cafés, bars and pastry shops satisfy all of your senses; Gourmetibles, known for the “the candy that thinks it’s a cookie,” has all the good stuff you know you shouldn’t have but really have to have; a beer lover myself, a visit to the Hop Beacon is a must when you want to take window shopping breaks, or if you don’t want to window shop at all, because it offers that similar, local NYC vibe with the comfort of a small town; and for all of you gluten-free enthusiasts, Ella’s Bellas pastry cases lining the front counter make it impossible to not order a cookie or a cupcake (it’s gluten-free so it’s okay to splurge, right?).

Featured image via Flickr/David Brooks under Creative Commons

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