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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Get Back to the Farm in Columbia County

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5. Oddball Day


Banjo Mountain Café (left) is a cozy breakfast spot; Harvest Spirits (right) distills vodka, bourbon, and brandy from apples.  

Prepare for a day of drinking locally produced wine, beer, and spirits with brunch at Banjo Mountain Café, a cozy spot that opened last September in Ghent and is decorated with work by local artists. Next, drive a few minutes south on Rte. 21C to the Hawthorne Valley Farm Store to stock up on organic fruit, beverages, and snacks for the car. Then begin conquering the Columbia County portion of the Hudson-Berkshire Beverage Trail, a boozy pathway that winds from southeast Albany to Hudson. Start off at Harvest Spirits to tour the distillery and taste Core Vodka, made with apples from neighboring Golden Harvest Farms. Next, drive about seven miles west on Rte. 203 to Chatham Brewing Companyand sample the rotating selection of crisp seasonal ales, rich porter, and the slightly sweet Maple Amber. Brewery tours and growler sales are offered on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. only, so plan accordingly. Head five miles away on Rte. 66 to the bucolic Hudson Chatham Winery to swill small-batch reds and whites made with a mix of grapes from Hudson Valley, Finger Lakes, and Long Island. When it’s time for dinner, head eight miles south to Philmont’s Main Street Public House, built in 1898, where you’ll rub elbows with blue-collar locals, artists, and the occasional live band. Co-owner Elizabeth Angello serves a rotating menu of craft beers and sources local ingredients to dress up humble dishes like the smoked chicken burrito ($11) and the lamb burger ($14).


Published on Apr 14, 2011 as a web exclusive.

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