Out of Home Range: Hudson Has It All, Plus Beer
Last Sunday, the Owls (minus Owlets) took a little day trip to the town of Hudson, mostly in search of tacos and beer, but also because insider information implied that Hudson had a small-town downtown that is to be envied, as well as beautiful wide open spaces. Also tacos and beer. But we’ll get to that.
Hudson is a town of around 20,000, with a large contingent of Portuguese descendants. For a tiny bit of history on fast forward, Hudson was once a neighborhood of Marlborough, but after the Civil War, they got tired of commuting to town meeting and the high school and said “boys, we’re out.” Because of course it was all boys in charge in 1866. At the time of declaring their independence, the area was known as Feltonville–a Mr. Felton was a local business person from way back when, and apparently his name won out over previous names for the area such as Cow Commons, Howe’s Mills, Barnard’s Mills, and New City. When they got their independence (without any blood being shed), they opted for the name Hudson, who was a state Congressman who promised them $500 to be used to build a library. This was a pretty cheap way to get your name on a place–I think at Harvard, you’d better give at least a billion to get a book named for you. In any case, Hudson is a great name and reminds me of home (Hudson River Valley of New York).
Wait, didn’t I say history was going to be short? I lied. Here’s more: Hudson (when it was Feltonville but it gets confusing so hereon it is Hudson) was a shoe factory mecca. At one point, there were 17 shoe factories and mills in town. I don’t want this post to fall completely off the rails of our visit, but the Public Library is a Carnegie library from 1905. Read about it. That’s cool.
Enough chit-chat: let’s go to Hudson. From Weston, take Route 20 until you can escape to Route 27 through lovely Sudbury. You can stop to watch the 500000000 soccer games going on during the weekend at Haskell Fields (probably your kid plays or played in one), or visit their mega play structure you can see from space, and then keep going. Soon you will pass the entrance to the Assabet River Wildlife Refuge, one of my favorite places to take a walk without my dog (no dogs, in other words–wildlife “refuge” is a clear giveaway). This is where those cute little Blanding’s turtles from Country and Woodland get released every year to get militarized in all the abandoned army buildings. It’s a beautiful place for a fall walk, and with wide trails a great place to meet a friend for a chat. I am available most mornings. Note the visitor center is closed but there are maps of the trails on your phone.
And now it’s time to blow your collective farm admiration minds–you’re about to drive past Ferjulian’s Farm, a 70-acre hillside farm that even has a Sunflower Festival this weekend (October 1-3). Make your reservation NOW. It’s their first-annual and no one knows about it yet except for you and everyone on Weston’s FB Community page. Remember also that October 1 is the date when you are allowed to display your fall decor–so get your pumpkins, mums, hay bales, etc. This is a third or fourth generation (I lost count) family farm and it rocks. Go.
Once you’ve worked up your appetite, it’s time to head into “downtown” Hudson. At this point, I am going to ignore the surpremely fantastic Assabet River Rail Trail which I rode with the owlets during the pandemic, back when they had no choice but to spend time with me. Now, forget it. You can ride this trail from Maynard to Marlborough–when we went, we parked at the Wilkins Street lot in Hudson and went to Marlborough and back. It’s a combination of city and country views–going through busy downtown Hudson and then turning down forested (and hilly btw) back trails. Love.
There are many places for eating in Hudson–the downtown has a number of cafes and restaurants, and open air seating. Medusa Brewing runs the Downtown Beer Garden–a huge open area with shaded picnic tables–you can get a Medusa beer (or other beverage), and there’s a taco truck called Taco Gato. Hours are on their website–and sometimes there is live music as well. Yes, you can bring your kids–there’s some fun cornhole set up as well as a small skate park across the street. You are a stone’s throw to the bike trail–don’t drink and bike, please.
The Owls were in the mood for Mexican at Lalo’s. Anyone who knows the Owl personally will know why that was our destination. They don’t have outside seating, but you can order out and bring it to a park if you are concerned. Tacos and more tacos for us, but they have a full menu– and soccer on one television and football on the other. Good times. Lalo’s is at 158 Main Street in Hudson–street parking is the way to go.
After lunch, we strolled around Hudson and were impressed not only by the number of tattoo parlors and haircut salons, but also the array of fun shopping spots. Mr. Owl is not a shopper so we just strolled by but I’m going back with a parliament of owls for some holiday shopping. Support your local (and sort of local) small business. First on my list: Haberdash which “specializes in curated, ethically sourced gifts, stationery, small-batch beauty products, handcrafted items for your home, and a rotating capsule collection of cool, casual women’s clothing each season.” I am always intrigued by “capsule collections” and their legality.
We would have stopped into the local cheese shop Mullahy’s (63A Main Street) because there’s shopping and then there’s cheese shopping! Sadly, they were not open this past Sunday, which was a bit disappointing as Sunday hours are listed. I forgive you, cheesy people, and will be back. What was open was the Medusa Brewery taproom where we went to the back corner and bought a home supply of yummy IPAs. Apparently, all Medusa wait staff must have Grizzly Adams beards–they were everywhere. Maybe if you can’t get snakes for hair, you go the next best thing–giant beard. Seriously, look at their merch page. I think I met that guy. All friendly and helpful, the beards and the people. Check plus. Medusa Brewery’s Taproom is at 111 Main Street, and the beer menu is currently Oktoberfest-focused. Of course.
Lest you think that the Owl only tourists in beer, I will say that there are plenty of restaurants around to keep you going. The Horseshoe Pub (29 South Street) is next on my list; yes, they do have an Oktoberfest menu right now…you cannot ausgang Oktoberfest easily around here. Limited outdoor seating as well. Other appealing places included Kith & Kin, also with indoor and outdoor seating, at 38-40 Washington Street and Victor’s 50s Diner. One could spend a very happy month trying out new places in Hudson. Report in if you have tried any of these, please.
I will say my only slight disappointment was the New City Microcreamery (everyone remember their history lesson and the fact that New City was an old name for Hudson? Are you still paying attention? People, I spend a lot of time on this, keep reading). The Owl love homemade peach ice cream with a passion. Not one place in Massachusetts so far can compete with Cunis Candies peach and blueberry ice cream ($2.89 for a scoop! On what planet?) in South Holland, Illinois. Alas, I must keep trying. So I ordered a kiddie size peach cobbler and no. It was all sweet, all cobbler and very little peach so it went in the trash can. So sad. I am sure other flavors are awesome, but this Owl left with sad eyes. They also have a store in Cambridge, btw. That is not a New City. Anyone have peach ice cream recs for me?
What else? Lots! Sadly, it was time for us to get on the road back to Weston (go back on 117 and stop at some farm stands if you can fit more in your car besides the beer). Hudson is, as is sometimes written, definitely Hometown USA in MA. Signs at the borders celebrate Little League wins, there is a real stroll-able downtown, activities, and restaurants. I admit to a tiny bit of envy. They even have a cool team mascot–the hawk. They’re a little far to annex, and we have that rather large Sudbury town in our way. Also, their downtown revival group (not the religious type, the business type) is amaaaaaaazing. They even have live views of downtown Hudson.The rotary seems very polite. I watched for a few minutes and people actually yield! To pedestrians! To other cars! I will pay for a live view camera of our Intersection of Doom at Church/School/BPR. No one stops. Ever. Except to block school buses in the morning…but I digress…
Visit Hudson! You’ll love it!