Can You Pass the “Hudson Valley Test”?
It's an honor to have grown up in the Hudson Valley. I've always felt bad for people who have to admit they're from places like Iowa or Kansas, where I imagine the state logo is just a giant piece of highway that's leading to a more interesting part of the country.
The Hudson Valley, NY
I don't mean to sound elitist; there's a place for any kindhearted person who wants to make their home here, I just think it's fun to play detective to find out where people are really from. What's more interesting than having someone tell you they aren't originally from the Hudson Valley is learning it through context clues in conversation. I love when a little bell goes off in my head and I think "ohhh... so you aren't from around here, huh?" In my mind, these are the five Hudson Valley "tests" so see if someone was born and raised here, or they're just acting like it.
How Do You Say Accord, NY?
I'll admit, the first test on this list is personal for me. I grew up in Accord, in Ulster County, NY, and if I had a nickel for every time an out-of-towner mispronounced my town's name, I could buy a fancy Range Rover like the ones they're usually driving. No, it's not a-CORD, like the car Honda makes, it's AKC-ord, like... uh... well, the town.
Where's Your Favorite Stewart's?
Mine is in Rosendale, NY. My best friend lived up the road from the store and every weekend we'd walk down and I'd eat an entire hand-packed pint all to myself. If you ask someone about Stewart's and they give you a blank stare, they're definitely not from around here.
Do You Have a Backroad Shortcut?
If you're stuck in traffic, what do you do? Wait, like a sap, or hit the next left and spend the next ten minutes winding your way through farmland until you reach your final destination? It was a point of pride for me to be able to drive the twenty-odd miles from Accord to Kingston, NY and be able to completely avoid Route 209 if I wanted to.
Ask for a Diner Recommendation
When I spent time living in California, I learned that diners were very much an east coast institution. 32 Lunch (RIP) in Rosendale, NY, and the Plaza Diner in New Paltz, NY were two of my favorites growing up. Now that I live in Newburgh, NY, Alexis Diner is my go-to. Don't have a favorite? You must not be from around here.
Name Your 9s
Let's be honest: we have too many roads with the number 9 in it. Route 9, 9A, 9D, 9G, 9H, 9W... even if you're from the Hudson Valley you may have just learned a new one. Ask someone to name their 9s and you'll definitely learn if they're from the Hudson Valley. And speaking of the earlier Stewarts question...