Over the last few years, the Hudson Valley has seen its version of the California Gold Rush, with folks careening up the Hudson River via train and car to sift for sunsets and backyards. Populations in once-shuttered towns such as Beacon have taken off at an ever increasing rate, and with them, residential and commercial real estate and development.
It seems that the message is beginning to spread about this magical, wonder-filled, waterfall-and-rainbows land: Antique homes and Main Streets in quiet towns are showing up in magazines, movies, and tv shows. Museums and parks are recommended in widely distributed publications. A-frame homes, historic properties and farms have grown to hugely popular levels on social media platforms and Airbnb. And the animal sanctuaries, vineyards and agriculture have attracted new visitors who arrive for the day and decide to stay longer, often for good.
The latest in the line of cultural nods toward the Hudson Valley comes from American Girl’s doll of the year- Blaire, who in fact calls the HV home. When I heard about this I asked, “Is she in double-denim? Flannel?” And while the answer to those questions is no, AGD pretty much hit the nail on the head with Blaire.
“The spirited character lives with her family on Pleasant View Farm, a sustainable farm and bed-and-breakfast in upstate New York. As a relatable character of youths in the Hudson Valley and beyond, Blaire has a newly diagnosed food sensitivity and loves to text her friends.” reads one article.
“We’re thrilled that the American Girl Doll of the Year hails from the Hudson Valley on a farm where her family runs a bed and breakfast, grows healthy food, and enjoys the great outdoors,” enthuses Mary Kay Vrba, the president and CEO of Dutchess Tourism. “The area is so rich in culture, history, and agriculture — a vital part of Dutchess County’s tourism industry, so we couldn’t be more pleased that Blaire will help share in what makes this region a great place to live, work, and visit.”
As a kid, American Girl dolls embodied admirable qualities for young people. The characters were stylish, smart, and gave children the opportunity to learn about a way of life, a place in the world, or a moment in time that was previously unfamiliar to them. We can only hope that some young folks reading about Blaire now begin to think differently about sustainable living, farming, agriculture, the great outdoors, and the natural beauty to be found in a place such as the Hudson Valley, and that one day, they decide to make their home here, too.
The secret’s out, the Hudson Valley is ‘in’.