Saturday, October 17, 2009

Escape to Hudson

Thank you so much for bearing with me on my H1N1 hiatus . . . I believe that we are swine flu free now and life has returned to our normal insane pace. So insane that I had to escape to my favorite town on the banks of the St. Croix river—Hudson, Wisconsin. Home of some of my favorite shops in the Twin Cities.
The main drag in Hudson is Second Street, and it is loaded with art galleries, clothing boutiques and handbag shops, restaurants, and jewelry stores. You could easily spend an afternoon wandering around, exploring all of the different stores. I’ve picked out a select few shops that you shouldn’t miss when visiting Hudson, Wisconsin. And tossed in a few restaurant recommendations in case hunger strikes during your Hudson shopping experience.
La Rue Marche
513 Second Street
The jewel of Hudson shopping . . . La Rue Marche offers an eclectic mix of women’s clothing, handbags, and jewelry for the young and young at heart. Owner Lisa Shortridge has an eye for unique pieces and her personal style shines through at La Rue Marche. I’m partial to the array of shoes—which are so beautiful they look like museum pieces but are so very comfortable and stylish you can wear them anywhere—and dresses ranging from cocktail gowns to cozy sweater dresses. 
Women of any age or pant size will easily find something trendy to fit into their wardrobe that is also easy on the pocketbook. Shortridge stocks a wide assortment of jeans of all sizes; a bounty of ballerina flats, wedges, gorgeous heels, and boots; and a rack of the cutest winter coats around. Bargain racks at the front and rear of the store also offer deeply discounted items. Lisa and her staff are incredibly attentive and will work with you to find the look that you seek. Lisa Shortridge also offers exclusive, private parties and wardrobe consultations at your home.
La Rue Marche never disappoints and always brings me back when I’m looking for something truly unique and fun!

SHEER ADDICTION (formerly known as Tamara)
513 Second Street
Located in the back of La Rue Marche is the fabulous SHEER ADDICTION jewelry shop. Tamara Schafhauser creates an amazing line necklaces and bracelets for her Junk Jewels collection. She mixes semi-precious stones with unique pieces of metal collected from markets around the globe. (I have some of her creations with bits from Paris as well as Dallas Texas.) She also has her signature metallic initial necklaces, which are simple yet incredibly stylish and can be paired with any of her other pieces. No two creations are exactly alike. For an eclectic range of jewelry designs, check out SHEERADDICTION.

Et Cetera
507 Second Street
Looking for an interesting hostess gift, wedding present, or Christmas gift? Et Cetera is the place for you. This shop offers a mix of paintings, candles, baubles, and housewares that anyone would love to receive. A favorite of my daughter and I is the Sid Dickens memory tiles that line one of the walls of the shop. Although it was early November when I last visited, Et Cetera had pulled out all of the Christmas trimmings and gorgeous glass ornaments.
Lavender Thymes
512 Second Street   
This trendy boutique offers an array of somewhat spendy girly tops and stylish jeans with price tags to match. Half of the shop offers the Thymes line of skincare products, Crabtree and Evelyn soaps and lotions, greeting cards, gourmet food, and jewelry. A fun little shop to poke around in.
Knoke’s Chocolates
216 Locust Street
This confectionary is just north of the main shopping street in Hudson. Owner Dave Knoke, who can usually be found behind the counter of his shop, offers hand crafted chocolates including truffles, caramels, English toffee, mints, and turtles. I’m a huge fan of the boxed truffles that are delicious and make great little gifts for teachers. Knoke’s is definitely worth a stop!
Élan Clothing and Gifts
218 Locust Street 
This is a grown-up woman’s store by far when compared with La Rue Marche or Lavender Thymes. The clothing sold at Élan is also beautiful but more geared toward work and with a more conservative feel. The sizes and cuts are much bigger, and they don’t carry petites. They also have a wonderful bargain rack on which I’ve found a gorgeous red strapless gown that fits like a glove. They have a nice selection of wrap dresses, sweaters, and boots.
Dilly Dally in the Alley
218 Locust Street
Behind the cash register at Élan lies a staircase. Follow that staircase down and you will discover a sweet little gift shop at the foot of the stairs—Dilly Dally in the Alley. This shop is well stocked with fun wine glasses, earrings, local T-shirts, journals, and fun odds and ends. I think it’s a great place to find a baby or wedding shower gift or something special for your best friend or a favorite sister-in-law. Plus the ladies who work down there are super nice and very helpful.
San Pedro Cafe
426 Second Street
My favorite reprieve from shopping is the San Pedro Cafe. This restaurant is straight out of Belize in more ways than one. Their zesty Caribbean menu offers a selection of wood-fired pizzas, sandwiches, and fresh fish. You can’t go wrong with a selection from their rotating Chef’s Specials. San Pedro Cafe doesn’t take reservations so plan on a short wait unless you arrive early for lunch.
Pier 500
500 First Street
In my opinion the summer is the best time to visit Pier 500 simply because you can eat 
al fresco on their patio and watch the boats sail by on the St. Croix. Unfortunately the outdoor eating days are over for awhile. Luckily the vast inside bar and cozy dining room surrounding the fireplace is very inviting with excellent American cuisine and an extensive wine menu. 
I hope that you will get a chance to explore some of my favorite places in Hudson Wisconsin. Happy shopping!

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