Life in the biggest little city in the Hudson Valley

 

We all know that the Hudson Valley is a fantastic place to live. We have easy access to NYC and easy access to our own local cities as well. We aren’t a “party all night/sleep all day” place but we still know how to party. We have plays, live music, business growth, plenty of parks to hike and bike in, the best restaurants, great wineries, fantastic breweries, and an up and coming distillery scene. What’s not to love about living in the Hudson Valley?

When my significant other and I decided to cohabitate we knew we needed to be in the Hudson Valley and in either Orange county, Dutchess county, or Ulster county. We sat down and discussed the pros and cons of each county, we had both grown up in Orange county (Scotchtown for him, Newburgh and Mount Hope for me) and neither of us felt it was a good fit for us now. We considered Dutchess county simply because I had lived there before and raised my daughter there. Ulster county was the one big unknown, we had both visited it on day trips, Woodstock and Kingston’s water front district were our usual haunts, but neither of us knew what it would be like to live there. In 2013 we rented an apartment in Kingston and plunged into getting to know our new city. We kept telling each other that if we did not like this new place we could always move. It’s now 2015 and we have been in our house for just over a year. Kingston is now home.

I was hesitant to move to a city. If you are at all familiar with Mount Hope then you understand why, nothing but cow pastures and trees as far as the eye can see out there. Life in a city with an active freight train that runs through it takes a little getting used to but the occasional wait at a train crossing is nothing when you compare it to everything else this city has to offer. Yes, there are seedy sections but even the most rundown parts of Kingston look better than anywhere in the city of Newburgh or Poughkeepsie. Kingston is a city on the upswing, something Newburgh and Poughkeepsie are still striving to do.

Family and friends often make a point of coming to visit us in Kingston and we still aren’t sure if they come for us or the city itself. Aunt Ro likes the historical buildings and the cemetery at the Old Dutch Church (Kingston was the very first capitol of New York State), Aunt Janie likes the unique shops and the Kingston Candy Bar (Best. Candy. Anywhere.), both of their spouses love the restaurants as well as The Stockade Tavern and Keegan Ales. The big bonus is that we are five minutes from the Thruway so visiting from Utica or Long Island is a breeze.

Our typical summertime Saturday morning consists of a seven minute walk uptown to the Kingston Farmers Market to buy produce, peanut butter, and quiche, then a walk over to Outdated Café for brunch and antiquing. All through the spring, summer, fall, and winter I have access to locally sourced food within a seven minute walk from my front door, this! Our Farmers Market is huge and practically on the doorstep of every single restaurant uptown making the Saturday night dinner specials even more special. Oh, and if you happen to be gluten free you’ll find that almost every restaurant has gluten free options that are divine.

Business rents are incredibly reasonable, some are downright cheap compared to Dutchess or Orange counties. As a matter of fact you can even rent office space in an opera house! The local government officials work hard to make sure businesses come and stay in the area, it’s nice to have everyone working towards a common goal.

Kingston is not without its problems. A high school desperately in need of repairs, traffic patterns that make zero sense, and ancient water mains. Yes there is crime, yes there is are places you might not want to walk around in at night but it is a city not a village. Even with these issues Kingston is a wonderful place to live, this is where Hippies and Hipsters come to coexist! Can you believe that there is even a #movetokingstonnow movement?!?

Were you aware of the fact that where you live has an impact on your insurance rates? Before you put down roots in a new place talk to an independent insurance agent. Insuring your home and car may be more expensive in some areas and less expensive in others. Hudson Valley Agents understands the insurance needs of the Hudson Valley and they work with New York State based insurance companies to bring their clients the best rates with great coverage. It’s not quite farm to table insurance but we can insure your farm and your table too! Give them a call today at 778-2141!

4 Things you never knew about insurance agents

 

I spoke to a woman today who told me that she is paying way too much for insurance but she will not change companies because she’s uncomfortable trusting any insurance agent to not be “a sleaze ball”, and that my friend’s is an exact quote. I told her about Hudson Valley Agents, I even went so far as to say, “Hudson Valley Agents is the Hudson Valley’s best family owned independent insurance agency!”, talk about shameless promotion! I think insurance agents have an undeserved bad reputation so today’s blog should help clean that up.

Independent insurance agents are some of the hardest working people in the insurance business and perhaps it is time we acknowledged this fact. Before one can actually call themselves an insurance agent they have to learn the business, they have to study and pass a state licensing test and have hours of continuing education to keep that license. They need to be versed in many different types of insurance and have a well honed business sense. They must calmly and compassionately help clients who have just suffered a tragedy (house fire, car accident, death of a loved one). They are part financial planner, part counselor, part insurance law expert, and part business person all rolled up in one.

When you look for a new independent insurance agent there are things you need to keep in mind –

1- It isn’t all about money. A good insurance agent will find you the best coverage available even if it is with a company that pays the agent a low commission. The client must come first.

2- They have to give above average customer service. Normally people only speak to their insurance agent when they first purchase their policy, when they need to add or subtract something from their policy, or when they need to make a claim. They have only two or three interactions in which to make a positive impression. When a client needs to make a claim or change their coverage they expect to be taken care of promptly and professionally so good customer service is the key to repeat business.

3- You need to be pretty darn smart to be an insurance agent. Life insurance, business insurance, auto insurance, homeowners insurance, boat insurance, classic car insurance, vacation insurance, wedding insurance, and many, many other types of insurance policies are sold by the same agency and your agent should be able to answer any question you have about any aspect of your policy.

4- Independent insurance agencies are usually a family affair. Our agency is a father and son agency and together they have several decades of insurance knowledge. When something is part of your family you work harder for it. Your business reputation and your family reputation go hand in hand.

Remember the lady I spoke of in the beginning of the blog? She just called me and asked for Hudson Valley Agent’s phone number (845-778-2141). She told me that if anyone could speak so highly of her insurance agent then they must be worth looking into! When you find a great insurance agent it’s kind of hard to keep quiet about it so if you love your insurance agent tell a friend or two and share the love. Hudson Valley Agents is the Hudson Valley’s best family owned independent insurance agency. Let them show you that the best insurance in the Hudson Valley can be found at Hudson Valley Agents.

Have you been to Kingston or Beacon lately?

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Those of us who live in the Hudson Valley know just what an amazing and diverse place this truly is. We revel in our proximity to the mountains, the Hudson River, and New York City and we are fiercely loyal to our cities, towns, and villages. We are home to the best restaurants, music, art, and outdoor beauty in the state!!! The Hudson Valley is perfect and it is getting better every single day.

We have two cities that are gaining a lot of mention in the press recently for being “The New Brooklyn”, I’m talking to you Beacon and Kingston! As a Kingston resident I find the idea of becoming “The New Brooklyn” terrifying and exciting. As a Hudson Valley resident all I can say is “I always knew this was the best place to live, let me show you around!”. We could not stay the under rated diamond in New York’s crown forever, people were bound to discover what we all knew years ago – the Hudson Valley is a great place to live and work.

Kingston and Beacon are our valley’s current hot spots and here’s why –

Beacon has a great art scene, the Dia is a huge draw. There is a plethora of restaurants and bars. It’s a hipsters paradise and I have never seen so many perfectly groomed beards in my lifetime! Having the Town Crier leave it’s home in Pawling for Beacon’s Main street helped boost the city’s music scene. It’s a wonderful day trip and only a 59 minute trip from Grand Central, plus there’s the added bonus of Beacon having its own stop on Metro North! Why wouldn’t people leave NYC to visit Beacon? Beacon was a kind of scary place in the early 1990’s, it is nice to see how the community came together and welcomed new businesses to the city. I’m really proud of you Beacon, kudos!

Kingston is just perfect. I live here so I can say that, and I find that I say it so often I have begun to feel more like a cheerleader than a neophyte insurance blogger! We have a rich history, after all we are the original capital of NYS, and even IBM’s closing did not fully bring this city to it’s knees. We have a thriving uptown district thanks to organizations like KUBA (Kingston Uptown Business Association) and a thriving waterfront district as well! Keegan Ales is our brewery and BSP is our go to music and arts venue. We have one of Esquire’s top rated bars, The Stockade Tavern, and museums and art galleries galore! Kingston has wine bars (like The Elephant), gastropubs (Frogmore Tavern) and many of our restaurants embrace the farm to table movement (too many to list). Kingston’s art scene is phenomenal and the O+ Festival as well as the independent galleries just part of it. We are perfectly situated between Manhattan and Albany via the NYS Thruway, just a short 97.1 miles from Grand Central and 56 miles from Albany. Sadly we do not have direct access to public transportation to Manhattan, for that we must travel to Poughkeepsie or Beacon if the Poughkeepsie Metro North lot is filled. Public transportation can get you around Kingston but you can easily walk from the waterfront to uptown.

The Hudson Valley is a very special place and it has been heartwarming seeing the positive changes that Beacon and Kingston have made. Many people have invested their blood sweat and tears to create communities that they can be proud of and those investments should be protected. Hudson Valley Agents is the Hudson Valley’s best independent insurance agency and they work with New York state based insurance companies. They can make sure you have the best insurance coverage to protect your Hudson Valley home or business. They even insure events and festivals! So shop locally, eat locally and insure locally! #movetokingstonnow #insure local #HudsonValleylove

Are your collectibles worth insuring?

 

When I was a kid I attempted to start a stamp collection because my mother thought I should have a hobby. After my little brother licked every stamp I had collected and stuck them to my bedroom door I decided that collecting anything just was not my scene. Then I had kids and suddenly my home was invaded with beanie babies and Pokemon collections that each child swore would one day be worth so much money that the kids could pay for their college education. That fad passed and not one of them was able to pay for their educations with Jiggly Puff or Charizard.

People collect all manner of things and sometimes these collections are quite valuable (coin collections, first edition books) and others are barely worth what the collector paid for them (Hummel figurines, anything from the Franklin Mint). If you are an avid collector of anything you should discuss how will your collections will be covered by insurance with your agent. Some collectors purchase specialty insurance to ensure that their investment in their collectibles of choice are protected while other collectors never give insurance a second thought. I think it all comes down to what it is you collect.

If you spend the 1980’s collecting Cabbage Patch Kids you probably are not looking to spend extra money on insuring them. If you collect Star Trek memorabilia you might want to rethink your insurance needs. Even Barbie is a money maker when it comes to collectibles, the original version of Barbie in mint condition could sell for as much as $28,000! If I had known a Barbie could be worth that much I might not have drawn tattoos on mine! Collectors tend to take their collections very seriously and those that are serious about protecting their investments insure them.

Insuring collections can be tricky business. The worth of the collection could increase or decrease as the market changes and that fact could make any insurance agency shy away from even considering insuring collections of any type. Hudson Valley Agents is not that agency! HVA understands how much time and effort you put into your collection and they can ensure that it is insured correctly. Give them a call to discuss how to properly insure your collection. HVA’s Dave Jr has his own collection of Star Trek memorabilia as well as a coin collection and yes my friends these collections are insured.