Newburgh’s Field Trip Features American Made Products
Posted in Liberty Street Shops | Last Updated April 6, 2020
Step into Field Trip and you’re immersed in a world of fine American-made products and artisanal goods, all beautifully presented.
The Liberty Street shop was born when Orange County native Christina Silvestris wanted a production space for Hudson Naturals, her popular line of small-batch apothecary products — and the concept has grown into a unique collection of products sourced in the Hudson Valley and beyond.
Retail space in Newburgh’s East End Historic District with American-made products
Choosing Newburgh’s East End Historic District wasn’t hard. “I looked all over the Hudson Valley and kept coming back to Newburgh,” she says. “The architecture! The buildings! Newburgh’s beauty spoiled me. I was saying, ‘I gotta have tin ceilings!’ And the more I get to know the incredible business community on Liberty Street, the happier I am with my choice.”
Christina grew up on a spacious horse farm near the Wallkill/Newburgh town line, with a mom who loved to can and sew and make soap, skills Christina picked up before venturing off to Chicago as an art student and spending 20 years there working in advertising.
Her parents had sold the bulk of the farmland in the 90s but kept the barn and 1783 farmhouse. “Then five years ago they asked me if I’d like the house; it was getting too big for them,” she says. “Would I! An 18th-century farmhouse!”
She had her Chicago condo sold in two weeks and moved into the family home with partner Mike Downes.
Thornwillow Press Inspired a “maker mindset”
Silvestris eventually ventured downstate to take an art director position, but Pontifell’s passion for makers and making had reignited her own.
Making her own skin care products had been a quirky hobby in Chicago, but in the Hudson Valley, in the midst of a growing artisanal makers’ boom, she realized it could be more.
She designed herself some distinctive packaging and began expanding her line on Etsy, finding some retail outlets and going to flea markets.
Field Trip’s owner and maker of Hudson Natural apothecary products, Christina Silvestris
At the markets, she found that she loved admiring the wares and making the acquaintance of her fellow makers, and the idea of a retail space where she could showcase both Hudson Naturals and the good artisanal things she was discovering took shape.
The couple looked high and low for the right commercial real estate retail space until they discovered 113 Liberty Street was available.
“It was a beautiful space that just needed a little love,” Christina says. “We actually got the keys and opened in 23 days. Mike and I went in and cleaned it up. We stripped about 9 layers of wallpaper off one wall, painted, sanded the floors down and stained them. Mike patched up the beautiful tin ceiling and painted it.”
They also enjoyed learning the building’s history.
“Back in the day, our space used to be a dairy market,” she says. “In the basement, there are still the coolers that were built into the ground under the sidewalk to store the dairy and keep it cool. There’s a cut in the floor where they would carry the dairy up from the basement.”
Inside Field Trip
The name Field Trip captures Christina’s sense of adventure. “I just always loved field trips as a kid,” she says. “It was always an adventure to somewhere fun where you learned about new things. I wanted people to feel like when they walked into Field Trip they were taking an exciting adventure and discovering new handmade items.”
It wasn’t hard to get her fellow makers interested in coming along for this Field Trip, either. “We carry the creations of 30 different makers right now, not all of them from the Hudson Valley,” Christina says. “Many of them are, but I’ve opened it up to makers from all over the United States.
A diverse collection of American-made products
What matters is the creativity of American-made products. I have leather goods made by Hawks and Doves from South Carolina, handmade jewelry from Tiny Anvil in Northampton, Mass, vintage prints from Texas. I work with makers who amaze and delight me.”
Field Trip stocks leather goods from Hawks and Doves
What delights Christina is originality and quality. “I have a wonderful woman bringing me boozy jams made with fine liquor. Her brand name is Wicked Finch,” she says delightedly. “She actually came into Field Trip and we got to chatting forever, you know, and she said I needed some jam. She was absolutely right. We’re her second store.”
Calling all makers of American-made products!
Besides working with makers from near and far, Christina wants to help grow a fresh local crop. “I’m talking to a local photographer who’s building a studio and community space behind the Wherehouse about seeing if we can recruit 10 or 15 creative NFA students and teach them marketing and branding, the building blocks for entrepreneurial success. We’ll walk them through creating a website, have a market in the summer. Most people don’t realize how far marketing, branding and a great product can take them. And creative people, we aren’t happy unless we’re creating.”
Interested makers who’d like a classy retail presence in the growing East End are very much invited to get in touch. All American made top-notch handmade creations will be considered. “We have a big map of the USA on the wall with pins in it showing all the places our products are made,” says Christina, “and we’re hoping to fill her up, so bring it on.”
Field Trip is open for business Wednesday through Saturday from 10 till 5 and on Sundays from 10 till 4. Stop in, say hello and marvel at the magic that Christina and her kindred spirits have created. You’ll find beautiful things that will add magic to your life — and you may just get inspired to do some making of your own.
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