In Conversation with Quinn Levine: The Transition from NYC to an Idyllic Upstate Retreat

Our new series "In Conversation With" follows the lives of Hudson Valley creatives, home-owners, makers, and more.

We met Quinn, her partner Simon, and their two amazing children, Wiley and Oscar, in 2018 when we represented them in the purchase of a beautiful home in Germantown. Their home is the epitome of the Hudson Valley atmosphere; views of hills and the Hudson, historic details, and a presence that blends seamlessly into its bucolic surroundings. Here, Quinn shares with us the reasons for moving from Brooklyn to Upstate New York, advice for others making a similar transition, and insights into the lifestyle of two creatives living upstate. 

Quinn, Simon, Oscar, and Wiley!

Quinn, Simon, Oscar, and Wiley!

You, your partner Simon, and your 2 children have recently made the move from New York City to your beautiful new home in Germantown. What inspired this move? 

There were many events that took place that had us start looking to move. The short story is: we had to move out of our rented apartments due to our buildings being sold twice in the course of 2 years. We had 3 different homes from 2015-2018, not by choice. The second move... we had a baby! We ended up in Bed Stuy Brooklyn now with another baby on the way and we just realized, this was not where we wanted to raise our children. Don’t get me wrong, we loved the neighborhood. Just the driving and traffic and moving the car every morning for street cleaning, the rent, and getting around and the idea of finding schools was just not our bag. So we started to look first in Westchester, then we just kept creeping further and further up the river in search for the perfect house for us. We had been to Germantown and Hudson and loved the towns and also the stunning countryside. 

The first year transitioning from busy cityscapes to countryside living can be quite the adjustment. How has your first year in the Hudson Valley been? Were there noticeable improvements in your daily life? 

We love it. It was actually a relief for us. The daily stresses I mentioned in the last question, were all gone. We calmed down. The kids had space to run around without buses screeching by and trash everywhere. It was honestly the best feeling, we never looked back.

Oscar at the Germantown Waterfront!

Oscar at the Germantown Waterfront!

What advice or bits of wisdom would you give a friend before they move to the area? 

Get to know your neighbors. We are all in this life together and we are in a small community. You never know when you’ll get snowed in and need a hand getting out or if they need help at any point. It really helps to create a loving environment, not only for you and your family, but also for your neighbors. 

How have your and Simon’s careers developed in your first year away from New York City? On a similar note, what projects are you both working on, and how can we follow along with their progress? 

Simon is a fashion and advertising photographer which pulls him into the city. His schedule is a crapshoot! Sometimes he’s there 4 or more times a month, sometimes none, sometimes once, sometimes a day or two at a time sometimes longer. That’s also part of the reason we decided we can move 100 miles from Manhattan. We don’t need to commute every day. He is also publishing a book on his photography of the rave scene and culture in Sydney in 1993. He took them as a 17-year-old going to these parties. They are incredible. The book is called “93: Punching the Light”

I am a wedding and event planner, so I can work up here no problem! The Hudson Valley is becoming more and more popular for weddings, so I adjusted very easily. I still make trips into Manhattan for weddings and events, but most of my business is now local. Simon can be followed on his instagram @simon_burstall or for his book that is about to be launched (@93thbook)!. You can follow my new company @naturalorder_studio. We are just getting up and running, so not much to see yet! If you prefer pictures of cute babies… @quinnroselevine is my personal instagram.

What are your recommendations for places to visit, eat, shop, enjoy in your neighborhood? 

We have been loving the Germantown playground with the kiddies. It has been a great place to meet families! For food, of course, Gaskins. When we head out of Germantown we love lil’ Debs Oasis, Red Hook Historic Diner, Spotty Dog for a delicious beer and a book AND Half Moon for a great dive bar (they have karaoke on Wednesday nights!). I love to shop at the Montgomery Place Orchard farm stand, North Wind Farms for meat, and the Hudson Farmers Market. 

We are so enchanted by your new abode, nestled into the rolling hills of Germantown. What’s your favorite part of your new home? 

Of course, our home is gorgeous and we love having all the space and swimming in our pool, but what really stops me in my tracks, is the view! We see the Catskill Mountains and the Hudson River. It dramatically changes throughout the seasons and each season is just as beautiful as the next.


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