Updated: Oct 7, 2019
Ready to hit the road but have nowhere to go? Then feel frazzled no longer, because there’s a scenic destination that has more to offer than you might imagine. Bringing you down along the Hudson where there’s plenty of breathtaking scenery, Dutchess County features a gem hiding in plain sight that you’ll want to check out. As the leaves begin to change and the temperatures begin to cool, this makes the ideal time to visit the trendy, hipster, and artsy town of Rhinebeck. Rhinebeck offers a sophisticated yet casual atmosphere with a quaint town center and main street with Victorian architecture, gourmet dining, unique shopping, and history at every corner.
Rhinebeck is a roughly two-hour drive from New York City or forget the drive and take the train which quickly puts it into the category of appealing weekend trips from NYC. New York City, as we all know, comes with a certain amount of chaos, and you could put forth the argument that Rhinebeck is an ideal antidote to said chaos.
THINGS TO DO:
You could argue that what’s around Rhinebeck is even more exciting than what you’ll find in Rhinebeck proper, so let’s talk about that, shall we? What can you do within let’s say a twenty or so minute drive of the centre of Rhinebeck (or less)?
Home to many festivals and events head to Dutchess County Fairgrounds, located just north of the town center on the grounds of roaming farmland and hills where you can find unique one-of-a-kind events from antiques to food to family-oriented. This makes a great start to your visit to Rhinebeck. Be sure to check the website for the next upcoming events and festivals at dutchessfair.com.
The fairgrounds are also home to the Sheep & Wool Festival held on October 17th from 9 AM to 4 PM for basketry and artisan craftwork.
If you’re looking for somewhere to relax, unwind, or just get away from it all, visit the Omega Institue for Holistic Studies, a non-profit educational retreat for yoga, health and wellness workshops, and healing. For more information please visit eomega.org.
The Wilderstein Historic Site offers a glimpse into the past of the town’s history in a 19th century Queen Anne style country home located on protected land just outside of the town center where you can learn about the former occupants of the property and how it has become known as a museum today. The structure almost resembles a castle or Victorian mansion of the era, intriguing for history buffs and architectural lovers alike. For tickets and inquiries visit wilderstein.org.
Interested in aircraft? Head to the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome in Red Hook, New York, a short drive away from Rhinebeck to discover antique aircraft formerly used during WWII and long-distance travel during the 1910s until the early 1940s. It was a new feat of ingenuity at the time and now remembered as an architectural marvel. For more information visit oldrhinebeck.org.
A great nature walk can be found at Poets’ Walk Park, a fine spot for a stroll around the local flora and fauna of the area or just simply to take in the views of the rolling hills and trees that are seen beyond. The park is primarily focused on celebrating the deep connection between landscape and poetry from landscape architect Hans Jacob Ehlers in 1849 who envisioned a place of natural beauty and literary imagination. For more information visit scenichudson.org.
Another nature favorite is Ferncliff Forest, a 200-acre nature preserve famously known for deciduous and hemlock trees. You can admire these natural wonders by meandering this spectacular nature oasis. Be sure to look out for incredible fall foliage! For more information visit ferncliffforest.org.
The Montgomery Place Historical Estate, is a historical museum of a 19th-century estate that has recently became a National Historic Landmark known for its grand columns and interesting history of aristocracy. For tickets and information be sure to visit www.bard.edu/montgomeryplace.
There’s not too much ground to cover, but it’s certainly worth the venture to pop in and out of a few places. In fact, within the village of Rhinebeck itself, I’d say that’s what it’s all about.
For fresh seasonal favorites this autumn, head to the Rhinebeck Farmers Market, held multiple Sundays a month in season from the spring to fall. There you can find the purveyors of fresh produce, baked goods, and now autumn delicacies such as pumpkin pie, apple pie, apple cobbler, and more! The market is located right on West Market Street, in the heart of town. For hours and information please visit http://www.rhinebeckfarmersmarket.com/
A health-conscious spot can be found at Sunflower Natural Market, a market specializing in sustainable products and healthy options. The market is set in a cozy colonial-style building where you can find fresh seasonal produce and other specialties of the region. For hours and information please visit sunflowernatural.com.
Looking for something sweet? Make a stop at Samuel’s Sweet Shop, located right on West Market Street where they sell gourmet chocolates, baked goods, special coffee blends, espresso, and even old-fashioned candies. This place will satisfy any sweet tooth! For specific hours and information please visit samuelssweetshop.com.
WHERE TO EAT & DINE:
Considering the size of Rhinebeck, I was rather impressed with the array of restaurants on offer. Let’s talk about a few Rhinebeck restaurants that you should consider popping into if you find yourself in this lovely little part of the Hudson Valley.
A fine choice for artisanal pizza and fresh Italian cuisine is Pizzeria Posto, a casual pizzeria offering Neopolitan pies in a rustic space. Highly recommended for pizza! For hours and information visit postopizzeria.com.
Head to Cinnamon, no it’s not a sweet shop. This contemporary gourmet Indian restaurant serves up classic Indian & Sri Lankan dishes in a posh modern local. For reservations and more information visit cinnamoncuisine.com.
Whether you're looking for an early morning breakfast sandwich that will start your day off right or you're craving a savory burger that almost looks too good to eat, Rhinebeck Bagels has you covered. Making your mouth water from the second you step through the door, this cafe has a menu that will provoke your stomach to rumble. To take a look at this one-of-a-kind menu, click here.
Bread Alone Bakery & Cafe is perhaps the quintessential cafe spot for specialty coffee blends, sweet pastries, savory baked goods, and great breakfast and lunch options. You can either grab and go or sit at a table at the cafe. For hours and information visit breadalone.com.
For sophisticated French cuisine, visit Le Petit Bistro, a long Rhinebeck staple that is the innovative purveyor of all things French. For hours and information visit lepetitbistro.com.
For coffee lovers these are the best spots:
All that Java, is a quaint coffee shop serving fresh brews, seasonal blends, and artisanal choices in a casual local. For hours and information visit allthatjava.net.