Destination: Dutchess County

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The Hudson Valley is full of quaint and charming towns filled with shops, unique things to do and delicious restaurants. The Rhinebeck / Red Hook area stands out for a number of reasons, including hosting one of the largest collections of vintage aircraft in the country at the old Rhinebeck Airfield. The area has also inspired celebrities to settle there, as evidenced by an old-fashioned candy store that has actors Paul Rudd, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Hilarie Burton among its owners (Samuel’s Sweet Shop, 42 E. Market St., Rhinebeck). There is no shortage of things to do and see in this cozy corner of Dutchess County, located a short drive (or train) from the Capital Region.

Tivoli Hotel
53 Broadway, Tivoli; hoteltivoli.org
A short drive from Rhinebeck, the Tivoli Hotel is a bit off the beaten track. The boutique hotel offers different styles of rooms; some overlook the main street of the village and all feature pops of bright and vibrant color. Right next door you can sample the rare flavors of Fortunes Ice Cream (55 Broadway, Tivoli) like deliciously creamy and rich avocado. All of the hotel’s breakfast dishes are homemade, including the amazing caramelized crust corn muffins and the multiple flavors of bread and granola. A glass of freshly squeezed grapefruit juice and a slice of homemade frittata are a great way to start the morning. You can dine on site at the Corner and sample brackish oysters, homemade meatballs, soft-shell crabs and other seasonal treats.

Activities

Former Rhinebeck airfield
9 Norton Road, Red Hook; oldrhinebeck.org
The old Rhinebeck airfield is truly a one-of-a-kind museum. Travel through vintage planes from the Pioneer Era, WWI and beyond, to gain a better understanding of the evolution of flight. Some of the planes still fly on weekends at the famous air show – and then take a ride in a biplane. The walks last approximately 15 minutes, offering views of the Hudson Valley from above.

Wilderstein Historic Site
330 Morton Road, Rhinebeck; wilderstein.org
This Queen Anne style house along the Hudson River dates from the 19th century. Before being turned into a museum, it belonged to Margaret Suckley, relative and friend of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Now, customers can admire its architecture up close and enjoy the hiking trails that dot its park. If you want more, head to Poets’ Walk Park (776 River Road, Red Hook), a designed series of ‘open-air rooms’ created to honor the deep connection between landscape and poetry. Or catch a show at the Fisher Center in Bard (Manor Ave, Annandale-On-Hudson; fishercenter.bard.edu), which is known for hosting a wide range of performing arts.

Mirbeau Inn & Spa Rhinebeck
46 W. Market St., Rhinebeck; rhinebeck.mirbeau.com
Enjoy a day of relaxation at this resort renowned for its elegance and luxury. You can take advantage of treatments and free exercise or yoga classes before indulging in a deep tissue massage. Be sure to visit the Aqua Terrace, an outdoor oasis with a hot thermal pool, fireplace and service bar.

Trevor Zoo at Millbrook School
282 Millbrook School Road, Millbrook; millbrook.org/trevor-zoo-home
Venture to Millbrook to see the country’s only high school zoo. Established in the 1930s by biology professor Frank Trevor, the sanctuary involves students in the daily operations and care of more than 180 exotic and native animals, representing 80 different species.

Food and drink


Millbrook Vineyards & Winery
26, chemin de l’Escadre, Millbrook; millbrookwine.com
Extend your stay in Millbrook with a stop at its eponymous vineyards. Evening events often involve live music and rotating food trucks, but the real draw is the opportunity to taste incredible wines – not too sweet, very crunchy, and sweet.

Dutch spirits
98 Ryan Road, Pine Plains; dutchsspirits.com
Head east to Pine Plains, where you’ll find a distillery with a rich history. In 1932, federal agents discovered a massive underground operation there – two 2,000 gallon stills, 10,000 pounds of sugar and 1,000 gallons of sugar wash moonshine inside a concrete bunker under the property. Legend attributes the operation to New York bootlegger Dutch Schultz and his tunnels and secret passages can still be seen today. The distillery hosts a party every October 10 to pay homage to the day the Prohibition Era raid shut them down.

Bread only Bakery
45 E. Market St., Rhinebeck; painalone.com
Samuel’s Sweet Shop is essential, but it shouldn’t be your only stop in Rhinebeck. Be sure to include something more substantial to eat at this great breakfast spot, which offers delicious croissants, pastries, breads, and coffee selections.

Thanks to the Tivoli Hotel and Dutchess Tourism for hosting me.


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