Rhinebeck & Hyde Park – A little bit of Dutchess County
Easter break is almost here. A three day weekend is around the corner. If you don’t have family around (like most immigrants) or are new to this part of the country or are simply looking to get out of New York, here are a few towns worth visiting.
Last winter, we got out of Jersey City and decided to spend a couple of days visiting towns in the Hudson Valley. If you are a food lover really ( vegetarian or not) history buff, hiker, shopper or someone just wanting slow down time, these towns are for you!
When things get cold, I always seem to want to go to places that are colder, assuming a degree or two lower isn’t really going to bother me! Ashwin and I drove up to Saugerties for what was supposed to be a quiet couple of days at The Diamond Mills. But instead of staying put, we ventured out across the river into Dutchess county.
Rhinebeck, we were told has The Beekman Arms and Delamater Inn which is a tourist favorite. For me, The next time I want to visit Dutchess County, I will most likely stay on the East side in Poughkeepsie, just because of the convenience of getting around. (I loved diamond Mills and would definitely recommend it, if tolls don’t bother you.) Besides, if you were going out with your entire family, I have heard from a friend that the all inclusive Rocking Horse Ranch Resort is fantastic. It has an indoor water park, horse riding and lots of activities varying with the season.
Strangely, we had never been to the East side of the Hudson valley. The towns seemed different from the likes of Woodstock, New Paltz and Nyack on the other side of the river. I really need to see them in summer to really tell what they are all about. But so far, I liked what I saw. Snow, covered most of the sidewalks, but driving through the cleared roads was beautiful. We drove past quiet neighborhoods buried under the snow from the storms since 2014 and into 2015. The houses on the road we took, were not enormous and uninviting. In fact they were petite and seemed welcoming. Most of the driveways were cleared, but their gardens lay buried under the mountains of snow. There were barely any people venturing out out, but lights and movements inside the homes told us people hadn’t abandoned their homes and escaped to the warmer states.
We stopped at Rhinebeck for lunch. It had everything we could want from a small town. Cute little stores to window shop and a great selection of restaurants serving up everything from Indian, Italian to American food. With so many choices, Ashwin and I had a tough time deciding what to eat. We zeroed in on Thai, for its curry. We ate hot vegetables in spicy curry served with rice at Aroi – A perfect fix for a cold day!
Despite being full from lunch, I made a quick stop at Bread Alone, one of my favorite stores for bread. I mean, I get their bread in New York City all the time, but this was the actual bakery. So it was hard to resist. We picked up a bunch of pastries and desserts from there to supplement dinner.
Bundled in our warm winter coats we walked a block to Pure Mountain Olive Oil where we tasted some divine olive oil. Man! Do they have a good salesman!! He carefully explained the different pairing of their olive oil with vinaigrettes and choice of bread to serve it with.
“Try the basil olive oil and the lemon vinegar. It works wonderfully on salads.”“Oh! You must dip this bread with our bread dipping olive oil. Can you taste the peppery after taste? Oh! And there are hints of Parmesan cheese in it as well!”“If you go to our website, you will find samples of recipes to use with our oils.”
We walked out of pure mountain with a carton filled with their delicious selections and a lot poorer.
The cold didn’t allow me to window shop or browse the stores as much as I would have liked. But a quick look at ‘Winter sun and Summer moon’ with its boho fashion and home décor; and A.L. Stickle’s fabric and yarn, makes me want to spend more time just loitering around main street. I consoled myself with the fact that New York City is not far and that I will be back. And, back I will be to stock up on my olive oil.
At Hyde Park we skipped the Vanderbilt Mansion and went to the FDR Presidential museum instead. I was not really sure what to expect and what a presidential library entailed. But was pleasantly surprised to find a museum dedicated to everything Franklin D. Roosevelt did through his life! FDR’s car from when he was president, his table and literature by him and about him filled the immaculately curated place. Recordings of his speech on the radio filled a room that was made to look like a commoner 1930s kitchen.
I learned so much about the history about the United States; it grounded me in further calling this country home. Apparently it is a library since it has all the books and letters written and received by the president, besides books on him. You are welcome to go to a room downstairs and request to see some of the literature. If we had more time, that would have been something I would have liked to do. After several hours of history, we left the FDR library heads willed with wonderful stories of life in the 1930s and 1940s.
Not wanting the entire trip to turn into a food saga, we decided to save eating at the Culinary Institute for another time. I might just have to make a separate trip just to enjoy the Institute. We returned to Saugerties and gorged on the desserts from Bread Alone before we retired to bed.
We, in the tri-state area, are so lucky! There is so much to do around, so many places to go to and see. I am wondering how many trips I will have to take and places I will have to stay at before I have seen it all. Or at least enough to satisfy my love for this beautiful state of New York!
Secretly, I am hoping the list never ends and keeps me satisfied through my life.
Hope you get to go out and enjoy a weekend, Upstate in the Hudson Valley or elsewhere.
Travel In America:
- Go out and explore the countryside is different from the cities. Small towns are often very welcoming. Especially Upstate New York.
- New York ( the state) has a lot of Vegetarian food choice. Hurray!!