Thursday, June 22, 2017

15+ Artsy & Cool Things To Do in NY's Hudson Valley

Bannerman's (photo: JCarnegie)
By Jacquelin Carnegie - (New York, NY) All year long, not just during the beautiful fall foliage season, the area surrounding the magnificent Hudson River is ideal for a day trip or weekend get-away. There are several counties on both sides of the river worth discovering, but Dutchess County has some of the most diverse offerings. Explore the spectacular countryside, cultural choices, fairs & festivals, vineyards and farmers' markets. Here's a sampling to get you started:
BEACON - ART & NATURE
Any day of the week, stroll along Main Street to check out the selection of cafés and galleries. Beacon gets even livelier on weekends with its Sunday Farmer's Market, on the riverfront, the Flea Market (April-Nov) behind the post office, and Second Saturday, a citywide celebration of the arts.
Dia: Beacon (photo: Laura Asaibene)
DIA:BEACON
3 Beekman St., Beacon, NY; Tel: 845 440 0100; www.diaart.org
In a beautifully-renovated, 1920's factory building, the Dia Art Foundation’s minimalist art collection, from the 1960’s to the present, takes center stage in wide-open galleries with huge, beautiful windows and skylights. On display are works by such renowned modern artists as Dan Flavin, Richard Serra, and Louise Bourgeois. There are changing exhibitions, gallery talks, and other special events (also a café).
BANNERMAN’S CASTLE - ISLAND TOURS
Bannerman's Island; Tel: 800/979-3370; www.bannermancastle.org (May-Oct)
While in Beacon, explore a picturesque island in the Hudson River that's been off bounds for years. In 1901, Frank Bannerman, a zany Scottish-American munitions dealer, built a quasi-castle and residence for his family on Pollepel Island. Today, thanks to the Bannerman Castle Trust, you can admire the ruins. Pack a picnic and enjoy great views of the Hudson as well as the 20-minute ferry ride there & back. On some Sundays, there's also music. (Reservations required for all tours & special events. The ferry dock for Bannerman's Island is a 5-minute walk from the Beacon train station.)
Hudson River (photo: JCarnegie)
Dine: All along Main Street there are several nice cafés, try the Beacon Bread Company Bistro or Homespun Foods.
Stay: The Roundhouse at Beacon Falls (2 East Main St.) - former factory building turned into a groovy boutique hotel.
Getting There: Drive or train from New York (Grand Central), take Metro-North (Hudson line) train to Beacon. (The museum, ferry dock & Main St. are all in easy walking distance of the train station.)
POUGHKEEPSIE - CULTURAL VISITS & COUNTRY WALKS
Vassar is well known as a prestigious college, but it's a bit of a secret that the lovely campus is open to the public with a fabulous theater and a museum that would please any culture lover.
Vassar
VASSAR COLLEGE:
POWERHOUSE THEATER
124 Raymond Ave., Poughkeepsie, NY; Tel: 845-437-5599; http://powerhouse.vassar.edu
For over 30 years, the Vassar & New York Stage and Film's Powerhouse Theater has fostered and celebrated young playwrights, aspiring actors, directors and designers on stage for six weeks each summer. It's a delightful place to see theater and you can often see famous actors up-close-and-personal performing alongside the up-and-comers.
FRANCES LEHMAN LOEB ART CENTER
Tel: 845/437-5632; http://fllac.vassar.edu
This incredible collection includes fabulous Dutch Masters, Hudson River School paintings, major 20th-century works as well as sculpture and photography.
WALKWAY OVER THE HUDSON
(www.walkway.org; 61 Parker Ave., about 4 blocks north of the Poughkeepsie train station. Open: 7am-sunset)  For breathtaking views of the Hudson, stroll or hike across this abandoned railway bridge that's been transformed into a scenic walkway.
Dine: Try The Beech Tree Grill or The Baby Cakes Café.
Stay: Courtyard by Marriott (2641 South Rd/Rt. 9, Poughkeepsie, NY; Tel: 845/485-6336) - friendly staff & a nice indoor pool.
Getting There: Drive or train from New York (Grand Central), take Metro-North (Hudson line) train to Poughkeepsie, then a taxi. (Empire Taxi, Tel: 845/454-4444)
HYDE PARK - HISTORIC SITES & GREAT EATS
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt devoted their lives to the betterment of all Americans. Hyde Park is where FDR grew up and spent most of his life.
ROOSEVELT-VANDERBILT NATIONAL HISTORIC SITES 
FDR's Springwood

4097 Albany Post Rd, Hyde Park, NY; Tel: 800/967-2283, www.nps.gov/hofr
FDR's HOME: It's a patriotic thrill to tour these four sites. You can also stroll the beautiful grounds with miles of hiking trails. (For more information about the guided tours, contact: National Parks Service, Tel: 845/229-5320.) Springwood - The Roosevelt family home. (The President & Mrs. Roosevelt are buried in the Rose Garden.) Val-Kill - Eleanor Roosevelt's private cottage, she came here when she wanted to relax. Top Cottage - FDR's private retreat.
FDR Presidential Library & Museum - Opened in 1941, this is America's first presidential library, built under FDR's direction. There are fascinating artifacts and changing exhibitions.
THE VANDERBILT MANSION (www.nps.gov/vama)
Val-Kill (photo: NPS/WD Urbin)
This magnificent estate was once the home of Frederick and Louise Vanderbilt. Take a guided tour of the mansion and learn about the Gilded Age. Wander around the exquisitely-landscaped gardens and grounds with stunning Hudson River views.
CIA chefs
Dine: CIA (1946 Campus Dr., Hyde Park, NY; Tel: 845/471-6608) - The Culinary Institute of America is a world-renowned cooking school with several dining options: Bocuse (French), de'Medici (Italian), American Bounty, and the causal Apple Pie Bakery Cafe. (Make reservations way in advance; all restaurants close during school breaks, so check ahead.)
Rhinebeck Crafts: Jonathan's
Stay: Courtyard by Marriott in Poughkeepsie.
Getting There: Drive or train from New York (Grand Central), take Metro-North (Hudson line) train to Poughkeepsie. "Roosevelt Ride" (May-Nov) - a shuttle from the Poughkeepsie train station to Hyde Park (reservations required), at other times, take a taxi.
RHINEBECK - ARTS, CRAFTS & BEYOND
Rhinebeck is a lovely area with wonderful fairs and festivals:
DUTCHESS COUNTY FAIR (Aug): Here's your chance to experience a real county fair with 4H Clubs, farm animals, pie contests, carnivals rides, music & more family fun.
RHINEBECK ARTS FESTIVAL (June): This legendary event is often referred to as the Rhinebeck Crafts Fair with 200 top-notch craftspeople, local furniture makers, music, gourmet food & merriment.
HUDSON VALLEY WINE & FOOD FESTIVAL (Sept): A great way to sample the local Hudson Valley vintages, craft beers, and culinary offerings.
Fisher (photo: Peter Aaron)
BARD COLLEGE: FISHER CENTER
Annandale-on-Hudson, NY; Tel: 845/758-7900; fishercenter.bard.edu
About 10 mins from Rhinebeck, this Frank Gehry designed entertainment center on the Bard campus offers a wide-range of events, or just take a tour of the stunning facility.
Dine: Take your pick from every type of restaurant.
Stay: The Beekman Arms  (6387 Mill St.) - Open since 1766; the Clintons stayed here during Chelsea's wedding.
Getting There: Drive or train from New York (Penn Station), take Amtrak to Rhinecliff. (Taxi into Rhinebeck but, at this point, you'll really need a car.)
MORE HUDSON VALLEY ACTIVITIES
DUTCHESS COUNTY FARM FRESH TOURS: In the fall, leave the organizing and driving to someone else on five different, farm-stop itineraries. Whether you want to pick apples, sample artisanal cheeses, visit local wineries and distilleries, taste New York maple syrup and hand-crafted ice cream, buy organic produce or items made from local wool, there's a tour for you! Visit Fishkill Farms & McEnroe Organic Farm, Crown Maple Estate, Hudson Valley Sheep & Wool Farm, Dutch’s Spirits, Harney & Sons Fine Teas and many other charming, scenic spots. (Tours run Sept thru Oct; contact EscapeMaker.)
FARMERS' MARKETS: Download a brochure about farms with fresh produce for sale and head out on your own, but the tours are more fun!
HUDSON VALLEY RESTAURANT WEEK (Nov): With all the fresh produce available, the area restaurants serve some incredibly-tasty, farm-to-table meals. Several also have rooms to book, so add an overnight stay to your meal!
Fishkill Farms
Making Your Trip Easier
Metro-North offers several "get-away" packages to Hudson Valley places and events.
Dutchess County Tourism has tons of info & hotel deals on their site.
These newspapers have info about local cultural events: About Town & Southern/Northern Dutchess News. Art Along the Hudson: Tips on everything that's happening art-wise in the area.
Stewart International Airport: If you'd like to visit the Hudson Valley from Scotland, Ireland, and Norway, good news! Norwegian Air has just added flights into/from Stewart Airport.

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