Take Your Next Vacation in Dutchess County New YorkThis picturesque region lies between the stunning Berkshire Mountains and the scenic Catskills with gorgeous rural farms, historic sites, museums, quaint towns and cosmopolitan dining. Moreover, it is only a two-hour drive from NY City.
FarmsThe relaxed, sunny days of spring and summer in Dutchess County are perfect for long drives in the countryside and stopping by the many wonderful farms in the area. Fishkill Farms and Treasury Cider, located in Hopewell Junction, is unsurpassed for organic and eco-certified fruits, berries, vegetables and flowers. This lovely, 270-acre family-owned farm grows amazing produce, especially apples with over 80 varieties; they also make the best, tree-to-bottle hard cider you'll ever taste.
Pick-your-own (U-pick) season at the farm officially begins in June with fresh strawberries, followed by the annual Strawberry Jamming Festival. The family-friendly festival includes everything from hayrides and kid's crafts to tasty fare and music. In fact, each month through fall, Fishkill (Dutch for fish creek) offers great events and festivals that are centered on the fruits and vegetables in season. If you visit the farm, plan for several hours so you'll have time to stroll through the lush fields and fruit tree orchards, as well as peruse the enticing specialty items and preserved goods at their farm store.
In Poughkeepsie, you'll find Sprout Creek Farm, a community that is dedicated to inspiring and educating kids and adults about agriculture and farming. This tranquil, storybook farm is about 200-years old and is an excellent place to visit farm animals and spend a few hours exploring the rural property. The farm animals are fun to interact with, especially the cows and goats in the barn. And, during the year, cute calves and baby kid goats vie for attention and a good petting. In late winter, you can even feed the baby kid goats (call the farm for dates & times). Out in the farmyard, you'll get a chance to see the pigs and watch the funny antics of the chickens, ducks and turkeys as well.
If you're hungry, head to the farm's Kitchen to enjoy a delicious table meal, or even attend cooking classes by Culinary-Institute trained chefs. In addition, sprout Creek is a working farm and the creamy milk from their grass-fed cows is turned into award-winning artisan cheeses. The creamery is under renovation but will re-open in June of 2019.
Museums & Historical SitesDutchess County's museums range from intriguing modern art to historic sites; however, there is one museum you shouldn't miss if you visit the area, the exquisite Corning Glass Museum, located in Corning, NY (3 1/2 hour drive from Poughkeepsie). Although it's a fair jaunt from Dutchess County, you won't be disappointed in this amazing and dynamic glass museum.
The Corning Glass Museum's main campus buildings include captivating exhibitions, galleries, demonstrations, an education and research lab and much more. The moment you enter the museum, you're greeted by the expansive view of breath-taking, blown-glass art and jewelry pieces in the museum's shops. On the second floor, the Contemporary Art & Design wing exhibits astonishing art glass pieces.
The museum's current temporary exhibit is the 40th Anniversary of New Glass Review that features objects, installations, videos, and performances made in the last three years by 100 artists of 32 nationalities. If you are visiting the museum after the exhibition, make sure to look for the magnificent glass art piece by Javier Perez, Carrona. This enormous, vivid red shattered venetian chandelier represents the fall of Venetian Glass making. In addition, the second floor also features the fascinating 35 Centuries of Glass that is an interactive gallery showcasing the timeline of blown glass-making.
After your tour around the glass museum, head to the Amphitheater Hot Shop and watch artist's blowing glass or if you wish to make your own glass, book a class in the pavilion studio. Moreover, the Corning glass museum has one of the best cafe's around, with a multitude of delicious hot and cold dishes.
New York offers some of the finest contemporary art museums in the nation and the Dia: Beacon, located in the City of Beacon exemplifies that distinction. The museum is located in the former Nabisco box printing factory on the banks of the Hudson River. The building retains its original character and is an ideal 240,000 square feet of space to house the Dia's collection. The museum's thought-provoking art installations embraces Dan Flavin's impressive fluorescent light fixture installations and Michael Heizer's captivating North East South West exhibition of subterranean negative sculptures (permanent exhibitions). If you visit, allow for at least a half day, as the museum is quiet large and the art, mesmerizing.
Franklin D. Roosevelt was an extraordinary President that served during a turbulent American era. Both he and his wife Eleanor were a major force of immense achievements for the United States. The Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Presidential Library And Museum, located in Hyde Park, are part of the National Parks System and provide an intimate and unique look into President Roosevelt's home-life and his presidency.
FDR was born in Springwood, the Hyde park home of his parents in 1882 and later, FDR and Eleanor would live in the home until his death in 1945, when he was laid to rest in the property's rose garden. The guided tour of Springwood starts with a lovely walk along the property from the visitor's center to the home itself. Once inside, it is a bit surprising that this famous president's home was well-appointed and elegant but rather modest by today's standards. The intriguing tour takes visitors throughout the entire house, including the main living room where FDR entertained world-dignitaries and the room where he was born.
Upon conclusion of FDR's Springwood home and Rose Garden tour, make sure you visit the Presidential Library And museum. This is the first presidential library and the only one used by a sitting president. FDR designed the library in a Dutch colonial style and spent many working hours here during his presidency. The library today contains exhibits of the lives of the Roosevelts, the Great Depression, the New Deal and World War II, as well as personal possessions and some 17-million documents. The library and museum provide an in-depth look into the Roosevelt years and the state of our country during historically tumultuous times. The museum even houses FDR's deep blue, 1936 Ford Phaeton automobile and his primary working desk.
The Vanderbilt Mansion, located in Hyde Park, was built in the late 1800s and is an elegant example of the Beaux-Arts architecture style. The mansion was one of Frederick and Louise Holmes Anthony's opulent homes but considered small with only 54-rooms. The mansion tour leads visitors through the home's interior that is a blending of American renaissance and European architectural salvage, exquisite antiques and period reproductions. Every room in the Vanderbilt Mansion is stunning but Louise Holmes Anthony's room with its gilt accents, period European decor and furnishings is reminiscent of Marie Antoinette's bedroom in Versailles.
The Vanderbilt Mansion sits high on a bluff looking over the Hudson River and has extensive formal gardens and grounds. If you go, make sure you plan time to walk about the regal property after your tour.
If You GoThe restaurants in Dutchess County are superb. Perhaps it is because they are in NY or that the county is home to the Culinary Institute. Whatever the wonderful reasons, here is a list of some top recommendations to consider while in the area. In Reinbeck, The Amsterdam. In Wappinger Falls, Heritage Food and Drink and for the best view on the Hudson River, try Shadows On The Hudson in Poughkeepsie.
For accommodations, the Roundhouse in Beacon is a fantastic boutique hotel that overlooks a lovely waterfall and a rushing creek that soothes you into to sleep at night. The restored building is true to character but the rooms are modern-chic with a blissfully comfy bed and excellent attention to detail.
For additional information on Dutchess County, restaurants sites and accommodations, visit Dutchess County Tourism.
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Patrice Raplee is an accomplished travel photojournalist and editor of Travel Excursion and Seattle Spotlight for Positively Entertainment magazine. In addition, she writes a monthly travel column for the award-wining site Offbeat Travel and is a regular correspondent for award-winning travel radio shows. She is a member of North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA), International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA) and the Recording Academy. Her articles and photographs have appeared in national magazines and newspapers such as Alaska Airlines in-flight magazine, Beyond and the Seattle Times. Patrice travels the globe to cover destinations that feature fascinating culture, art, culinary, history and soft adventure.