Hudson Valley Region, not often is this what comes to mind when I think of New York. When I think of New York, images of the city’s bustling streets, neon lights, Broadway musicals, top chef restaurants, and shopping at 5th Avenue fill up my head.
However, The State of New York is actually incredibly vast and has a lot more to offer than Manhattan and the surrounding boroughs. For the first time, I took a train starting at Grand Central Station to explore the surrounding areas of downstate, New York.
Hudson Valley Region, NY
The Hudson Valley area is roughly 150 miles long and covers various counties. It is easily connected to New York City by train and makes for fun weekend getaways.
A 2-hour ride on Metro-North Railroad took me along the Hudson River to the city of Poughkeepsie in Dutchess county. A short walk from the train station to the elevator led to the world’s longest elevated pedestrian bridge, spanning 212′ above the Hudson River and 1.28 miles across. This is a great place to get a good view of the river and the surrounding foliage, especially during spring and fall. During the season, there are concerts, open-air movies, marathons, and festivals taking place in the historic state park.
Poughkeepsie has several restaurants, hotels, and shops that sustain tourism in the area. Shadows restaurant offers a great view of the Hudson and is often used for large events, such as wedding receptions. Also, nearby is the Franklin D Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park.
Here, you can visit the Roosevelt family home, burial site, see the president’s personal library, and an interactive museum. Just a few minutes drives away is the Vanderbilt Mansion, one of the smaller homes owned by the family. After spending an afternoon in the area, you begin to picture what affluence and stature the neighborhood had up until only a few decades ago.
Food lovers can take a break at The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) for dinner. The oldest and most well known culinary school in the country offers four student-run restaurants. Here when you dine, you will become part of their classroom experience. The CIA’s new 800-seat, state-of-the-art Ecolab Auditorium in the Marriott Pavilion makes it possible for visitors to experience one of Half Moon Theatre’s New York-style theatrical productions after enjoying a meal at The Bocuse Restaurant, American Bounty, or Ristorante Caterina de’ Medici.
Rhinebeck is a charming city to stay overnight. Check into America’s oldest continuously operated hotel, Beekman Arms, for luxurious accommodations in a historic setting. Next day, stroll around the downtown area, shopping for antiques, clothes, and local products, as well as boutiques and dining at historic taverns. Not to miss is Oliver Kita Confectionaries for hot chocolate, cupcakes, and handmade chocolate truffles. Terrapin Restaurant features farm-fresh organic cuisine under the guidance of award-winning Chef Josh Kroner. There are over 30 wineries in this area and many of them are offered on the menu, paired with locally raised duck, venison, and chicken.
Early December is a good time to visit Rhinebeck for the Dutch tradition of Sinterklaas, where a local resident dresses up in a Santa-bishop like attire, accompanied by his long-time sidekick, the Grumpus, as well as the entire town parading through the town.
Overall, the Hudson Valley Region is a historical and culturally intriguing place to explore, just a short way outside of the city!
~This trip was coordinated by I Love New York, the state’s official tourism board.