The Hudson Valley in upstate New York has always been a draw for New York City dwellers looking for fresh air and Insta-worthy pastoral landscapes. Now more than ever, the area’s beauty and space are luring anyone looking for a road trip destination that offers charming hotels, incredible farm-to-table food, and beautiful natural surrounds.
No town may tick all these boxes quite as well as Rhinebeck in Dutchess County. Located only about a two-hour drive from NYC, this charming hamlet has often played second fiddle to other Hudson Valley spots like Hudson or Woodstock—but it is certainly worth a trip of its own.
Since opening in 2017, this farm-to-table spot quickly became one of the crown jewels of Rhinebeck. Now, its menu is better than ever, thanks to new executive chef Randi Jimenez, who has worked in multiple Michelin-starred kitchens. Grab a seat in the restaurant's large (and covered!) backyard, and don’t miss classics like the roasted Hudson Valley duck, served with baby carrots and green yogurt. On your way out, guests can stock up their pantries at the restaurant’s provisions market, which carries a carefully sourced selection of products from the Hudson Valley.
The Beekman Arms and Delamater Inn has operated continuously since 1766, making it the country’s oldest operating inn. Colonial history buffs should make a pitstop at the hotel’s atmospheric tap room, The Tavern, which boasts an open-hearth fireplace, exposed wood beam ceilings, and a welcoming bar. Perhaps not historically accurate—but still delicious—the Tavern is most famous for their Beekman Cosmo and classic margarita. Try to drop by on a Wednesday or Sunday evening when there is generally live musical entertainment.
Rhinebeck’s newest hotel is the French-inspired Mirbeau, an elegant bolthole just off the main intersection. Luckily, you don’t have to be an overnight guest to use the impressive 12,000 square-foot spa there, which includes 14 treatment rooms, Himalayan salt saunas, and the unique aqua terrace: a year-round outdoor space whose centerpiece is a massive heated pool with massage jets and fountain heads. The spa’s signature service is a classic Swedish massage, performed with Mirbeau’s own organic oils. For ultimate relaxation, you can even add on a CBD oil treatment.
One of the highest points in all of Rhinebeck is Drayton Grant Park at Burger Hill, just a few minutes’ drive from the center of town. An accessible hike for even the youngest of visitors, anyone who climbs the wide-mown trails to the top is treated to a jaw-dropping view of the Hudson River and the majestic Catskill and Taconic Mountains. And bird watchers take note: The 76-acre park is also a grassland habitat where ground-nesting bobolinks and meadowlarks can be sighted every spring.
The Hudson Valley is known for its bountiful farms, and no town here may boast a better weekly farmers’ market than Rhinebeck. Held every Sunday from May through December, the market has vendors selling everything from cozy alpaca blankets to wood-fired sourdough breads to triple-cream farmstead cheeses. Of course, you'll also find the freshest local vegetables and fruits. Don’t overlook the branded merchandise, either; the tote bags are the perfect “if you know, you know” souvenir.
Held every August since 1842 inside Rhinebeck’s fairgrounds, the Dutchess County Fair is a six-day event featuring everything from pig racing to classic midway rides to gut-busting snacks like deep-fried pickles. You'll also find plenty of prize-winning animals to admire, including dairy cattle and fluffy sheep. Plan to spend the whole day here: There’s more than enough to keep you busy.
Architecture lovers shouldn’t miss a trip to Wilderstein, the Hudson Valley’s most important example of Victorian design. Originally the home of Daisy Suckley, a cousin and close confidante of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the estate encompasses 40 acres of manicured grounds designed by famed landscape architect Calvert Vaux. The 3 miles of trails, with postcard-perfect views of the Hudson River, are nearly as beautiful as the mansion itself. They’re open—free of charge—every day from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.
While this dessert emporium might be best known for its famous pedigree (Paul Rudd, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Hilarie Burton are all part-owners), the sweets here are worth a trip even if you don't spot a celebrity. The dark chocolate bark with cherries, almonds, and sea salt is a signature, but any of the chocolate-covered nuts are great for buying in bulk (especially if they have the coconut curry cashews in stock). The marshmallow crispy cakes—which feature a picture of Paul Rudd eating a cookie of his Ant-Man character—are also a must-buy for the pure kitsch factor.