Hudson Valley

Old Dec 16th, 2011, 09:22 AM
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Hudson Valley

We're going to be back East in late May. Thinking of heading to the Hudson Valley for a little downtime after the reason for our trip - DS and his fiance's graduation from law school followed by their wedding. I haven't been to the area in years, and then only as day trips when I was much younger (visited Hyde Park, e.g. when I was 10, and Annandale-on-Hudson when my brother was attending Bard College -- both a LONG time ago).

we like scenic drives, poking around/shopping in/soaking up the atmosphere in little/charming towns (I'm always on the lookout for crafty, handmade earrings, and a great cup of non-chain coffee), historical sites (for example, we enjoyed a visit to Appomattox and to Harpers Ferry a couple of summers ago), good food (but we're not what I would call foodies -- we don't go miles out of our way for a restaurant (because honestly, we so often are disappointed), we often sit at the bar so we can strike up a conversation with whomever else is sitting nearby, we like pubs as much as fine dining, and we definitely don't like to dress up for dinner).

We have to make our flight arrangements, so need to decide how long to add to our trip for this portion. How many days would you suggest we stay in the area?
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Old Dec 16th, 2011, 10:02 AM
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Even though I am not a foodie either, I would recommend what we did when we visited the Hudson Valley a few years ago--have dinner at the St. Andrews Cafe at the Culinary Institute of America. You will feel like you are dining in fine restaurant (which you are) but at casual restaurant prices. Also, while we wore slacks and nice sweaters, they are perfectly fine with casual dress, including jeans and sneakers.

Also, I would recommend a visit to and tour of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. It's a fascinating place with some fabulous views over the river.
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Old Dec 16th, 2011, 11:41 AM
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There's so much to see in the Hudson Valley. You could easily spend 4 or 5 days there ... or just a weekend.

Hyde Park and the CIA are both relatively close to Poughkeepsie, but if you drive up north toward Albany, there are quaint towns like Hudson (antiques stores, decent restaurants, a Shaker museum and a little sheep farm outside of town) or Chatham (more interesting stores, some decent restaurants). There are also historical sights like Martin Van Buren's birthplace (in Kinderhook, I believe). There's also Rhinebeck, a little more arty and expensive.

There's also Kykuit, which is beautiful. I know I'm all over the place geographically, but the Hudson Valley, while fairly compact, is pretty rich in stores, markets, and historic sights.
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Old Dec 16th, 2011, 12:03 PM
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We stayed about 4 days in Rhinebeck and explored the HV from there. We loved it and want to go back and spend more time in HV. I think u will find all the things u mention in the HV. As mentioned Rhinebeck is an upscale little town (Chelsea Clinton had her wedding there.) and lots of New Yorkers have houses in the area and visit. We liked it and it was an easy place to use as a base to do day trips. In terms of time, from reading your TR in SEAsia, u like to move quickly so I would imagine 4-5 days might be plenty. U could c quite a lot in that time. Potentially u could choose 2 areas to stay -- lower HV and further North and maybe stay a few days longer doing it that way.
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Old Dec 16th, 2011, 12:44 PM
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You've gotten some good advice. For dining, definitely include the CIA in your plans.
As for top attractions, I put the following at the top of the list:
*Kykuit, the Rockefeller estate in Pocantico Hills (adjacent to Tarrytown)
*The Storm King Art Center in Cornwall
*Olana, artist Frederick Church's home in Hudson (and, as Doug already mentioned, the village of Hudson is an interesting stop as well).
Here are two good websites to check out:
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Old Dec 16th, 2011, 01:33 PM
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We spent six days driving from Tarrytown to Kinderhook and back, and certainly could have spent more time in the area.
Some of the things we liked best:
Roosevelt sites
Vanderbilt Mansion
River cruise
Mohonk Preserve
Huguenot Street
Walkway over the Hudson
Storm King
Washington's HQ
West Point
Things we saw that wouldn't make my A list:
DIA: Beacon
Martin Van Buren site
Kingston Maritime Museum
Senate House
Fort Montgomery
Things we considered but couldn't fit in:
Locust Grove
Montgomery Place
Cedar grove
Constitution Marsh
The CIS was closed while we were in Hyde Park, otherwise we would have taken the tour and eaten in one of their restaurants.
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Old Dec 16th, 2011, 01:53 PM
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Storm King is our favorite place in the lower Hudson Valley.
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Old Dec 16th, 2011, 03:03 PM
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Storm King and Olana are wonderful. Hudson is fun to poke around in, especially if you like art and/or antiques, though it does tend towards the precious, imo.
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Old Dec 16th, 2011, 05:36 PM
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I live inthe area and I like Abrams lists, except that I think diaeacon is world class contemporary art, so would put that in the must list.

Rhinebeck seems to make sense as a central place to stay - lots of good restaurants at all price points, but if staying at Beekman Arms be sure NOT to stay in main building, and don't eat there.

Also, be sure to check which side of the river your various destinations are, as you can only cross at Poughkeepsie or Rhinecliff or way up just below Hudson.
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Old Dec 16th, 2011, 11:37 PM
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You may want to take a look at my trip report; click on my name to find it.
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Old Dec 17th, 2011, 08:43 AM
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Another big vote for Olana. We visited on our way back from PA to Vt in late November and really enjoyed it. The grounds and setting are spectacular and the house is fascinating. Thomas Cole's home is also right across the Rip Van Winkle bridge and we will go back to see that and the upstairs rooms at Olana (the second floor is closed during the winter tours).

Near Chatham mentioned in other posts you can see Shaker museums in NY and MA.
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Old Dec 17th, 2011, 10:42 AM
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Don't bother with Thomas Cole's house. We were singularly unimpressed and greatly disappointed with the facility. Plus, the guide was pathetic!
The best time to go to Olana is during the foliage season. The view of the house and the trees is spectacular as you walk down towards the river.
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Old Dec 17th, 2011, 01:00 PM
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If you like wine, google the area. There are many wineries, some of which produce good wines.
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Old Dec 17th, 2011, 04:20 PM
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The Hudson Valley is both very beautiful (even winter if you get it under a coat of snow) and very historic. There are a number of quaint towns with cute shops (some junk and some very expensive antiques) as well as a ton of restaurants. You can see a little in 3 days/4 nights - or stay longer and see much more. A refuge of the uber wealthy from the days of the dutch padroons down through the Rockefellers and associates - don;t miss some of the incredible estates.
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Old Dec 19th, 2011, 09:59 AM
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If you like a variety of things to do, such as wineries, history, architecture, art, food, shopping, outdoors, etc., then 4-6 days to do BOTH sides of the Hudson River should be just enough. If you plan on staying two nights at each lodging location, you should have plenty to explore without ever being bored or driving too much.

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Old Dec 19th, 2011, 10:19 AM
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The Hudson Valley, as everyone says, is a beautiful place. Hudson is a wonderful town as is Chatham - I am biased because I lived in both Chatham and nearby New Lebanon. When you are in that area you are also close to the Berkshires, so add Stockbridge to your list as well and perhaps Great Barrington and enjoy the "little" places in between.
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Old Jun 4th, 2012, 07:59 PM
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Well, we didn't have time for everything, but we kept this thread handy, and managed to squeeze in tours of West Point, Olana and FDR's home and library, a visit to the grounds at the Vanderbilt mansion, a walk across the Hudson on the walkway, poking around Cold Spring, Hudson, Rhinebeck and Saratoga Springs, and a visit to Storm King Art Center (we are not museum people, but we absolutely loved Storm King). We had some good meals - excellent lunch at the Apple Pie Bakery at the CIA ( excellent wild rice soup and roasted mushrooms, delicious flank steak and cavatelli carbonara, fantastic rice pudding and chocolate cake "pop"). I got a macaron to go and didn't eat it until the next day - it was still great - it was goat cheese and apricot). We also had good meals on the casual side of Terrapin in Rhinebeck and at Sushi Thai in Clifton Park (where we stopped for the night after getting pounded by an incredible rainstorm near Albany...I couldn't wait to get off the road). All in all, it was a wonderful respite. The views throughout the valley are astonishingly beautiful.
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Old Jun 4th, 2012, 08:16 PM
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Hi sf! Glad u enjoyed your time in Hudson Valley. Loved Terrapin. Had my first Dark & Stormy drink there. We plan to get to Storm King this trip in July. was the rest of your trip, wedding, graduation etc? How did your outfit work out?
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Old Jun 14th, 2012, 03:43 PM
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This is amazing trip, I will take some tips from it. I enjoyed reading it. Thanks
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Old Jun 14th, 2012, 04:50 PM
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Glad you had a great trip - you hit many of my favorite spots. I think I got pounded by the same storm in Clifton Park that you did - I think it was Wed 5/16 or thereabouts, marble sized hail.

Sushi Thai is actually a pretty good choice - there's one in Saratoga that I frequent.
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