The western half of the county near the river is where the majority of the population lives, and contains the cities of Beacon and Poughkeepsie as well as the villages of Wappingers Falls, Fishkill, Hyde Park, Rhinebeck, and Red Hook. Areas to the east of the Taconic State Parkway are primarily farmland and small rural communities such as Millbrook, Amenia, Pawling and Millerton. The northeastern part of the county contains part of the Taconic Mountain Range, which provides excellent hiking opportunities and beautiful views.
Dutchess County is regarded by many as the dividing line between "downstate" New York (i.e. areas associated with New York City) and "upstate" New York (i.e. areas that are more like the the rest of New York state, which is predominantly rural with some mid-sized post-industrial cities). The northern terminus of two commuter train lines to the City are located here, in Poughkeepsie and Wassaic respectively. Many people who live in Poughkeepsie and points southward take the train to commute to work in New York (over 60 miles away!) every day. This creates an interesting mix of people and some very heated local political debates, as the expansion of New York City and its environs raises rent and land prices for the more rural people, some of whom have had roots in the area for generations. Add to this mix the growing number of former NYC residents who have been priced out of the city, as well as people coming from all over the country and world to study at Vassar, Marist, Bard, and the Culinary Institute of America, and the result is arguably one of the most diverse communities anywhere in the entire state.
The area is full of history, from Revolutionary War sites to the FDR home and presidential library, to the many historical buildings of the Industrial Revolution era in Poughkeepsie (including Samuel Morse's estate), to the abandoned 19th century women's college in Millbrook. The cities of Beacon and Poughkeepsie, once ridden with crime and poverty, are coming back strong, with new bars and restaurants opening practically every week.
Stewart International Airport, 1180 First St, New Windsor, +1 845 564-2100, . The closest major airport is across the river from Beacon, but at present offers few direct flights to major destinations.
Westchester County Airport, 240 Airport Road, White Plains, +1 914-995-4860 (airlines), . Two counties away, but an alternative to the congestion of the 3 major international airports around New York City. Rental cars available.
Newark Liberty International Airport, Newark, New Jersey, , John F. Kennedy International Airport, and LaGuardia Airport: Livery cars offer service to and from 3 major international airports. Metro-North Railroad and Amtrak offer rail links to Dutchess County.
Taconic State Parkway runs through the center of the county and connects Albany and the I90 east-west portion of the Thruway system to New York City via the Saw Mill River and the Henry Hudson Parkways.
Metro-North Railroad - Hudson line, . There is service between New York City's Grand Central Terminal and Beacon, New Hamburg, and Poughkeepsie. On-board train fares are subject to a stiff surcharge, so buy your tickets at the station or at the vending machines located on the platform.
Metro-North Railroad - Harlem line, . There is service between New York City's Grand Central Terminal and Pawling, Appalachian Trail flag stop (limited service, but convenient for hikers), Harlem Valley-Wingdale, Dover Plains, Tenmile River, and Wassaic. On-board train fares are subject to a stiff surcharge, so buy your tickets at the station or at the vending machines located on the platform.
Amtrak, . Runs on the Hudson River side of the county. Long distance connections are available at Metro-North's Poughkeepsie station.
Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library & Museum, 4079 Albany Post Rd (Route 9), Hyde Park, + 1 800 FDR-VISIT, . This is the first presidential library, and to date the only one used by its namesake while in office. Museum hours 9AM-5PM daily November-April; 9AM-6PM May-October.
Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site, Route 9G, Hyde Park, +1 845 229-9115, . The only National Historic Site dedicated to a First Lady. Val-Kill is a modest home and it is the only one that was Eleanor's alone. House open daily May through October, 9AM-5PM. House is closed for renovation until August 2006, but grounds are open.
Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site, Albany Post Rd (Route 9), Hyde Park, +1 845 229-9115, . Open year round, daily. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day. Buildings are open 9AM-5PM, grounds are open 7AM to sunset.
Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site, 4428 Albany Post Rd (Route 9), Hyde Park, +1 845 229-9115, . A magnificent mansion from the gilded age, set on 212 acres overlooking the Hudson River.
Dia:Beacon, 3 Beekman St, Beacon, +1 845 440-0100, . Museum for the Dia Art Foundation's collection of modern art, including works by Andy Warhol. Located in a 300,000 square foot historic factory on 31 acres of riverfront. Summer hours Th-M 11AM-6PM (closed Tu-W). Winter hours (mid-October to mid-April) 11AM-4PM F-M (closed Tu,W,Th). Adults $10, students and seniors $7, children under 12 free. Free admission for Dia members.
Wilderstein, 330 Morton Rd, Rhinebeck, +1 845 876-4818, . Stunning Queen Anne style mansion set on park-like grounds designed by Calvert Vaux. Open May-October, Th-Su noon-4PM.
Innisfree Garden, Tyrrel Rd, Millbrook, +1 845 677-8000, . 150 acre garden open to the public. Chinese landscape design incorporates streams, waterfalls, rocks, and plants. Center piece is the 40 acre glacial lake. Open May 7-October 20. W, Th, F, 10AM-4 PM; Sa, Su, and legal holidays, 11AM-5PM. Closed M and Tu except legal holidays. W, Th and F: $4/person 4 and older. Sa, Su, and legal holidays: $5/person 4 and older. No pets.
Follow the Dutchess County Wine Trail, . New York state is one of the larger wine producing states in the United States of America. The Hudson Valley is one of five production regions within the state, and Dutchess County produces some of the best wine in the area. Follow the trail and taste the produce of four wineries.
Alison Wines & Vineyards, 231 Pitcher Lane, Red Hook, +1 845 758-6335 . Tours and tastings from mid-April through December, Sa-Su 11AM-5PM. Views of the Catskill Mountains.
Clinton Vineyards & Winery, 450 Schultzville Rd, Clinton Corners, +1 845 266-5372, . Specializes in the Seyval Blanc grape. One of the few wineries in the region that produces sparkling wines fermented in the bottle, and has a line of dessert wines from specialty fruit. Tours and tasting Th-M 11AM-6PM (Winter: F-S Noon-4:30PM).
Millbrook Vineyards & Winery, 26 Wing Rd, Millbrook, +1 800 662-WINE (toll free) or +1 845 677-8383, . Renowned winery with a long list of awards for its wines. 130 acres with 30 planted to grapes. The winery itself is located in a renovated dairy barn that has great views of the rolling hills of Dutchess County and of the Catskills across the Hudson River. The proprietors also own two wineries in California and one in Tuscany. Guided tours and tastings year round, 7 days a week, S-Sa 12PM-5PM. From Memorial Day through Labor Day S-Sa 11AM-6PM.
Harney & Sons, 13 Main St, Millerton, +1 518-789-2121, . M-Sa 10:00AM-5PM, Su 11:00AM-4:00PM. Harney & Sons is a supplier of fine tea to renowned restaurants and hotels. The company headquarters and distribution center is on the outskirts of the village and it operates a tea shop and tasting room on Main Street. Visit the tasting room for a perfect cup of tea. The staff is courteous and graciously shares their vast knowledge of tea.
Pleasant Valley Motel, 1672 Main St., Pleasant Valley, NY 12569 (From Rt.9 North, take US 44/55 east, staying on Rt.44, for approximately 5 miles), ☎ 845-635-8251, . From website: The Pleasant Valley Motel is situated on Route 44, just west of the Village of Pleasant Valley. We are a mere 7 miles from the center of Poughkeepsie, and our country surroundings provide a beautiful change of pace should business or pleasure bring you to Dutchess County. We provide clean and comfortable lodging from only $65 per night, double occupancy. We offer King Beds, Double Beds, and adjoining rooms. $. edit
Beekman Arms and Delamater Inn, 6387 Mill St, Rhinebeck, +1 845 876-7077, . Beekman Arms may well be America's operating oldest inn, established in 1766. The Delamater Inn, designed by Alexander Jackson Davis, is in the American Carpenter Gothic style.
Troutbeck, 515 Leedsville Rd, Amenia, +1 845 373-9681, . In the manner of an English country estate. Has pool, fishing, tennis, hiking, health club, ballroom.
Simmons’ Way Village Inn, 53 Main St., Rt. 44, Millerton, +1 518 789-6235, . Library, fireplace, dining, wine cellar.
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