It’s summertime, the best time of year to use the weekends to their full extent and get out of your everyday element—especially if you call a metropolis like New York City home. For Shannon and myself, we recently headed to Dutchess County in upstate New York to shake off the city’s close quarters in search of quaint charm and a chance to explore the wilderness nearby. And by wilderness, I mean antique shops, restaurants that served ramps (they’re in season!) and wineries. Here’s a run-down of what to do, where to eat and where to shop in Dutchess County, from our Parlour #TravelFly perspective.
We left Brooklyn mid-morning and drove to Meyer’s Olde Dutch in Beacon, New York in little to no traffic. Perfect since Hudson Valley has some of the best views worth stopping for. Meyer’s is a quaint, slightly retro locovare burger joint with a small bar boasting a solid selection of whiskey and the addition of vegetarian and chicken sandwich options. We ordered two New York State Specials, which is a cheeseburger with McAdam’s Muenster cheese and a garlic aioli that all came together for a delicious bite, especially with their double cooked french fries. Naturally, we washed it all down with whiskey cocktails.
Afterward, since Meyer’s is located on a cute shop-filled street, we checked out a couple across the road. In Dream In Plastic, we explored chotchkies like Polaroid cameras, funky buttons, ornate oven mitts, and several quirky one-of-a-kind cards. A few doors down at Notions and Potions, I found a cleansing crystal I’ve been looking for along with plenty of incense, candles and more.
After checking in at our bed and breakfast The Rhinebeck Inn, we left for dinner at Terrapin,a farm to table restaurant and bistro in downtown Rhinebeck, New York. Our waiter essentially told us what to order and honestly, most of his selections were spot-on. From cocktails—I had the Sour Cherry Bourbon Manhattan and Shannon had Blueberry Bramble—to appetizers—I loved the oyster shooters—to the main course and this is where I should’ve listened to him and ordered the maple-glazed double thick pork chop but instead, I got to relish in Shannon’s blue cheese-crusted filet mignon with a port wine demi glace. It was fabulous, we nearly licked the plate until we remembered we were in public. As for dessert, we shared a bread pudding that felt like a warm hug on a cold day—please order it.
The next morning after the most restful sleep I’ve had in months thanks to The Rhinebeck Inn’s comfortable and cozy bed, Shannon went for a run and I caught up on my outstanding Netflix que. Doing nothing, at least for a little while, is important. Once she returned, we cleaned up and headed to back to Rhinebeck’s downtown area for some antique shopping at the Beekman Arms Antiques Market, the grand dame of shops in the area. I found a cool book on Creem rock magazine and fell in love, while Shannon zoomed in on a particularly fabulous full-length fur coat for an obscenely low price. The Market also had plenty of old records, books, scarfs, shoes, hats and vintage toys, like early Star Wars action figures.
In front of the Antiques Market was The Beekman Arms, America’s oldest Inn. We took a look around and quickly felt like we were extras some revolutionary war drama on AMC. The Beekman also hosts a ghost story session in their cellar, I think, to really terrify their guests, if you’re into that sort of thing.
After that, we took a stroll down East Market street which is home to a variety of antique shoppes, interesting boutiques and memorable places like A.L. Stickle 5 & Dime Store which sells just about everything you don’t need but really want like cool bandanas, silly putty, scooters, stickers, yarn and huge stuffed animals. It’s a dream store for the kid in all of us.
Next up was wine tasting at Millbrook Vineyards & Winery in Millbrook, NY and a smaller operation, Clinton Vineyards in Clinton Corners, NY. Millbrook provided a very professional tasting experience, with one sommelier wittily explaining each wine on the tasting menu to small groups. Afterward, Shannon and I grabbed bowls of chili and a cheese plate in the cafe and sat on a deck overlooking their spread of vines and the gorgeous skyline. After a quick stop to purchase a few bottles of their Hunt Country White, we hopped in the car and headed to Clinton Vineyards, which offers a more informal tasting experience where we discovered something called—wait for it—the patio pounder. Really, the wine’s called Twilight Rose but it’s nickname made us instant fans, so much so that I sent a bottle to a buddy out-of-state.
Later that night, after a well deserved nap back at the Rhinebeck Inn, we headed out to catch our dinner reservations at one of Rhinebeck’s newest restaurants, The Amsterdam. I think our favorite part had to be a pinot noir called Complicated from the Sonoma coast of California. For appetizers, we went wild with pate, the charcuterie board and finished up with a burger and duck breast, all of which were enjoyable thanks to our lovely waiters and waitresses. While waiting for our food, we took in the scenery from the open kitchen and agreed that another visit was mandatory since the rainy weather didn’t allow for us to take in their much-talked about fire pits and outdoor lounge after our meal.
On the final day of our upstate exploration, we checked out Eleanor Roosevelt’s home and grounds at Val-Kill. Since we arrived around opening time, we beat the crowd and received a personal tour of Mrs. Roosevelt’s house from one of the guides. Considering she was basically part of the blueprint for modern feminism and an example of intersectional politics—note her resignation from the Daughters of the American Revolution when they wouldn’t allow famed African American singer Marion Anderson to perform at Constitution Hall—it was a treat to see where Mrs. Roosevelt received heads of state like President John F. Kennedy before he became President, to curry her favor.
In the afternoon, we headed to Poughkeepsie to grab a bite at Essie’s Restaurant, a widely lauded new restaurant from Chef Brandon Walker. Chef Walker’s Modern American menu is inspired by global flavors and his family roots from the Caribbean and American South. Arriving just as they opened, we beat the Sunday brunch swarm before they eventually filled every table. Fortunately, we’d already had our filled of shrimp n’ grits, chicken and waffles and a cheese plate by then, not to mention the sorrell rum punch and the old cuban cocktails. Because Poughkeepsie is towards the southern end of Dutchess County, it’s definitely worth the drive for our mavens in neighboring White Plains, Mount Vernon and Yonkers who could use a good brunch.
All in all, Dutchess County proved a great, quick getaway for two super-busy city women who needed a break from their day to day to indulge in rest, their love for good food, wine and fabulous vintage finds. To plan your own “busy girlfriend getaway” or perhaps something for your family or more on the romantic side—take a look at the trip planners offered on the Dutchess County Tourism website. There you can find itineraries based on food, romance, outdoor activities, arts & culture and much more!
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