Rhinebeck New York
Things to Do ~ Hotels ~ Restaurants ~  Outdoor Recreation

Rhinebeck New York is that classic "small town America" you've seen in the movies... Friendly shops on picture perfect streets… Prized restaurants... Famous fairgrounds... Dazzling mansions and estates...

All set against a gorgeous backdrop of farmland, river, and mountains.

Rhinebeck NY Collage

E Market Street | View from Ferncliff Tower | Stores Downtown | Wilderstein

"The Gem Of the Hudson Valley"

Beacon New York Location and Directions

The historic village of Rhinebeck New York in Dutchess County, New York - is located on the east side of the Hudson River, approximately 100 miles north of Midtown Manhattan.

Getting here: By train, use Amtrak on the Hudson line to the Rhinecliff station. By car, a nice ride up or down the Taconic Parkway (bulls head road exit) or Route 9 will get you there just fine.

A Brief History of Beacon New York

There are over 400 registered historical landmarks in Rhinebeck New York, so to say it's got history would be a bit of an understatement. Here's the gist of it...

  • 1686 Wilhemus Beekman (direct ancestor of FDR) buys 2,600 acres on the river from the Sepasco and Esopus Indians. His son, Henry Beekman later obtains a royal land-grant to the entire area. German refugees settle the area. By 1713 there is a mill, blacksmith shop, church, and tavern. 

  • Beekman Arms Inn (which you can visit today) is used from the get-go as a headquarters for military and political campaigns. The Inn hosts George Washington, FDR, Martin Van Buren, Benedict Arnold, and many other notables throughout the years.

  • In the 1890s, Rhinebeck NY becomes the Violet capital of the United States producing $1M of the crop annually.

Not much has changed in Rhinebeck New York since the late 19th century. It remains a small village with several prosperous blocks along Market and Montgomery streets - and that's the way residents like it. That's its charm.

Rhinebeck New York: Top 5 Things to Do

1. Stroll, Snack, and Shop Your Way Along E. Market Street and Montgomery St...

Rhinebeck NY - East Market Street

One of the greatest things to do in Rhinebeck New York is to simply walk around the village. Every address, window, and door offers something unique and alluring...

I'm a big fan of Grand Cru Beer and Cheese Market across from Beekman Arms Inn on Montgomery street - for the simple reason that they serve up pints of craft beer, wheels of delicious cheeses and pickle samplers; and have wi-fi. 

When you've had your fill of cheese and beer, head around the corner for all sorts of knickknacks at Winter Sun/Summer Moon... Last time I was there, I picked up a wooden frog percussive instrument. Ana and her friend perused the exotic clothing, jewelery, and shoes. They've also got yoga gear and therapeutic candles and creams.

After that stop by Samuels of Rhinebeck NY, Inc., a little book-end of a shop on Market Street. They serve up coffee, tea, and locally made baked goods. Friendly owner, Ira Gutner is the type of guy that'll run around the counter and get the door when you have your arms full. Good place and people.

A village staple, Oblong Books and Music on Montgomery street next to Gigi's is an independent shop that's been in town for over 35 years. Forget Barnes and Noble and iTunes. If you're in town, come here to fire your imagination - and tuck in with the community.

Just across the street, Blue Cashew Kitchen Pharmacy and it's bright, clean store presentation calls out to the cook in us all. Inside you'll find a bevy of sophisticated and useful kitchenware. Part owner Gregory chatted with us about a recent storm which canceled the Dutchess County Fair, and about bees and local honey (which was for sale on the counter). Naturally, we bought some.

2.) Take a Road Trip and Tour the Great Estates of American Royalty in the Hudson River Valley...

Open Road Outside Rhinebeck NY

There's nothing quite like the open road, eh? Well, Rhinebeck New York is perfectly situated for you to explore 6 Great Estates of the Hudson Valley. All on a simple 20 mile northerly drive along Route 9...

Start 10 miles south of Rhinebeck NY in Hyde Park. In Hyde Park, you can visit the FDR Presidential Library at Springwood, the home and estate of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Here you can pour over the historic collections and artifacts in the Museum from the FDR era. 

After visiting Springwood, hop back in the car and drive  2 more miles up the road to visit the Vanderbuilt Mansion. The Vanderbuilts' palatial country retreat is open for tours from May to October. Any time of year, you can visit the grounds and admire the stunning views and architecture. 

After stopping in to say hi to the Vanderbuilts, continue 5 miles north on Route 9 and you'll come upon Mills Mansion, part of the Staatsburgh State Historic Site. The lawn looks out to the Hudson, Catskill Mountains, and Esopus Lighthouse. You can wander the 92 acre estate and tours of the 65 room Beuax-arts mansion are only $8.

Just outside of the downtown district of Rhinebeck NY is Wilderstein, a colorful mansion over looking the Hudson with turrets, artwork, and furnishings from the original owners inside. The last living resident was Margeret Suckley who was a cousin and close friend of FDR down the road. Tours of the house are $10, but you can enjoy the property for free.

Travel another 8 miles north, beyond Rhinebeck and rejoice in fabulous landscapes, gardens, and monolithic trees hundreds of years old at Montgomery Place in Annandale-on-Hudson, and nearby Clermont State Historic Site in Clermont.

*note this itinerary would be quite exhausting/impossible to do in one day. But this could be a fabulous weekend plan using one of Rhinebeck's B&Bs or Inns as a base.

See my pictures of these Great Estates

3. Fly with the Pilot in a Bi-Plane and Watch the Airshows at the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome...

Old Rhinebeck ny Aerodrome

Wouldn't you like to soar thousands of feet in the air with a birds eye view of our beautiful Hudson River Valley? Does the image of distant blue mountains rising on the horizon and the sound of your scarf flapping in the wind intrigue you?

Well, the choice is yours. You can ride in a bi-plane at the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome complete with the goggles and leather cap! If you prefer to stay grounded, you can watch daring dog-fights and barn storming dives at the weekend airshows and explore the museum.

The Aerodrome is the result of a life long pursuit by Cole Palen. In 1959 he purchased farmland near the village of Rhinebeck NY to showcase his growing collection of historical planes and military vehicles.

It is now one of the largest collection of WWI era planes in the world... and... you'll have a chance to watch these planes in action! The oldest in the fleet is the Bleriot XI, built in 1909 in France, which made history when it flew across the English Channel - an amazing feat at the time.

The Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome operates from mid June - mid October, everyday from 10am - 5pm. Airshows occur on weekends starting after 2 pm. You can take a bi-plane ride any day, starting at 10am.

4. Catch the Dutchess County Fair and More Events at the Fairgrounds....

Rhinebeck NY Dutchess County Fair

If you haven't been to The Dutchess County Fairgrounds - and their marquee event, the Dutchess County Fair, you're missing out.

Delight in thrilling carnival rides, a cow's beauty pageant, a fiddle contest, themed gardens, live music, bull riding, horse shows, and so much more!

Running for over 160 years it's the second largest county fair in New York State, attracting nearly half a million visitors over a span of 6 days late in August. But there's so much more going on at the fairgrounds...

For Hot-Rod enthusiasts the Rhinebeck Car Show is one of the largest of its kind on the east coast. Held on the first week of May each year, you'll have a chance to gawk over thousands of classic cars and pick up parts and souvenirs at the swap meet. I've enjoyed this one with my dad since I was a tike!

The Hudson Valley Wine Festival features gourmet food and wines from Hudson Valley, Long Island, and Finger-Lake wineries in September on the weekend after Labor Day. It's a good time with live entertainment, great food, and lot's of sipping and shmoozing opportunities... Especially if you're involved in the food and wine industry.

Photo: Amy Loves Yah

5. Get Outdoors for Some of the Best Sights and Solitudes in the Mid-Hudson Valley...

Sunset Over the Tree tops from Ferncliff Tower in Rhinbeck NY

The Rhinebeck New York area, like all of the Hudson Valley, is simply a gorgeous place to be. And, there's three spots that you gotta check out.

Perhaps there's no better place to watch the sun set than from 300 feet in the air on the observation tower at the Ferncliff Forest Preserve. Overlooking the Hudson and Catskills, the elevated 200 acre wilderness has miles of trails, making it a great place for hiking, birding, and camping.

Spot wildlife on a leisurely stroll through Poet's Walk Park. Let the romantic landscape of sweeping meadows, level paths, and views of the Rhinecliff Bridge be your muse. The park is a short drive north of Ferncliff Forest, and is much easier on the knees. :)

Take advantage of the killer snow sledding terrain at Burger Hill Park and enjoy the panaoramic views on your way down. This barren 500 foot knoll attracts acoustic guitar pickers, avid exercisers, and lovers of life in all types of shoes! It is also a habitat for native grasses and beautiful bird species.

Rhinebeck New York: Hotels and Bed and Breakfasts

rhinebeck ny beekman arms in

The Beekman Arms and Delamater Inn offers an encounter with history and 73 rooms smack in the middle of Rhinebeck NY’s village.

Built in 1766 - Beekman arms is said to be America's oldest continuously operated inn.

Of the two options, the Delamater is the more notable building, and offers bigger rooms. Its a fanciful gothic style house designed by Jackson Davis, one of America's first famous architects.

Keep in mind, Beekman Arms and Delamater Inn is an old facility and there are also better eating options at nearby restaurants.

But, Imagine ordering a beer and resting your elbows on the very same bar and tavern where General George Washington once sat and planned the revolution; and where Franklin D. Roosevelt held his Presidential Campaign Meetings. That's what this place is all about.

Also, behind the Inn in a big red barn, there's an antiques market for you to peruse. (photo: Adam Jones)

Favorite Rhinebeck NY Bed & Breakfast Accommodations...

The Olde Rhinebeck Inn - A historic farmhouse turned B&B, built back in 1745. Located off Rt 9G, three miles southeast of the village of Rhinebeck. There are 4 rooms - equally cozy and clean. Enjoy the rustic charm of wide wooden plank floors, the quiet of a pond from your window, and a friendly dachshund named Strudel. Expect to pay anywhere from $225 - $290.

The Looking Glass Bed & Breakfast - You'll see this attractive and colorful victorian house just off route 9 on Chestnut street  Inside are 4 rooms, all nicely furnished with a queen bed, air conditioners, a private bathroom and period wall paper. The other half of the house is occupied by the owners, the Meltzer family. 2 blocks walk from downtown shopping. ($160 -$195)

Whistlewood Farm - Set atop a hill about 3 miles north east of the downtown village of Rhinebeck off route 308, Whistlewood has some resident horses and overlooks pastoral farm country. Enjoy a crackling fireplace, bacon sausage and eggs on the 1904 cookstove, colorful indian rugs, and beamed ceilings hung with canoes, pots, and kettles. There are 8 different rooms, ranging in size and splendor from $175 - $295.

The Belvedere Mansion - is 4 miles south of the village on Route 9. The property features four stand alone cottages, a swimming pool, pond, and tennis courts. It's sophisticated and elegant. Rooms range from $150 -$450 a night. The Belvedere restaurant is excellent fireside dining and has gotten positive reviews in the New York Times and Wine Spectator magazine.

Rhinebeck New York: Restaurants

For such a small village, Rhinebeck New York has an array of very good restaurants. Not surprising when you consider all the talent coming out of the Culinary Institute of America in nearby Hyde Park. Here's a few: 

rhinebeck ny terrapin

Terrapin is the converted church on Montgomery street. It's actually two restaurants: one casual with an attractive bar, the other more formal.

Both Terrapin's menus are similar and specialize in local organic American cuisine. The menu caters to Vegetarian, Vegan, and Gluten free diets. I've eaten here several times. Good food and atmosphere.

(Photo: NNECAPA)

Just off Route 9 across from the Beekman Arms Inn, Calico Restaurant and Patisserie  has served its European inspired American cuisine for almost 20 years. As the name eludes, the stylish restaurant also doubles as a pastry shop. Its a small place and fills up quick so reservations are recommended.  Good food at good prices.

Le Petit Bistro is a very well regarded French bistro near the corner cigar shop on Market street. Zagat says "it feels great to be at this winner." Try the fish tacos and leg of lamb specials. Yum!

Bread Alone is a well known bakery with several locations in the Hudson Valley. Besides sending out their baked goods to the Farmers Markets far and wide across the Valley, here at their store in Rhinebeck New York they serve up tasty sandwiches, paninnis, and salads.

Gigi's Trattoria on Montgomery Street near Oblong Books, serves up delicious "Skizzas" - little gourmet pizzas and "Hudson Valley Mediterranean" cuisine. I stopped in there after my last visit to the Rhinebeck Car show. The service was excellent, upbeat and friendly.

For more international cuisine, also try Arielle (Mediterranean) on Market Street. And, a few doors down from Arielle, you've got a taste of southeast Asia at Aroi Thai.

*There are plenty more restaurants in Rhinebeck New York. The above mentioned are some of the highlights located within walking distance from eachother on Market and Montgomery Streets.

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