Hudson Valley, New York
Kevin has had this destination on his radar since the Bourdain episode featuring the diversity of Hudson Valley, so it was an easy choice for his birthday weekend. We spent a large portion of our time leading up to this weekend planning our Galapagos trip, so we kept it simple. Since Hudson Valley is huge, we decided to focus on one area to keep planning manageable with a short time frame. Hyde Park is home to President Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, the Culinary Institute of America, and centrally located for hiking, brewing, and gourmet food- perfect for a weekend getaway.
We drove just over two hours after work to make it up to our Airbnb located in the middle of Hyde Park right on the Hudson River. The photos online promised sweeping views of the water so once we got settled inside, we turned the lights off (to eliminate reflections on the floor to ceiling windows) and the view was stunning! The sun was just shy of setting so only a little light highlighted the mountains and the water in front of us. We went to sleep excited for the full view in the morning.
What a morning view!
We could get used to this. Airbnb has been a great way to experience these hidden gems around the world. There are not many places that are actually on the river so this is definitely one of the most unique Airbnb options in the area.
Healthy breakfast options are slim around this area. There are fast food options, a diner, and a bakery five minutes from our Airbnb- Cranberry’s at Tilley Hall.
Greeted with a friendly smile and a Philadelphia Eagles hat, we knew we picked the right breakfast spot. The inside resembled a tea time decor with floral wallpaper, floral centerpieces, and old photos on the walls.
The smell is incredible as all the treats are made in house each morning. I ordered a bacon, tomato and swiss quiche and Kevin got an egg, bacon, and cheese sandwich on a roll along with coffee- the perfect start to fuel our morning.
Since today was the best predicted weather day, we prioritize our outdoor activity- hiking the Catskills. There are numerous trails to choose from and decided on the popular Kaaterskill Falls. About an hour away, this 2.6 mile hike offered challenging inclines and rewards hikers with one of the highest waterfalls in New York.
Read about the hike to Kaaterskill Falls here!
The hike took us about two hours to complete, just as the trail was beginning to get crowded and the temperature climbed into the 80s. We stopped by the Airbnb to shower and get ready to explore the rest of the day, still unable to get enough of this view.
Kevin had many breweries on his list and first up was Hyde Park Brewing ten minutes from our place. He really enjoyed the options here- the summer lager was his favorite of the trip. With a full menu, it was hard to refuse lunch after burning so many calories on the hike.
- Drunken Turkey (left)- bacon, lettuce, tomato, cheddar, (an enormous amount of) turkey, and cranberry aioli, on a toasted brioche bun
- Garlic parmesan french fries (left) with a garlic aioli dipping sauce (cause there is never too much garlic!)
- Beef on Weck (right)- warm sliced top round of beef with horseradish sauce and aju dipping sauce on salted caraway brioche bun
- Sweet potato fries (right) with a honey mustard dipping sauce
The food here was great- we could not get enough of the garlic parmesan fries! The cranberry aioli was the perfect sauce for the turkey sandwich, which was over stuffed with two inches of turkey, and Kevin was loving the horseradish kick. Needless to say, we left here completely stuffed.
On our ride up to Hyde Park the night before, we passed massive Hogwarts looking buildings that we identified as the Culinary Institute of America (CIA). Immediately enamored, we searched online to see how we could visit the campus without aimlessly walking around. The CIA offers tours for the public every week day at 4PM with reservations and we were able to call this morning for a spot.
Read about our experience visiting the Culinary Institute of American here!
With a few hours before our dinner reservation, we decided to hit another brewery in nearby Poughkeepsie- Hudson Ale Works. Refraining from food to avoid spoiling our dinner appetite, Kevin got a beer and we played 90s trivia cards, which proved slightly more challenging than we expected (though Kevin’s knowledge of boy bands was impressive!).
Our 8PM reservation was for American Bounty, the farm to table dining experience at CIA. Still arriving a smidge early, we walked around the campus and found a bench to watch the sun begin to set. I know these students work very hard, but there were certainly perks of attending this school.
Read about our dining experience at American Bounty here!
Stuffed and satisfied, we left CIA very happy with the time we spent exploring the campus, learning about the program, and experiencing immersive dining.
Another early morning with the sun sparkling on the river, we made our way to Cranberry’s at Tilley Hall for a breakfast of oatmeal and freshly made croissants- yes the place smelled absolutely incredible.
Our first stop this morning was at the Franklin D Roosevelt campus.
We opted out of the FDR house tour and instead focused on the museum. There was a twenty minute orientation video highlighting the life of FDR and his accomplishments. Not knowing what the expect out of this museum, we were blown away just walking through the door. This was going to be an in depth exploration of Kevin’s favorite time period- the years leading to and around World War II.
First, we walked through the special exhibit which displayed artwork posters from WWII with an hour long video that consumed our attention before even entering the museum itself.
The museum starts with the Great Depression era and follows FDR through all four elections in an interactive and informative manner. Period videos, graphics, comparisons, and explanations covered the walls from floor to ceiling with the progression of this time… on two floors! Needless to say we spent way more time here than we expected!
At almost 2PM, lunch decision was critical- our dinner reservations were at 7PM and we did not want to over book our stomachs. A light snack would suffice. Kevin found a beer and cheese place in Rhinebeck near our dinner reservations, so we planned on spending the rest of the day there.
Grand Cru Beer and Cheese Market showcased a variety of beers by the can or on tap along with cheeses of the day and homemade pretzels. We opted for three cheeses – cheddar, truffle cheese, and aged gouda- and Kevin got a glass of kolsch beer as we sat and watched the Red Socks baseball game. This was a perfect snack to hold us over until our dinner.
It was 3PM and we already circled the downtown area, though to be fair we did not go into any stores since we are not big shoppers. Kevin found Upstate Films, a small scale theatre playing “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” at 3:30PM- a perfect idea to spend an hour and a half. It just felt silly to go back the Hyde Park with dinner being in Rhinebeck.
Aside from wishing I brought my makeup to fix my puffy red eyes, the film was poignant and well produced. I won’t review the film but everyone should go see it.
It had downpoured while we were in the theatre so we grabbed our trusty rain jackets before heading into Old Mill Wine and Spirit for a free wine tasting. The owner was pouring a red and a white wine from Burgundy- the white being a Sauvignon blanc from Chabils which we really enjoyed and bought a bottle. We didn’t know Chabils grew other grapes besides Chardonnay! Learning new things.
Across the street a pronounced building caught our eye as we noticed many people snapping photos. With a closer look, we noticed it was the oldest inn in America! The Beekman Arms Inn was opened in 1766 attaching itself to the tavern established in 1704. While we did not see inside, it was clear that this inn retains much of its colonial roots.
Read the full details of our farm to table meal at The Amsterdam here!
It was thunderstorming on our way out of the Amsterdam (yay rain jackets!) and we could not wait to get back to the Airbnb to watch the storm passed. As we made our way through flash flooding, we entered the house, kept the lights off, and just sat and watched the night light up with blasts of lightning and rolling thunder.
Our final morning with Cranberry’s at Tilley Hall! Kevin decided to combine both previous breakfasts by having a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich on a croissant and I got the mushroom and swiss quiche. Waving bye to our new friends, we packed up our things and headed out for our last day.
Just ten minutes away is the Vanderbilt Mansion located next to the FDR estate. The entrance is a long winding road guiding visitors through massive trees leading to a clearing where the mansion displayed.
The only way to see inside is on a tour but the grounds are open to the public (it is a national park). We had enough time before our tour time to visit the gardens on this grey morning, which ending up portraying an eeriness to the vacant garden.
After hearing the history of the Vanderbilt family and the establishment of the mansion, we were led through the front door. As if we were transported across the Atlantic Ocean and took a step back in time, every inch of the floor, walls, and ceilings were covered in elaborate marble, tapestries, sculptures, and more. A Medici palace in the middle of New York State. We were guided through three floors of pure gaudy wealth inspired by European royalty. This mansion is the most modest of the Vanderbilt properties and also the most persevered to its original furnishings.
As we drove through the property, we noticed the numerous trails around the mansion that many people, especially runners, were taking advantage of. Knowing what a Sunday drive home could look like, we decided not to join them and instead head south.
One brewery Kevin has been talking about hitting is Equilibrium Brewery in the southern portion of New York State. Releasing beer since Thursday, there was concern of a large crowd and limited supply on a Sunday. As we drove through downtown of Middletown and approached the brewery parking lot, there was no massive line of people (or rather, no people at all) and the next door brewpub Tapped also had a lot of room. Even though one of the beer offerings was no longer available, Kevin still took home three varieties. We were not expecting this transaction to occur so quickly! Still full from breakfast, we decided to opt out and continue south home.
I know we barely scratched the surface of the opportunities in the Hudson Valley area and this snapshot definitely validated that. Catskills extends quite far and hiking trails can be found throughout. There is a growing food an beverage focus that is focused on highlighting all the valley has to offer. Nearby mountains offer activities all year round from skiing to zip lining. I would love to visit in the fall to see the leaves change along the river. We are definitely looking forward to a return trip to Hudson Valley perhaps to explore a new region or revisit our new favorites.
|Thursday||Night||Drive to Airbnb|
|Friday||Morning||Kaaterskill Falls||Cranberry’s at Tilley Hall|
|Afternoon||The Culinary Institute of America||Hyde Park Brewing
Hudson Ale Works
|Saturday||Morning||FDR Museum||Cranberry’s at Tilley Hall|
|Afternoon||Rhinebeck||Grand Cru Beer and Cheese Market|
|Sunday||Morning||Vanderbilt Mansion||Cranberry’s at Tilley Hall|