I hadn’t been to Rhinebeck New York since I was a child. From the Adirondacks, I’d drive south with my grandparents from time-to-time to visit my godmother and her husband who had a fairly remote cottage on the outskirts of Rhinebeck, so remote that I recall the sounds of birds being more prevalent than the sounds of cars. We went everywhere in their jeep or by foot and there wasn’t a trip we took that didn’t involve a hike in the woods.
I’d find myself getting lost in those woods and disappearing for hours at a time, saddened by the sound of a whistle or bell calling me back for a meal. Today, Rhinebeck combines its authentic upstate New York character with a Dutch historical past, all of which shows in the downtown restaurants, shops, art galleries and antique shops.
While Rhinebeck is located in Dutchess County and nestled in the Northern Hudson Valley, it’s more about nature and land than it is a small town. That said, downtown has plenty of great restaurants, cafes and ice cream stores. Suggestions for foodies include Market Street (where we ate on our first night), Terrapin Restaurant, Gaby’s Cafe, The Rhinecliff and Shelter Wine Bar & Restaurant.
There is a massive antique barn where you can wander around for hours on two floors, the town is heavy into Arts and huge supporters of local artists who have a diverse range of talents.
Sophistication exudes from the main drag, as evidenced by many unique specialty shops — contemporary & classic, European & domestic men’s and women’s apparel, jewelry & lingerie, spa & beauty services, holistic practitioners, home furnishings, books, stationery, gifts, kitchen gadgets, hiking & equestrian gear. It also offers exhibitions, dance performances and independent film for arts enthusiasts visitors.
Then there’s the scenic and serenity value! Regardless of where you are in the surrounding area, it’s not hard to find majestic views of the Catskill Mountains, the Hudson River, and more.
What’s most magical about Rhinebeck however isn’t its sophisticated, charming, cultural-rich, artsy downtown — it truly is the natural beauty surrounding it. We discovered a delightful red barn on a rural road we took from the Old Stone Farm where we were staying for a couple nights (we highly recommend it – be sure to read our review), to Rhinebeck’s Main Street. At the end of this road loaded with natural beauty and of course, this lovely little barn, is the main road that will lead you to the center of town.
Outside Rhinebeck, there are plenty of beautiful hikes you can take in the warmer months. Since we were there in the Fall, it was a perfect time to get out into the woods and so, we opted for the Fern Cliff Forest hike, which has a trail head to the left a couple of miles or so out of town.
Fern Cliff Forest Hike
The tower is part of the hike and it’s definitely worth the climb.
The view from the tower.
Getting there from New York City. Head north until you can pick up Route 9 – see map below.