Just 90 minutes north of New York City, a world of natural beauty, rich culture and American history awaits in Dutchess County. The area features some of the best sights the Hudson Valley has to offer and welcomes LGBTQ+ travelers with its top-rated dining and craft-beverage scenes, outdoor recreation options and its array of gay-friendly and artsy towns like Beacon, Poughkeepsie, Rhinebeck and Red Hook.
How to Get There
- Metro-North Railroad, part of NYC’s MTA system, offers quick and affordable train service via its Hudson and Harlem lines from New York’s Grand Central Terminal. The Metro-North Train Time app has details on schedules, fares and stations. Amtrak offers express service to Poughkeepsie from Penn Station.
- For bus service to the area, Short Line runs daily buses that depart from from Port Authority terminal on 42nd Street.
- By air, Dutchess County is served via Stewart International Airport, and is just a quick Lyft or Uber ride across the Hudson.
- You can also rent a car and drive from New York to Dutchess County in about an hour, then meander along beautiful back roads at your own pace.
In June, average high temperatures generally hover around 80 degrees Farenheit (26 degrees Celsius) while average lows are in the high 50s (around 13–15 degrees Celsius). Days are sometimes humid, but breezes off the Hudson River help cool things down. Rain and thunderstorms can sweep through the area, so check forecasts and be prepared with rain gear.
What to Pack
You can dress casual nearly everywhere in Dutchess County, but pack a nice outfit or two if you plan to dine in any of the area’s finer restaurants. For hikes and other outdoor activities, be sure to bring along sunscreen, appropriate footwear, head covering and a water-repellent layer. Nights can be chilly, so a sweater or jacket is always a good idea—as is an umbrella, just in case.
Things to Do in Dutchess County
Country Living Fair
May 31–June 2, Rhinebeck, NY
Immerse yourself in rural pleasures at this three-day furniture and craft fair at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck. More than 200 vendors from more than 25 states will present antiques, handcrafted goods, art work, vintage and upcycled goods, home and garden decor, and much more.
Path Through History Weekend
June 15–16, Dutchess County, NY
The Stonewall Uprising of 1969 may be major, but it’s only one of numerous historic events that have happened in New York State. Discover the incredibly rich and diverse history of New York during this mid-June weekend, with special programming at many museums, parks and historic heritage sites located across Dutchess County.
Picnic with the Roosevelts: A Human Rights Day Celebration
June 27, Hyde Park, NY
Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, whose family home is in Dutchess County’s Hyde Park, were staunch supporters of human rights, so it’s only fitting that the area joins WorldPride 2019 with a reflection on their legacy. Begin the day with self-guided tours of the President Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site, the FDR Presidential Library and Museum and the Eleanor Roosevelt home at Val-Kill. Then it’s off to a Hot Dog Summit lunch, recreating the lighthearted 1939 meeting between the Roosevelts and the King and Queen of England. Finish the afternoon with a lecture from New York Times–bestselling author Blanche Wiesen Cook, who will discuss the life of Eleanor Roosevelt.
NY Pride at the Vineyard
July 5–7, Millbrook, NY
On Friday evening at Millbrook Vineyards and Winery, you can dine on local fare from food trucks, watch the summer sunset from the Taproom Terrace and play cornhole and bocce on the front lawn. On Saturday evening, July 6, enjoy Jazz at the Grille, with an open-air concert and grilled fare from Slammin’ Salmon, one of the area’s leading gourmet shops and catering companies. Make sure to bring your own seating (a big blanket or folding chairs).
Hudson Valley Hot-Air Balloon Festival 2019 at Dutchess County Fairgrounds
July 12–14, Rhinebeck, NY
Craving more rainbows after WorldPride? The skies of Dutchess County will fill with color for the Hudson Valley Hot-Air Balloon Festival, now in its 28th year. Taking place at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds, this brightly hued fest offers a full weekend of activities, live music and illuminated evening balloon takeoffs.
Little-known fact: an incredible 30 miles of the Appalachian Trail pass through southeastern Dutchess County, including 4,000 acres of protected parkland. All that natural beauty is waiting to be discovered and enjoyed by visitors year-round—not just by hikers and bikers, but those traveling on snowshoes and cross-country skis as well.
The Culinary Institute of America
Unleash your inner chef at one of the world’s premier culinary colleges, alma mater to food icons like Anthony Bourdain, Grant Achatz and Cat Cora. Take a special cooking class or tour the stunning campus led by a current CIA student. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, you’re in for a treat—CIA is home to its own award-winning restaurants specializing in American, French and Italian cuisines, as well as a fantastic bakery-café.
Housed in a massive former Nabisco box factory along the Hudson River, Dia:Beacon is one of the country’s largest museums for modern and contemporary art. The sprawling 300,000-square-foot space features plenty of room to exhibit large pieces by the likes of Andy Warhol, Richard Serra and Louise Bourgeois, as well as a lineup of excellent temporary exhibitions.
Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome
The Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome is a lovingly maintained museum dedicated to the early years of aviation. Climb aboard a 1929 open-air biplane—decked out in full-on barnstormer gear with helmet and goggles—and take a ride to view the gorgeous Hudson Valley scenery below.
Walkway over the Hudson State Historic Park
For some spectacular scenic views, step out on this former railroad bridge, which rises 212 feet above the majestic Hudson River. The mile-plus span between Highland in the west and Poughkeepsie in the east was built in 1888 and reopened in 2009 as the longest elevated pedestrian bridge in the world. Joggers, cyclists and in-line skaters are welcome too!
For more LGBTQ+ inspiration and information on places to explore in Dutchess County, visit dutchesstourism.com.
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