For a big cultural experience in a small town setting, visit Rhinebeck. This New York town offers great dining, shopping, theater and a riveting history. The surrounding countryside, intersected by the Hudson River is as beautiful as the town is charming.
One of the best things to do in Rhinebeck is simply wander around downtown to get a feel for the place. E Market Street and Montgomery Street have the largest concentration of shops and restaurants. Watch life go by from your table in a little café. Peruse the quaint boutiques, where you can purchase unique locally made handicrafts.
Extend your wanderings to Wilderstein Historic Site, a fine example of the spectacular mansions that the Hudson Valley is famous for. This colorful 19th-century Queen Anne-style manor was owned by a prominent local family for several generations. Margaret Suckley, a close friend and distant cousin of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, was the last family member to live here. Take a guided tour of the opulent mansion and explore its expansive grounds and trails.
See Rhinebeck from the air at the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome. During the airshow season, between June and October, don goggles and take a ride on a World War I-era biplane. When you are back on the ground, watch an airshow, where vintage aircraft engage in dogfights and dives. Learn more about the aerodrome’s planes at the museum.
A great time to be in Rhinebeck is in late August for the Dutchess County Fair at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds. Enjoy six days of fun in one of the largest county fairs in New York State. At other times, the fairgrounds hosts such events as antique shows, classic car shows and the Wine and Food Festival.
Rhinebeck is around 2 hours away from New York City by train or car. The town’s riverside setting and historical attractions make it a popular weekend getaway for visitors to the Big Apple. Stay overnight in a variety of accommodation choices, which includes the Beekman Arms. This is the oldest continuously operated hotel in America, having first opened in 1766.