Romantic Weekend Getaway in the Hudson Valley's Dutchess County
1Wind down before you even arrive with a bit of late-afternoon wine tasting at the Millbrook Winery, located in a renovated dairy barn at the peak of a vine-covered hill. There, you can sample wines from the vines you passed on the way in.
2Meander along Rhinebeck's main streets (E. Market Street and Montgomery Street), which are lined with art galleries and shopping boutiques. We recommend stopping into Winter Sun/Summer Moon for eclectic jewelry, clothing, and home décor; Paper Trail for artsy gifts and accessories; and EB's Hudson Valley Finds for locally made accessories and homewares.
3Stroll a few doors down on Montgomery Street to dine at Terrapin. Located in the restored circa-1825 First Baptist Church, the restaurant highlights chef-owner Josh Kroner's French- and Asian-influenced modern American cuisine in both a dramatic dining room and the cozier and more casual bistro. Offerings range from tasty tapas (gingery pot stickers) and creative appetizers (macadamia nut-crusted calamari) to large plates like fried chicken and collard greens, and beef short ribs over mashed potatoes.
1With an extravagant CIA lunch ahead, keep things casual at breakfast with a stop at Bread Alone, where you can choose from still-hot pastries, organic oatmeal, or farm-fresh omelets.
2Enjoy a leisurely drive to nearby Hyde Park (about 11 miles South via Rt. 9) to visit the 300-acre Springwood estate, the birthplace and lifelong home of the only four-term U.S. President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Both the president and his wife Eleanor are buried at Springwood and the nearby FDR Presidential Library & Museum offers insight into his years in office.
3Your taste buds are in for a treat as you enjoy lunch at the Culinary Institute of America's award-winning, student-staffed restaurants (try to reserve ahead). Here, both à la carte and prix-fixe menus celebrate the culinary specialties of France, with a lighter American touch. Expect such classics as escargot (with brie cheese and mesclun greens), stuffed smoked salmon, and braised short ribs. Save room for perfectly executed desserts — from vanilla crème brulée to fresh strawberry tarts.
4After lunch, take a relaxed stroll around the exquisite formal gardens at the gilded-age Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site, as well as through its 1898 Gilded Age stone mansion.
5Continue your amble into the past by spending the rest of the afternoon antique hunting in Rhinebeck at the Beekman Arms Antique Market (a multi-dealer emporium located in a large red barn) and the Rhinebeck Antiques Fair (on select weekends in May, July, and October).
6Relax over pre-dinner drinks at the colonial-era taproom in the Tavern at The Beekman Arms, where you can soak in the ambience of America's oldest continually operating inn (dating from 1766).
7If you can never have too much country paté or mussels in white wine sauce, continue the French theme with dinner at Le Petit Bistro, where CIA graduate Joseph Dalu's talent outshines the dated décor. If you crave something more contemporary, opt for Gigi Trattoria, where the innovative, farm-fresh Mediterranean cuisine ranges from zesty salads and flavorful flatbread pizzas to grilled fish and meats.
1Admire the very same vistas that inspired writer Washington Irving and Hudson River School landscape painters on a morning stroll through Poet's Walk, a 120-acre riverfront parkland dotted with rustic footbridges and gazebos.
2Refuel with a brunch at Calico, a cozy red-walled bistro where you can opt for the tempting frittata of the day, or crab cakes with homemade tartar sauce. Or if you're looking for something a little livelier, head over to the The Rhinecliff, where a classic brunch menu is accompanied by live jazz (11:30 am to 2:30 pm) and the dining room and patio have river views.
3Finish your weekend with a bird's-eye panorama of the Hudson Valley on a ride in a vintage 1929 biplane (select weekends, June through October), departing from the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome. Or, if you prefer to keep your feet on solid ground, go shopping at the Woodbury Commons premium outlets nearby.