Springtime is the perfect season to visit charming upstate hamlets like Rhinebeck, New York.
The Amsterdam in Rhinebeck, New York.
Rhinebeck, New York is a postcard-perfect town that first came to prominence when Chelsea Clinton married fiancé Marc Mezvinsky here in 2010, but Hudson Valley aficionados have long sung its praises. Now is the ideal time to visit: the region’s famed ramps will soon crowd the farmer’s market, buzzy new restaurant The Amsterdam has just opened, and nearby hikes promise an embarrassment of natural beauty. Read on for the very best that Rhinebeck has to offer.
Sister properties Beekman Arms and Delamater Inn are perfect for any history buff. The former hotel has been in operation since 1766 and hosted the likes of George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and Alexander Hamilton during the Revolutionary War. Today, rooms have thankfully been updated, but much of the 18th-century charm remains in the oak beams and wide-planked floors.
The farm-to-table philosophy has been a central tenet of Dutchess County restaurants for decades, but none are doing it on a level quite as sophisticated as newcomer The Amsterdam. Helmed by James Beard Rising Star Chef nominee Sara Lukasiewicz, the restaurant features innovative takes on American classics like East Coast porgy served in a crispy local-beer batter or spiced honey cake with brown sugar buttercream. Don’t miss the building itself, which was originally built in 1798 and lovingly restored by owners Howard and Chris Jacobs.
Located on the banks of the Hudson, Wilderstein (whose name means wild man’s stone) is a late 19th-century mansion that was home to three generations of the Suckley family, descendants of some of the founding families of the area. Guests can tour the stunning Queen Anne-style home as well as explore the 40 acres of manicured lawns designed by noted landscape architect Calvert Vaux.
The Rhinebeck Farmer’s Market is one of the most celebrated in the region, and for good reason. Aside from a bevy of fresh produce, meats, and cheeses, vendors offer everything from falafel to fresh berry pies to sausages on sticks. Special programming this summer includes events like book signings from local chef Zak Pelaccio and visits from master gardeners from Cornell Cooperative Extension.
It’s impossible not to want everything at sleek furniture store Sawkille Co. The 15-year-old shop specializes in what they call “Rural American Design”—simple, impeccably built wooden credenzas, bedframes, and tables. If you’re looking for a modern farmhouse aesthetic, your search ends here. And, if you can’t find your perfect piece, designers are willing to collaborate with you to alter existing pieces.
Haven Spa is a favorite of The Amsterdam’s owner Howard Jacobs. “Go here for a superbly nurturing day-spa experience,” he says. “There are massages, facials, and more in a gorgeous, warm, and beautifully furnished historic home.”
When to Go: Spring or Summer
Rhinebeck is a wonderful escape year-round, and spring is the perfect time to go if you’re looking to experience the area’s legendary ramps. But if you can’t find a free weekend soon, plan to visit in August, when The Dutchess County Fair rolls in. Demonstrations include everything from how to milk a cow to apple pressing and competitions big (livestock) and little (brownies). Stock up on classic fair treats to bring home like real maple syrup, fudge, and chocolate-covered apples. Oh, and did we mention there’s pig racing?