Be my guide.
June 4, 2010 8:39 AM   Subscribe

Hudson Valley Filter: I will be attending a writer's retreat in Ancramdale from October 8-10, 2010. I will be staying at the retreat center for those days but cannot stay there before or after. I would like to take 5-7 days before or after the retreat to see the sights and write.

I will be alone, have a car and have no need to go into Manhattan.

So my questions are:

1. Where should I stay (I'd like a "home base" so that I can drive about but come back to the same place each night). I am open to anything other than Motel 6 type places and frilly B&Bs where I have to eat with a bunch of couples. I'd preferably like a non-shared bathroom. I'm willing to stay anywhere from the Hudson to the Berkshires. My budget is around $100-$150 a night and that seems reasonable for most of the places I've checked out.

2. What should I see? I'm a milliner and a writer and I'm quite fond of Hallowe'en. I won't be doing any big hikes.

3. What should I know about the area? I have never been to the Hudson Valley before and I'm a native Los Angelena so, I am really looking forward to the Autumn colors...other than that, I'm clueless.

So essentially, if you could pick a town in that area to make your home base and you had about a week to travel about, where would you stay and where would you go?
posted by Sophie1 to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: While I grew up a little south of there, I am afraid I don't know any accommodations, so I'll leave that to others. Maybe this Rhinebeck tourism / commerce site can help? One recommendation is if you are going to be there during leaf season, make your reservations well in advance wherever you do plan to stay.

As far as interesting things to do, there are the Vanderbilt and Roosevelt mansions on the Hudson a little north of Poughkeepsie, if you like historical sites. If you feel like crossing the river at Rhinebeck you could take in the artsy shops in Woodstock. If you feel like driving as far as Pittsfield or Lenox MA, there are historical houses where Herman Melville and Edith Wharton lived.
posted by aught at 9:11 AM on June 4, 2010

Best answer: Nthing Rhinebeck since you'll want to be near a beautiful area of the Hudson River. Rhinebeck is small, but has cafes, restaurants, little shops, antiques, etc.

I would put Storm King Mountain at the top of the sites to see. This is an amazing, huge outdoor sculpture site that'll knock your socks off--the newly departed Louise Bourgeois, Louise Nevelson, Maya Lin's new earthworks installation, Andy Goldsworthy, Richard Serra all have major, huge installations. It's an amazing place. It can take a day to roam the incredible grounds--wear good walking shoes. The Dia Beacon modern art museum won't be too far away and is worth an outing--Richard Serra has an fantastic installation in the basement. Take a boat ride on the Hudson at sunset. Woodstock. Oleana, the Hudson River painters' site. Red Hook is supposed to be a neat crafts town, but I've never been there.

I don't know any places to stay, but you can narrow down a Rhinebeck list and cross check it on Trip Advisor. Have a great stay. The Hudson Valley is beautiful especially in the fall.
posted by Elsie at 10:00 AM on June 4, 2010

Best answer: You may want to see whether Sunnyside has anything interesting going on in October. You mentioned that you're fond of Halloween and I think that they have some Legend of Sleepy Hollow-related festivities around that time of year.
posted by hovizette at 10:54 AM on June 4, 2010

Best answer: Rhinebeck is definitely the place to be, stay-wise-- I can't remember if the Delamater Inn/Beekman Arms fits your bill but you should check it out. If that fails, you might try craigslist for various house rentals--I'm sure a lot will be available. As for attractions, Storm King sculpture garden is worth the trip, as is Dia Beacon. Nearby is Bard College, which has its own modern art museum in the form of the curatorial center, as well as several on-site installations, and a giant metal Gehry building. Nearby historic places include Clermont, Vanderbilt, Roosevelt, Olana. I would avoid Woodstock-- its the same house converted into a store that sells the same t-shirts over and over again. Not worth the trip. All in all, Storm King and Dia: Beacon top my list. It's a lovely area. Rhinebeck is small but has a few nice attractions-- its own independent movie theatre, for example.
posted by stresstwig at 10:56 AM on June 4, 2010

Best answer: I live in the area on weekends and can absolutely concur that Autumn is the best time to visit. You'll be in for a treat, scenery-wise.

(Also, before we go any further, see this similar question from last year:

My answers from the thread above still stand (especially my recommendation to visit Spotty Dog); I think you should stay in or near Hudson. There are quite a few newer B & Bs that won't subject you to chintz. There are also options like this VRBO that would offer even more privacy.

Dia:beacon and Storm King are total must-visits if you enjoy contemporary art. Another place in that vein that you may not have heard of is Art Omi. A drive over to MassMOCA while, about two hours away, would also be worth it is art is your thing.

Here's a good overview of some of the best-known attractions in Columbia County.

You mentioned you're a milliner. Two high-end vintage clothing stores have opened in Hudson recently - Hudson Vintage and Sideshow. Five and Diamond is also there, and they have hats as well.

(The club that's mentioned in the first sentence of that article on Sideshow has also just moved to Hudson. It's called Club Helsinki and it's absolutely awesome. Amazing space, great, great calendar of events.)

I could go on. At this rate, someone from the Chamber of Commerce should clearly put me on retainer. Feel free to memail me for more info.
posted by minervous at 12:29 PM on June 4, 2010

Response by poster: Minervous -- Thank you for answering both times!!! That was my question from last year! When I planned my flight, I had no idea just how much I would regret just spending two extra days. As the event came up, I regretted it more and more but in the end I had to cancel the whole trip due to a death in the family. This time I will have a car and spend much more time in the area.
posted by Sophie1 at 12:47 PM on June 4, 2010

Best answer: Lived up there and have family still. nthing Rhinebeck and a peek at Bard College. Also totally nthing skipping Woodstock; even if you channel your inner hippie you will feel cheap after a visit.

If you like antiques and independent bookstores and boutiques try the village of Saugerties and check out the Saugerties Lighthouse, though I think it is a B&B now. Hudson, NY north of Rhinebeck and Olana Castle is also an antique center.

But as far east as you are Columbia County also look into Great Barrington Vermont and Western Massachusetts in your research.

The "Where to Stay" part is difficult. The second and Third weekend in October is "Leaf Peeper" season when a lot of NYC people run up the Hudson Valley so your budget may not get you very far and you should nail it down in advance. Rhinebeck would be a great home base but it may be out of your range that week for the more well known (non Motel 6) places.

Enjoy, it's a beautiful place and great time to see it.
posted by Kensational at 6:09 PM on June 4, 2010

Best answer: Definitely see my beautiful alma mater Bard! Every major style of architecture from the last century is represented in two miles. Big old southern mansion, Big old gothic mansion, Wright style modern houses, Half-modern-half-classical-library, old farmhouses, and our Gehry performing arts center. Our Center for Curatorial Studies is basically a tiny contemporary art museum in the woods. You may also be able to catch a reading by John Ashbery or Ann Lauterbach, or see Robert Kelly on his walk.

Anywhere you go, stare at the foliage.

To connect with your writerly history, visit Poet's Walk and wander around.

Definitely Storm King.

nthing stay in Rhinebeck, if you can. It's a quaint upstate town, and is tourist oriented as far as eating, sleeping, and artsy souvenirs.

If Rhinebeck is booked, stay in Poughkeepsie. Not gorgeous or touristy, but within an hour of most of the places above, and cheaper than the surrounding area because it's urban.

Drive down to Hyde park for an afternoon to see the Roosevelt estate, and get dinner at the Culinary Institute of America -- gourmet for cheap!
posted by freshwater at 10:41 PM on June 4, 2010

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