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Nestled in the heart of the Hudson River Valley halfway between New York City and Albany, Dutchess County is home to historic landmarks, fabulous art venues, popular restaurants and striking scenic splendor year round.
Dutchess County has a story to tell and their museums not only bring you back in time, but you can choose the date; pre-Revolutionary war, early Quaker days, the Gilded Age, early 20th century. They've got it all. Franklin Roosevelt lived there with his family, the home now a National Historic Site.
The county's vast hills make it perfect for nature lovers. An abundance of formal gardens and nature sanctuaries dot the landscape, ranging from strictly imposed ornamental gardens to undisturbed forest preserve.
With hundreds of miles in trials, hiking is popular as is biking. The Appalachian Trail runs 30 miles along the county's eastern border. Be sure to check out the Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park. At 1.28 miles, it's the world's longest pedestrian bridge. And it's 200 feet above the Hudson River. Imagine the views.
Sportsmen try your hand at sporting clays, trap or skeet shooting. Dutchess has five clubs and game preserves, including the nation's oldest shooting grounds, Orvis Sandanona.
Bordering the Hudson River, as well as home to countless streams and lakes, pastimes include fishing, swimming, riverboat touring, and waterside dining as ships cruise on by.
For the golfer there are a dozen championship courses, including an Irish links-style course. All of them have scenic backdrops so picture-perfect you'll be taking as many photos as swings. Two of the courses are among the oldest in the United States. Beginner or pro, your game can be tested in Dutchess County.
Horseback riding is also popular in Dutchess, where lessons are offered in show jumping, cross-country and dressage, for the novice rider up to the expert. If you have never learned to ride this is your chance. Cyclists will have a lot of reasons to smile. Long routes lead riders past rural farm landscapes, Hudson River views and historic sites. A perfect day out on the bike awaits.
There are plenty of kid-friendly spaces as well, amusement parks, arcades, even a children's museum. Also ice skating, minor league baseball, and the famous Dutchess County Fair.
If it's art you seek, perhaps Hudson River School master's like Frederic Church interest you. Or perhaps modern art visionaries like Andy Warhol and Robert Mapplethorpe? Either way, you'll find museums to match your mood.
Dance, drama, film and music all have a home in Dutchess. Their stages host professional performances and summer residencies, community theater, and children's troupes. Performing art spaces run the gamut from the Bardavon's historic opera house atmosphere (the oldest theater in New York State), to one of the newest, a bold architectural performance space designed by Frank O. Gehry on Bard's northern Dutchess campus. After dark, check out the nightlife at venues on every scale, from pulsating dance halls to live music clubs, neighborhood pubs and mellow coffee shops. They even have three drive-in movie theaters.
Dutchess is home to five highly selective colleges. These highly regarded institutions of higher learning offer a wealth of diversions to excite, intrigue, educate and inspire you. From art galleries to sporting fields, from kitchens to lecture halls, explore the programs and events offered on these fine campuses - many at low or no cost.
Whether you're searching for something specific, or open to the serendipitous calling of a luxury item, increase your odds for success in one of the many Dutchess County shopping malls. A number of unique retailers offer one-of-a-kind items handmade by Hudson River Valley artisans, locally-sourced gourmet food products, home décor and accessories. You'll find distinctive gifts and exceptional furnishings to make your house a home.
Antiquing means hitting towns like Beacon, Hyde Park, Millbrook, Millerton, Pawling, Red Hook, and Rhinebeck. Unearth antique and vintage finds from multi-dealer centers, antique shops lining main streets or one of their flea markets. You never know what might find.
From simple farm-market picnics to gourmet meals at The Culinary Institute of America's five restaurants, dining in Dutchess is always an event. The Culinary Institute of America, the world-renowned training center for professional chefs, is the centerpiece of Dutchess County's extraordinary food and wine offerings. Sign up for a weekend class or boot camp and recreate the meals at home. The school also provides a steady supply of graduates who practice their art in restaurant kitchens all over the county, so dining out is a consistent delight.
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