This is a hosted trip on behalf of Travel Hudson Valley. All opinions are my own.
The Ice House sits along the Poughkeepsie waterfront and offers beautiful views of the Hudson River, Walkway Over the Hudson, and Mid-Hudson Bridge.
The views, however, were nothing compared to the food. Each course was cooked perfectly. The food was fresh and inventive (using an entire softshell crab for the Veal Oscar was genius) and the wine list was extensive. The inside dining room isn’t large, but doesn’t feel crowded. Plenty of seating is also available outside.
We awoke the next morning to torrential rains, which meant our stop at the Walkway Over the Hudson wasn’t going to happen. However, we did have time to check it out the previous evening and it is the perfect, scenic spot for a walk or run when visiting Dutchess County. The path is 1.28 miles long, and when combined with a run over the Mid-Hudson Bridge, runners can rack up some great miles. The Walkway is open daily from 7am to sunset.
As the rains continued, we headed to Hyde Park to tour the home of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the FDR Presidential Library. Hyde Park is a beautiful town. I highly recommend spending an entire day touring the home, library, and surrounding areas. There are several B&Bs and motels in the area and even a drive-in movie theater. We also passed the American Culinary Institute, which boasts a student-run restaurant. It’s on our must-do list for our next visit to the area.
The tour of FDR’s home starts in the main visitor center. Typically, you’ll have a slow, guided tour around the gardens, FDR’s grave site and the stables, but due to the weather, we hurried from the visitor center to the FDR home.
The FDR home is amazingly well preserved, mainly due to the President donating the home to the National Park Service before his passing. He knew the home would be a historic landmark one day and wanted to make sure it was protected and preserved as it should be. It’s a truly amazing thing to look at a bed slept in by Churchill or Queen Elizabeth and see FDR’s childhood handwriting on a plaque. (note: the second floor of the home is not wheelchair accessible; visitors must be able to climb and descend a staircase)
The Presidential Library & Museum is the crowning jewel of the National Historic Site. FDR’s entire personal and professional life are put on display, with no detail too small (look for Eleanor’s engagement ring, or a drawing of a home FDR’s mother, Sara, promised to build for the newlyweds). There are several interactive stations throughout the museum, including excerpts from FDR’s famous “Fireside Chats” , clips of Eleanor Roosevelt on her radio program (my favorite was a conversation between Eleanor and Katherine Hepburn), and short, but powerful video presentations. You can even see FDR’s personal study as it was kept during his life and his desk from the White House. Each of FDR’s four Presidential terms is highlighted with fantastic graphs depicting the nation’s economic status, so visitors can really get a sense for the climate of the nation at the time.
Our time in Dutchess County was short, but sweet. We saw only a small part of what Dutchess County has to offer and are planning a return trip, including a second stop at the FDR National Historic Site, the Vanderbuilt Mansion, and the Eleanor Roosevelt Historic Site at Val-Kill. Dutchess County also offers a wide array of outdoor activities like water sports on the Hudson, hiking and biking trails, and even hot air balloon rides. In September, be sure to check out their Heritage Days activities for lectures, reenactments, and festivals.
If you’re looking for a great place to spend a few days immersed in history, great food, and the outdoors, be sure to add Dutchess County, NY to your next trip. If you’ve visited the area before, what was your favorite attraction?