Eat like a king in Dutchess County
Central Park picnics are nice. But for a real country dining getaway, city dwellers can’t beat Dutchess County.This bucolic patch just three counties north of the Bronx exists in a time warp. It’s filled with historic mansions, Roosevelt family estates, old farms and horse stables. Thanks to Dutchess’ agricultural heritage and proximity to NYC, a vibrant foodie scene has emerged. Area eateries and farmers markets are terrific, and farms have reinvented themselves as wineries, organic producers and boutique cheese makers.
Best of all, it’s an easy weekend getaway. Hyde Park
Dutchess boasts the nation’s best chefs’ school: the stately, Hudson River-perched Culinary Institute of America (CIA). Gourmet options include tours, one-time Saturday classes and divine dining at five affordable, student-staffed eateries (ciachef.edu).
CIA’s American Bounty, which serves local ingredients such as Hudson Valley foie gras, is memorable. Rhinebeck
This sweet Colonial-vintage village is a gustatory hot spot with a Sunday farmers market and excellent eats.
Gigi flaunts a flirty, fun atmosphere and Laura Pensiero’s perfectly prepared Italian dishes. Arielle
For lunch, commandeer a sidewalk table and Mediterranean platter. Burrito Truck
Hipsters head north a bit on Route 9G for the cheap, cheerful Burrito Truck. Upstate Films
This legendary repertory cinema screens its share of food-centric movies. The Rhinecliff
Music types dig the hotel’s Sunday Jazz Brunch Dutchess County Wine Trail
Sip sensational dessert wines and Champagne-style sparklers in the antiques-filled barn/tasting room at Clinton Vineyards, owned by West Siders Ben and Phyllis Feder (clintonvineyards.com). A few minutes down scenic Route 57, the Millbrook Vineyards & Winery offers tastings of its acclaimed pinot noir, cabernet franc and fruity white Tocai Friuliano. Millbrook’s Harvest Party is Oct. 10 (millbrookwine.com). Near Poughkeepsie
Sprout Creek Farm
If you’re a sucker for great cheese or adorable animals, this farm, near Poughkeepsie, is a done deal. At this nonprofit labor of love, a devoted crew raises sheep, cows and goats and hand-makes fabulous fromage from their milk. Visits include a cheese tasting and a peek at cute critters. Big W’s Roadside Bar-B-Q
“Big W,” Warren Norstein, used to cook at Bouley and Chanterelle. Now he runs this stupendous BYOB barbecue joint, where three or four can chow down for $25 on wood-smoked ribs with sides. On the eastern side of Dutchess, it’s an ideal stop on your way home.
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