Hudson River Valley for three or four days this fall

Thanks for this thread, may we revive it?
My Maine pal and I just cooked up the thought of driving through the Hudson River Valley for three or four days this fall. We’re kind of late in the planning game, so perhaps waiting for this event makes sense.

Can any of y’all help with itinerary thoughts (in addition to food, which towns to focus on, and nice Inns. )

I know my way around Central/Leatherstocking well enough but it’s kind of hard to know how much ground we can cover in a few days along the HRV, also being aware that approx. 8 million people will be leaf peeping in the region. . .

We’re into hiking/walking, looking at the river, looking at people, doing a little shopping, and enjoying meals but not blowing the roof off. Perhaps we’ll go for one really special meal and hope to score farm-to-table/comfort food along the way.

Not at all averse to driving off the beaten path. Have found some astounding inns and restaurants way out in the boonies in upstate. Yippee for that, extra points!

Sounds like a fun trip! Is there a specific part of the region you already know you want to focus on or are you looking for suggestions?

Right, I connected this query to the thread about the biannual Hudson River restaurant festival (Spring and Fall) because I thought the HRV people would want to refer to previous posts. . .but I guess that made no sense?

Anyway, right, it seems like the Hudson River Valley area is way too large to wander through in three days and there are plenty (hundreds?) of web sites recommending ‘must do’s’ - frinstance shopping in Hudson and Rhinebeck, etc. But from previous posts it seems as though you and others have eaten your way happily through six counties so I thought it was worth a shot to ask you for your personal favorite towns/sites/things to do as well as eateries.

What month are you coming? Restaurant Week takes place in November and March. November weather is not as pleasant in general as September or October and you’d miss the leaf peeping by then. I definitely wouldn’t plan a trip around RW and there are many excellent restaurants that don’t participate in it.

Rhinebeck is definitely worth a visit and should have quieted down a bit by the time September comes. There are a ton of shops and it’s got a great farmers’ market. I’m sure others have ideas to add and tomorrow I’ll write up some more specific spots I like.

If you hit Rhinebeck and like French i highly recommend Le Petit Bistro. Also, Rhinebeck has the old airplanes and the air show which is fun. We also liked Terrapin.

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We have some flexibility re: scheduling but October will work for sure. We were thinking mid-week because we don’t have reservations.

The last time I drove through the Finger Lakes region the second week of October I was really surprised to learn it was too soon for fall color. When I lived in Madison County in the early nineties the trees were in full cry by late September. So now I am confused.

We could come down via Albany (good excuse to run over to Cooperstown) or up from NYC, both would work.

Where in Maine are you coming from? Was just up in Portland for a few days; I will try and give a variety of options that aren’t available up there, or compare / contrast things from Portland and a little further up the coast for options in this area.

I saw your profile - you said disabled spouse, but hiking/walking; is your spouse not coming along? And are you looking for alcohol suggestions as well, or only food / lodging / activities?

It is getting later and later. As I recall, last year we still had pretty good color around Halloween in Yonkers. I just looked through my photo reel and I took a photo of the Palisades on October 18 that was still pretty much green, perhaps 10% of the trees had turned.

Sorry, I just saw your question! (Did not appear in my profile. Why?)

I’m meeting up with a friend who lives near Skowhegan, so we will be doing things I can’t do with my spouse. She owns a farm, so fresh food is pretty high on her list. And there will be wine. :wink:
Just finalized the itinerary. Cooperstown - Woodstock - Rhinebeck - Hudson (traveling out of Albany). We snagged reservations at inns because things were filling up fast.

Yes please, a brain dump would be great! When I meet her in Portland we include dinner at Fore Street, which I think is pretty terrific, food and atmosphere.

Also any recs for low key cosy eateries for breakfast or lunch?

Re: the Catskill leg of the drive, do you know anything about Table on Ten? It looks like a way-station on the Brooklyn Diaspora. :wink: But if the food’s good I’m ok with hats and things.

Yikes! That’s just strange to me. But we will soldier on.

OK, I’m not too familiar with Cooperstown area other than Ommegang (beer) and the Fly Creek Cider Mill which is a cute small place which has different kinds of cider and is a couple miles? north of the center of town. And I’ve never been to Table On Ten. I know the Mid Hudson Valley better, so here’s some thoughts:

On your way back from Cooperstown to Woodstock, I’ve only heard good things about Peekamoose Restaurant, it’s about 25 minutes west of Phoenicia. Bear Cafe is also supposed to be good (in Woodstock); we’ve been to New World Home Cooking in Woodstock several times if you’re looking for something a little more casual.

I’m not big on breakfast places, but Sweet Sue’s (Phoenicia) is known for their pancakes; I ate there a few years ago when we were in the area.

If you want to go to Saugerties, there are a few smaller places. Side trips that are not food are Opus 40 and the lighthouse at Saugerties on the Hudson, walk through 1/2 mile of brush to get there (which also doubles as a B&B at night).

Kingston is near there, and I’ve always been a big fan of Elephant Tapas Bar. It’s not all tapas, and is a combination of local ingredients + other influences (sometimes Spanish, sometimes other). The music can get loud later (80s/90s alternative and punk) so that might be a turnoff, but the food is delicious. Wine is mainly Spanish. I’d compare it in some ways to Central Provisions in Portland.

Rhinebeck - farmer’s market on Sundays. It’s smaller than some of the Maine markets, but it’s probably the best around here. Kingston has one on Saturdays as well. Favorite place to eat is The Local. Haven’t eaten at the Amsterdam yet, but I know the chef (from previous places) is good. If you’re looking for Napolitano style pizza, check out Pizzeria Posto. Cinammon Indian is very good - all places right near center of town.

Another place with Spanish influenced dishes is about 15 minutes north of Red Hook, in Tivoli, Panzur. Cute little town that just appears out of nowhere.

For Hudson - a great place to walk around if you want to see the architecture from 100+ years ago, and a city that had down days and is coming back to life. A few antique stores on Warren Street and a sense of hipsters (sorry!) but you’ve also got a New England square in the center of town. My favorite place is a pricey tasting menu (Crimson Sparrow), but their menu centers around seafood with Asian flavors, so that might not be up your alley. Other a la care dishes are all good, however. Backbar has a former NYC chef as its owner and is southeastern flavorful Asian dishes with great cocktails. His main place is Fish & Game, which has a hyper-local bend, but people’s opinions of it are very varied - whether on portion size, or value for money. There’s also a slew of other restaurants up there at lower price points. There’s also a farmer’s market on Saturdays until 1pm. And in Hudson, you can check out Olana (non-food).

Want to check out other places? Pine Plains - Dutch’s Spirits is a few years old distillery, and Ronnybrook Farm’s milk and products can be bought in the center of Pine Plains (as of 2 years ago; haven’t been up since) as well as many other spots in the Hudson Valley. If you don’t want to go to a farmer’s market, Adams (small supermarket with several locations) has a store in Kingston, a couple miles before crossing the bridge.

Wine: Definitely NOT an expert, and I prefer sweeter wines. In Pine Bush (a bit south of where you’re going) Baldwin Vineyards has some exceptional sweeter wines - strawberry and apple are my favorites.

Closer to the area of the Hudson Valley you will be in is Clinton Vineyards, in Clinton Corners, has some higher end dessert wines.

Links to 2 local (to me) wine trails:

Not sure why the wine trail page isn’t active, but it’s stored in archive:

I tried to avoid seafood that’s easily available up in Maine, and the price point on some might be a little higher - there are numerous places that have burgers which are local, for example… Hope that helps!

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Cooperstown is pretty devoid of food worth mentioning. The couple times I’ve been there, we have eaten at Nicoletta’s. It’s fine, but not memorable. Ommegang’s certainly worth visiting for the beer and cafe. Danny’s has decent sandwiches.

Agreed about Sweet Sue’s in Phoenicia. I’ve also heard good things about Peekamoose.

In Kingston is Keegan Ales, a pretty nondescript brewery that has a couple of stand-out brews, if beer is your thing. Woodstock is cute to walk around but we didn’t eat there since we rented a house and mostly cooked there.

Agreed that Rhinebeck’s market is excellent. Taliaferro comes to my weekly market in Ossining and things are a few cents cheaper up in Rhinebeck. Surprising, actually, because you will get a large dose of Brooklyn in Rhinebeck from all the city folk up there visiting. There are plenty of vendors to sample from and buy snacks from to sustain you for your trip. We had lunch twice at Bread Alone in Rhinebeck, which does great salads and sandwiches. There are loads of cute shops.

The wine on the Shawangunk trail isn’t particularly exciting but Brotherwood has a nice Riesling and Warwick has some good cheap table wine and interesting spirits, along with a cafe and beautiful grounds.

If you like beer, Newburgh Brewery is in a restored old building that is stunning. Dont’ linger in Newburgh, though; cross the bridge to Beacon and spend some time walking around. I haven’t been there recently but have been told there are plenty of worthwhile restaurants and bars worth visiting. You can get ice cream from Jane’s at the Creamery.

Beer trail here:

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What route are you taking from Cooperstown to Woodstock?

Lots of great info, thanks so much!
We’re thinking route 23 over the mountains, said to be lovely. Unless the weather is bad, in which case I guess we’ll go through Cobleskill then south.

This question for you and Bob_g too: I was hoping we could run over to the Horned Dorset for dinner but the timing won’t work out. Back in the day, when it seemed as though there were only three good restaurants in the deep woods between Ithaca and Albany and the Dorset was the one you chose if you got tenure AND your in-laws were paying. Have you heard how it fares under the new generation?

This is really helpful, still digesting all the information. We were thinking of taking Route 23 south to Woodstock - sounds like Peekamoose may be on the way, and after a day and a morning in Coop eating hash browns or whatever, we’ll be ready for a drive, a walk, and a nice meal.

So much to do in the area! Hipsters, we can deal. They seem to really like to eat.

Unsure about how wine’s going to fit into our itinerary - we may play it by ear.

Jammie, Sorry, I’m completely unfamiliar with the Route 88 trip other than a BBQ place near Oneonta. I’ve driven Route 28 a bunch of times and it’s a nice trip - only been on 23 once that way back and was a little tired then, so can’t compare the two.

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@bob_g Brooks BBQ? My in-laws love that place.

Speaking of BBQ, to the OP, if you end up going on the highway, Dinosaur BBQ has an outpost in Troy.

I’m not familiar with the Horned Dorset.

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I thought of this thread this weekend because I was on route 17 from Central Valley up to Binghamton and the leaves on the way have begun changing in earnest. It’s definitely not peak yet but it’s on the way there.

Interesting. I drove up to Greenwich/Norwalk on the Merritt last week and I definitely saw more color than we have in Yonkers. We had that week or so of cooler weather in early September that probably got things moving.

@jammie how’s the trip planning going?