Fall in the Hudson Valley
There are plenty of hints about the onset of fall here at the inn. Swaths of color are accenting the trees, the first clusters of leaves are gathering in the yard, the mornings are crisp, the gas stove in Plow & Harrow is lit, and the squirrels full cheeked with nuts are absolutely frantic.
The autmun gathering bug has us bustling about at the Inn, adding cozy warm duvets to the beds, cooking and preparing the local harvest, including local apples and vegetables.
Pickles and salsa from the garden are canned. The last of the sun-dried tomatoes are disappearing into breakfasts. The flower and herb gardens are flourishing after recent heavy rains, provoding more herbs to dry for winter dishes. Mums decorate the grounds. The lawn is thick and green again, with new grass growing quickly in the cool and damp mornings. Fall is the time to reap the summer’s bounty. Should you wish to literally reap the rewards of the local agriculture, be sure to consider the best of Hudson Valley apple picking at Cedar Heights Orchard, Rose Hill Farm and Mead Orchards. Or take in the astonishing range of lightly-picked apples varieties at Montgomery Place Orchard’s market. Don’t forget Sunday’s Rhinebeck Farmers Market for seasonal shopping and socializing.
A little poem that seems to sum up our Apple picking…
“Though a handful of apples
Is all that is crucial,
We always come home
With more than a bushel”
But maybe you also want to reap the cultural benefits of autumn in the Rhinebeck area. Two of the larger events are Rhinebeck Fairgrounds classics: Barnstar Antiques at Rhinebeck, and the New York Sheep & Wool Festival. They throw one amazing event here in Rhinebeck each fall, with beginners to artists gathering to share their favorite patterns, or new dyeing ideas. The Sheep & Wool festival is truly an event to experience: all breeds of fiber animals, sheep, alpacas even angora rabbits, fairgoers can take a spinning, weaving or rug hooking class, watch the sheep-to-shawl knitting competition, marvel at the sheep herding dog demonstrations, check out the sheep shearing trials, or just breath in the atmosphere of this unique agricultural and crafty affair.
Some other local fall events are worth note. Winnakee Land Trust’s Annual Tour of Historic Barns and Working Farms is a day that highlights the farm character of the local region, bringing together our past and present. As a self-guided tour it’s a great way to get a glimpse into these special buildings while shaping your day’s activities at your own pace.I f you are brave and adventurous enough to visit a local haunted house the Headless Horseman in Ulster Park is one of the best and biggest, don’t forget the Haunted Fortress in rural Standfordville always rallies to do an hauntingly great job to entertain and scare both young and old. A less terrifying way to spend a dark and chilly October evening is to experience the St. James Historic Graveyard Tours in Hyde Park. Highly recommended, this theatric tour highlights historically notable people (think Vanderbilts, Roosevelts, Livingstons…) and community members of the past by having local actors bring their characters to life and describe their exploits and foibles. Our Innkeeper Cindy’s grandparents, Les and Marge Entrup are featured on the tour this year.
Or perhaps before dark it might be nice to see some fall foliage and work off your gourmet country breakfast, near to the inn is Drayton Grant Park at Burger Hill, a hill with a short but vigorous climb to a panorama of the Hudson Valley. Burger Hill is a great way to get views of the Catskills, Taconics and Berkshires, get a hint of the Hudson River, and get back to your car in a relatively short amount of time. Or for a unique and dramatic perspective, visit Walkway Over the Hudson, a renovated railroad bridge that spans the Hudson River in Poughkeepsie that is open to the public. This vertical park has been a major success since its opening in 2009, attracting visitors from around the world. For even more on local hikes, see our earlier Great Hikes Around Rhinebeck blog.
Does a bit of hiking and foliage viewing make you hungry? Here at the inn Jonna and Cindy are busy adding seasonal ingredients to your breakfasts. Autumn favorites include Baked Stuffed Apples and Pumpkin Bread French Toast. Check out our recipes on the Breakfast page.
So as you can see, autumn is a busy but special time of year, truly with something for everyone. So if you get the fall urge to get out and start collecting nuts (or apples or pumpkins or garlic or memories), be sure to consider that the Hudson Valley, Rhinebeck area, and the Olde Rhinebeck Inn have lots to offer.