The Olde Rhinebeck Inn, Rhinebeck, NY
By Mary Beth DeCecco
An hour and 15 minute drive is a perfect amount of time for a day trip. It’s even better when the destination is the quaint, charming village of Rhinebeck in Dutchess County.
The short distance affords you the luxury of enjoying the many area attractions without being so far from home that you dread the drive back.
Though it’s a small town, there is plenty to keep you busy in Rhinebeck. There is history, gorgeous homes to tour, unique shopping, farm markets, and, of course, the food. With the prestigious Culinary Institute of America (CIA) just 10 minutes away, the area is a mecca for gastronomical experience.
Located on the Hudson River near Poughkeepsie, Rhinebeck was named after the river of Europe, with the “beck” referring to the original landholder, Henry Beekman. My fiancé (an always-willing travel companion) and I started out on our trip from Albany on a sunny, summer day. Our first stop was a historic house tour. Though the area is known for its majestic “cottages” along the Hudson, such as Franklin Deleno Roosevelt’s Hyde Park, his wife’s home Val-Kill, Mills Mansion and the Vanderbilt Mansion, my research took me to a different home: the Wilderstein Historic Site on Morton Road in Rhinebeck (www.wilderstein.org). Situated off a quiet country road, the beautiful Italianate villa rises up above the trees and expansive lawn, offering the visitor the surprise of a sweeping view of the Hudson River. Built in 1852 for Thomas Holy Suckley and later enlarged by his son Robert in 1888, the estate was home to three generations of Suckleys, the last of whom was Margaret (Daisy) Suckley, a cousin and confidant of FDR. The estate maintains many of the characteristics of the original home, and even features clothing, letters and other items used by the Suckley’s throughout their residency.
Once our tour ended, we eagerly headed to the Olde Rhinebeck Inn located just off Rt. 9G on Wurtemburg Road. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the inn was built more than three decades before the Revolutionary war by German settlers and, although replete with modern accommodations such as air conditioning and direct TV, the home retains its historic charm.
After pulling into the gravel driveway, we admired the three acres of grounds. There are ducks, goats, chickens, a rustic wood shed, a stone patio, a hammock and two Adirondack chairs facing the spring-fed pond, which had our names on them for later that evening. Being here truly means relaxation.
Upon entering the historic farmhouse inn, we were cheerfully greeted by owner/innkeeper Jonna Paolella. The inn has four spacious rooms; ours was the Spirited Dove. Jonna led us up a quaint staircase to the room, which was charmingly rustic with exposed wood beams and wide plank floor, but also refreshingly modern —the room even contained a Jacuzzi tub! There was also a small balcony overlooking the pond, where my fiancé and I enjoyed a nice bottle of wine later than evening.
After checking in, we headed back into town for dinner. Since it was after 5pm on a Sunday, most of the shops had closed up, so we missed out on the usual bustle of tourists and locals shopping the unique stores. But we did manage to wile away some time at the Oblong Books & Music in Montgomery Row (a row of various shops) and even purchased a few books before heading a few doors down to Terrapin (www.terrapinrestaurant.com), which was set in a renovated church. Featured on the list of Jonna’s recommended restaurants, Terrapin did not disappoint. We both enjoyed pasta dishes – his had sausage and a garlic cream sauce while mine was a vegetable primavera with a parmesan sauce. Even the local beer was refreshing!
Our stomachs full, we headed back to the inn for an evening of relaxation. We read by the pond for a little while before heading up to our room to enjoy a bottle of wine under the stars.
Breakfast the next morning was nothing short of a feast. We dined at the rustic harvest table with a couple visiting from Manhattan. All four of us enjoyed an exceptional meal by Jonna, consisting of eggs from chickens raised on her farm, potatoes, fruit, sausage, scones and a baked French pear pancake which was out of this world (here’s a secret: the recipe is online at www.olderhinebeckinn.com).
The gentleman, an avid traveler who described himself as a “Ritz Carlton” type of guy, praised the Olde Rhinebeck Inn as the finest inn he has ever stayed at. Sounds like a convert to me!
Rhinebeck is a quaint, historic town with gorgeous scenery. To fully enjoy the experience, check into the Olde Rhinebeck Inn and let Jonna take care of you for a day or two. You won’t be sorry.