Great Getaways: Dutchess County, NY

img_7436With the fall season on the horizon, nothing’s better than stepping outside the city and enjoying nature for a weekend. The Dutchess County/ Hudson Valley area of New York is a region not to miss. An hour and a half drive north of Manhattan and you’re in a whole new world, full of lush environments, distilleries, wineries, adorable B&B’s, and so much more!

I recently took a trip to the Hudson Valley to explore some distilleries, vineyards, orchards, and breweries. There’s nothing better than sipping craft spirits and enjoying aged maple syrup at 10am from Taconic Distillery. Here Matt Frohman, Master Distiller took me on a tour through the new Taconic Distillery and allowed me the pleasure of breathing in some amazing angels share!

What’s Angels Share, and what did I taste with Matt at Taconic? Find out HERE.

img_7504The roads here are very easy to navigate and the area itself is beautiful in the spring, summer, and fall. Twenty minutes down the road, and you will arrive at Millbrook Winery. Here Tim, the Tasting Room Manager will take you through the vineyard, winery, and art gallery before a wonderful wine tasting. Millbrook makes some fantastic wines which wowed and impressed my palate.

Want to see some winery pictures and read some wine tasting notes? My favorite Millbrook Wines are HERE.

img_7468Another twenty minutes or so drive, and you will find yourself at Dutch Spirits, at Harvest Homestead Farm, which is a fun distillery and farm that makes one hell of a moonshine! Tour the historic bunkers, taste local NY spirits, and enjoy the interesting history of this distillery and farm in Pine Plains, NY. Here you will also find some delicious peach brandy, cocktail bitters, mini kegs, and so much more!

fireplace_800_600After a day of exploring and tasting, it was time to settle into The Red Hook Country Inn for the night. This quaint bed and breakfast is conveniently located in the town of Red Hook, NY and is a lovely little spot to stay for a few nights. Every room is differently decorated and reminds me of my grandmother’s house, which was comforting and homey. If you want a quiet and clean place to stay with friendly people, and delicious breakfast, than the Red Hook Country Inn is the best place to stay!

Day two: 10am and I was already heading to my first stop Hudson Valley Distillers! Here two families own this distillery, and are friends from college who decided to open a distillery over a few glasses of brown spirits and a campfire. A few years later they have a nice small distillery and produce delicious apple vodkas, apple jack, gin, and also offer a cocktail tasting room, events, and so much more. Hudson Valley Distillery won my heart with their vodka and apple jack, and Jennifer, the wife of one of the owners creates some very creative cocktails!

Want the full scoop on applejack and the history? HERE is what I tasted and enjoyed!

img_7572I then decided by 11am (after a tasting and cocktail) it was time to taste some bourbon, and went to visit Hillrock Estate Distillery. This famed distillery is quite beautiful with rolling hills, a barrel room, and a malt house. This estate is a perfect day trip when you want to taste some incredible Solera Aged Bourbon and walk around a beautiful property. The staff here is knowledgeable and friendly and if you’re into brown spirits, this is absolutely worth a visit!

Want to know what I tasted at Hillrock? HERE you read about all the beautiful spirits I tasted!

img_7573The Hudson Valley isn’t all alcohol, and there are plenty of family activities. I happen to love maple syrup, so when I connected with Crown Maple in Dutchess County, NY I was stoked for this sweet visit! Here they make some of the best maple syrup in the country, and take pride in their work. Here at Crown Maple you can enjoy tours, tastings, and even a restaurant on the weekends featuring some delicious maple syrup inspired recipes.

HERE I will walk you through my syrup tasting and even share a maple cocktail recipe!

img_7589After my visit to Crown Maple it was time to check into the Hilton Garden Inn in Fishkill, NY which was very nice and near some great shopping centers. If you’re a hilton member or just enjoy a larger brand hotel, they offer great accommodations, convenient location and parking, as well as a great continental breakfast!

Before heading back to Manhattan, I wanted to try some Hudson Valley beers and Ciders. A twenty minute drive from the Hilton and I was at Blue Collar Brewery, a Father+ Son brewery and restaurant. Brewmaster Randall of Blue Collar makes some incredible beers that range seasonally and are enjoyed by locals and tourists.

img_7612Before heading back to Manhattan, it was time for one final stop: Angry Orchard! This famous cider spot is one of a kind and a weekend destination for many! Here you can taste their research and development ciders that aren’t launched on the market yet, which is what’s really great about this large orchard and facility. I had the pleasure of touring with Ryan Burk, Head Cider Maker, who is extremely passionate and knowledgeable about cider and craft brewing.

Want to see my tour at Angry Orchard? HERE you will see some fun tasting surprises!

If you’re seeking a quick and fun weekend getaway, I recommend taking a day or two trip up to the Hudson Valley, NY. Here you will find so much to do, taste, and tour and with fall on the horizon, the verasion will be beautiful! 

Sara Lehman

About Sara Lehman

Sommelier, Private Chef, & Food and Wine Pairing Expert in NYC! Sara is a Wine Writer, Wine Ambassador, and Wine Consultant specializing in pairings, parties, entertaining and education.

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