Last week, Bob & I took advantage of the beautiful Fall foliage and took an impromptu road trip to the Hudson Valley. It’s a beautiful area to explore, regardless of the season. Small towns with restaurants & shopping, hiking trails and historic parks to roam in, wineries with tastings and both downhill & cross-country skiing in the winter. And we found a great new hotel!
We chose to drive the backroads from our home outside of Hartford, CT. Fortunately for us, the leaves were still near peak color and offered us a beautiful drive to Rhinebeck, NY which only took 1hr & 45min.
We chose Rhinebeck because I wanted the opportunity to try a relatively new hotel, the Mirabeau Inn & Spa - what a gem! Turning into its unobtrusive driveway near the center of town, we were surprised with an expansive parking lot and a “chateau” like building, well back from the street, decorated tastefully for the season.
Upon entering our room, we were greeted with soft pastel blues and the calm of spa music. There was room for a spacious seating area in front of a lit gas fireplace. (By the way, all the rooms have fireplaces!) French doors opened up to a Juliette balcony. The bathroom was large and well-appointed with a French style soaking tub, spa bath products and plush bathrobes and slippers. It definitely felt 5-star!
Our first evening, we ate at Mirabeau’s restaurant, Willow. Its inspiration comes from award winning chef Charlie Palmer, best known for his flagship restaurant, Aureole, in New York City. The atmosphere was casually elegant, the service excellent yet friendly and the meal was delicious and beautifully presented. All in all, a very special evening and I didn’t even have to put a coat on! I would definitely not pass on having dinner here. You can grab breakfast or lunch here too (bathrobes are permitted until 4pm!) but I can suggest other places in Rhinebeck if you choose to be out exploring.
The Mirabeau brand of hotels are known for their Spas. Attached to one of the wings of the hotel, the spa area spans 12,000 sq. ft. with its own lobby & boutique shop, a moderately sized gym, a large room for complementary fitness classes, full service locker rooms and 14 treatment rooms. There's a unique "resting room" kept dimly lit with fireplace and gurgling fountain. Note: spa reservations fill up fast, so appointments need to be made ahead of time.
In addition, any guest of the spa or hotel can make use of the Aqua Terrace at any time, a large outdoor “oasis” complete with fireplace, chaise lounges and “sink in” sofa chairs, its own beverage and food bar and a large hot spa pool kept at a cozy 104 degrees.
Mirabeau also has wonderful offers for Elopements, Intimate Weddings, Mini-Moons (or Baby-Moons), and any kind of small special occasion.
Explore the area...
The town of Rhinebeck is small, easily walkable, and comprised of many eating establishments and some retail stores. Bob and I chose to explore for unusual arts and crafts made by local artisans, so, we headed to Woodstock, NY. Yes, that Woodstock! Amidst the peace signs, tie dye and miniature model VW vans, you can find some good shopping here. At the very least, it’s a fun walk-about. By the way, we did find some cool stuff!
Note: many shops & restaurants in the area are closed Mondays & Tuesdays (they’re open on weekends). So best to visit at the end of the week or weekends.
After Woodstock, we decided to try one of the many wineries in the area. Again, one needs to check the available days for wine tastings, especially towards “end of season”. Many also require reservations, which can be made online. It remains to be seen if that will continue once the pandemic ends. We ended up at Benmarl Winery, right between Newburgh and Poughkeepsie. Another nice surprise… They have outdoor seating overlooking the valley and a reasonable assortment of wines to sample (we drink a lot of wine!). You can order a flight of wine samples to share, then decide upon a glass of your choice accompanied by a lovely cheese & charcuterie platter – excellent! Your accommodations would be happy to provide you with a list of nearby wineries.
Other activities include walking through Storm King Art Center, a sculpture park and gallery. Or Poet’s Walk with 120 acres of fields, forest and river views (it's walls of foliage and stone meant to evoke outdoor “rooms”). There’s the Vanderbilt Mansion and FDR Library & Museum for those that enjoy a bit of history, but note that tours won’t be available until the pandemic has passed.
Despite the pandemic, it was a great and relaxing couple of days with an amazingly short drive! Whether for a romantic interlude, friends' get-a-way or intimate gathering, I'm sure we could arrange a special package for you or your loved ones.
Contact me for more information !