We love New York City, its free spirit, the LGBTQ+ friendly atmosphere, and the countless opportunities to explore different cultures and sights. When we are in NYC, our schedule is full of highlights of big-city life. But New York State is much more than that. Time to take a moment to deeply inhale and exhale and to leave the metropolis behind, jump in a train (or a rental) and make your way upstate, visiting Dutchess County. Bye, bye New York City – hello Dutchess County! “New York’s backyard” offers all but stress: lush nature Hudson River Valley, lots of history, farm-to-table cuisine and diverse opportunities to simply enjoy hassle-free times. Join us getting to know the first stop of our Dutchess County adventure with our gay Beacon travel journal and see the gay-friendly Mid-Hudson Valley through a couple of men’s eyes.
– paid collaboration with Dutchess Tourism –
Everyone knows New York, the gateway to the new world also referred to as New Amsterdam! Today, everyone knows the State of New York for New York City, Sex and the City, and, of course, the Stonewall riots 50 years ago. Where to stay? What to do? Where to go? We put all this information together in our Gay Travel Guide for New York!
Traveling to gay-friendly Beacon in Dutchess County
After 1.5 hours on an MTA Metro-North train departing from Grand Central Terminal in New York City, we arrived in Beacon. The very early morning train ride to gay-friendly Dutchess County together with other commuters was a wonderful experience. Foremost, because Karl did not have to drive and could enjoy the changing landscape from urban New York to the lush and green Hudson River Valley. Make sure to get a seat on the left side of the train to have the best view of the Hudson. On our Beacon bucket list: “saying hello” to Dutchess County at the Waterfront, walking through fantastic art at DIA:Beacon, getting some delicious vegetarian lunch at Homespun and, as a dessert, some ice-cream, strolling over Main Street and tasting excellent Gin at Denning’s Point Distillery. Let’s go!
Welcome to Beacon! – arriving in Dutchess County
Arrived. Just a short walk from the train station in Beacon away, we purposefully headed for the Riverfront Park in Beacon, the perfect spot to just say “hi Dutchess County” and inhale the fresh air blowing over from the Hudson River. The Seeger Riverfront Park offers recreational amenities for visitors and, of course, locals who love to hike here, do some yoga, canoeing or just meet for a riverside barbecue. The weather was amazingly warm and clear, so we had a great view of Newburgh on the other side of the river. But then it was time to visit our first highlight of Dutchess County, DIA:Beacon!
DIA Art Exhibition in Beacon
We had a special appointment that day early in the morning at the DIA:Beacon museum, being able to get behind some security barriers to take these stunning photos. At DIA:Beacon, art exhibits that are shown in this former Nabisco box printing factory are dating back from the present to the 1960s.
Our highlight was definitely to be able to go behind the security glass to admire the gigantic art pieces by Michael Heizer embedded in the ground. But even if you are not allowed to take your photo there, you will have a fantastic overview from the side and lots of exhibition ground to cover. Another personal favorite was the immersive sheets of steel by Richard Serra, arising into the space of the old factory building. Good to know: Everyone who doesn’t arrive by car (like us) can catch the shuttle bus from Beacon’s train station. Check here for more info, on the opening days & hours >
Lunch at Homespun Foods in Beacon
The art pieces at DIA:Beacon left us overwhelmed and speechless… and hungry! We knew that we needed some food in our bellies for our next appointment, so we decided to have lunch at the small but super cozy restaurant Homespun Foods in Beacon. The weather was warm enough for us to take a seat outside in the little garden, where we enjoyed some great sandwiches, homemade cookies, and a glass of freshly squeezed lemonade. Lekker!
Shopping Tour on Main street of Beacon
Like many US-American towns, life in Beacon happens on Main Street. Located to the right and left of Main Street, Shops, Restaurants, Bars, and Cafés invite visitors and locals to take a stroll, have a coffee here and there and get some cute little (or bigger) souvenirs along the way. We even discovered some pretty impressive street art in the side streets of Main Street, perfect to take a selfie or two.
Denning’s Point Distillery in Beacon
If you are in Beacon and Gin-Lovers like us, you should not miss a visit to Denning’s Point Distillery. Why? The company has a good atmosphere, and their spirits (especially the Gin) are delicious. No wonder they won for three consecutive years the award for the Best Hudson Valley Distillery! Denning’s Point is home to an old 19th-century building offering tours, tastings, and special events. Although we could not visit the place during weekends, we got the tip for our blog to mention the open blues jam sessions every 2nd and 4th Saturday of every month from 4-7 pm. Check their website for more details. Cheers!
Not into Gin? No problem. Wine fans, we’ve got you covered! A tip for queer wine lovers: Have a look at the gay-owned natural wine store Dirty Bacchus! The selection of wines from all over the world is remarkable. Additionally, you are supporting an LGBTQ+ business in Beacon, Dutchess County.
Ice Cream with a Smile at Beacon Creamery
By the time we had almost reached the end of Main Street, a group of friendly artists sitting together in front of their studio and chatting handed us two stickers with a big yellow smiley face on them. Turning the sticker over, we discovered that this was not an ordinary sticker, but a value coupon for an ice cream at the ice cream shop just around the corner. With a big smile – like on the sticker –, Karl ordered his free ice cream at the Beacon Creamery less than five minutes later. Well, what else could we say than that the creamery ice cream was just really, really good – just like those first days here in Beacon, Dutchess County!
If you have more time to explore, we recommend walking the Main Street until the end, check some vintage stores, cafés and historical buildings like the Howland Cultural Center. We decided not stay in Beacon overnight. Instead, after the ice cream break, we got us a coffee at Bank Square Coffeehouse and continued our travels to Poughkeepsie, the heart of Dutchess County, and further to Rhinebeck, to explore the northern part. See you there!
Part two of our Dutchess County adventure was Poughkeepsie. For us, the City of Poughkeepsie is not only the County Seat of Dutchess County, but also the heart of the region east of the Hudson River. Learn about Vassar College, The Culinary Institute of America, the legacy of the 32nd United States President, Franklin D. Roosevelt and his wife Eleanor and the Walkway Over the Hudson.
Now it’s time to plan your trip to Dutchess County with our Gay Beacon Travel Journal
During our time in Beacon, we were holding hands for the most part and always gave each other a kiss in between, whether it was because we were happy, comfortable, or because we just wanted to show affection. Ultimately, we felt at ease and encountered no hostility, insults, or strange looks being an openly gay couple traveling in Beacon and Dutchess County.
Do you want to know and see more of us gay couple travel bloggers? Stay tuned and follow along on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram! See you around in the United States of America, Northern America, and on one of our next gay pride trips worldwide!
Karl & Daan.
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Please note: This trip was made possible in close collaboration with the Dutchess County Tourism, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, as well as the tips and help to come from our wonderful readers, followers, new and old friends from all over the world. Nevertheless, our photos, our videos, our opinions, and our writings are authentic and our own, as always.