The second destination of our trip to the Mid-Hudson Valley after Beacon 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. We learned about Vassar College in Arlington, The Culinary Institute of America, the legacy of the 32nd United States President, Franklin D. Roosevelt and his wife Eleanor in Hyde Park, and the Walkway Over the Hudson connecting Poughkeepsie and the west shore of the Hudson. And there is more before we continue to Rhinebeck… Join us getting to know the second stop of our Dutchess County adventure with our gay Poughkeepsie travel journal and see the gay-friendly Hudson River Valley through a couple of men’s eyes.
– paid collaboration with Dutchess Tourism –
Traveling to gay-friendly Poughkeepsie in Dutchess County
So, after the first stop of our Dutchess County trip, we headed further north, by train. Just 25 minutes later, we arrived in Poughkeepsie, and just a couple of minutes later, at the car rental. After all, we wanted to explore not only the city but also the region around the County Seat of Dutchess County. But to be more precise, Poughkeepsie is the name of two neighboring towns in western Dutchess County, New York State, the City of Poughkeepsie and the neighboring Town of Poughkeepsie.
Though, regardless of this administrative division, the two towns are generally considered to be one town. And if, like us, you have a little trouble pronouncing the name at first, just try “Pe-kip-sy” and with a little practice, you’ll quickly get the hang of it. Good to know: The name Poughkeepsie is derived from the Native American term Uppu-qui-ipis-in or U-puku-ipi-sing, which means “hut (or camp) by (small) water,” referring to a spring or tributary of the Hudson River.
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Start with a Tour of Arlington: Vassar College
We begin our exploration in Poughkeepsie with a visit to Vassar College and the neighborhood of Arlington, a suburb of the City of Poughkeepsie, which is part of the Town of Poughkeepsie. Vassar campus, with its 400 ha and more than 100 buildings, is a wonderful place for a stroll, a coffee break or lunch. Because of the landscaped park grounds with gigantic trees providing shade, we were able to cool off a bit in the midday heat.
We got us some delicious food at Twisted Soul food and found a bench under one of the huge, old trees at the campus in front of the main building. Students philosophizing in groups on the grass, birds, and squirrels playing in the tree tops, and a gay couple of men just sitting there enjoying the atmosphere. Another food tip for a good lunch is Savona’s Trattoria, just outside the campus, where we ate the other day.
The Crafted Kup: Gay Couple operated Coffee Shop
Just around the corner: Gay-owned and delicious! The coffee at The Crafted Kup in Poughkeepsie is one of the best coffees in town, if not in the whole of Dutchess County. AND: it’s owned by a gay couple! We could meet Tanner Townsend and his partner, owners of The Crafted Kup, who gave us a little insight into their work, the snacks, and coffee and shared their experiences about LGBTQ+ life in Dutchess County. „We love to live here. It’s not just the nature surrounding us.
The LGBTQ+ community is active here with Drag events and other queer community events, not only in Dutchess County, but all around the Hudson River Valley. And if we need the big-city life, New York City is just around the corner!” We couldn’t agree more. New York City has plenty to offer to fill the needs for an active queer gay scene. But when you want to enjoy nature and take a little break from the overwhelming energy of NYC, then Dutchess County seems to be the perfect getaway – or place to call home.
Jeder kennt New York, das Tor zur Neuen Welt, das auch Neues Amsterdam genannt wird! Heute kennt jeder den Staat New York wegen New York City, Sex and the City und natürlich wegen der Stonewall-Unruhen vor 50 Jahren. Wo soll man übernachten? Was kann man unternehmen? All diese Infos (und noch mehr) haben wir in unserem Gay Travel Guide für New York zusammengestellt!
Walkway over the Hudson
One last coffee to go, and off we went to see another highlight of Poughkeepsie, the world’s second-longest elevated pedestrian bridge. We parked our car right by the river at Victor C. Waryas Park. From there, we took a stroll along the wide river bed all the way to the Upper Landing Park with the elevator that would bring us 65 meters up to the top of the former double-track railroad bridge. The Walkway Over the Hudson is spanning the Hudson River between Poughkeepsie on the east bank and Highland on the west bank. Today, it is used by many people daily crossing the Hudson, walking their dogs, jogging, or just enjoying the view over Dutchess County. A perfect spot to wave our rainbow flag in the wind… Don’t you think?
The Legacy of the Roosevelts | Hyde Park
You know us. We are eager to learn new things, especially when directly or indirectly connected to human rights and the LGBTQ+ community. During the preparations for our trip and Gay Poughkeepsie Travel Journal, we came across former US president Franklin D. Roosevelt and his wife, Eleanor, and some interesting sights to visit just outside of Poughkeepsie, in Hyde Park. For everyone who doesn’t know President Franklin D. Roosevelt: he, also known by his initials FDR, was a member of the Democratic Party and the 32nd President of the United States of America from 1933 until 1945.
The biggest challenges of his presidency were handling World War II and being diagnosed with poliomyelitis (at this time). Together with Abraham Lincoln and Georg Washington, FDR is one of the most influential and greatest US-American presidents. Since he was born in Dutchess County in Hyde Park, we had to visit some historic monuments, too. There, we also learned about another family member of Roosevelt, who was at least equally important to history, but for human rights and the support of the LGBTQ+ community, Eleanor Roosevelt.
Val-Kill – Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site
Our first touchpoint with the Roosevelt family heritage was a visit to Val-Kill, the Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site, the first and only Historic Site dedicated to a US-American first lady. As the name Roosevelt might already reveal, the family of Roosevelt has a Dutch heritage, which Eleanor preserved by naming her later permanent residence Val-Kill (Dutch: loosely translated as “waterfall-stream”). But who was Eleanor Roosevelt?
During our tour with a representative from the National Park Services, we learned about her nontraditional proactive political role as the first lady, nicknamed FDR’s “eyes, ears, and legs”. What a power-woman, not only because of her political work, but also her dedication to her daily newspaper column My Day, and her role as a mother of six children at the same time.
After the death of her husband in 1945, she became an early civil rights activist, setting up the first-ever Universal Declaration of Human Rights as an appointed delegate to the United Nations General Assembly. She was also, among others, the first chairperson of the preliminary United Nations Commission on Human Rights. There is much more to learn about her, but you have to visit Val-Kill. A tip for your Dutchess Country bucket list!
Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Home, Library & Museum
For many US citizens, a must-do in a lifetime, for us Europeans totally unknown: The significance of the 13 presidential libraries across the USA. The first one ever built was Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Presidential Library and Museum in Springwood, Hyde Park. There, we could learn all about the Roosevelt presidency, from the Great Depression through the New Deal years and World War II, illustrating Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt’s relationship with the American people. Many US-Americans actually travel around the country to visit all presidential libraries to understand better decisions, the historical background of the states, and the people’s relationship to the president and his family.
Just a short walk from the library, we visited the Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site together with a tour, before we sat down on a bench overlooking the Hudson River Valley. On our way back to the car, we passed by the grave of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt embedded in a rose garden. Interested in US-American history? Please do put it on your Poughkeepsie gay travel bucket list!
The Culinary Institute of America | Hyde Park
Hungry? So were we. Time for dinner, but not just somewhere! Dutchess County is home to The Culinary Institue of America. Cooks from all over the world come to the cooking school in Hyde Park to learn the fine art of creating a treat and taste adventure. We had a reservation at The Bocuse Restaurant to test classic French cuisine, American style.
The best thing about the institute and the connected restaurants is that it is all cooked and served by people in education, which gave us an unexpected inside into their education process of becoming professionals. The Bocuse Restaurant is a unique and exciting, world-class dining experience. Our Tip: Definitely try the Table Side Ice Cream made right at your table with liquid nitrogen! Yummy!
Innisfree Garden in Millbrook
On our last day in Poughkeepsie, before we continued our trip further north in Dutchess County, we wanted to visit a special garden just half an hour away from Poughkeepsie. Established between 1930 and 1960 as the private garden of Family Beck, scroll paintings of the 8th-century Chinese poet and painter Wang Wei inspired the landscape design of Innisfree Garden in Millbrook with its individual garden scenes around a glacial lake.
The weather was cloudy and wisps of morning mist floated quietly across the lush green meadows. Innisfree Garden is a place to calm down, to take a moment and reconnect with nature, a place to just be and inhale the fragrance of nature. Make sure to plan a couple of hours and make your way along the Wishes Tree and around the lake.
And then it was already time again to say goodbye. And hello to the northern part of Dutchess County around Rhinebeck, where we stayed in several hotels, tested several restaurants and were able to experience the region north of New York City from a bird eye’s perspective. Theater, nature, indulgence, and feeling of freedom – that’s how we could describe this last days in the Hudson River Valley. But read, for yourself, what we experienced during our time in Rhinebeck!
Part three of our adventure in Dutchess County was Rhinebeck. For us, Rhinebeck, with its many restaurants and special hotels like the Beekman Arms & Delamater Inn, Hotel Tivoli and Mirbeau Inn & Spa, is a great base to explore gay-friendly northern Dutchess County. Including the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome and the Fisher Center.
Now it’s time to plan your trip to Dutchess County with our Gay Poughkeepsie Travel Journal
During our time in Poughkeepsie, 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 Poughkeepsie 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.