Our Gay Travel Guide for Dutchess County
New York doesn’t end with New York City’s borders. Let us tell you that. We visited the Mid-Hudson Valley region twice in the last three years, and we always started our adventure jumping on an MTA train at Grand Central Terminal in New York City. The overwhelmingly beautiful countryside of New York’s backyard, LGBTQ+ friendly people all around the region, amazing farm-to-table cuisine and modern, as well as historical accommodations, made us feel at home. And while we could feel the open-minded influence of New York City’s queer community, we experienced unique cultural highlights and talked to the local gay couple Tanner and Pedro. Of course, we visited the former home and library of the former President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and spent a whole morning at Innisfree Gardens. Last but not least, we grabbed our rainbow flag and enjoyed the view from the popular Walkway Over the Hudson bridge. But that’s not all we have to show you! So, join us on our adventures in gay-friendly Dutchess County, New York, and see the Mid-Hudson Valley with our Gay Dutchess County Travel Guide through a couple of men’s eyes.
– in collaboration with Dutchess Tourism –
The US state of New York is, like all the other US states, subdivided into several counties, such as Dutchess County. For both our trips, we focused on the three main regions located east of the Hudson River: Beacon all the way in the south, the city of Poughkeepsie as County Seat of Dutchess County, and Rhinebeck up north. Each region is popular for its special atmosphere and unique highlights like museums, historical monuments, diverse colleges and universities, and, of course, restaurants, bars, and venues all around the county. For our Gay Dutchess County Travel Guide, we spent a few days in every region in spring and in summer, before heading back to New York City by train.
We found some great flight options from Europe/Amsterdam with KLM, one of our favorite gay-friendly airlines based in the Dutch capital. KLM’s pretty good return-flight deals start from around €447 to New York City – JFK Airport! *subject to availability / last check: 01-2022
Trip to Dutchess County – When to go?
First, there is no time of the year when you should or should not visit Dutchess County. All year-round, the Hudson River Valley is offering cultural events, delicious food, and things to do for everyone. We visited Dutchess County in Spring for the first time. Museums and hiking tours in the nearby Catskill Mountains were on our list. Summer means time outdoors in the nature of Dutchess County. Diverse, almost weekly events and festivals in and around the cities are highlighting the uniqueness of every part of Poughkeepsie, Beacon, Rhinebeck, and the smaller communities of Dutchess County. In fall, the river valley turns red, yellow, brown, and all the other autumn colors. It’s the perfect time for farmers’ markets and farm-to-table experiences. In winter, most communities organize Christmas-themed markets and events.
All Blog Articles about Dutchess County
How LGBTQ+ and gay-friendly is Dutchess County?
Yes, Dutchess County can be considered to be an LGBTQ+ friendly destination in the USA. In the 2020 United States presidential election, Democrat Biden won with a lead of 23% in New York State and with a lead of 18% in the Hudson River Valley and urban Upstate counties. Inspiring, new, and mostly liberal tendencies are coming from New York City and numerous national, and international students. Dutchess County is home to six colleges and universities, including the prestigious Culinary Institute of America (short CIA), Bard, and Vassar College. However, LGBTQ+ travelers in Dutchess County are visiting the countryside, away from the extensive gay and nightclub scene of New York City. Our advice is to be aware of where you are and who you encounter.
We also had the chance to meet gay couple Tanner and Pedro, owners of The Crafted Kup. The two gay men had nothing but positive things to say about their home, Dutchess County. During our coffee date in their café in Poughkeepsie, they told us about their numerous queer friends, local drag queens queer artists, and the organizer of gay and lesbian events in upstate New York, Big Gay Hudson River. Unfortunately, we did not have the chance to attend a queer event in Dutchess County — yet. Nevertheless, we too had an absolutely fantastic experience traveling as an openly gay couple around the county, alone and with our queer-lesbian friends from Onceuponajourney.
Recourses for LGBTQ+ folks & travelers in Dutchess County
- Spartacus Gay Travel Guide: Rank 31 for the USA (in 2021)
- Wikipedia Gay USA: LGBT rights in the USA
- LGBTQ+ Events: Big Gay Hudson River
- Dutchess Pride: Dutchess Pride Center
Gay-friendly Hotels in Dutchess County
There are plenty of LGBTQ+ and gay-friendly accommodations in Dutchess County that are usually located in and around the city center of the bigger cities such as Poughkeepsie, Beacon, or Rhinebeck. During our two trips to Dutchess County, we stayed in very different and unique accommodations around the county. Our first hotel tip is the Art Hotel Tivoli in the same-named town in northern Dutchess County, with charming hotel rooms in this century-old building filled with an eclectic collection of furniture, lighting, and art pieces. Our second tip is the Beekman Arms, the self-named “Oldest Inn in America” located in the heart of Rhinebeck. Just around the corner from there, we stayed at the Mirbeau Inn & Spa in Rhinebeck, with its luxurious rooms and Spa facilities (including an outdoor pool).
Good to know: Although busses are operating between the towns, municipalities, and villages in Dutchess County, we were much more flexible with our rental car. After all, Dutchess County is hilly and, without traffic problems, it takes at least an hour to drive from Beacon in the south to Tivoli all the way in the north of Dutchess County. Of course, there are more accommodations in Dutchess County, especially along the U.S. Highway 9, a major north/south route in New York State, running parallel to the Hudson River. We stayed for example at the Hyatt Place in Poughkeepsie, a good standard hotel with spacious rooms and a pool in the basement.
Gay-friendly Restaurants & Food Places
Farm-to-table food is one of the most importance treats LGBTQ+ folks should indulge themselves while traveling Upstate New York. And you don’t even have to wait until dinner time. Throughout the year, farmer’s markets offer their fresh and overall ecological grown goods to locals and travelers, like the Farmer’s Market in Rhinebeck. Take your time to look around, try a few of the delicacies, and, most importantly, get to know the farmers. Learning about their individual story makes you understand how and why they work and live in and around Dutchess County.
For lunch in Beacon, we can recommend the small but super cozy restaurant Homespun Foods. For lunch in Rhinebeck, you should give Aba’s Falafel and Bread Alone Bakery and Rhinebeck Bagels & Café a try. For lunch in Poughkeepsie, we would strongly recommend to order at Twisted Soul to go and enjoy your food at a table around Upper Landing Park right by the Hudson River. Other lunch places in Poughkeepsie are Savona’s Trattoria and, of course, The Crafted Kup.
For dinner around Poughkeepsie, make sure to get a table at one of the restaurants in The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park. For dinner in Rhinebeck, check the menu (and cocktails) at the Terrapin Restaurant and make a reservation at the Cinnamon. Naturally, we tested quite some restaurants while traveling around Dutchess County. Good to know: Some accommodations also offer lunch and dinner, usually in a restaurant connected to the hotels.
Gay-friendly Activities & Things to do
Culturally, Dutchess County offers spectacular opportunities to explore its natural beauty in several parks like Innisfree Gardens in Millbrook and the riverside of the Hudson with the famous Walkway Over the Hudson. Another, quite spectacular, attraction is The Old Aerodrome in Rhinebeck. After watching the air show, we boarded one of the historic biplanes to see Dutchess County from a bird’s-eye view. Furthermore, we loved it to walk hand-in-hand along the main streets of Beacon and Rhinebeck, tasting local ice-cream and do some good old (window) shopping. Speaking of ice cream, we found a wide variety of vegan-friendly and beyond delicious ice cream flavors at Fortunes Ice Creams in Tivoli and the Beacon Creamery in Beacon.
- Plan & Book a Biplane Flight at The Old Aerodrome in Rhinebeck >
- Plan & Book a day at Irnissfree Gardens >
Travelers, who have more time to spend in the country of New York State, should also look over to the other riverside of the Hudson. Nearby mountain ranges like the Catskill Mountains and the beautiful, lush and green valley around Woodstock are easily accessible and are perfect destinations for a day trip by car. In many places in this region, the heritage of the early Dutch settlers can still be found here, as the name of the county already suggests. Keep your eyes and ears open!
New York, California, Oregon, Illinois, Nevada and Florida: We love to travel around the United States of Amercia. One of our favorite travel periods is June, the annual (American) Pride Month. Where to stay? What to see? Where to eat? We share all these information on our Gay USA Travel Guide.
Plan your Trip to Upstate New York with our Gay Dutchess County Travel Guide
Our experiences in Dutchess County have been unexceptionally positive: Holding hands in public, giving each other a kiss, or checking in a hotel asking for a double bed – we never faced any difficulties and could thereby fully enjoy our trip to New York beyond NYC.
Nevertheless, please consider our tips in this Gay Dutchess County Travel Guide as suggestions, with no guarantee that it still will be like that when you are traveling there. Though we did our research and all our opinions written in this article are honest, authentic, and true. We would like to thank Dutchess Tourism for their invitation, support, and the possibility to experience the Hudson River Valley in a very free and authentic way.
For any clarifications about our info and help for your travel plans to Dutchess County, New York, email us, follow us or drop us a line on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram. See you around the world and the next time in Dutchess County, N.Y.!
Karl & Daan.
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Please note: This trip was made possible in close collaboration with Dutchess Tourism, Visit the USA and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. Thanks to all the tips and help from our wonderful readers, followers, new and old friends, we really enjoyed our trip to New York’s backyard. Nevertheless, our photos, our videos, our opinions, and our writings are our own, as always.