It was time for a road trip out of the city last week. We went to a little gem of a town in the Hudson River Valley called Rhinebeck. If you have never been, I highly suggest it. In Bon Appetit magazine last month, they called Rhinebeck ‘one of the foodiest towns in America.’ They weren’t kidding, aside from being ultra-quaint, these people are crazy about their local food supply. I loved it. For general Rhinebeck info, a great website to checkout is http://www.rhinebeckchamber.com/.
We stayed at a little B&B called the Looking Glass where our hostess, Cari could not have been more sweet. Continental breakfast did not disappoint- homemade breads and scones, fresh fruit, granola and yogurt and decent coffee. On weekend mornings, there is a full-hot breakfast which I can only guess is uber-delicious, too. It’s a small B&B, maxing out at 8 guests making it intimate but not overbearing. I chose it because of the great mid-week price, but also because it is actually in town making restaurants and shops within walking distance. (C’mon y’all, I love my wine and cocktails and I am all about safety!) If you go, the Cherry Blossom room is the only one on the first floor and has a private three season porch and entrance. We enjoyed not only the extra space, but we could snack, eat and relax on the porch in privacy. The Looking Glass also offers ample public sitting/relaxing space including a TV with a variety of DVDs if you choose to stay in for the evening and take in a movie. In addition, they have what they call a ‘Butler’s Pantry’ stocked with tea, juice, bottles of water and the occasional bottle of wine, as well as fruit and snacks. Guests can access this at any time, and it is truly like having the comforts of home available at your fingetips. Cari is quite helpful about what to do with your time while in the area, if you haven’t already made plans. She even supplies you with coupons to some local venues.
We chose to occupy our time with what else? Eating. Fooding. Checking out local restaurants and food. We ventured to Cedar Heights Orchards where a lovely man directed us about the self serve bags and even told us if we happened to bring a bottle of wine, there was a bench that provided a fabulous mountain/valley view. Sad we hadn’t come prepared with wine, but we did enjoy the view from the bench surrounded by apple trees. I would definately say I have never liked a Red Delicious apple in my life, but the ones they grow at Cedar Heights were absolutely amazing-fresh from the tree.
In addition to the Red Delicious, they also grow Gala, Jonamac, Empire, and Cortland varieties. All nicely laid out on a map for you, you can pick as many as you like, prices range from $5 for a 1/4 bushel to $10 for a 1/2 bushel. It is a mere 3 miles from the center of Rhinebeck, and you can easily follow signs to get there. They also have pumpkins so we picked up one of those, as well.
In our infinite driving wisdom one day while there, we decided we should take a drive…no good. I have now learned that I am not a scenic drive-type of person. I have little patience. I want to drive somewhere, where ever, but I need a destination. Between the drive route that we found in a local magazine, our Hudson Valley Map and vastly different driving habits we got lost. Imagine that, right? Bickering, and hot from the sun (I say this because temperature-wise it was not hot, but you know how it is when you are sitting in the car in the sun!) we rolled down the windows and smelled the most amazing smoked-meat smell. Lost on a country road, retracing our steps we came upon ‘Cue 2 Go, a take-out BBQ shop.
Did I say amazing smell? Unreal, the smell of smoked meat fills the air. There is a small building to the side of a house in Clermont, NY. We took two pulled pork sandwiches and a side of coleslaw to go, and it did not disappoint. Tender and succulent chunks of pork bathed in a mixture of spice and vinegar, we put a little homemade bbq sauce on our sandwiches. Coleslaw was just the way I like it- tiny bits of cabbage and carrot with not too much dressing. Lost on a country road chowing down on pulled pork and coleslaw makes me want to get lost more often.
For dining in Rhinebeck, we checked out the highly acclaimed Gigi’s and Terrapin. Gigi’s Trattoria offered a great tasting menu with local items and some perfectly seared swordfish. I think it was our waiter’s first night, though so our service lacked a little. I live and dine in NYC- I like attentive and suggestive wait service. With an extensive Italian wine list, we had to go through a couple of people before we found someone who could recommend something we were looking for…I had a cheese plate for dessert though, and if you go, I definately suggest and it is big enough for two to share. Terrapin is set in what used to be a church, and the ambiance is unique. Appetizers were great- garlic soup and duck quesadilla, but entrees were large enough to feed small families. Check out the pork chop below.
Places to check out in Rhinebeck:
The Looking Glass Bed and Breakfast, 30 Chestnut St, Rhinebeck, (845) 876.8986, www.lookingglassbandb.com
Cedar Heights Orchards, Crosby Lane, Rhinebeck, (845) 876.3231, hours: 9 AM to dusk, www.Rhinebeckapples.com
‘Cue 2 Go, 230 CR 6, Clermont, (518) 537.7246, open W-Sa 11 AM-7 PM
Gigi Trattoria, 6422 Montgomery St, Rhinebeck, (845) 876-1007, hours vary, www.gigihudsonvalley.com
Terrapin Restaurant, 6426 Montgomery St, Rhinebeck, (845) 876-3330, hours vary, www.terrapinrestaurant.com