Elevate Your Summer in Duchess County

Christopher Ehlers READ TIME: 10 MIN. SPONSORED

Nestled in the heart of New York's charming and serene Hudson Valley, Dutchess County has earned a reputation for being one of the region's crown jewels. Steeped in beauty and history – and only 90 miles from New York City – Dutchess County is the ideal getaway not only for city dwellers looking to escape, but for anyone who is looking to elevate their own narrative.

Remarkable at any time of the year (but particularly exquisite in the summer), there really is something in Dutchess County for everyone. From dozens of art galleries and performing arts organizations to farms, historic sites, museums, and award-winning restaurants, whether your idea of fun is to go wine tasting or go on a hike, Dutchess has you covered.

Don't miss the Walkway Over the Hudson, the world's longest elevated pedestrian bridge, which stretches 212 feet above the majestic Hudson River, or a dinner at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, the world's premier culinary college where the likes of Roy Choi, Anne Burrell, and Anthony Bourdain received their training. There's also the award-winning Mirbeau Inn & Spa in Rhinebeck, which offers various treatments, yoga, restaurants, and an outdoor oasis with a hot spa pool, waterfall, and a fireplace.

There are plenty of offerings on the craft beverage front, too, including a rooftop bar with Hudson River views at Zeus Brewing Company, a cider patio at Treasury Cider, the gorgeous Millbrook Vineyards and Winery, the Factory at Sloop Brewing Co., and the elevated tasting room at Milea Estate Vineyard.

Check out the Dutchess Tourism Trail Finder, a mobile passport program featuring attractions, experiences and can't-miss sights throughout the region. The Taste Finder and CIA Chef Finder passes explores the Hudson Valley's finest craft beverage makers and eateries from Culinary Institute of America-educated chefs.

But given that it's Pride Month, there's something many people might not know about Dutchess County: it's also a mecca of inclusivity, acceptance, and individuality, making it the perfect escape to celebrate now or later in the year with scores of events and things to do to. Here are some worth checking out:

Reserva Wine Bar

Owned by couple Tanner Townsend and Pedro Sousa – both graduates from The Culinary Institute of America – Reserva features unique story-driven wines from around the globe, as well as South American small plates. Live music is integral to the Reserva experience, where you'll find live music each weekend ranging from Brazilian jazz and drag shows to singer-songwriters, flamenco, and pop.

Black Americans, Civil Rights, and The Roosevelts, 1932-1962
Now-December 31, 2024

A special exhibition at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, the exhibit "examines the political evolution of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt regarding racial justice and highlights the historical voices of Black community leaders, wartime service members, and ordinary citizens who pushed the Roosevelt administration for progress."

The Flying Ivories: A Dueling Piano Experience
Hudson Valley
Thursday, June 29

The Flying Ivories perform hits by Beyoncé, Billy Joel, Katy Perry, and more at the iconic and elegant Revel 32° in Poughkeepsie, after a delightful cocktail hour with curated canapés.

'Apocalypse Sky: Art, AIDS, and Activism in New York City, 1982–1992'
Through Aug. 20 at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie

This collection at Vassar College's Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center focuses on works by artists whose lives were transformed by the 1980s HIV/AIDS crisis, including pieces by Keith Haring, Nan Goldin and William S. Burroughs. "Apocalypse Sky" highlights the important role of art in cultural politics.

Tour Edgewater Every Third Saturday

Edgewater has a fascinating queer history dating back to the 1950s, when Gore Vidal owned the estate. Tour this magnificent Greek Revival home on the Hudson River, and check the calendar for events celebrating the great contributions of the LGBTQIA+ community (like cabaret performances).

Mix It Up Pride Month Mixer
Thursday, June 22

If gaming (or "gayming," as it were) is your thing, Hudson Valley Community Services (HVCS) is hosting its second-annual Pride Month mixer at Happy Valley Arcade Bar in Beacon, with a portion of the sales of two special cocktails going to support HVCS's programs. Casual and family friendly, this one's for the whole family.

Come back July 20 for Happy Valley's monthly Sliving Drag Show, hosted by Andramada and Showponii.

The 20th Bard SummerScape
Thursday, June 22-Sunday, August 13

Billed as "eight inspired weeks of performing arts," Bard College's annual event will include the world premiere of "Illinois," a SummerScape commission based on Sufjan Stevens' album of the same name. Director and choreographer Justin Peck – Tony winner of the New York City Ballet whose work was seen in last year's "West Side Story" remake) – also collaborated on the story with Pulitzer-prize winning playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury, whose play "Fairview" is one of the most buzzed-about plays of the last several years. In addition, The Spiegeltent will feature live music, dancing, performances, and – of course – drinks to keep the party going all summer long.

Pride Night with the Hudson Valley Renegades
Thursday, June 29

The High-A affiliate of the New York Yankees, the Renegades will face off against the Wilmington Blue Rocks in Wappingers Falls for a night of fun that will include $1 hot dogs and beer specials. With the purchase of a special Pride Night Fundraiser Ticket, $2 of every ticket will benefit the Dutchess County Pride Center.

We Start in Manhattan: A New Queer Musical
July 14-15

Playing at Vassar College's Powerhouse Theater – the program that launched "Hamilton" and "The Humans," both of which won the 2016 Tony Awards for Best Musical and Best Play, respectively – this "slutty romantic comedy," about a one-night stand turned month-long road trip, examines the profound impact that brief intimacy can have on a person. A gay, slutty musical comedy? Who could ask for anything more.

LGBTQIA+ Climbing Night at the Gravity Vault

Held on the second Thursday of each month, this is a great place for LGBTQIA+ climbers to meet, hang out, and – of course – do some climbing.

Drag Shows Hosted by Andramada

Every Friday at 9 pm, the Hudson Valley's own Andramada performs at the Roosevelt Bar at the Hudson Valley Food Hall in Beacon.

Regardless of what your idea of a perfect getaway is, chances are you can find it in Dutchess County, New York, a place where pride, individuality, and a whole lot of good times encourage everyone to elevate their own narrative.

by Christopher Ehlers

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