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Dutchess County, NY

DutchessCountyMapOne of New York’s first twelve counties, Dutchess was founded in 1683, but its trajectory upward was propelled by one man – Robert Livingston – when in 1715 King George I granted the Scotsman 160,000 acres on the Hudson. The once heavily-forested home of panthers, moose and buffalo gave way to farms leased out and worked by immigrants. Trade flourished, as did the wealth of the autocratic patriarch’s dynasty. The Livingstons served as delegates to the Continental Congress, signers of the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution. They helped create a country. A county. And, a legacy of Hudson Valley estates – most notably Clermont, formerly the county seat and home to seven generations of Livingstons. Eventually, Gilded Age giants and the more garden-variety wealthy (perhaps with an urge to garden) followed, and the railroad soon thundered along the river, transforming the Hudson Valley.

These days, Clermont is a State Historic Site, the journey upriver is less than two hours, and Dutchess is home to the creative as much as the leisure class. Here, you’ll find an easy mix of the rarified and the countrified. It’s horse country. Food county (all those working farms and farmstands are purveyors to first-rate restaurants with chefs trained at the nearby Culinary Institute of America.). Diversions? High culture (the American Symphony Orchestra) and high-camp (e.g. cabaret in the Spiegeltent) at Bard’s Summerscape, and more. And whether you choose deep (albeit manicured) country or village life, this county offers it, with properties ranging from the simple to the awe-inspiring – but always with a measure of Dutchess County élan.

 The towns and villages of Northern Dutchess:

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