Prosperous, sophisticated, and historic, Rhinebeck is a haven for home buyers who prefer a blend of the rural and the urbane. Everything in the village is a stroll away; you can shop for chic (from antiques to fashion), take in a Pilates class, dine at your choice of NYC-quality restaurants, amble over to Upstate Films (think “Film Forum”) for the latest indie releases – no car required. On Sundays, residents make the Rhinebeck Farmers Market a major social event. And of course there’s the charm and beauty of the village itself, founded by Dutch settlers in 1686. Within the bounds of the historic district, which in 1979 earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places, architectural styles range from the 1739 Benner House (the earliest remaining), built in the German vernacular tradition, to Greek Revival, American Gothic, Victorian in all its incarnations, and Colonial Revival, meticulously maintained by preservation-minded owners. More good news: it’s less than two hours from the city to your weekend place via Amtrak to Rhinecliff Station, minutes from Rhinebeck proper.
Looking for a highly-rated school district and a laid-back atmosphere? Just up Route 9 from Rhinebeck you’ll find Red Hook, an agricultural town founded in the mid-18th century and noted for its miles of bucolic farms and orchards. At its heart is the village of Red Hook, complete with Norman Rockwell-esque brick storefronts, quaint Victorian houses, a funky diner that’s the quintessence of early-20th century roadside architecture, and the beautifully restored Elemendorph Inn, a circa-1760 inn and stagecoach stop rescued from destruction and now on the National Register of Historic Places. Life is low key around here, a welcome respite from the city. Farm stands abound, so lace up your paddock boots and head over to your favorite for fresh fruit and produce. Or, grab the kids for a “pick your own” afternoon. When you’re in the mood for something a bit more cosmopolitan it’s a short jaunt to all that Rhinebeck offers. Also nearby, Montgomery Place – one of the great Hudson River estates – offers glorious views and gardens worthy of repeat visits.
At the crossroads of the academic and the great outdoors, the village of Tivoli delivers a boho vibe in keeping with its unique history. Originally part of the Schuyler Land Patent, it was established in 1794 as a Utopian commune by Pierre deLabigarre, an eccentric aristocrat fleeing the French Revolution. Quirkiness still prevails here, due largely to a mix of residents who – whether estate owners or students and faculty from nearby Bard College – take great delight in Tivoli’s hidden-gem status. Sound like your kind of place? If so, you’ll enjoy frequenting the pubs, trendy eateries, bookstore and galleries on Broadway, the village’s main drag. To the south, Tivoli Bays is an important watershed and NYS conservation area. There, raptors nest, muskrats and beavers scamper, and you can hike and kayak to your heart’s content. And after checking out bald eagles, resident culture vultures can head down Route 9G for world-class concerts and theater at Bard’s Fisher Center, or over to Kaatsban International Dance Center for a top-notch performance.