Hudson Valley trip

Last week, we took our first family vacation to the Hudson Valley, two hours north of New York City. I’d love to share a few photos, if you’d like to see. We rented a charming colonial cottage in the town of Red Hook…
Alex liked drinking beers in the wooden Adirondack chairs…
…and I loved the swing hanging from an enormous tree.
There was a gorgeous screened-in porch…
…which overlooked a meadow (with butterflies in the morning and fireflies at night).
Seven-week-old Toby approved of the comfy porch furniture. (He even gave us a few toothless grins, which were totally endearing.) And a delicious bonus: The owners of the house left us eggs from their own chickens and buttermilk pancake mix.
Mornings were pretty slow-paced with the baby, but each afternoon, we’d pack everything up and go exploring. One day, we toured the ridiculously fancy Vanderbilt Mansion. We even saw the servants’ quarters–the women lived on the fifth floor, and the men in the basement, so as to prevent any hanky panky. Alex and I found it fascinating, but Toby was less impressed and slept the whole time.
We sat on the covered upper deck and enjoyed the breezes…
…and did double-takes when we saw this girl’s tattoo. :)
In the evenings, we’d explore the charming little towns, and we became addicted to the fish tacos at Sante Fe in Tivoli. (We went three nights in a row.) The trip was wonderful, and, although it was chaotic sometimes with nursing, diapers, the car seat, and the staggering amount of baby gear that we had to bring along, it was really lovely to travel with the little man. I’m so glad we did it. Looking forward to going back. :)

A few tips, if you’re heading up to the Hudson Valley…
Where to stay: The Hudson Valley is peppered with adorable small towns, such as Rhinebeck, Rhinecliff, Tivoli, Saugerties, Hudson, Hyde Park and Kingston. We rented one of the gorgeous homes in the area (you can find rentals on,, or, but we also LOVE the Villa at Saugerties (pictured above; we’ve stayed there in the past; it will re-open again as a bed & breakfast soon). Also, the Saugerties Lighthouse would be a fun and quirky place to stay, and the Beekman Arms in Rhinebeck looks pretty swanky.

What to do: Explore the towns and shops (our favorite was the design store Tivoli Mercantile); take a relaxing boat trip from Kingston; go on a sail from Tivoli or Saugerties; walk to the Saugerties lighthouse (it’s really lovely); hike through the woods (this walk looks great); admire a 150-acre Chinese-inspired garden in Millbrook; pick your own fruits and vegetables in Red Hook; tour estates and mansions in Hyde Park, Rhinebeck and Hudson; see a drive-in movie in Hyde Park; go antiquing; and watch an airplane show and fly in an open-cockpit bi-plane in Rhinebeck (we did this once! It was awesome!).

Where to eat: The Hudson Valley boasts tons of amazing restaurants, but we especially loved the crispy fish tacos at Sante Fe in Tivoli, the fresh seasonal food at Miss Lucy’s Kitchen in Saugerties, and the burgers and beers at New World in Saugerties. I’d love to try Le Petit Bistro in Rhinebeck, too, which critics swear is the best French restaurant in the Hudson Valley. If you’re going on a picnic, Gigi’s Market serves great prepared foods (quiche, veggie salads, brownies), and Bread Alone in Rhinebeck has delicious sandwiches. People also rave about the five student-run restaurants at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park; we’ve never been but I’d like to go sometime.

Have you ever been? I’d love to hear any other tips you might have! xoxo

  1. Actually I went to Bard College, and so reading about your trip brought back so many memories!! I wonder if Osaka is still in Tivoli? That was our favorite Japanese place. Also, Red Hook had a Mexican store that also served delicious food, though you would never know it unless you went inside. The Bard campus itself is gorgeous, too. But the air is the best thing of all!

  2. Cafe Les Baux in Millbrook is amazing — they have some of the best escargot I’ve ever tasted. I love that I grew up here yet haven’t tried some of the restaurants you’ve mentioned, like Gigi’s Market. It’s definitely going to be on my to do list this weekend!

  3. Sounds like such a great trip! I went to Bard, so remember the area well. I used to live across the street from Santa Fe, and I would KILL for their tacos and frozen margaritas right about now!
    If you are up in the area again, I hope you’ll check out Opus 40, near Saugerties. It is an environmental sculpture on 6 acres built by artist Harvey Fite. It’s open to the public in the summer, and that’s where I got married–it is breathtaking!

  4. I’m a Hudson Valley wedding professional and I love my home turf! I’m so glad you enjoyed your visit. Reminds me that there are so many beautiful spots I still haven’t visited.

    Did you stop by Calico in Rhinebeck? Awesome fresh foods and desserts. I’m a big Terrapin fan, too.

  5. This post is so helpful! My husband and I currently planning a Hudson Valley trip for the end of August (to celebrate our 1 year wedding anniversary) and we’re literally looking at all of the towns you mentioned. Funny! hoping we can make it to almost all of them in 4 days (probably too aggressive?) Thanks for all the great info!

    Glad the first trip with your little one went so well! It looks like such a great time..

  6. Sounds awesome Joanna. I can’t wait to go up there again.

    Ashley and I went to the CIA for lunch last year… amazing! We just ate at the cafe but it was Knock-your-socks-off good.

  7. This is a ton of great info. My daughter goes to Bard college right in that area. You have managed to see so much more than we have and she will be a senior this year! I’m making the next trip up there a little more fun.

  8. Hannah E. says...

    yesssss I grew up in Red Hook! (And my parents still live there) Its awesome to hear that people regularly vacation there! :)

  9. He is getting bigger. Do you not love the baby language, and the big smiles. Sam is talking and talking and so excited about the noises he makes.

  10. Red Hook really is lovely. I love our upstate time at our country house in Sullivan County. Great to get out of the city!

  11. gorgeous joanna, looks idyllic. the first family holiday can be a bit of a palaver but so good to get it under your belt so early. looks like you are taking it all in your stride. pretty inspiring. x

  12. K says...

    you look Ah maz ing! Yea to family get aways. xo

  13. Joanna,
    Love your blog. I just posted today about a great place in Hudson…Stair Galleries and Restoration – owned by Sotheby’s trained Colin Stair. What a beautiful area. I also posted last Friday about a brand new store – CM Cherry, Antiques by Candlelight. Check it out! xo Elizabeth

  14. WOW! your vacation sounded amazing! i’m so glad you all had a good time! i hope some day we can make it out that way for our own little vacation! i’m so appreciative of all your great advice and tips!

  15. rachel, thanks so much for the link! the floating pool is totally amazing — we went two years ago, when it was in brooklyn. i haven’t been since and had sort of forgotten about it! thanks for sending the site xoxo

  16. What a loverly vacation! Thanks for sharing it. And for making a guide for us! Very sweet of you :)

  17. this looks great, you guys made an awesome choice

  18. it looks like a completely fantastic time! i have to say, i really love traveling with the girlies in tow…even with all the extra stuff, it’s just such a special thing to take the family unit outside of their little comfort zone!

  19. We’ve never been but I have an old painting of Hudson Valley (we live in Oregon). It looks like a beautiful place and your cottage was as lovely as could be.

    Happy first family vacation, Toby is so very adorable.


  20. it’s on my next trip list. :)

  21. I love the Hudson Valley and I love your photos! Looks like you had a great time! It was also nice for me to see, as an expectant first time mother, that it is possible to do a weekend trip with a baby. Thanks for sharing!

  22. beautiful photos! your little family is so cute! and thanks for the tips!

  23. What a fabulous vacation!!! You must have had the best time ever! And Toby is just too cute for words!!! Hope you are having a wonderful summer and thanks for sharing!
    Love your blog!!!
    xoxo Beckerman Girls

  24. So excited for this list! I am planning on doing this trip next time I head east. Thanks!

  25. Looks like a fabulous family vacation.

  26. I’m just getting back from vacation myself (and catching up on blog reading!!). I loved your pictures of the Hudson Valley, as I’ve never been there myself…but would like to go someday! And as far as traveling with little ones, it does get easier!! Less stuff to pack and to worry about as they get older and it’s nice to have extra helping hands too:).

  27. Looks like you all had a lovely weekend! How sweet! And Toby is such a super CUTE baby! Bless him.

    Have a great weekend.

    Natascha xoxo

  28. looks like a wonderful spot for vaca with the family. you guys are so cute!

  29. I love Alex with the Bjorn. There is something special about a dad carrying a baby in one!

  30. Love the post! I relocated to the Hudson Valley area just a year ago and started writing about it, too. I LOVE Sante Fe, did you have the shrimp tacos?

  31. What a lovely trip! Looks like fun in the summer to me :) Saw this today too, and thought it might be something you’d be interested in. What a cool idea…a pool for all of NYC to enjoy on the hot days! Enjoy.

  32. I love the Hudson Valley. My grandparents had a horse farm in Pleasant Valley so I spent many a weekend up there riding, frog-hunting and otherwise rolling around in the dirt. I still head up twice a week to ride and it’s probably my favorite place on the planet. Trying to get my husband into it too… Great list of recommendations!

  33. Love it! My aunt & uncle actually LIVE in Red Hook and I always loved going to visit there when I was a kid. Glad you enjoyed the trip!


  34. so beautiful! your photos are gorgeous.

    The Hudson Valley looks like a lovely vacation spot!

  35. anon, the birth story is coming, i swear! :) i had hoped to write it this week, but, as with all things when you have a new baby, it has taken longer than expected, haha :) thanks for your patience, i’ll post it next week i promise. xoxo

  36. thanks for all these sweet comments and great tips! and so funny that a few of you have stayed in the same house, small world!

  37. looks like a delightful vacation!

    have wanted to visit the hudson valley; just haven’t gotten around to it yet. it’s so pretty!

  38. Hey Joanna!

    So glad you took the time to share your photos and tips. We’ve been wanting to plan a trip to the Hudson Valley for so long, but didn’t know where to start.

    Hope all is well!

  39. This comment has been removed by the author.

  40. Wow, he lookes big and different :) cuttest thing, babys grow up so fast..

  41. I spent one year in Rhinebeck and I loved this area. Your photos remind me good souvenirs. It has been 10 years since I’ve come back to this area and I can see that Santa Fe still exists , It was one of my favorite place

  42. Wow! First of all, you look too fantastic for having had a baby seven weeks ago. Second, I love the Hudson Valley and just got married up in West Park. It’s such a nice getaway and only a few hours away.

  43. that place looks totally amazing & little toby is so cute.

  44. Ooh what a lovely place!

    (Also, you look fabulous, mama!)

  45. wow, what a beautiful place you stayed in. sounds like such a lovely, relaxing trip! a perfect first trip for the wee one.

  46. Lisa H. says...

    I live in Hyde Park right outside the Vanderbilt estate. That’s where I walk my dog, haha. Any part of NY that isn’t NYC so often gets overlooked, so it’s cool that you were here visiting the area.

  47. Wow, it looks like you had a beautiful vacation! Thanks for sharing <3

  48. I stumbled upon your blog when looking for an interesting blog to follow. It just happened that you had just gone on a trip to the hudson valley, exactly what my husband and I are looking to do. The cottage looks great!
    I will see you soon again!

  49. what a perfect family vacation! i’ve always wanted a big front porch with adirondack chairs on it :)

    two parting thoughts: that girl’s tattoos are crazy and toby is adorable.

  50. fabulous post this looks so lovely and the mansion just amazes me,sounds like such a pleasant trip and toby looks so different and big now :)
    so adorable,much love.x

  51. what a sweet little adventure! i love the cottage and especially the fresh eggs for breakfast. looks like fun!

  52. Anonymous says...

    Um…where is your birth story?! You keep saying you’ll post it. I want to read!

  53. Sounds like you had a very refreshing vacation…it looks so lovely there – I would love to explore it someday! xxoo :)

  54. Anonymous says...

    That Toby looks like such a little man!

  55. So funny, I stayed in this exact same house with 5 of my girlfriends last year. We too loved the screened in porch, hot tub, and comfy Adirondack chairs with a beautiful back yard view. My favorite thing to do when in this area is to pack a picnic and go walk around Storm King Art Center. Looks like you had a great time! Next time I go up I will have to try that boat ride.

  56. i went to school up there… it’s so beautiful, isn’t it!? i dream of having a country house somewhere in the area. thanks for all of the tips too- i haven’t been up in awhile. i gotta change that!

  57. This sounds like such a beautiful little family holiday! I love that the owners left you eggs and pancake mix. That is the sweetest thing.


  58. Sounds wonderful! I am aching for a holiday away but don’t know if I will be able to sneak one in before preschool starts and the new babe arrives. i love to travel and haven’t stopped even though we are now welcoming baby #3. you just have to learn to go with the flow :) glad you had an enjoyable time!

  59. Thanks for the little travel guide! I always find personal travel picks to be much more special! Thanks for sharing! :)

  60. I love visiting the bookstore in Red Hook! But I’m with Johanna, next time you drive north, go a little farther to Great Barrington. It’s even more beautiful with so much to do! (Although I am a little biased, since I live in GB)

  61. I love this post! You guys look so blissful. I love that area, in fact that’s where Taro and I got married (I wrote my wedding vows the night before our ceremony in my room at the Villa at Saugerties!) Memories!

  62. great pictures joanna! thanks for sharing. love the swing, the porch, and alex’s beard (trying to get my hubby to grow one! =) and of course, toby is beyond adorable.

    p.s. you look fabulous.

  63. Terrapin in Rhinebeck is also amazing. Next time drive out to Great Barrington! Great food, great town, lots of culture!

  64. Oh wow, Joanna! Sounds like such a lovely trip! Thanks for sharing the photos & descriptions of what you did… I took a lil’ mini vacation myself while reading.


  65. it all just sounds (and looks) so lovely! hopefully I can make it there one day and take advantage of your great tips!

    p.s. you look fantastic on that swing!

  66. Such beautiful memories you’re making with little Toby. Thanks for sharing:-).

  67. Oh, Joanna! This looks like a dream!! Little Toby is looking so adorable!

  68. If only I’d known you were in Red Hook! I just (as in, a month ago) moved away from there. There are so many wonderful things to do! Just a few I can advise briefly: walk around the Bard College campus (located on 9G) and check out the art installations, go to Terrapin (bistro side or patio dining) in Rhinebeck, visit Claremont after 4pm it’s free and bring a picnic-there are some truly amazing views of the Hudson from the law. This is just a tiny piece, but if you want more advice, I’d be happy to offer…just shoot me an email or some such :)

  69. Looks like so much fun! And what an amazing looking mama – you look great. xx

  70. I love Vanderbilt Mansion – it was the site of the first engagement shoot I ever did for my business! Beautiful! Other great places to check out are Cold Spring & Beacon – which have, quite possibly, the most charming Main Streets on the planet (& Beacon is home to DIA!).

  71. Looks like a wonderfully interesting and relaxing place to visit…I want to float down a river now…

  72. Ah! I’ve totally seen people with eye tattoos on their backs. So crazy! Glad you had fun on your get away :)

  73. Anonymous says...

    I’ve stayed at this house before with a friend who teaches at Bard. Second the burrito truck recommendation!

  74. Lisa says...

    This looks like an awesome trip – one i wouldn’t have thought of so thanks for sharing. I have been completely immobilized the day of leaving for a trip with my little one. But you’re right, once you get it all in the car and head off, you are glad you did it. It is good to get away from home base for awhile.

  75. Rachel says...

    Aw that tat reminds me of “The Great Gatsby.”

  76. What a timely post Joanna…I dreamt of moving to the Hudson Valley last night (???) and have been craving (and consuming) fish tacos :)

    I love all the tips…would love to visit this charming area sometime.

  77. Looks like you all had a great time. Thanks for the details of your vacay! Looks like a place I’d love to visit. Your rental looks like something straight from Dawson’s Creek. =))

  78. this absolutely whole of all of vacation it good guide for some person and ready to vacation because too perfect …..

  79. what a beautiful place! looks so serene and relaxing. Little Toby has gotten so big!

  80. Looks like you all had a lovely stay :)

  81. Looks like Heaven!! I’d love to just sit in that field all day! xoxo

  82. Looks like a fantastic trip in a very beautiful place. Glad you had a great time!

  83. I dream of vacations like this – just the name “Hudson Valley” is perfect. I’m printing this post and putting in my “trips I want to take folder”.
    Also, you look fanfreakin’tastic madame.

  84. What an awesome post!! I have always wanted to take a quick trip there and this is exactly the sort of info I was hoping to find!

  85. oh how you’re making me homesick!! my childhood home is right up the street from the main (or ONLY!) Tivoli intersection. my parents and two sisters still live there. i went to school in Red Hook and grew up doing all those things you mentioned! it’s so fun to see those small towns and places featured on your lovely, popular blog! many people here in Washington state have never heard of them…

  86. Looks like an amazing time. Good idea to start vacationing with the little one now. We went with friends to Jamaica for 10 days with their 11 month old! It is possible:)

  87. SO cute! You look beautiful and the lil guy is perfect. Corageous of you to travel so early with him! How exciting :) It’s a pleasure to watch your family grow :)


  88. This guide is PERFECT!! I lived in Albany, NY, for many years and never knew about any of these treasures! I’m totally going to explore someday & I’ll take my fiance along so he can get to know the area!

  89. Your baby is sooo gorgeous!!!

  90. I grew up in the Hudson Valley and would definitely recommend going to one of the CIA restaurants! It’s absolutely delicious.

  91. What lovely pix of the family relaxing! Been wanting to do a Hudson Valley trip w/a special someone (for our 5th anniversary :) & this is so perfect – THANKS for sharing!!

  92. Great post! My husband and I took our first vacation together in Rhinebeck a few years ago when we first started dating. We stayed at the Beekman Arms. Brings back so many great memories! Thanks for sharing all this great info! xo

  93. Your blog is amazing, nice pictures!!

    xx fesi-fashion

  94. How lovely, thanks for showing us, Joanna. Looks like a wonderful place to visit.

  95. Looks like a wonderful family vacation. Toby is bigger! His cute head is not so tiny anymore! :)

  96. Glenda says...

    Looks like a relaxing vacation. Toby is filling in and oh so adorable. Thanks for sharing!

  97. Sounds like you guys had a fantastic time! I’ve never been, but will have to keep it in mind for the future, it seems like the perfect, low-key vacation spot! (And I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve said this by now, but I’ll say it again: Toby is SO CUTE!!)

  98. Lovely post! I live in upstate NY and I’m thinking we might need to venture down this fall!

  99. So cool! I’ve always wanted to go there since Anthony Bourdain went on No Reservations.

  100. What a gorgeous place! So idyllic, like something out of an old classic book… thanks for sharing! :)

  101. I grew up there! It really is a great place to be and I look forward to all the fun stuff every time I go back to see my family.

  102. It looks beautiful and relaxing,

    have fun!


  103. I love the mini travel guide! It’s like getting recommendations from a friend whose taste you trust!

  104. Anonymous says...

    Looks idyllic!

  105. Katy K says...

    As a former Bard student, this makes me so homesick – I lived for two years right down the street from your rental house! Next time you go, be sure to check out the burrito stand at the Montgomery Place farm stand on River Road (right outside Redhook). They serve the BEST, super fresh burritos (they’re all vegetarian, but none the lesser for it).

  106. That sounds like a perfect family trip for the little guy !!! I love the photos and the place you stayed in looks so beautiful and relaxing:) Thanks for all the tips….They are great!
    I love to swing too….Takes me back to my childhood:)

    Kisses and have a great day,Joanna:)

    ps: I hope you will have a change to enter my GIVEAWAY!!!

  107. G. says...

    Looks great over there, thx for the tips

  108. Staggering is the perfect word the the amount of things you need for a tiny baby…I remember our first trip with Micah, to Breckenridge (we live in Denver, so it was a driving trip, too) we had the pack n play where he slept, the exercise ball we used to cradle and gently bounce him to sleep for the first many months, and a 4 day supply of our cloth diapers (which I love using at home, but not my best idea for a vacation!) and countless other things.

    Congrats on your lovely vacation, I am happy it was a success!

  109. I love the sneaky photo of the tattoo…so funny!
    Toby looks so adorable and your trip looks unbelievably relaxing…the perfect escape!

  110. When we move back I want to live in Rhinebeck. Word is that they are extending Metro North up there. Gotta get there before that happens and it becomes an extension of Westchester! ; )

  111. I need to be right there right now. So happy you had a lovely vacay.

  112. The place looks so gorgeous!
    compared to the terribly humid weather here in Delhi, Hudson Valley looks like heaven.

    P.S-lovely photos and Toby is super cute =)

  113. this sounds and looks amazing, joanna! makes me want to take a mini vacation…

  114. Sounds like a wonderful trip! Great photos =)

  115. I love that girls tattoo! And your trip looks amazing!

    Thank You for sharing your pictures, and the places to see and things to do while there!

    I am glad you had a great time! :)


  116. What an amazing garden / meadow! The house looks so nice, too; so much nicer than a regular hotel! I know what you mean about having to take loads of stuff for the baby… why does such a tiny person need so much stuff???

  117. I visited Saugerties once and bought my whole summer wardrobe at Dig. I can highly reccomend shopping there, their collection is fanatstic.

  118. This is such a great post! I love the mix of personal family time and practical vacation advice. I appreciate the time it must’ve taken you to research and then weave together all your recommendations. Sounds like a fantastic vacation!

  119. I would love to go there someday! The three of you look so happy, I am sure you had a great time there! Oh, I would love to sit on the porch looking at that meadow while seeing fireflies flying by :) Toby is a candy! :) Love him already! xoxo

  120. These photos are so lovely! Thanks for sharing!

  121. Looks simply dreamy! What a special way to relax and enjoy each other’s company. Toby also is already a different baby – too cute! He’s growing up so quickly, and hope you are all enjoying your time together :)


  122. Looks and sounds like a place I’d love to visit!

    Glad you three went on an adventure and had such a great time…

  123. Packing for a baby is daunting (I feel tired just thinking about it!)but looks like an amazing trip!! Toby is adorable ;)

  124. Okay missy, you mean to tell me you were pregnant mere months ago? You look absolutely amazing! Hot mama.

    And PS? That girl’s tat is creeeeepy!

    And PPS…I want to visit this place now. Right now.

  125. Sounds like a great holiday! That mansion looks divine. Cheers me dears for sharing!

  126. Sounds like a great holiday! That mansion looks divine. Cheers me dears for sharing!

  127. That girl’s tattoo is really cool! And what a lovely trip with Toby it must have been!

  128. What a beautiful place!! Love the photo of you on the swing!! My friend and I always say it is impossible not to smile while on a swing!! xo