We took our dog friendly vacation in Red Hook, NY this past week. After giving up our upstate home connection last year we reckoned it would be easier to rent a place whenever we felt the need to get out of the city. Dog friendly vacation rentals are plentiful enough. We just have to worry about the extra clean up and damage that our mutts may cause.
The dogs had an awesome time, of course. Long hikes and paddles in creeks. Chasing down invisible creatures. This vacation really WAS for them. I had a nice time too. At least I think I did. The fact is that, oddly enough, after 7 years of country living, I still feel completely out of my element there. I try though. And I do enjoy it to an extent. Really!!
When we first arrived at the house in the woods we were greeted by Sari of the management company. Her truck pulled into the driveway just before us…a big pick up with an American flag on the rear window. Hubby said “That must be her.” I was like “No way. She has a 212 exchange on her cell phone.” Sure enough, it was her and sure enough the truck was just a loaner while her Jeep was in the shop. After screeching and jumping from frog, Sari explained that she was a born and bred Manhattanite who had only moved up there three months ago. We spoke about city-girl-life-in-the-country and my husband worried that my words might send her packing.
Anyway, here’s what we did during the week. Click on links as they are recommendations or places to avoid….
The house was lovely. It’s actually located in Gallatin, which is how we got the wooded seclusion. A bit remote, as it’s about 10 minutes into Red Hook or Tivoli. It sits on about 4 wooded acres. There’s a bit of a landing with some seats if you wanted to hang out in the woods, but we stayed on the deck. We were able to keep the dogs confined up there so they wouldn’t run off chasing deer. There was a table and chairs and lounge chairs. And oh yeah, a hot tub!
The house is perfect for shares because the 2 bedrooms are set up on either side of the kitchen/living room and each has it’s own bathroom. The driveway is shared with other neighbors who we saw from time to time.
On the way up we stopped in Beacon for lunch and a hike. Dennings Point is where we used to take our dogs all the time (Lyme Disease warning) when we lived there. It was an easy hike in which we knew the trail and we wanted the dogs to calm down before arriving at the house. While there, we also noticed that Long Dock is finally taking shape. They’ve built a kayak rental kiosk down at the riverfront. It’s not up and running just yet but it looks like it won’t be long. Also of note is the Roundhouse at the other end of town.
Two of the better hikes we took near Red Hook were the Stissing Mountain Fire Tower and Ferncliff Forest. The Walkway over the Hudson in Poughkeepsie is definitely worth doing. The dogs had to stay on leash for that one, but the humans enjoyed it. We missed our beloved Poet’s Walk this time but we made it to Minnewaska which was pretty crowded. Hated Mills Norrie State Park in Staatsburg. Manicured lawns and paved road, but the few trails we found were not maintained and didn’t go very far. Maybe we were missing something?
The most fabulous hike was up near the Berkshires (less than an hour from the house). Bash Bish Falls can be an all day affair even though we only spent a couple of hours. The park is great for picnicking, hiking, swimming and camping. The falls are amazing and even though swimming is no longer permitted because of several deaths, people do it anyway. The deaths were caused by stupid people diving off the rocks into the water, not just swimming in the hole.
We actually had some minor difficulty renting kayaks locally during the week. The kayak companies ran tours but didn’t want to just rent them out. We ended up renting on the more laid back west side of the river. Kenco on Rt. 28 in Kingston rents kayaks for $55 apiece or $65 for a tandem. You’re on your own from there. They’ll give you a map and some suggestions but they don’t bring it down to the water for you. We ended up with a tandem because that’s all we could fit on our car. We put in on The Rondout in Kingston. It was an interesting urban trip where we saw old boat yards, shipping containers and other industrial ruins. Pretty cool. Only not so cool because shade was hard to find. My biggest complaint was the sun. There were several beaches to pull into for a picnic.
We spent our evenings more civilized like. Upstate Films has a second location in Woodstock now where we saw a great Oirish fil-im called “The Guard“. American Don Cheadle was an executive producer and supporting actor. Go see it!
Dined at some good restaurants, both old and new to us…
Terrapin in Rhinebeck. Good vegetarian selections on menu.
Luna 61 in Tivoli. Completely vegetarian and always awesome.
Rosendale Cafe. Nowhere near Red Hook, but if you’re in this neck of the woods, it’s the best vegetarian place around. The backyard is very dog friendly too!
Red Hook Curry House. Popular Indian buffet.
Red Devon. In Bengall? Met friends for dinner here. It was really good and not all that far but it seemed like it was in the middle of nowhere. It was busy enough and yes, it was worth the trip.
Portofino. Another schlep! This one in Staatsburg. You drive through a completely rural area and then all of the sudden….hello…there’s a restaurant! Family style Italian. It was good and the waitress was a hoot, but she and the kitchen gave me shit for trying to get a cheeseless eggplant dish, so I dunno.
That was the enjoyment part. Tomorrow I’ll fill you in the real estate bit.