Tuesday, September 30, 2014

So What Can You do Around Here? Part 1

As a Tour Guide at the CIA and now as a Blogger as well, I often get asked by both perspective and newly accepted or starting students, “What is there to do around campus??”
Well, that’s an absolutely phenomenal question and to be perfectly honest, there is actually an incredible amount to do in the area surrounding our Hyde Park campus!*  Recently, in the past several years the entire Hudson Valley has exploded in the sense of Tourism.  New and amazing restaurants are starting to appear everywhere and there is an abundance of other sites to see and explore in the area.

To start, I want to mention a couple of what I would call standard attractions, quite simply places that operate throughout all or most of the year despite the changes in weather.  I like to make the distinction because we have students coming from all over the country and world, and I come from California, where almost everything stays open year-round.  This whole concept of seeing signs say “Thanks for the great season, see you in the spring” really confused me when I first arrived in New York.  Now, everything I talk about in this article and the following are all within 45 minutes by car.  Not all of them are accessible by public transportation, but everyone knows someone with a car, so when there’s a will, there is always a way!  Especially if it involves food. At least that’s how it works with me.

Right in the surrounding area of Hyde Park and Poughkeepsie –

Millhouse Brewing Company (3.8 Miles from Campus)
Newly opened and only closed on Tuesdays, Millhouse is one of the new favorites for a large number of CIA students.  This might be because of the amazing beer or perhaps the perfectly mixed (or shaken) cocktails served up at the bar or your table.  Maybe its the simple yet delicious food including hand-crafted sausages made in-house.  Quite possibly, its the buffalo-style popcorn that cured my craving for wings and was so good that I didn't notice the main course had arrived until it was pointed out to me.  Who knew popcorn at a brewery would be so good?  Either way, this is a must-stop spot on multiple occasions for great food and good times with your friends!

The Hyde Park Brewing Company (1.8 Miles from Campus)
Here you can find delicious food and house-brewed beers ranging from the Big Easy Blonde to the Mary P’s Porter, and everything in between.  For me personally, I utilized this location for my Intro to Management class project back in my time in the Associate’s Program and every time I have been there I have enjoyed the classic Americana food and those I go with tell me the beer is delicious.

Right down the street is the Home of Franklin D Roosevelt (2.8 Miles from Campus)
"All that is within me cries out to go back to my home on the Hudson River" FDR
This is a great experience if you are at all interested in the history of our nation and even if you aren’t…. It’s still definitely worth a visit.  You can take a short afternoon trip to see his home, visit the museum, and browse through the library that he left behind for future generations to see.

A little ways farther down the road is The Vanderbilt Mansion and Grounds
(4.4 miles from Campus)
This is a beautiful experience.  If you are interested in the history of the area you can take a tour of the mansion itself, but I am personally more enthused with the sprawling grounds that are attached to the mansion.  Good for up to several hours of just wandering you can walk all the way down to the river and then just traverse down several paths through the woods and along the banks of the river.  Throughout almost all months of the year this is a great outdoors area to do something more active (I know most of my recommendations are food related so I have to give you an idea of how to start to work it off).


If you keep heading north up Route 9 you’ll eventually find yourself in the quaint little town of Rhinebeck, NY.  Here is where some of the greatest eats are all within about a mile of each other.  Its great to just walk around after parking the car and decide by sight what you want to do and enjoy.  But I’ll point out a couple of my favorites just to give you somewhere to start!


The Rhinebeck Farmer’s Market (13.4 Miles from Campus)
Here is something pretty special, this is a farmers market that, while only open on Sundays, is open year round, featuring completely seasonal products so you can always find something different every time you have the chance to check it out.  When I was in AOS, my friends and I would often go to the Market on a Sunday, all chip in and buy some different products all from the local area and come back to good ol’ Hudson hall and make family meal.  It was always an experience and completely different every time.  As you can imagine, when it comes to dinner with a whole bunch of culinary students how can it go wrong??

Market Street Restaurant (Also conveniently 13.4 Miles from Campus)
Here is one of my favorite restaurants in the Hudson Valley.  If you enjoy Italian food, or even just great food in general, this is a place to visit. Over and over and over.  I had the pleasure of spending six months working for the owner of this restaurant who is also the chef of the AM Caterina class (our Italian restaurant on campus).  I recently just spent an evening enjoying dinner at Market Street and it is something I keep thinking about... and it’s a source of endless building hunger in my life!

Indulge Rhinebeck- Gelato and Café (Again… 13.4 Miles from Campus!)
One way to end your time in Rhinebeck on a sweet note is to visit Indulge Rhinebeck.  This is a small little gelato shop and café in the heart of Rhinebeck but its worth the time to take a look for.  Operated by our front-of-house professor at the Apple Pie Café, I know how great the product is because I’ve had the wonderful opportunity of coming in and helping make the gelato one afternoon with my friend Athena.  The flavors change just about daily and there’s always something you’ve never tried before.  My favorite was the rosemary gelato, you can’t go wrong with the hazelnut, and I must say, the pink peppercorn was quite interesting!

So whether you are going to be a student, a student already, or maybe even just coming to visit the CIA and stumbled upon this page, I hope you get a chance to visit some, if not all of these incredible places! Keep an eye out for my next post about some of the seasonal opportunities we have around the area.

Cheers!


*These sites and opinions are those of the writer (Timothy Fisher) alone and the Culinary Institute of America does not endorse nor is it responsible for any of the content included or mentioned here