Famed for their historic mansions and horse farms, the areas around Rhinebeck and Millbrook are in the mid-Hudson Valley, about 90 minutes north of the city.
In Dutchess County, Route 9 links Hyde Park to Rhinebeck, Route 44 runs east to Millbrook, and the country-road offshoots of routes 44 and 82 provide hilly farmland scenery reminiscent of England.
BULLIS HALL This 1832 Greek Revival house in Millbrook hunt country was restored by former publisher/gentleman farmer Addison Berkey. Opened as a hotel by Berkey and wife Lauren last October, it feels like a private home: Its sitting rooms are furnished with Heppelwhite chairs, 17th-century French tapestries, a 19th-century painting formerly owned by the queen of Italy, and other antiques. The five bedrooms are also lushly decorated. Rooms to get: the Donald Pierpont and Peter Berkey suites. As in a private house, the cocktail table is set up for guests to help themselves without charge. For those who wish to dine in, dinner is served at 7 p.m. (prix fixe, $38). Guests can ride in the Millbrook Hunt, play tennis, or walk the hilly countryside with the hounds. Rare for a hotel in a popular area, Berkey will accept reservations for a single night on a weekend. $250-$325, including breakfast. 88 Hunns Lake Road, Bangall; 845-868-1665; www.bullishall.com.
OLD DROVERS INN "There isn't an inch of this house that's level, so be careful," the innkeeper said to an arriving guest. And it's true, this 1750 house has original wood floorboards so warped there is practically a green ski run in the living room. It's undeniably authentic, quaint, tiny (only four rooms; get the Sleigh Room) and idiosyncratic; the plumbing is vintage, if not quite as old as the house. Staying upstairs might be necessary after a cocktail or two prepared by veteran bartender Charlie Wilbur in the inn's popular restaurant—a real flashback, with 18th-century brick walls, dark-wood beams, Colonial pewter, and a roaring fire. Some of the menu, displayed on a blackboard, is a flashback too—cheddar-cheese soup, turkey hash, rack of lamb with tomato chutney, English sticky-toffee pudding. Stick to the classics and skip the newer inventions. Inn and restaurant closed Tuesday and Wednesday. Weekend rates include dinner and a full breakfast. Rooms (Friday and Saturday): $320-$395. Dinner: $114. $ Old Route 22, Dover Plains; 845-832-9311; www.olddroversinn.com.
OLDE RHINEBECK INN This pre-Revolutionary farmhouse (ca. 1745) is intimate (just three suites) but charmingly, authentically restored. And innkeeper Jonna Paolella is also the perfect nurturing host, from stocking the property's pond with bass to helping you relax to providing satellite TV or running wires for your laptop, if you need to stay connected. Weekend rates: $275. 340 Wurtemburg Road, Rhinebeck; 845-871-1745; www.rhinebeckinn.com.
CALICO An intimate, first-class patisserie that also serves lunch—sandwiches, salads, Manila clams in herbed garlic broth. Dinner includes both classic and more inventive dishes, such as bouillabaisse in lobster broth and filet mignon in a sauce of tomato, red wine, shallots, and bacon. Closed Monday and Tuesday. Dinner: $64; lunch: $40. 9 Mill Street, Rhinebeck; 845-876-2749.
CRIPPLE CREEK Using local purveyors, the owners of Cripple Creek provide a good mix of ingredients, such as marinated quail on a salad of grilled peaches and pepper; a salad of arugula, red onion, and mission figs; nori-wrapped ahi in a spicy mustard sauce. $80. 22 Garden Street, Rhinebeck; 845-876-4355; www.cripplecreekrestaurant.com/index.html.
40 WEST More local purveyors, this time in dishes with Asian and Southwestern influences. A great dish: molasses barbecue salmon with six-onion relish. $70. $ 40 West Market Street, Rhinebeck; 845-876-2214.
BALSAMO Offers a collection of architectural and decorative objects and furniture, from Chinese gourds ($15) to a Provençal stone fountain ($4,800) and 19th-century carved-wood doors ($3,800). Located in a former church; open Saturday and Sunday or by appointment. $ 3007 Church Street, Pine Plains; 518-398-9066.
THE MABBETTSVILLE MARKET "I'm sorry, I walked out this morning without paying you," said a customer to the owner. And it was no big deal. That's the way things work in this neighborhood market, where locals gather to buy haute groceries, takeout (rotisserie chickens, curried chicken salad, wild rice with dried cherries), and gossip on Saturday mornings. There are also a few tables. 3809 Route 44, Millbrook; 845-677-5284; www.mabbettsvillemarket.com.
MICHAEL BORIS DESIGN The retail store of the New York women's fashion designer: sophisticated cuts, gorgeous fabrics like cashmere and silk, custom work, and copies of Boris' other designs. $290-$5,000. 28 East Market Street, Rhinebeck; 845-876-5625.
About This Guide
Prices In U.S. dollars.
Hotel Prices For high-season, double occupancy, from the least expensive double to the most expensive suite.
Restaurant Prices For a three-course dinner for two, without wine or service.
Telephone Numbers The area code for the Berkshires (Massachusetts) is 413; Bucks County (Pennsylvania), 215; Hunterdon County (New Jersey), 609; Dutchess County (New York), 845; the Hamptons (New York), 631; Litchfield County (Connecticut), 860.
Platinum Card Travel Service (PTS) or Centurion Travel Service (CTS) For travel assistance, call 800-443-7672 (PTS) or 877-877-0987 (CTS).
$ Establishment accepts no charge/credit cards or accepts cards other than the American Express Card.
Disclaimer: The information in this story was accurate at the time of publication in October 2001, but we suggest you confirm all details with the service establishments before making travel plans.