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We ♥ Rhinebeck: A Guide for Chelsea Clinton’s Wedding Guests

Rural Intelligence: Rural Road Trips: Excursions Image

Photograph of the Hudson by Carolyn Marks Blackwood

Who knows whether most of the guests invited to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky’s riverfront wedding in Rhinebeck on July 31 will arrive by helicopters, private Amtrak cars or limousines and head home right after the party. But for those who plan to make a whole weeekend of it, here’s our guide to some of the people and places that RI loves best in Rhinebeck (and nearby Hyde Park, Red Hook and Tivoli.) The locals who’ve been involved with the wedding plans are (mostly) respecting the bride and groom’s privacy, and so are we. “Rhinebeck is a low-key place where people respect one another’s privacy,” says one tight-lipped resident. “This is the anti-Hamptons, the anti-Martha’s Vineyard.” We know that. Celebrity sightings are few and far between, and the only paparazzi at parties—such as Gigi Trattoria owner Laura Pensiero’s book launchopenings at the Hessel Museum and Paper Trail; tea dances at Wilderstein or galas for Bard Summerscape—are usually the founders of Rural Intelligence.
Rural Intelligence Road TripsPaper Trail
What does it mean that the chicest store in town specializes in greeting cards, notebooks, stationery and wrapping paper? It means that the people of Rhinebeck still send hand-written thank you notes and wrap their own gifts when they go to a birthday party. Expatriate New Yorkers Maureen Missner and Serine Hastings have built a business that is as popular with locals as with weekenders, and they have an intimate relationship with their clientele as they help design wedding invitations and birth announcements.  “You celebrate life’s occasions in the stationery business,” explains the effervescent Missner. The store also sells jewelry, home accessories, all manner of paper goods, and mounts exhibitions by paper artists such as Ramon Lascano and Linda Filley. 6423 Montgomery Street, Rhinebeck; 845.876.8050
Rural Intelligence Road Trips A.L. Stickle
Where do the owners of Paper Trail like to shop? They love Stickle’s variety store, which is the quintessential small town 5 & 10—an indie version of the once ubiquitous Woolworth’s. Like his grandparents before him, Matt Stickle sells all sorts of useful, everyday things in the same manner they’ve been sold for six decades.  “People like that everything here is not packed in plastic and hung on pegboards,” he says. “They like that we display things in open bins and that they can pick up and touch a suede brush or a single pencil.”  They like that almost everything is something that you actually need, whether it is a new harp for a lamp, fishing line, a shower cap, or a skein of yarn. And they like that Stickle’s is the anti-CVS, the anti-Walmart.
13 East Market Street, Rhinebeck; 845.876.3206
Rural Intelligence Arts Bard College
There are so many things to love and admire about Bard College: The contemporary Hessel Museum of Art whose current exhibition is At Home/Not At Home: Works from the Collection of Martin and Rebecca Eisenberg; the Frank Gehry-designed Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts which is currently host to the Summerscape festival or performing arts;  and the Spiegeltent, the alternative cabaret and disco that brings urban nightlife to the bucolic college campus each summer.  With seriousness and savoir faire, Bard consistently produces world-class cultural events.
Rural Intelligence Road Trips Bubby’s Burritos
It’s hard to know whether urban sophisticates who are used to ordering every imaginable type of takeout food at any imaginable time of day or night will appreciate the discrete charms of Bubby’s Burrito cart. But this adorable little trailer serves amazingly authentic burritos and quesadillas in the most unpretentious fashion, which suits locals and weekenders just fine.
Route 199
Rural Intelligence Road TripsHyde Park
Is it Hillary Clinton’s deep identification with Eleanor Roosevelt that brought Chelsea Clinton’s wedding to a town just a few miles north of Val-Kill, the Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site?  One could certainly spend more than a day in Hyde Park visiting Springwood, the Franklin D. Roosevelt estate, and the FDR Library, as well as visiting the Vanderbilt Estate and eating at one of the five restaurants at the Culinary Institute of America.
Rural Intelligence Road TripsOblong Books & Music
A box from on the front porch is a badge of shame in the Rural Intelligence region where residents revere and support independent bookstores. Rhinebeck has Oblong, which is run by Dick Hermans and his daugher Suzanna—astute booksellers who support local authors with frequent readings and signings. They have an especially rich assortment of books on the Hudson Valley and New York State at the front of their shop in Rhinebeck. They have another well-stocked outpost in Millerton, NY.
Montgomery Row, Rhinebeck; 845.876.0500
Rural Intelligence Road TripsWarren Kitchen & Cutlery
Located outside the village, Warren Cutlery is a destination that attracts professional chefs, serious home cooks, and students from the Culinary Institute of America down the road in Hyde Park. It carries every imaginable baking pan you could ever want as well as every gadget or small appliance you might need. But it’s knives that give Warren’s “The Edge,” as their slogan boasts; they carry over 1,000 different styles. “If we had more space, we’d have more knives,” says Richard Von Husen, who co-owns the store with a partner, Jim Zitz.  What’s more, you can bring them your old dull knives and they will sharpen them on the spot for a very modest fee.
6934 Route 9, Rhinebeck; 845.876.6208
Rural Intelligence Road TripsHammertown Barn
Nobody understands better how to furnish a country house than Joan Osofsky (photographed with chef Mario Batali), who opened her first store in Pine Plains some twenty years ago. Since then, she has added shops in Great Barrington and Rhinebeck, which carry a mix of slipcovered furniture, lighting, antiques, Dash & Albert rugs along with all sorts of things you need to set the table for everyday or for company. (Chelsea Clinton is reported to have bought some pillows at the store recently.) Like most Rhinebeck merchants, Osofsky is always ready to lend a hand to worthy causes, and she has been especially generous to the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, which facilitates philanthropy in Berkshire, Columbia, Dutchess and Litchfield Counties.
6420 Montgomery Row, Rhinebeck; 845.876.1450
Rural Intelligence Food Terrapin
Where’s the after party? It could be at Terrapin, which stays open until 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, which is outrageous and unheard of in our neck of the woods. The eclectic menu is well-executed so that you can always find something to satisfy your craving such as Thai meaballs in green curry, duck quesadilla, macadamia-nut tempura calamari,  crispy artichokes or a hamburger with a wide range of toppings.
6426 Montgomery Street; 845.876.3330
Rural Intelligence Road TripsRhinebeck Farmers’ Market
Twice voted the best farmers’ market in the Hudson Valley, this Sunday market (10 a.m. - 2 p.m.) is locavore nirvanna, because most of the vendors have farms nearby. Besides a dazzling assortment of fruits and vegetables from venerable farms such as Breezy Hill and Mead Orchards, there’s also cheese (Amazing Real Live Food Co., Nettle Meadow and Old Chatham Sheepherding Company), meat and poultry (Quattro’s Game Farm, Cowberry Crossing Farm)  and prepated foods (Aba’s Falafel and Block Factory Tamales.)
61 East Market Street, Rhinebeck
Rural Intelligence Road TripsTivoli Mercantile
This Red Hook shop run by stylish local mom Jill Cornillon has a fresh mix of clothes, jewelry and home accessories. It is the exclusive purveyor of Hudson Paint which is the first collection of blackboard paints in a whole range of vibrant colors, which were developed by Cornillon’s husband, Arno Cornillon, an accomplished decorative painter.  This is the archetypal mom-and-pop shop for new ruralists.
5 E. Market Street, Red Hook; 845.758.3229
Rural Intelligence Road TripsMercato
Francesco Buitoni, a scion of the pasta company begun in 1827, and his wife-and-partner, Michele Platt, have turned a typical 19th century Red Hook house into an osteria that is as close to authentic as you can get. The food is so good that famous folk who know Italian food really well (Mario Batalli, Frances Ford Coppola, Mario Cantone) have been spotted dining here cheek by jowl with the locals. The menu changes weekly, highlighting fresh pastas and seasonal, locally grown produce and meats:  Northwind Farms chicken liver bruschetta,with aged balsamic and sage; handmade ravioli filled with Coach Farm ricotta and spinach with brown butter sauce; and whole roasted branzino served with Migliorelli Farm escarole and black beluga lentils. 
61 East Market Street, Red Hook; 845.758.5879
Rural Intelligence Road TripsMontgomery Place
Depending on your orientation, Montgomery Place is an orchard with a wonderful fruit stand or it’s a magnificent historic house. The 380-acre property is an amazingly intact example of Hudson Valley estate life with exquisite gardens and painterly views of the majestic Catskill Mountains across the Hudson River.
Route 9G, Annandale-on-Hudson; 845-758-5461
Rural Intelligence Road TripsMigliorelli Farm Stand
New Yorkers will recognize the name from New York City’s Greenmarkets, and antiques lovers from the corner store on Warren Street in Hudson, NY, but locals shop everyday at the farm stand near the Kingston Rhinecliff Bridge. Since being displaced from their farm in the Bronx in the 1960s when Co-op City was built, the Migliorellis have been sustainably farming in Tivoli, NY, providing home cooks and restaurants with cooking greens, salad greens, root vegetables, corn, tomatoes, garlic, melons, peaches, plums et al. Route 199 and River Road, Rhinebeck
Rural Intelligence Road Tripsbluecashew Kitchen Pharmacy
With farms and cooking the number one topic of conversation in Rhinebeck, it’s not surprising that the town has more than one stylish place to buy bakeware, cookbooks, appliances, dinnerwear and linens. We’re especially fond of bluecashew because it carries the pottery of our good friend Frances Palmer, which magically makes any flowers or food look more beautiful.
6423 Montgomery Street, Rhinebeck; 845.876.1117
Rural Intelligence Food Rhinecliff Hotel & Restaurant
With very few exceptions, only the grand private estates have unobstructed riverfront views, which is why the recently restored Rhinecliff is such a treasure. Within walking distance of the Amtrak station, the 200-year-old inn has an expansive patio where you can take in the magnificent sunset views that have inspired generations of landscape painters.
4 Grinnell Street, Rhinecliff; 845.876.0590
Rural Intelligence Road TripsCenter for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck
This is not your typical Rodgers & Hammerstein-oriented community theater. Although it produces classics from time to time, the Center has been on an edgy course lately. It did first rate productions of Rent and Falsettos this winter, and the musical currently on the boards is the campy and erotic Rocky Horror Picture Show. Copyright © Jen Kiaba Photography
661 Route 308, Rhinebeck; 845.876.3080
Rural Intelligence Road TripsTivoli
When Rhinebeck begins to feel frenetic, head north ten minutes to the tiny town of Tivoli, which has become a low-key scene on weekends centered around the Madalin Hotel and its airy porch, according to our “Wandering Eye” blogger Carey Maloney. Friday nights get a clubby group of table-hopping, fashionable weekenders.  Saturdays the food-savvy full timers predominate who appreciate that the chef relies on Migliorelli and Montgomery Place (see above) as much as possible for fruits and vegetables.
53 Broadway, Tivoli; 845.757.2100

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