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Our Fall Family Weekend in Dutchess County

This post is sponsored by Dutchess Tourism but all opinions are entirely my own.

Our wonderful fall family weekend in Dutchess County  #ad #wintertravel #DutchessAtoZ #MyDutchessStory #ILoveNY #DutchessCounty #FamilyTravel @dutchesstourism #HudsonValley #outdooradventure #dining #artsandculture #history

I am incredibly excited to finally share about our Dutchess County trip!

This was a milestone trip of sorts. For one, I’m not sure we’d ever been to Dutchess County, which surprises me as it’s only a little over two hours from here. It was also our first road trip in almost two years, our first time in a hotel in almost two years, and baby’s first trip away from home. I was really nervous! Scarlet and Des had both been on overnights (with me, of course) to see family by at least two-months-old. I think it was easier because both were summer babies, so we didn’t have cold and flu season fears. And I’m sure there were sleepless nights and a tough adjustment, but there is nothing like bringing two kids and a one-year-old, packing a cooler of food, and setting up a travel crib while four months pregnant to really shake up your lives! It’s ok, though, because this trip was worth it and we did and saw many awesome things!

I’ll show you!

Trevor Zoo

Our Fall Family Weekend in Dutchess County:

Who Went:

My family, of course! We have quite the scene over here, with all of our animals and indoor pets and renovations and driveway repairs. So, Cassidy stayed home and I took all three (four, really) kids. We met up with my sister and her kids on our second day there, because they live only an hour and a half from Dutchess County. We were a mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated so a few quick notes, that we didn’t go to any restaurants. I’ll certainly share about meals we ate and enjoyed, but we were really happy that Dutchess Tourism gave us options for a more COVID-safe trip. In photos, you’ll see my kids wearing masks in places they were not required (outdoors), but it was more to keep their faces warm in the wind. I’ll be sure to mention where to wear masks.

Our wonderful fall family weekend in Dutchess County #ad #wintertravel #DutchessAtoZ #MyDutchessStory #ILoveNY #DutchessCounty #FamilyTravel @dutchesstourism

What We Did:

Road trip! We had a really fun itinerary, with room for last minute changes and decisions. That was what we needed as I was nervous about traveling alone with three (four, really) kids in a new place. So the first thing we did, after school and work, was to drive there. We drove at night and it was a little over two hours of a drive. What was really cool was that I had enrolled in Hilton Honors that same day, called to get my reservation attached to my app, and was able to check in on my app, AND, turn my phone into a room key. A smooth drive and a smooth check-in.

And our room was next to a hotel exit so we never had to be in contact with people.

The Hotel:

We stayed at Homewood Suites by Hilton, in Poughkeepsie. The room was called the “Manager’s Special” and it did NOT disappoint. Oh my goodness. We walked into a small kitchen and dining area, and then a living area with a TV, and pull-out couch. To the right, was a king bedroom with its own TV and bathroom. To the left was a bedroom with two queen sized beds, a TV, and its own bathroom. It was pretty plush, I tell you! We had eaten at home, but got some snacks from the lobby, found out the included hot breakfast info, and managed to get Rider to sleep on his first night away from home! He fell asleep in my arms and I placed him gently in the travel crib. We all slept deeply and then woke up to explore our hotel suite at dawn. Was a true highlight.

Our little mama/baby king bedroom setup:

Our wonderful fall family weekend in Dutchess County #ad #wintertravel #DutchessAtoZ #MyDutchessStory #ILoveNY #DutchessCounty #FamilyTravel @dutchesstourism

Our wonderful fall family weekend in Dutchess County #ad #wintertravel #DutchessAtoZ #MyDutchessStory #ILoveNY #DutchessCounty #FamilyTravel @dutchesstourism

Our wonderful fall family weekend in Dutchess County #ad #wintertravel #DutchessAtoZ #MyDutchessStory #ILoveNY #DutchessCounty #FamilyTravel @dutchesstourism

Our wonderful fall family weekend in Dutchess County #ad #wintertravel #DutchessAtoZ #MyDutchessStory #ILoveNY #DutchessCounty #FamilyTravel @dutchesstourism

Hotel perks:

The suite was huge and so clean. The free hot breakfast was awesome for both days. They had scrambled eggs, with or without cheese, sausage, hash browns, cereals and milk, yogurts, hard-boiled eggs, breads, bagels, muffins, juices, and coffee. We chose to take ours back to our suite because it felt safer there, and had a nice hotel picnic. The hotel also had a lovely pool and gym, which we didn’t use, but we admired from afar. We were in walking distance to a Starbucks and a Five Guys, and we definitely got Five Guys after our zoo trip (more on that soon). A pregnant mama and kids can really love Five Guys. There were actually tons of local restaurants.

Our wonderful fall family weekend in Dutchess County #ad #wintertravel #DutchessAtoZ #MyDutchessStory #ILoveNY #DutchessCounty #FamilyTravel @dutchesstourism

You can find out more here.

Trevor Zoo:

Trevor Zoo was a big source of excitement, but another thing is that we were meeting my sister and her two kids there, and her kids had no idea about the surprise! We hadn’t seen them since June, so this was a big deal. We met in the parking lot (lots of joy!) and then walked up to the Mill Welcome Center (and REALLY cool gift shop) where we talked to the Mill attendant, Zack, for quite awhile about the zoo. The is the ONLY zoo in the country that is located at a high school, a coeducational independent high school, and it’s a serene and beautiful campus.

The zoo founder, Frank Trevor, was the school’s first biology teacher, with a passion for sharing his love of wildlife with all people, especially children.

Our wonderful fall family weekend in Dutchess County #ad #wintertravel #DutchessAtoZ #MyDutchessStory #ILoveNY #DutchessCounty #FamilyTravel @dutchesstourism

Trevor Zoo houses more than 180 exotic and indigenous animals, and 80 different species are represented. There are 10 endangered species there, at facilities that extend over six acres, AND, the zoo operates a veterinary clinic! This is one of 232 zoos in the U.S. accredited by the AZA (Associations of Zoos and Aquariums). We had a blast! We saw wolves! We didn’t see the red pandas, sadly, but I know they were active right before we came, so we probably just missed our chance. The lemurs were SUCH loud fun, and we also saw alpacas, which are a favorite.

They have a lot of cold-tolerant animals, such as otters (we wanted to see one so badly but didn’t!), wolves, red pandas, bobcats, who enjoy the snow and colder weather and are more active in winter months. In fact, this is one of the only zoos, if not THE only zoo, I’ve ever heard of that is open all winter long. They’re open every day of the year, and the gates open daily at 9am. Such an enjoyment!

Our wonderful fall family weekend in Dutchess County #ad #wintertravel #DutchessAtoZ #MyDutchessStory #ILoveNY #DutchessCounty #FamilyTravel @dutchesstourism

Our wonderful fall family weekend in Dutchess County #ad #wintertravel #DutchessAtoZ #MyDutchessStory #ILoveNY #DutchessCounty #FamilyTravel @dutchesstourism

You can find out more here.

Downtime:

I loved working with Dutchess Tourism, because they factored in the variety of ages of children in our group, as well as my pregnancy, and scheduled some nice downtime suggestions. We had a blast hanging out in our hotel for an hour or so after the zoo, ordering local Five Guys (spoiler alert: it’s delicious everywhere you go) and hanging out showing the cousins our cool hotel suite. (Rider wears footie pajamas during the day too – especially on cold days when we’re bundling him up for adventures)

Walkway over the Hudson:

This was our next adventure, and oh, what an adventure! My sister remembers visiting Walkway over the Hudson with her husband many years ago, but stayed on the other side of it, other than the Poughkeepsie side. Nice memories from both sides! We decided to go close(ish) to sunset time so we could pretty much be there until the walkway closed (which we did!). So the Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park is the world’s longest elevated pedestrian bridge, spanning 1.28 miles over the Hudson River. You get views of the Catskill Mountains and the Hudson Highlands, and the walkway rises 212 feet above the Hudson River. It connects Poughkeepsie in Dutchess County on the east and Highland in Ulster County in the west. We didn’t get a chance to do this, but there’s an elevator in the middle of the walkway and if you take it down, you’ll get a whole new perspective of the bridge! Plus, you can have a picnic.

Our wonderful fall family weekend in Dutchess County #ad #wintertravel #DutchessAtoZ #MyDutchessStory #ILoveNY #DutchessCounty #FamilyTravel @dutchesstourism

Our wonderful fall family weekend in Dutchess County #ad #wintertravel #DutchessAtoZ #MyDutchessStory #ILoveNY #DutchessCounty #FamilyTravel @dutchesstourism

Our wonderful fall family weekend in Dutchess County #ad #wintertravel #DutchessAtoZ #MyDutchessStory #ILoveNY #DutchessCounty #FamilyTravel @dutchesstourism

Our wonderful fall family weekend in Dutchess County #ad #wintertravel #DutchessAtoZ #MyDutchessStory #ILoveNY #DutchessCounty #FamilyTravel @dutchesstourism

You can find out more here.

Dinner:

Finally, I can give you a dinner recommendation! Back at the hotel room, we got Giacomo’s Pizza. We got a large pizza for the kids, and then a Mediterranean Salad with homemade balsamic and grilled chicken, a side salad with balsamic, and a tortellini soup. Totally delicious after a long, cold, and FUN day. We fell asleep watching Christmas movies, because all three hotel room TVs had extensive channels.

Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Home Tour:

The next morning, we had a 10am Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Home Tour. So first we had a delicious and fulfilling hotel breakfast (those sausages.. yum) and then headed over to Hyde Park. This tour was REALLY interesting. We were just in the nick of time, and it started outside, where we talked about Roosevelt’s boyhood, the story of the house, and we also got to see the gorgeous trees all around that he must have gazed at a zillion times. This is part of the National Park Service, and the park ranger knew so much! For the indoor tour itself, we all were masked (except Rider). He did exceptionally well for a one-year-old in a big historical house, and I think Scarlet enjoyed all of the tidbits. Franklin D. Roosevelt returned to his childhood home often, drawing on the house to renew his spirit during hard times. There are over a thousand acres of gardens and trails. Reservations are required and tickets must be purchased in advance of your arrival. Tours offered Thursday through Monday only. Find out more here.

Our wonderful fall family weekend in Dutchess County #ad #wintertravel #DutchessAtoZ #MyDutchessStory #ILoveNY #DutchessCounty #FamilyTravel @dutchesstourism

Our wonderful fall family weekend in Dutchess County #ad #wintertravel #DutchessAtoZ #MyDutchessStory #ILoveNY #DutchessCounty #FamilyTravel @dutchesstourism

FDR Presidential Library and Museum:

This was right after the home tour, and was our last planned activity. I’m taken by the museum’s mission statement: “The Library’s mission is to foster research and education on the life and times of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, and their continuing impact on contemporary life. Our work is carried out by four major areas: Archives, Museum, Education and Public Programs.” The museum features special interactives, immersive audio‐visual theaters, and rarely seen artifacts that convey the dramatic story of the Roosevelt era. It is VERY thorough and often, you stop and just gaze around, before reading all of the info. There was a hushed atmosphere, which was perfect for Rider to hang out in his stroller and look around. I’d say to plan at least two or three hours there, because you want to be able to see and read everything. Tickets are based on a timed entry due to COVID-19 capacity limits. Find out more here.

Our wonderful fall family weekend in Dutchess County #ad #wintertravel #DutchessAtoZ #MyDutchessStory #ILoveNY #DutchessCounty #FamilyTravel @dutchesstourism

Our wonderful fall family weekend in Dutchess County #ad #wintertravel #DutchessAtoZ #MyDutchessStory #ILoveNY #DutchessCounty #FamilyTravel @dutchesstourism

Our wonderful fall family weekend in Dutchess County #ad #wintertravel #DutchessAtoZ #MyDutchessStory #ILoveNY #DutchessCounty #FamilyTravel @dutchesstourism

Before the Ride Home:

We had an AWESOME picnic, with items we got at Stop & Shop near our hotel, and we got goodies from Bread Alone, which is a bakery and there are tables behind it. The kids got grilled cheese, and I got a grab and go Roasted Tomato & Mozzarella Sandwich, plus a Cauliflower Cheddar soup.

Where We Did All of This:

Dutchess County, of course! Our hotel was in Poughkeepsie, and we also spent time in Hyde Park and Millbrook. Dutchess County has something for everyone, all year long, as it offers a variety of life-enriching experiences and memories. This county is rich with history, and has housed many empire builders, visionaries, artists, and world leaders. You can find The Culinary Institute of America, Vanderbilt Mansion, Franklin D. Roosevelt Home, Museum & Library, and Bard College’s Fischer Center. There is also fun shopping, scenic views, and lots of fun to explore!

When We Did This:

We went in late fall, but there is ALWAYS a reason to visit Dutchess County. They have wonderful activities and sights to see year-round.

Why:

We really, really needed a weekend away to recharge, discover somewhere new, and get this baby to experience a hotel! I can’t wait to go back for the Dutchess County Fair in summer!

So, have you ever been to Dutchess County?

Our wonderful fall family weekend in Dutchess County #ad #wintertravel #DutchessAtoZ #MyDutchessStory #ILoveNY #DutchessCounty #FamilyTravel @dutchesstourism

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