Top 12 Must-See Sites in Poughkeepsie

March 25th, 2020 by

A vibrant aerial shot of the Poughkeepsie, NY skyline is shown.

Please be aware that events and locations may be closed due to growing health concerns. Please consider take-out dining, purchasing a gift card for the time being, or visiting for future events.

Here at DePaula Ford, we love getting out to our neighboring towns and experiencing the great attractions they have to offer. Here are a few of our favorites to check out in Poughkeepsie, NY.

1. Mohonk Preserve

The Mohonk Preserve is a beautiful outdoor space that’s on a mission to protect the Shawangunk Mountains region. Outside Magazine named the Mohonk Preserve as one of the nation’s five best city escapes. Enjoy a relaxing walk, embark on a challenging hike, or bring your bike for a ride. Stop by to visit the butterfly garden in spring and summer or bring your skis and snowshoes out to brush off the winter blues. If you have a horse, the Mohonk Preserve has shaded natural trails on the Springhead Farm Trailhead (parking available). The Mohonk Preserve also offers a busy calendar of events on their website. Check it out for storytimes and a free public lecture series.

2. Bardavon Opera House

Looking for a special night out? Get tickets to a show at the Bardavon Opera House on 35 Market Street. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it’s one of the oldest continuously operating theaters in the country. You’ll find a range of performances, from concerts by the Hudson Valley Philharmonic to classic film showings and local educational programs. Become a member and attend their yearly fundraising gala. The featured performance in 2019 was by none other than the iconic Gladys Knight.

3. The Culinary Institute of America

The Culinary Institute of America isn’t just for prospective students. Several dining events and demonstrations are worth signing up for. A “signature series” of annual events include the Black and White Truffle Dinner (a six-course dinner featuring truffles on every plate) and the Moveable Feast with choices from their three award-winning restaurants, all rolled into one evening complete with musicians and street performers. You can also try a hands-on cooking class or wine demo just for fun at the Culinary Institute of America. Even if you don’t plan on making a professional career out of taste-testing, there are still ways for you to sample the lifestyle.

4. Walkway State Historic Park

A lower shot of the Poughkeepsie, NY Walkway bridge is against a blue sky.

This “Walkway over the Hudson” is the longest pedestrian bridge in the world. Walkers are encouraged to step foot on the Walkway anytime between 7 am to sunset. If you get there before 9 am, be prepared to take the stairs until the elevator opens to the public. You can explore miles of trails with gorgeous views and interesting sites along your way. For the Poughkeepsie entrance, park on 61 Parker Avenue. Nine different “Discovery Zones” have been designated to keep you engaged as you rack up the steps on your pedometer. These short detours include parks, waterfronts, and historic districts suited to fit every visitor’s preferences and interests.

5. Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College

See over 21,000 works of art at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center. Several events are ongoing, including late-night poetry, gallery talks, lectures, and workshops. Schedule a group tour or take a self-guided tour to get a deeper understanding of the art around you. Exhibitions are always changing, so be sure to check the website for the latest featured artist. Founded in 1864, the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center is as much an artistic venue as a historic site. Bring culture back with an afternoon at the gallery.

6. Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum

The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum is located on 4079 Albany Post Road in Hyde Park. Four areas guide how their work is carried out, including archives, the museum, education, and public programs. The Presidential Library showcases documents and artifacts as a public repository of historic information. Interactive exhibits highlight the New Deal and translate history into the impact conferred to American society today. The museum is operated by the National Park Service.

7. Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site

Along with F.D.R.’s library and museum, you can also take a tour of his personal home. Dogs are always welcome in Hyde Park if you’re interested in taking your pup on a historic walk. Due to some major renovations, the home of F.D.R. will be closed between April through October 2020. Once construction is done, visitors can stay tuned for the resurgence of fun events. If you like to garden, you can still sign up to help maintain the home’s beautiful grounds.

8. Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site

Visiting the Vanderbilt Mansion is like taking a step back in time. Its architecture, interiors, and surroundings offer a look back in time to when America became industrialized after the Civil War. This landmark site is home to several events throughout the year, such as the Rose Garden Ceremony and Every Kid Outdoors pass. Outdoor activities to do at the Vanderbilt Mansion include venturing through 34 miles of the Hyde Park Trails or taking a self-guided walk through the Roosevelt Farm Lane Trail.

9. SplashDown Beach

Need to cool off? SplashDown Beach in Fishkill has everything you need for a fun waterpark adventure. SplashDown Beach is loaded with exciting attractions. You can hop on the Artic Mammoth for one of the largest family raft-rides that the Northeast has to offer. You can also ride on a five-person raft through a thrilling 600-foot ride that stands nearly six stories high. For a more relaxing afternoon, float on the Croc Creek Wavy Lazy River. Cruise on a tube under fountains and geysers as you soak up the summer sun. SplashDown Beach is a guaranteed good time for all ages.

10. Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum

If you’re searching for an educational and fun way to entertain your kids, the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum is an activity that parents and children can both agree on. Hands-on programs engage children in creative learning programs. Their exhibits center around science, math, art, and music, helping kids develop important skills in age-appropriate settings. The Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum strives to foster curiosity and family-engagement. They’ve been given several awards, including the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC)’s “2019 Leading Edge Award for Business Practice” and 2019 Best Museum by Hudson Valley Magazine.

11. Benmarl Vineyards and Winery

A closeup of grapes in a vineyard near Poughkeepsie, NY.

For more of an adult outing, the Benmarl Winery has the perfect grown-up atmosphere for unwinding after a long week. As “America’s oldest vineyard,” Benmarl is a 37-acre estate that holds the first New York Farm winery license. Check their website for upcoming events like the Spring Barrel Tasting or Hudson Valley Grape Stomping Festivals throughout the Fall. You can treat yourself to an overnight stay at the Benmarl Bed & Breakfast as well. Nearby attractions include the Shawangunk wine trail or drive-in movie theater. Find Benmarl’s famous wines at several local restaurants and breweries or join their exclusive wine club to receive multiple bottles every year.

12. The Gravity Vault

Try your skills at rock climbing in a world-class facility that’s perfect for team-building with coworkers, tiring out your kids, or getting your own full-body workout in. With over 13,000 square feet of climbing walls, you’ll never get bored at the Gravity Vault. Walls go up to 40 feet high, and auto belays are available for climbers who want to practice solo. There’s also a party room available for events and a lounge with WiFi for parents or siblings waiting for the rest of their group to finish. Whether you’re an experienced climber looking for a new adventure or a first-timer who is just starting out, the Gravity Vault is a great spot to test your skills.

Posted in Poughkeepsie