Not to Fear, New Yorkers: Rhinebeck, NY, and Beyond Has Great Schools and Grade-A Education

A NYC reader moves to a chic Dutchess County town — but isn’t sure if the schools for her little one is up to par



Dear Mama Greenest: “In one month we’ll be celebrating my daughter’s first birthday, and soon after that, we’ll start trying for another. It’s becoming far less appealing to live in NYC at this time, given the baby reality. We’re trying to decide what move to make in the next year or two and find the Rhinebeck area extremely appealing. Seems like an excellent place to raise a family and — I won’t lie — the fact that the city is somewhat accessible is a big plus. I’m not a fan of the suburbs, but I do crave and appreciate the culture and diversity the city has to offer. So this seems like the perfect fit.

I was wondering if there was a blog about the schools in the area, or a resource where one can get the insider scoop? All the big Web sites (i.e. Schooldigger.com and Greatschools.org) are helpful, but I want to know more. Any thoughts? Thanks! Nina”

(Answer on next page)

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Dear Nina: Your suspicions about Rhinebeck are correct! It’s a fantastic place to raise children. But so are many of the surrounding communities (click here to check out HV Mag’s 10 Top Towns). The number of young families in the region is growing exponentially, and we have the eco-friendly baby stores, music classes, and mommy-oriented Meetup.com groups to prove it. And lucky for you, our magazine publishes a school issue every February, so we have lots of insider info in our archives. But to get the ball rolling...

When it comes to pre-schools, a lot of people I know chose their schools based on what was closest to home, especially when they had two kids of different ages. Our choices are pretty limited, but there’s a lot to be said for a true “community” school, like Rhinebeck Community Nursery School, where kids (and parents) can start forming relationships they very well may carry into grade school and beyond. For more on area public schools, check out Hudson Valley’s feature story, “Making the Grade.”

We’re really lucky in that we have a diverse array of amazing alternative schools. So if you’re into alternative education (Quaker, Sudbury, Waldorf, etc.), or the school district you ultimately land in doesn’t thrill you, there are options — you’ll just most likely have to drive a bit to get to them. Check out this year’s article on the Valley’s many private schools.

And a word to the wise: Don’t think because it’s the “country” there aren’t waiting lists. This one comes from experience. Even though I called two-and-a-half years ahead of time, all I could do was get Coraline on the waiting list at Little Feet Too, which I’m told (by everyone) is the best. So if there’s a place you’re interested in, get on it ASAP.

Help me out readers — what’s the scoop on your local schools?

Have a question for me? Email me at MamaGreenest@gmail.com and I’ll answer with a post.

» Read more from the Mama Greenest health and parenting blog
» Ask Mama Greenest a question

» Read more about Hudson Valley Education

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One mom's plan to raise a kid — without raising greenhouse gases

About This Blog

Shannon Gallagher

Shannon Gallagher
Rhinebeck, NY


Dutchess County native Shannon Gallagher is a contributing editor for Hudson Valley Magazine. An erstwhile thrill-seeker, these days she courts disaster of a different variety wrangling a spirited toddler, honing her vegan baking skills, and chasing the ever-elusive work-family balance. She teaches Pilates and does fascial bodywork, and lives in Rhinebeck with Coraline, a cat named Otie, and Sushi the Fish (named, of course, by the toddler).

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