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Best of Hudson Valley 2009

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FOOD & DRINK

Old-fashioned Brunch

McKinney & Doyle Fine Foods Café
Pawling
There’s a reason this charming hideaway brims with belly-patting, back-slapping regulars every weekend morning. Actually, there’s quite a few reasons: the famous strawberry cream cheese pancakes; the exquisite sugar- and walnut-coated Bananas Foster on toast; the first-rate Bloody Mary, topped off with fresh horseradish. And here’s yet another: Every item on the menu is made from scratch, right in the restaurant. • 845-855-3875; www.mckinneyanddoyle.com

Appetizer Sampler

Double O Grill
Wappingers Falls, Rhinebeck
Any one item in this often-busy restaurant and bar’s appetizer sampler would be a feast in itself. But all together, its appetizer combo is out of this world. It includes Santa Fe rolls, a big-time treat made of egg-roll wrappers stuffed with cheese, chicken, corn, cilantro, black beans, peppers, and onions – delish. But save room – the $13.95 platter also offers four other grazing goodies: Buffalo wings, fried mozzarella, chicken strips, and onion strings. Can you say “I’m stuffed?” • Wappingers Falls, 845-297-7625; Rhinebeck, 845-876-0800; www.doubleogrill.com

Gnocchi with Peas and Prosciutto

Gino’s Trattoria Mahopac
Run by the Barbaro family (dad Vito immigrated to the U.S. from Italy in the 1950s), Gino’s is the kind of Italian restaurant we love: It has a casual atmosphere, great service, and a menu full of our favorite dishes. Our “most favorite” favorite is gnocchi (Italian dumplings made with potatoes and semolina flour) bathed in a rich cream sauce that’s punctuated with green peas and prosciutto. It’s a creamy, sweet, salty, calorie-laden bit of heaven. • 845-628-1911; www.ginostrattoria.com

New Diner with a Twist

Another Fork in the Road Milan
Billing their restaurant as a “finer diner,” chefs Natalie (Figgy) DiBenedetto and Jamie Parry are serving up breakfast and lunch dishes that are far removed from standard roadhouse fare: house-cured corned beef hash; sweet and savory crêpes; organic free-range turkey breast sandwiches with mushrooms and bacon. Sure, you can get a burger here, too — made with locally raised beef, and topped with an oven-roasted tomato. The well-executed menu should surprise no one: DiBenedetto — who owns the place — is a CIA grad and formerly ran Mina in Red Hook, while Parry once served French cuisine at swanky Montrachet in Manhattan. The duo’s insistence on using ingredients from local farms whenever possible seems to have caught the attention of the locals — the restaurant is often full for breakfast, especially on weekends. • 845-758-6676

Salsa

My Brother Bobby’s Poughkeepsie
The key to this local company’s sensational salsa? Fresh, all-natural ingredients. Since they launched in the ’90s, they’ve been committed to using seasonal local tomatoes, red and green peppers, and jalapeños when whipping up mouthwatering salsas that draw intense raves. The lineup — My Brother Bobby’s products are sold mostly in local specialty stores — includes the original Red Salsa, plus variation salsas such as Hot Tomatillo with Corn and Tropical Black Bean; their outrageously tasty bruschetta topping has won awards, too. • 845-462-6227

Culinary Kickback to the ’50s

Sonic Drive-In Kingston
Talk about tantalizing: For years, Sonic ran nonstop advertisements in our region showcasing its juicy burgers, luscious slushes, and tasty toaster sandwiches. But the fast-food chain didn’t operate any franchises in New York State, let alone the Hudson Valley. Then in May, Sonic opened a location in Kingston. The verdict? It was worth the wait. Not only is the guilty-pleasure grub scrumptious, but the restaurant’s setup allows customers to sit comfortably in their cars while a roller-skating server delivers their meal. It’s a scene straight out of Happy Days. And with a second location set to open in Wappingers Falls this fall (with whispers of even more spots to come), there will be plenty of happy days ahead for the Valley’s fast-food fans. • 845-336-4140; www.sonicdrivein.com

Treat You’ll Crave for Weeks

Chocolate Bomb at Babycakes Bakery Café Poughkeepsie
This funky spot next to Vassar College serves tasty and unusual fare (including vegetarian and vegan entrées) from breakfast through dinner. But we suspect it’s the huge pastry case — which is full of luscious goodies, all made from scratch by the pastry staff — that keeps the college kids (and us) coming through the door. One spoonful of their Chocolate Bomb, a cupcake-sized mound of light-as-air chocolate mousse surrounded by a soft chocolate ganache, and you’ll be addicted. (They make cakes for special occasions, too.) • 845-485-8411; www.babycakescafe.com

Restaurant Cheesecake

Nina Middletown
This Zagat-rated downtown restaurant draws loyal customers who savor its gourmet meals served in a relaxed setting with brick walls and gentle lighting. Lunch and dinner options range from seafood crêpes to veal Budapest, plus the eatery boasts an award-winning wine list. But customers especially swoon over the homemade Bailey’s Irish Cream Cheesecake, which chef/owner Franz Brendle describes as “New York-style, and made with a generous amount” of tasty Bailey’s booze. Some foodies swear the first mouthful is akin to a religious experience. • 845-344-6800; www.nina-restaurant.com

Southwestern Restaurant

Stone Creek Ranch Restaurant and Bar Hopewell Junction
It feels like Texas here, from cowpoke-style décor to barbecue-inspired dining. Customers clamor for smokehouse-cooked dishes such as baby-back ribs and beer-can chicken (it’s specially marinated in brew). There’s seafood, too, including shrimp sautéed in tequila, fresh lime, and Triple Sec, topped with spicy mango. The menu is chock-full of Tex-Mex favorites like fajitas, burritos, and quesadillas; side-order goodies include honey-molasses baked beans and cactus salad. Kids can gobble from the “Young Rattlers” selections, and there’s a $10 menu with budget-happy choices like taco salads and Arizona-style wraps. Wash it all down with a lip-smackin’ Margarita – choose from nearly two dozen brands of tequila. • 845-227-2338; www.stonecreekranchrestaurant.com

Homemade Sausages

Quaker Creek Store Goshen
Loaded with prosciutto, Swiss, mushrooms, and spinach, you better believe this deli’s chicken saltimbucca is no ordinary stuffed sausage. Then again, the entire menu of meats and accompaniments is mouthwatering. Manager and CIA grad Bobby Matuszewski, whose grandparents started the business in 1947, says great sausage is made with great ingredients, including the wines. “If you’re not going to drink it, it’s not going into the sausage,” he boasts. In addition to the luscious links, ’wursts, steaks, and kielbasy, the charcuterie produces a mighty fine selection of side dishes — sauerkraut, baked beans, homemade pierogies, and stuffed mushrooms, to name a few — that draws hungry fans from miles away. • 845-258-4570; www.quakercreekstore.com

Shrimp-stuffed Jalapeños

Armadillo Bar and Grill Kingston
This tasty appetizer beautifully fuses the refreshing quality of jumbo shrimp with the spiciness of the jalapeño. To make the treat, Armadillo owner Merle Borenstein dabs on a touch of Monterey Jack cheese, then crisp-fries the concoction in a bread-crumb covering. To cool the zesty appetizer down, dip the jalapeño in some sour cream before digging in. Dios mío — just thinking about that wonderful confluence of flavor has us salivating. • 845-339-1550; www.armadillos.net

Southern-style Takeout

Cheryl’s Fried Fish & Soul Food Middletown
It’s a small storefront eatery, but Cheryl’s is gaining a big fan club, thanks to made-from-scratch, Southern-style dishes that nix the traditional grease and deliver delicious, home-cooked taste. Favorites for takeout (or you can eat on premises; they have a few simple tables) include Cheryl’s signature fresh fried fish, as well as fried or smothered pork chops, grilled salmon with rice and beans, stewed-down steak, and curried shrimp or chicken. Side dishes — especially the yummy collard greens or cabbage — are splendid, and vegetarians rave about the mac and cheese, yams, and plantains. Plus, the portions are big and the service is friendly. Yum. • 845-343-5565; www.cherylsfriedfish.com

Biscuits and Gravy

The “Historic” Village Diner Red Hook
A village landmark, this classic 1920s-style diner serves genuine home cooking at retro prices. The menu offers everything from Philly cheese steak to homemade chili. A longtime customer favorite: For less than three bucks, tickle your tummy with country-style sausage gravy served over a biscuit; add about $2 more and ramp it up with two eggs and toast — you’ll get a sticks-to-your ribs hearty meal. • 845-758-6232; www.historic-village-diner.com

Trail Treat

La Stazione New Paltz
A large menu featuring 30 kinds of pasta, plus some non-Italian specials, makes for the perfect pit stop at this renovated Main Street train station right along the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail. The view — along with a full bar — delights bicyclists stopping for a break on their way through Gardiner and New Paltz. Save room for homemade tiramisu, cheesecake, gelato, fruit di bosco cake, and other yummy desserts to fuel the rest of your ride. • 845-256-9447

Interactive Dining Experience

Amici’s Poughkeepsie
Amici’s, a popular eatery near the railroad station in the city’s waterfront district, offers delicious Italian fare with a personal touch. On busy days, chef/owner Joel Trocino will step out of the kitchen to help serve — and even bus tables when needed. For a nifty twist, Trocino also offers a monthly “interactive chef” night: He sets up shop in the dining room and cooks a five-course Italian meal right there, chatting with customers about ingredients and answering their “burning” culinary questions. “It’s a lot of fun for everybody, myself included,” he says. • 845-452-4700; www.amicis-restaurant.com

Place for Jazz and Food

Turning Point Music Café Piermont
Named after a John Mayall album — yes, the British blues legend has performed here — this renowned and rustic venue has featured top-notch music since 1976. Its intimate stage has so far hosted 35 members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame — ranging from Odetta to Herbie Hancock. Monday is usually jazz night, with added shows planned for the fall. Here’s what’s really neat: you can combine a meal with an evening of super music — enjoy light fare such as sandwiches, salads, crab cakes, and more, just a few feet from the stage. • 845-359-1089; www.turningpointcafe.com

Jazz Brunch

The Rhinecliff Hotel Rhinecliff
Once a neglected eyesore, the Rhinecliff is now a beautifully transformed hotel just outside of Rhinebeck that recently underwent an ambitious $5 million renovation. It draws visitors from near and far who stay overnight, then explore the Valley — plus locals who stop by for tasty meals and linger for drinks at the brasserie-style bar. The hotel’s Sunday jazz brunch — running from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with a choice of a $19.95 prix-fixe meal or à la carte dining — is a great way to hear super music and enjoy a kick-back weekend. In warm weather, savvy brunchers make a beeline for the hotel’s bluestone patio overlooking the Hudson River. • 845-876-0590; www.therhinecliff.com

Pancakes

Sweet Sue’s Phoenicia
The line can be out the door on busy weekends, and some loyal customers admit they drive miles out of their way for this café’s super home-style breakfasts and lunches. Owner Sue Oakley-Taylor says she’s stopped counting the varieties of pancakes they serve; it now hovers around 22. Big hits include the Blueberry Monkey flapjacks, made with banana and blueberry; other pancake options include buckwheat, whole wheat, raspberry, cornmeal, buttermilk, and chocolate chip. “Another popular one is our Pancake Sundae,” Sue says. It’s a colossal combo of buttermilk pancakes, with peaches, strawberries, and blueberries, topped with fresh-made raspberry sauce… talk about flapjack heaven. • 845-688-7852

Local Ice Cream

Jane’s Homemade Ice Cream Kingston
“I’m a coconut freak,” says co-owner Bob Guidubaldi, so coconut Almond Joy is among his faves. But partner and wife Amy Keller likes all 80 flavors sold to 70 shops, restaurants, and hotels from Manhattan to the Berkshires. The ice cream and sorbet is made in Kingston with lots of local products. Temptation awaits in a dish of cappuccino Kahlúa calypso, lavender, or Triboro — a nod to NYC made with vanilla ice cream, caramel swirl, and chocolate-covered peanut butter pretzels. • 845-338-1801; www.janesicecream.com

Taste of Chile

Los Hornitos Bakery Wappingers Falls
Chow on some South American fare and meet a “nice Chilean lady who takes care of everybody,’’ invites owner Monica Lorca. Besides an assortment of South American pastries, breads, and sweets, don’t miss her Cuban pork sandwich, the Chilean churrasco sandwich made with sirloin steak, and other Chilean gourmet specialties. Tres leches (three milks) cake is worth the trip alone. Open for breakfast through dinner. • 845-298-8683; www.loshornitosbakery.com

Spanish Dining Experience

Castillo Español Poughkeepsie
It feels like you’ve stepped into a classic restaurant in Spain when you enter this eatery, with its high, whitewashed ceiling and airy feel. The authentic Spanish cuisine is based on fresh ingredients in dishes ranging from chorizo appetizers to paella valenciana and mariscada. Seafood, beef, chicken, and vegetables are all done up in large servings with Spanish flair. Sip a glass of their renowned homemade sangría and listen to nightly live Spanish guitar music as you dine — they also offer occasional performances by Flamenco dancers. Olé! • 845-452-5924; www.castilloespanolrestaurant.com

Old-school Pizza

Emiliano’s Pizza Poughkeepsie
If you crave a New York-style thin crust pie — topped with broccoli, bacon, or anything in between (they’ve got 15 toppings in all) — then this family-owned landmark on Main Street is the place for you. Looking for something a little fancier? Check out their lineup of gourmet offerings, such as Hawaiian (pineapple and ham), clams oreganato, even salad pizza. • 845-473-1414; www.emilianospizza.com

French Country Feel

Café Les Baux Millbrook
We’ve never been to southeastern France, but if it’s anything like the bistro chef-owner Hervé Bochard operates in Millbrook, we may soon pay the region a visit. The closely spaced tables and sienna- and oak-infused décor create an intimate-but-relaxed ambience, while the menu — highlighted by the rack of lamb chops, les moules frites, and can’t-miss desserts — invites you to dawdle the day away. • 845-677-8166; www.cafelesbaux.com

New French Restaurant

Le Gamin Country Café Hudson
Maybe you yearn for a traditional French breakfast with très-fresh jams, croissants, or baguettes. Or at lunchtime, the notion of a garden-fresh salad or that oh-so-French version of grilled cheese with ham — the croque-monsieur — sounds “formidable.” No matter what, you’ll find all sorts of fabulous French food at this casual, Gallic country-style eatery. There’s a nice variety of crêpes, plus yummy soups and other choices, or you can just relax, enjoy a pastry and steaming cup of café au lait — and dream of a weekend in Provence. The family-friendly café — kids are welcome — also features a boutique section where you can browse and pick up some chic tableware. • 518-828-2885; www.legamin.com

Restaurant Expansion

Le Canard Enchainé Kingston, Albany
The “chained-up duck” referred to in the restaurant’s title is shackled to a single location no longer. The upscale French eatery Le Canard Enchainé, long a staple of the uptown Kingston restaurant scene, opened a brasserie in downtown Albany in September 2008. Happily, an ever-larger swath of the Valley can now enjoy chef Jean-Jacques Carquillat’s authentically French flights of flavor. Entrées run from $24 to $38. • Kingston, 845-339-2003; Albany, 518-465-1111; www.le-canardenchainesrestaurant.com

Wine Bar

Elephant Kingston
It’s called “Elephant’’ for no special reason, but the name fits because this is one cozy spot you won’t forget. “We’re a modern Spanish tapas bar,’’ says co-owner Rich Reeve. He and partner Maya Karrol offer a unique selection of wines and serve up a delicious menu of bite-size appetizers and snacks like fennel and clementine salad and chicken piri piri. • 845-339-9310; www.elephantwinebar.com

Hard Cider

Warwick Valley Winery Warwick
The scenic Warwick Valley Winery is tucked between two granite foothills known as Mount Adam and Mount Eve. Fortunately for Valleyites, the fruit the distillery uses to craft its ciders is far from forbidden. No stranger to winning awards, Warwick Valley’s drafts garnered two of the top three spots in the cider category at this year’s Hudson Valley Wine Competition. Each of its varieties — the crisp apple; the desert-dry pear; the brisk raspberry; and its two seasonal collections, the flavorful black currant and the tart eco-apple — satiate taste buds thirsty for a refreshing beverage at the end of a cool autumn day. • 845-258-6020; www.wvwinery.com

Place to Pair Wine & Food

Artisan Wine Shop Beacon
Looking to wow dinner guests with your ability to match meals with just the right wine? Consider Mei Ying So and Tim Buzinski your senseis, and their Saturday-afternoon wine-food tastings your dojo. The Artisan Wine Shop owners call on their CIA backgrounds to compose such harmonious pairings as shrimp escabèche with Spanish whites and grilled skirt steak tacos with California reds. (The hours-long sessions are a blast to attend, too.) Bring in your dinner menu and So and Buzinski will even create a complementary wine list, which you can then set up as a registry for your guests to use. • 845-440-6923; www.artisanwineshop.com

Dessert Wines

Clinton Vineyards Clinton Corners
With enticing names like Embrace, Romance, and Desire, one might find it hard to resist the dessert wines at Clinton Vineyards. And why should you? The five varietals hail from a vineyard that, over its 33 years, has seen its wines served at Democratic national conventions, a U.S.-Russia summit, and the White House. Clinton’s two most decorated dessert wines are Cassis, a multilayered vintage derived from black currant; and Nuit, an intense package of port-like wild black raspberry flavor. Unlike other top-notch vinos, these wines won’t double the price of your dinner bill, either: bottles go for $25-$35. • 845-266-5372; www.clintonvineyards.com

Bourbon

Tuthilltown Spirits Distillery Gardiner
Since Prohibition, the Empire State has distilled and aged just two bourbon whiskys (legally, anyway): Tuthilltown’s baby bourbon and four-grain bourbon. One possible explanation for the dearth of competition may be that the products are near-impossible to improve on. The vanilla- and caramel-tinged baby bourbon, made from New York corn and aged in American oak barrels, goes down sweet and smooth. The four-grain rye perfectly blends the corn, rye, wheat, and malted barley it’s distilled from. Both flavors are 92-proof, hand-numbered by bottle, and guaranteed to warm your throat and brighten your spirits. • 845-633-8284; http://tuthilltown.com

Beer Selection In a Restaurant

Bacchus New Paltz
SUNY students and locals have made this downtown eatery and bar a popular hangout for more than 35 years — and it’s a perfect place to wet your whistle. Bacchus boasts 14 beers on tap, ranging from New York’s own Keegan Ales (made in Kingston) and Ommegang (brewed in Cooperstown) to Stella Artois from Belgium. All told, drinkers can pick from more than 300 brands of brew from all 50 states and 60 countries, as well as imbibe delicious nonalcoholic options, malt beverages (“malternatives”), and hard ciders. Cheers! • 845-255-8636; www.bacchusnewpaltz.com

Beer Selection In a Store

Half Time Poughkeepsie
So much more than just a dash-in, dash-out beer stop, you’ll find here upwards of 1,800 beers from around the corner and across the globe. There’s everything from Brooklyn micro-brews to Belgian Trappist ales to gluten-free selections. The store’s meet-the-brewer tastings are lots of fun and informative, too: Customers chat with the folks who make artisanal beers while sipping their creations. Half Time also has an extensive online store with more than 20 different beer baskets, gift certificates, and even a variety of beer-of-the-month clubs to delight your favorite hops head. • 845-462-5400; www.halftimebeverage.com

Roadside Eats

Bubby’s Burrito Stand Red Hook
You know it’s spring when this delightful, tiny trailer first appears along the side of the road, offering tasty eats throughout the summer. Then, when autumn comes, the owners close up and head down to Mexico, where they run a café in the winter. Bubby’s menu is vegetarian and it’s not extensive — just a couple of types of burritos and quesadillas, and a refreshing agues de frutas, or “fruit water” drink. Simple, yes — but here’s a definite case of “less is more,” with fresh, delicious ingredients cooked to order. Loyal customers stop by year after year, sometimes plopping down on the grass for an impromptu picnic; there’s also a farmstand nearby to pick up some fresh fruit for dessert. • Intersection of Rtes. 9G and 199 (no phone)

New Steakhouse

Flatiron Steakhouse Red Hook
Flatiron, a Manhattan-style chophouse that has skyrocketed in popularity since debuting in August 2008, is a steakhouse with options. There are the variations of grass-fed, USDA Prime beef: flatiron, hanger steak, filet mignon, 10-ounce New York strip, and one-pound rib-eye. There are the seven complementary sauces, which include chimichurri, habañero, and pecorino truffle fondue. And there are the portion sizes: the full eight-ounce and the petite five-ounce, which leaves less-ravenous diners sufficient room for chef/owner Craig Stafford’s savory sides and desserts. Throw in inventive non-steak entrées such as ground duck burger and caramelized sea scallops, and it’s enough to leave you frozen over your menu, paralyzed by an abundance of choice. Don’t fret: There’s an excellent possibility you’ll soon schedule a return trip, anyway. • 845-758-8260; www.flatironsteakhouse.com

THE ASIAN INVASION

Real-deal Sushi Chef

Makio Idesako at Amici Sushi High Falls
Many of the Valley’s sushi chefs are from China or Korea. Not Makio Idesako: The gregarious Amici Sushi boss was born in the homeland of sushi — Japan — and trained there in its premier culinary art before migrating to New York in 1972. Calling on his authoritative background, Idesako can roll fresh, flavorful sushi both traditional (shrimp tempura) and inventive (tuna-yellowtail-salmon topped with avocado and caviar). Yum — tastes like Tokyo. • 845-687-7700; www.depuycanalhouse.net

New Thing to Happen to Japanese Food

Gomen-Kudasai New Paltz
A Japanese restaurant without steak or sushi is like a rock ballad without a bridge or chorus: It’s disorienting, yes, but when executed with skill and panache it’s a novel, rewarding treat. Since opening last year in an elegant space on New Paltz’s Main Street, the steak- and sushi-less Gomen-Kudasai has satisfied adventurous eaters with dishes featuring home-style udon and soba noodles, served cold, stir-fried, or hot in a soup. The tofu- and rice-heavy menu is manna from heaven for vegans and vegetarians. • 845-255-8811; www.gomenkudasai.com

Brick-oven Pizza

Amedeos Brick Oven Pizzeria LaGrangeville
Amedeos has been a staple on busy Route 55 since 1989. Last year, owner Patrick Amedeo — at one time an architectural designer — moved into a new Tuscan-inspired building he helped plan. Hallmarks of the new digs were the custom-made, hand-built, wood-fired brick ovens, just perfect for turning out authentic Neopolitan pizza: thin crust, San Marzano tomatoes, Grana Padano cheese… are you hungry yet? The trattoria does traditional pies, too — with all the toppings you could ask for — as well as pasta, panini, and salads. • 845-454-4563; www.amedeosbrickovenpizzeria.com

New Burger on the Scene

Poppy’s Beacon

This lunch-dinner spot, opened in January 2009, offers local, grass-fed beef and seasonal produce, as well as an array of toppings such as hickory-smoked bacon and roasted shallots. The veggie burgers have even won over the hearts of carnivores (think bean patties topped with avocado and homemade vinegar, or mayonnaise-based cole slaw for crunch). The skinny, crispy French fries put their fast-food brethren to shame — and they’re made with organic potatoes.
• 845-765-2121; www.poppyburger.com

Upscale Burger

Terrapin Rhinebeck
No secret here: The key to a good burger lies in the meat. It’s no surprise, then, that Terrapin’s premium patties are such a hit. To make the burgers, chef-owner Josh Kroner uses hormone-free, antibiotic-free, grain- and grass-fed beef. That all-natural flavor is further enhanced by the 30-plus toppings the restaurant offers, which include smoked Gouda, sautéed portobellos, and yogurt-mint-cucumber raita. CNN thought so much of Kroner’s creation that it filmed a segment on the burgers earlier this year. That’s news you can use — and chew.
• 845-876-3330; www.terrapinrestaurant.com

Readers’ Picks

Restaurants by County

Not too many surprises here. The winners from Albany, Columbia, Greene, Orange, Putnam, and Rockland counties were all voted numero uno last year, too. Of course, it’s notable that superstar chef Peter Kelly’s X20 Xaviars On The Hudson in Yonkers took the top spot in Westchester this year — making him the first culinary superstar to ever win top restaurants in two counties at the same time. And Villa Valenti in Rensselaer County made its first appearance on the Best Of list — even though the Valenti family has been running local restaurants for 101 years. Take home a bottle of their renowned pasta sauce or try their famous braciole: steak stuffed with garlic, herbs, and Romano, then rolled.

Albany County: Jack’s Oyster House
Albany. 518-465-8854; www.jacksoysterhouse.com

Columbia County: Mexican Radio
Hudson. 518-828-7770; www.mexrad.com

Dutchess County: Serevan Restaurant
Amenia. 845-373-9800; www.serevan.com

Greene County: Bistro Brie and Bordeaux
Windham. 518-734-4911; www.bistrobrieandbordeaux.com

Orange County: Il Cenácolo
Newburgh. 845-564-4494; www.ilcenacolorestaurant.com

Putnam County: Riverview Restaurant
Cold Spring. 845-265-4778; www.riverdining.com

Rensselaer County: Villa Valenti
Wynantskill. 518-283-1291; www.villavalenti.com

Rockland County: Xaviars at Piermont
Piermont. 845-359-7007; www.xaviars.com

Ulster County (tie): Ship Lantern Inn
Milton. 845-795-5400; www.shiplanterninn.com

Ulster County (tie): Stonehedge Restaurant
West Park. 845-384-6555; www.stonehedgerestaurant.com

Westchester County: X20 Xaviars On The Hudson
Yonkers. 914-965-1111; www.xaviars.com/yonkers

Restaurants by Cuisine

Lots of perennial favorites here, folks. If you haven’t sampled these fantastic favorites you’re just not being fair to your taste buds. Make a reservation already.

American: American Bounty at the Culinary Institute of America
Hyde Park. 845-471-6608;
www.ciachef.edu/restaurants/bounty

BBQ: Max’s Memphis Barbecue
Red Hook. 845-758-6297; http://maxsbbq.net

Cajun: Spanky’s
Poughkeepsie. 845-485-2294;
www.spankysrestaurantpok.com

Chinese: China Rose
Rhinecliff. 845-876-7442

French: Le Canard Enchainé
Kingston, 845-339-2003; Albany, 518-465-1111;
www.le-canardenchainesrestaurant.com

German: Mountain Brauhaus
Gardiner. 845-255-9766; www.mountainbrauhaus.com

Greek: Yanni Restaurant
New Paltz. 845-256-0988

Indian: Tanjore
Fishkill. 845-896-6659. Rhinebeck. 845-876-7510;
www.tanjoreindiancuisine.com

Italian: Aroma Osteria
Wappingers Falls. 845-298-6790;
www.aromaosteriarestaurant.com

Mediterranean: Gigi Trattoria
Rhinebeck. 845-876-1007;
www.gigihudsonvalley.com

Mexican/Latino: Maya Café
Fishkill. 845-896-4042; www.mayacafecantina.com

Steakhouse: Schlesingers Steak House
New Windsor. 845-561-1762;
www.schlesingerssteakhouse.com

Vegetarian: Aroma Thyme Bistro
Ellenville. 845-647-3000; www.aromathyme.biz

Restaurants by Atmosphere

Bistro: Le Petit Bistro
Rhinebeck. 845-876-7400; www.lepetitbistro.com

Breakfast: Main Street Bistro
New Paltz. 845-255-7766; www.mainstreetbistro.com

Brunch: The Thayer Hotel at West Point
West Point. 845-446-4731; www.thethayerhotel.com

Cheap Eats: Soul Dog
Poughkeepsie. 845-454-3254; www.souldog.biz

Comfort Food & Diner: The Eveready Diner
Hyde Park, 845-229-8100; Brewster, 845-279-9009;
www.theevereadydiner.com

Dessert: La Deliziosa Pastry Shoppe
Poughkeepsie. 845-471-3636

Place to Eat with a View: Shadows on the Hudson
Poughkeepsie. 845-486-9500;
www.shadowsonthehudson.com

Special Occasion Dining: Escoffier Restaurant at the Culinary Institute of America
Hyde Park. 845-471-6608;
www.ciachef.edu/restaurants/escoffier

Late Night Dining (tie): Double O Grill
Wappingers Falls, 845-297-7625;
Rhinebeck, 845-876-0800; www.doubleogrill.com

Late Night Dining (tie): Palace Diner
Poughkeepsie. 845-473-1576;
www.thepalacediner.com

Lunch spot: Caffé Macchiato
Newburgh. 845-565-4616;
www.caffemacchiatonewburgh.com

Romantic Dining: Depuy Canal House
High Falls. 845-687-7700;
www.depuycanalhouse.net

Waterside/Al Fresco Dining (tie): Torches on the Hudson
Newburgh. 845-568-0100;
www.torchesonthehudson.com

Waterside/Al Fresco Dining (tie): Shadows on the Hudson
Poughkeepsie. 845-486-9500;
www.shadowsonthehudson.com

DRINK IT UP

This year both the Blue Martini on Newburgh’s waterfront and Shadows on the Hudson in Poughkeepsie took home two drink awards. For the Blue Martini, it was, as usual, the “Best Martini” (but of course) and a tie with Cosimo’s for best cosmo; for the third year in a row Shadows snagged the “Best Singles Scene” and has now added best mojito to its roster. But really, it’s hard to go wrong at any of these nine beloved establishments, whether you choose to do the pub thing, make your Mexican moves, settle in front of a big screen for the game, or mix it up with the region’s top mixologists.

Beer Selection: Hyde Park Brewing Company Restaurant and Brewery
Hyde Park. 845-229-8277; www.hydeparkbrewing.moonfruit.com

Cosmo (tie): Blue Martini
Newburgh. 845-562-7111

Cosmo (tie): Cosimo’s
Poughkeepsie. 845-485-7172; www.cosimospoughkeepsie.com

Happy Hour: Mahoney’s Irish Pub and Restaurant
Poughkeepsie. 845-471-3027; www.mahoneysirishpub.com

Irish Pub: Dubliner Irish Pub
Poughkeepsie. 845-454-7322; www.dublinerpubny.com

Margarita: La Puerta Azul
Salt Point. 845-677-2985; www.lapuertaazul.com

Martini: Blue Martini
Newburgh. 845-562-7111

Mojito & Singles Scene: Shadows on the Hudson
Poughkeepsie. 845-486-9500; www.shadowsonthehudson.com

Sports Bar (tie): Michael’s Restaurant and Sports Café
Fishkill. 845-896-5766

Sports Bar (tie): Darby O’Gills
Hyde Park. 845-229-6662

Winery: Millbrook Vineyards and Winery
Millbrook. 845-677-8383; www.millbrookwine.com

FOOD — GLORIOUS FOOD!

Familiar names — Bread Alone, Andy’s Place, K&D Deli — dominate this list of your must-have food favorites. But newcomers — such as A Touch of Naples and Coppola’s restaurants, Red Rooster Drive-In, and Commodore Chocolatier — are now on our radar of places to check out this fall.

Chocolate Treat: Commodore Chocolatier
Newburgh. 845-561-3960

Appetizers: Terrapin
Rhinebeck. 845-876-3330;
www.terrapinrestaurant.com

Bagel: Hopewell Hot Bagels
Hopewell Junction. 845-226-4594

Buffalo Wings: Planet Wings
11 locations. www.planetwings.com

Bread: Bread Alone
Boiceville. 845-657-3328;
www.breadalone.com

Chili: Andy’s Place
Poughkeepsie. 845-452-2525;
www.gotoandysplace.com

Cup of Coffee/Latte: Muddy Cup
New Paltz. 845-255-5803; www.muddycup.com

Ice Cream (tie): Debra T’s Ice Cream Cafe
Poughkeepsie. 845-471-3357

Ice Cream (tie): Holy Cow
Red Hook. 845-758-5959

Pasta (tie): Coppola’s Italian and American Bistro
Hyde Park. 845-229-9113; www.coppolas.net

Pasta (tie): Aroma Osteria
Wappingers Falls. 845-298-6790;
www.aromaosteriarestaurant.com

Pizza: A Touch of Naples Pizza and Pasta
Poughkeepsie. 845-473-5744

Sandwich: K&D Deli
Poughkeepsie: 845-625-2058 (Taft Ave.),
845-471-1607 (North Rd.), 845-471-7080 (Salt Point Tpke.); Hyde Park, 845-229-8344

Seafood: Gadaleto’s Seafood
New Paltz. 845-255-1717;
www.gadaletos.com

Soup: Red Rooster Drive-In
Brewster. 845-279-8046

Tapas: Elephant
Kingston. 845-339-9310;
www.elephantwinebar.com

New Restaurant

36 Main Restaurant & Wine Bar New Paltz
Our readers gave the nod to this fresh-faced favorite that has perked up New Paltz’s Main Street dining scene. Of course, they might have gotten the idea from us: After all, we had already named the establishment — managed proficiently by chef Adam Steinberg and owner Kathy Combs — a top new restaurant in our November cover story. • 845-255-3636

Japanese/Sushi

Edo Hyde Park
The place itself may look more New England than Old Tokyo (Edo happens to be the ancient name for that city), but the food and ambience make Edo Sushi a favorite among our readers. Feeling adventurous? Try the massive “Edo Roll”: tuna, salmon, whitefish, yellowtail, and eel, rolled and deep-fried, then served with spicy sauce, tobiko (fish roe), and scallion on the outside. • 845-229-9099; www.edo-sushi.com

Thai

Thai House Nyack
A perennial favorite of Zagat, esteemed by the New York Times, and loved by Thai food connoisseurs for years, Thai House’s Nyack location (there’s another in Ardsley) serves up traditional items like pad Thai, satay, and soups that balance sweet and hot, savory and sublime, as only the best southeast Asian cuisine can deliver. • 845-358-9100; www.thaihousenyack.com

Burger

Woody’s All Natural Burgers and Fries Cornwall
Ah, the anti-McDonalds. Here’s a hamburger that’s actually good for both you and the environment. Woody’s uses only locally raised, grass-fed, grain-finished beef and serves it on regionally produced buns with fresh, local toppings in season (or from local food vendors out of season). More importantly, they taste like real hamburgers, the kind you’d make at home — plump, juicy, and medium-rare so they taste like meat, not shoe leather. • 845-534-1111; www.woodysallnatural.com

 
FUN

Arts OrganizationDutchess County Arts Council Poughkeepsie
In tough economic times, artistic endeavors need support more than ever. This arts advocacy organization is known for its commitment to keeping the arts alive in the Mid-Hudson. The council assists individual artists and helps raise awareness of the value of the creative spirit — from dance and cinema to painting, music, writing, folk arts, and more. The nonprofit group also presents workshops, kids’ programs, partnership projects with schools, and a full calendar of events throughout the year. • 845-454-3222; www.artsmidhudson.org

(Non-rock) Mountain Music Festival

Belleayre Music Festival Highmount
Snow is but a memory when music lovers come to the mountain for this summer concert series. Motown’s Mary Wilson, a comedic operetta, and reggae legends the Original Wailers were on the ’09 program. “It’s an opportunity to see world-class entertainment in a very informal country setting,” says Executive and Artistic Director Mel Litoff. In the works for 2011: a new facility with a retractable roof and covered seating for 1,200. • 845-254-5600; www.belleayremusic.org

Trash Cans

Putnam County
Pretty sights in Putnam County: The historic district in Cold Spring; the Chuang Yen Monastery in Carmel; Fahnestock State Park, to name a few. And now — its garbage. Keep Putnam Beautiful, a county-wide program that promotes proper litter disposal, says “no” to trash in a creative way: with colorful, painted cans. County artists were commissioned to produce more than 40 eye-catching trash bins, which feature depictions of everything from elves and pizza slices to familiar Putnam scenes. • 845-278-6130; www.putnamcountyny.com/kpb

Boost For Literature

Friends of the Poughkeepsie Public Library District Book Sale Poughkeepsie
Recant, Kindle owners! There’s hope for the paperback yet — thanks to the Friends of the Poughkeepsie Public Library’s annual book sale. The June event offers 130,000-plus used books, videos, CDs, and other items at unseemly prices: $2 or less per item the first two days; $1 or less the third day; $5 for everything you can fit in a paper bag the fourth day; and absolutely free the final day. It’s all for a good cause, too — this year’s sale netted the library $67,000. • 845-485-3445, ext. 3306; www.poklib.org/friends

New Walking Trail

Roosevelt Farm Lane Hyde Park
In 2004, when it looked as though a Walmart might be built on the strip of land that links Franklin Roosevelt’s home on Route 9 with Eleanor Roosevelt’s Val-Kill retreat on Route 9G, local environmental group Scenic Hudson took action. They purchased the site, and donated it to the National Park Service in 2007. A 1.8-mile trail was subsequently constructed, which opened to the public in November 2008. The packed-gravel walkway wends its way through shade trees, wetlands, and past a gurgling stream; visitors are encouraged to use it for hiking, running, bicycling, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing. • 800-337-8474; www.nps.gov/hofr

Bowling Alley

Lucky Strike West Nyack
Not your father’s bowling alley, this lounge has catering, plasma TVs, billiard tables, air hockey, and six lanes of roller ball — a version of candlestick bowling that kids or the strike-challenged might enjoy. The upscale alley is part of a national chain; after 8 p.m., the crowd is 21 and over. Be sure your bowling duds are in good shape: A dress policy makes the Palisades Mall venue “user-friendly for everyone,” says Manager Lance Davis.• 845-358-1602; www.bowlluckystrike.com

Historic Hotel

The Thayer Hotel West Point
Situated at the entrance to the United States Military Academy at West Point, the imposing Thayer Hotel is a National Historic Landmark. Built in 1926 to accommodate West Point personnel, it’s since gained worldwide renown as an elegant place to stay — and dine — in gorgeous surroundings. With its impressive chandeliers, leaded-glass windows, portraits of military figures, and 151 stately guest rooms ­— all with breathtaking views of the Hudson or the surrounding mountains — the Thayer has drawn high-profile guests ranging from Gen. Douglas MacArthur to President John F. Kennedy, and more recently, the cast of HBO’s The Sopranos. • 845-446-4731; www.thethayerhotel.com

New Arts Center

Experimental Media & Performing Arts Center Troy
The arts, technology, and science converge in this remarkable-looking $200 million building at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Built into the slope of a hill, its entire north wall is a curtain of glass. A 1,200-seat concert hall sits inside, surrounded by gigantic curving panels of cedar wood — creating the effect of an enormous ship’s hull or a quirky, outer-space pod. Viewed from outdoors, the “ship” has quite a presence, especially at night, when it is illuminated. EMPAC projects range from cutting-edge art, dance, music, and explorations of the “tetherless world” (aka the Internet) to scientific research into virtual reality, human/machine interfacing, and other pushing-the-envelope, Star Wars-esque topics. One cool upcoming event: Take a Day For Yourself. Danish artist Mads Lynnerup asked Troy residents to take a day off from their regular routine, then documented their freedom breaks on whimsical short videos and giant posters (Oct. 1-Nov. 29). • 518-276-4135; www.empac.rpi.edu

Innovative Farm Practice

Common Ground Farm, Stony Kill Environmental Center Wappingers Falls
Painted lettuce-green with images of squashes and carrots, the Veggie Bus mobile market brings fresh produce to area residents who otherwise might not have access. It’s just one of many innovative programs of Common Ground Farm, a working farm that leases land from Stony Kill Environmental Center in Wappingers Falls. From June through October, shareholders in the community-supported agriculture program claim their weekly haul of vegetables, herbs, and flowers; nonmembers can buy their produce at the Beacon Farmers Market on Sundays. This not-for-profit also offers fun community events including brunch in the fields on a summer day, campfire sing-alongs, and adult workshops on beekeeping, raising chickens — even natural lawncare. Summer dropoff programs for school-age kids give them a daily “haycation”: catching turtles in the pond, visiting the farm animals, working in the garden, and walking the trails. • 845-231-4424; www.commongroundfarm.com

Enhancement of Historic Homes

New art galleries at Olana and Boscobel Hudson, Garrison
As if we needed additional reasons to visit Olana (the Moorish-inspired home built by Hudson River School painter Frederic Edwin Church in the late 1800s) and Boscobel (the 1808 Federal-style mansion erected by the States Dyckman family): Each is a standout example of architectural beauty, and each has an unrivaled view of the mighty Hudson. And now, each estate also boasts its own art gallery. Boscobel’s exhibition gallery, which hosted a show of Hudson River School works this summer, just ended its second season last month. At Olana, the Evelyn and Maurice Sharp Gallery’s inaugural exhibit, Glories of the Hudson, runs through Oct. 12 and features sketches Church made of views from his hilltop home (some of which have never before been seen by the public). • Olana: 518-828-0135; www.olana.org. Boscobel: 845-265-3638; www.boscobel.org

Lake Beach for Families

Lake Taghkanic State Park Ancram
You won’t know where to look first — at the lush forests or the sparkling water — when you visit this sprawling jewel in Columbia County. Swim, sail, fish, camp, bike, hike, throw a party under a pavilion, or just relax and dream about returning in winter with cross-country skis, snowshoes, or snowmobiles. • 518-851-3631; www.nysparks.com

New Way to Tour the Hudson Valley

Segway of the Hudson Valley Poughkeepsie
Tired of the plodding pace of walking? Turned off by that cumbersome clunker of a car? Has Segway of the Hudson Valley got a mode of transportation for you! Zipping around town on a Segway Personal Transporter (or Segway PT) — a two-wheeled, scooter-like electric vehicle that averages about 10 miles per hour — is a seriously fun way to spend an afternoon. For $65, Segway of the Hudson Valley offers PT tours of downtown Poughkeepsie; for $5,350, customers can drive a brand new PT off the lot and into their own neighborhood. The company also brings the vehicles to special or corporate events anywhere in the Valley.
• 845-485-7349; www.segwayofthehudsonvalley.com

OUTDOOR FUN
(You May Not Know About)

Mountain Top Arboretum Tannersville
This “living museum” of trees and shrubs is located 2,500 feet above sea level in the high peaks of the northern Catskills. Both a garden and preserve, the site is an ideal spot for horticulturalists, bird watchers, or anyone who wants to enjoy some great views. • 518-589-3903; www.mtarbor.org

Tannersville Bike Path Tannersville
This 2.7-mile multiple-use path follows the bed of the old Huckleberry Railroad Line. The packed-gravel surface makes it an ideal place to bike, run, horseback ride, cross-country ski, or just stroll along enjoying the fall foliage. • 518-589-5850; www.greenetourism.com

Innisfree Garden Millbrook
This 150-acre public garden is modeled after Chinese landscape design. The bucolic setting includes streams, waterfalls, terraces, native plants, interesting rock formations, and a 40-acre glacial lake. • 845-677-8000; www.innisfreegarden.org

High-Flying Adventures

Trapeze Club at Stone Mountain Farm New Paltz
Run away and join the circus (for a day, at least) by taking an exhilarating two-hour class in trapeze-flying taught by professionals. Appropriate for anyone age 4 or older, the classes run from May through October. • 845-658-8540; www.trapezeclub.org

The Balloon Bed and Breakfast Hudson
Spend a restful night in a renovated Victorian cottage. Get up in the morning, and (if weather allows) take a one-hour hot-air balloon ride — with Champagne — around scenic Columbia County. That’s a vacation! • 518-828-3735; www.balloonbedandbreakfast.com

Skydive the Ranch Gardiner
The thrill-seeker’s ultimate rush: Step out of a plane at 13,500 feet, free-fall to 6,000 feet, then (with the help of your instructor) maneuver your parachute to a safe landing on the ground. Obviously not for the faint of heart. • 845-255-4033; www.skydivetheranch.com

Things to Come Out of the Quad Celebration (besides that bridge)

Walking History Game Children’s Media Project
Developed by a group of local scholars, educators, and youth, this elaborate “augmented reality” game integrates technology with real-world experiences to help kids explore Poughkeepsie’s waterfront and its history. Using handheld mini-computers equipped with GPS systems, players stroll around the city and examine its sights, listen to oral histories, learn about ecological issues and local culture — all via the device in their hand. The game is scheduled to be introduced at a special ceremony on Oct. 23; after that, the devices will be available for loan from the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum. • 845-485-4480; www.childrensmediaproject.org

Bridge Music by Joseph Bertolozzi
Bertolozzi, a composer and Poughkeepsie native, transformed the Mid-Hudson Bridge into an instrument. Using a variety of mallets, he struck various parts of the span — railings, girders, suspension ropes — and recorded what he heard. With the help of special software, Bertolozzi then composed a piece of music using only the sounds produced by the bridge itself. Unveiled as part of the Quad celebrations last June, you can hear this unusual composition on the bridge’s walkway (just push a button), on 95.3FM in the parks around the span, or on CD (which, by the way, made it to number 18 on the Billboard Classical Crossover charts). • www.josephbertolozzi.com

Readers’ Picks

Fun fun fun!

Bed and Breakfast: Caldwell House
Salisbury Mills. 845-496-2954; www.caldwellhouse.com

Bike Trail: Hudson Valley Rail Trail
Highland. 845-691-8151; www.hudsonvalleyrailtrail.com

Community Theater: County Players
Wappingers Falls. 845-298-1491; www.countyplayers.org

Fair: Dutchess County Fair
Rhinebeck. 845-876-4001; www.dutchessfair.com

Golf Course: McCann Golf Course
Poughkeepsie. 845-454-1968; www.mccanngolfcourse.com

Green Initiative (tie): Hudson Valley Clean Energy
Rhinebeck. 845-876-3767; www.hvce.com

Green Initiative (tie): Scenic Hudson
Poughkeepsie. 845-473-4440; www.scenichudson.org

Hotel/Inn: Mohonk Mountain House
New Paltz. 845-255-1000; www.mohonk.com

Place for a Wedding: Mohonk Mountain House
New Paltz. 845-255-1000; www.mohonk.com

Hudson River Cruise: The Rip Van Winkle
Kingston. 845-340-4700; www.hudsonrivercruises.com

Indoor Venue for Plays and Concerts: The Bardavon
Poughkeepsie. 845-473-5288; www.bardavon.org

Karaoke (tie): Kitty McGuire’s Sports Bar & Grill
Wappingers Falls. 845-297-3462

Karaoke (tie): Mahoney’s Irish Pub & Restaurant
Poughkeepsie. 845-471-3027; www.mahoneysirishpub.com

Live Music Joint: The Chance Theater
Poughkeepsie. 845-471-1966; www.thechancetheater.com

Museum: Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum
Poughkeepsie. 845-471-0589; www.mhcm.org

Orchestra: Hudson Valley Philharmonic
Poughkeepsie. 845-473-2072; www.bardavon.org

Outdoor Venue for Plays and Concerts: Bethel Woods Center for the Arts
Bethel. 866-781-2922; www.bethelwoodscenter.org

Park: Bowdoin Park
Wappingers Falls. 845-298-4600;
www.co.dutchess.ny.us/countygov/departments/dpw-parks/ppbowdoin.htm

Place for a Picnic: Vanderbilt Mansion
Hyde Park. 845-229-9115; www.nps.gov/vama

Ski Area: Hunter Mountain
Hunter. 800-486-8376; www.huntermtn.com

Thing About Living in the Valley: The Hudson River

 

 

Body Wraps

Haven Day Spa Rhinebeck
There’s a bustling village nearby, but step over the spa’s stately threshold and tranquility begins. “Our goal is for you to be able to have a vacation in an hour,” says owner Lisa Bare. With body wraps called “warm milk and honey” and “chocolate” — as well as the classic mud treatment — total relaxation seems inevitable. Check out the special fall skin-care package that helps relieve sun damage and recondition before winter blows in. • 845-876-7369; www.havenrhinebeck.com

Eyebrow Threading

Ciao Bella Salon & Spa Campbell Hall
For some ladies, monthly visits to the beauty salon make a dentist appointment seem like a piece of cake. Between bleaching, waxing, and plucking, it’s no wonder women are looking for an easier alternative. Enter eyebrow threading, the latest craze to hit the country — and the Valley. Adopted from an Indian tradition, the service — which winds a thread (usually cotton) around a row of hairs for quick and easy removal — involves no chemicals or damage to skin; since the hair is removed by the follicle, the results usually last longer than other techniques. At Ciao Bella, Manju Kashyap (who was an aesthetician in India for over 25 years) has been wowing clients since the day the spa opened in 2002. Twenty bucks and a breezy five minutes later, you’ll see why you should kiss those tweezers goodbye. • 845-294-8860; www.ciaobellasalon.biz

Salon for Brides

Marion Salon Spa Pleasant Valley
We can’t really count how many times we’ve seen Marion Salon Spa in our “Best Of” back issues, but we do know this: When it comes to taking care of the Valley’s brides, there’s a good reason this beauty epicenter — with dozens of exclusive packages and services for the entire party — makes our pages year after year. • 845-635-1626; www.marionsalonspa.com

Thinking Person’s Workout

Boxing for Poets, Trainer Anne Vitiello at Many Light Hands Studio Cold Spring
Founded by Golden Gloves Flyweight Novice Champion Anne Vitiello, Boxing for Poets is a hybrid workout that combines all the elements of boxing (sans the center ring) with yoga and a mind-body emphasis. Vitiello describes it as a “Western version of martial arts, with an element of boot camp.” Clients choose from one-on-one workouts or larger group sessions. Don’t be fooled by the “poets” part: Workouts are tough, and students train interval-style, using the three-minute timing of boxing rounds — and jump rope longer than you ever thought possible. For many, it opens the creative floodgates and facilitates the artistic process, which is why Vitiello counts writers, designers, and even a professional opera singer among her poetically minded clients. • 845-809-5322; www.manylighthands.com

Permanent Makeup

Mi Ché Permanent Cosmetics at Beauty Secrets Victorian Day Spa Pearl River
Unless you’re blessed with perfect skin, chances are you need some maquillage for that visage. Too busy for cosmetics? Try the growing trend of permanent makeup — in short, cosmetic tattooing — for long-lasting enhancements. The process (performed within two hours by board-certified technician and instructor Michael Katz) gently implants color into the upper layers of skin and can include lip and eye liner, eyebrow filling, eyelash enhancement, full lip color, and scar and beauty mark camouflage. The treatments, which cost about $150-$750 each, last from two to five years. They’re perfect for those with allergies to conventional makeup, medical conditions like alopecia, or unsteady hands. The result? A natural, balanced complexion — and more time in the morning. • 845-735-6100; www.beautysecretsdayspa.com

Facials

River Rock Health Spa Woodstock
Need some help facing yet another day? Check out the soothing, rejuvenating, healing facials at this relaxing day retreat. Options include rose-based procedures (ideal for sensitive skin); a classic European facial (great for clearing clogged pores); and a hot-towel treatment (especially for men) that battles the effects of sun damage and aging. Whatever your skin issues — acne scars or age spots, stress lines or pregnancy-induced puffiness — River Rock helps you put your best face forward. • 845-679-7800; www.riverrock.biz

Readers’ Picks

Beauty Salon: Shapers
New Paltz. 845-255-3355; www.shapersny.com

Day Spa: Marlene Weber Day Spa
Poughkeepsie. 845-454-5852; www.marleneweber.com

Manicure/Pedicure: French Tips Nail Salon
Hyde Park. 845-229-0091

Pilates: Pilates at the Bungalow
Accord. 845-626-5600; www.pilatesatthebungalow.com

Yoga: The Living Seed
New Paltz. 845-255-8212; www.thelivingseed.com

Health Club: All Sport Fishkill Health and Fitness Club
Fishkill. 845-896-5678; www.allsportfishkill.com

 

 

 

Boutique with Heart

Surviving Sisters Boutique Hyde Park
Founded by Kim Miller, a 2003 heart-attack survivor, this eclectic one-stop shop raises heart-health awareness — while raising the bar, too, on the latest trends. In addition to an extensive clothing collection tailored for all ages and styles, the boutique’s two floors also house a café, lounge, and disco (complete with a dance floor, strobe light, and glittering mirror ball) where shoppers can shake off stress with a quick bite and some dancing. Fund-raisers and collaborations with local organizations promoting heart health are aplenty, such as the American Heart Association and Marist College’s recent Red Dress Project. • 845-229-0425

Jeans Selection

Madina Park Boutique Wappingers Falls
A fashionista’s fantasy, this cozy boutique boasts a stellar selection of on-trend tops and dresses, but it’s their denim collection that we rank second to none. From casual to classy cuts ­— in more washes than you can shake a finger at — this shop stocks its shelves with only the best: AG Jeans, Blue Cult, Citizens of Humanity, Paige Premium Denim, True Religion — you name it, Madina’s got it. • 845-223-6103; www.madinapark.com

Boutique to Spot a Celebrity

Pique Boutique Rhinebeck
There isn’t a more satisfying daydream than the one where you emerge from your favorite shop, decked out in your latest acquisitions Carrie Bradshaw-style, to find a hunky Hugh Jackman waiting in the cobblestone square outside. Think it’s never going to happen? Think again: Pique Boutique — nestled between Bread Alone (see pg. 35) and the Byrdcliffe Gallery in the Courtyard at Rhinebeck — is known for attracting some noteworthy celebs, thanks to its chic, New York-style fashions away from the hustle and bustle of the city. This summer, Jackman, the star of Wolverine, joined pals Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban for some shopping there before attending a friend’s wedding. Other stars who’ve been spotted: David Bowie and wife Iman; Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick; Natalie Merchant; Jimmy Fallon; and Mia Farrow, a Pique regular. • 845-876-7722; www.myspace.com/piqueboutique

Auctioneer/Auction

George Cole Auctions & Realty Red Hook
Anything goes at this landmark Valley auction house, where George Cole has been in the fast-moving business for more than 30 years, auctioning and appraising anything from antiques and fine art to farm equipment. Got a building or a boat to unload? They’ll do that, too. Enthusiastic crowds come to browse and buy at Cole’s auction gallery, where the bidding can get intense; estate and other sales can also take place on-site, and they’ll coordinate Internet bidding. Items are of excellent quality and hand-picked by the staff; one recent sale, for instance, included both an authentic horse-drawn carriage and an original Milton Avery artwork. • 845-758-9114; www.georgecoleauctions.com

Hudson Valley-Themed Jewelry

De’S Jewelers Poughkeepsie
The business was started by two families back in 1946, and De’S has been a fixture in the Valley ever since. They offer a large selection of wedding and religious jewelry, bracelets, necklaces, and pendants; plus watches, clocks, and other special gift items ranging from crystal and brass to pewter. De’S features one especially nifty item — a sterling-silver Hudson Valley Bead that’s a perfect add-on for the popular Chamilia customized bead bracelets. Each bead or charm is engraved with the words “Hudson Valley” on one side; there’s an apple, bridge, and sailboat on the other facets. A charm-bracelet version is available, too, in sterling or gold. We might not be able to wear our love of the Valley on our sleeve, but now we can on our wrists. • 845-452-0026; www.desjewelers.com

Fine Art Jewelry

Hummingbird Jewelers Rhinebeck
Now at a new location downtown, this family-owned, full-service jewelry shop showcases gorgeous stones and pieces created by more than 75 American and European designers. Hummingbird also features its own workshop where a master goldsmith can help create the ring, brooch, necklace, or other piece of your dreams; restyle an existing item; or restore that antique family heirloom to its original shimmering glory. Their one-of-a-kind “bling” is the real thing; unique wedding and engagement rings are a specialty. • 845-876-4585; www.hummingbirdjewelers.com

Consignment Shop Block

Love Me Too Times and Be Mine Again Beacon
Beacon wins big for its arts and culture scene, and now the charming river town can add affordable style to its list. Made with the recessionista in mind, Love Me Too Times and Be Mine Again consignment boutiques — both a hop, skip, and one-piece jumpsuit away from each other on Main Street — offer the perfect combo of recycling and shopping for the family on a tight budget. Lightly used, high-end fashions (think Donna Karan, Coach, and Gucci) often fill their racks, but it doesn’t end there. In addition to clothing and accessories, each shop boasts lots of extras: Be Mine Again carries home décor and antiques, and Love Me Too Times holds regular music and art events.
• Love Me Too Times: 917-273-9418; www.lovemetootimes.com
• Be Mine Again: 845-234-0672

Trendy Ski and Snowboard Apparel

Potter Brothers Ski and Snowboard Kingston, Middletown, Poughkeepsie, Fishkill, Hancock, Mass.
Since their family sporting-goods store first opened in 1945 in Kingston, Potter Brothers has expanded into a one-stop destination for all you’ll need to hit the slopes in style. They’ve got boots and bindings; high-tech helmets and goggles; and guys’, gals’, and kids’ ski apparel galore. If your thing is environmentally friendly cross-country skiing, you’ll find just what you need. And if hot-dogging is more your style, check out the snazzy snowboarding equipment. You can also plan ahead and pick up discount lift tickets to several local slopes, including Hunter and Windham, while you get your gear. • Kingston, 845-338-5119; Middletown, 845-344-2680; Poughkeepsie, 845-454-3880; Fishkill, 845-297-2941; Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort, Hancock, Mass., 413-738-5413; www.potterbrothers.com

Readers’ Picks

Antiques Shop: Hyde Park Antiques Center
Hyde Park. 845-229-8200; www.hydeparkantiques.net

Bakery: The Pastry Garden
Poughkeepsie.
845-473-5220; www.thepastrygarden.com

Bargain Shopping: Woodbury Common Premium Outlets
Central Valley. 845-928-4000;
www.premiumoutlets.com/woodburycommon

Bookstore: Oblong Books and Music
Millerton. 518-789-3797; www.oblongbooks.com

Boutique: Elizabeth Boutique
Poughkeepsie. 845-471-2817; www.elizabethboutique.com

Butcher: Fleisher’s Grass Fed and Organic Meats
Kingston. 845-338-6666; www.grassfedmeat.net

Caterer: Main Course
New Paltz. 845-255-2600;
www.maincoursecatering.com

Chocolate/Candy Store: Krause’s Chocolates
Saugerties. 845-246-8377;
www.krauseschocolates.com

Crafts/Hobby Shop: Hobby House
Poughkeepsie. 845-297-3341

Deli (tie): Rossi’s Italian Deli
Poughkeepsie. 845-471-0654; www.rossideli.com

Deli (tie): K & D Deli
Hyde Park, 845-229-8344;
Poughkeepsie, 845-229-8344;
Poughkeepsie, 845-625-2058;
Poughkeepsie, 845-471-1607

Fish Market: Gadaleto’s Seafood
New Paltz. 845-255-1717;
www.gadaletos.com

Farmer’s Market: Rhinebeck
Rhinebeck. www.rhinebeckfarmersmarket.com

Florist: Green Cottage
High Falls. 845-687-4810; www.thegreencottage.com

Fresh Produce: Adams Fairacre Farms
Poughkeepsie, 845-454-4330;
Kingston, 845-336-6300; Newburgh, 845-569-0303;
www.adamsfarms.com

Furniture Store: Davis Furniture
Poughkeepsie. 845-473-1990;
www.1davisfurniture.com

Gift Shop: HiHo Home Market and Antique Center
Gardiner. 845-255-1123; www.hihohome.com

Gourmet Shop & Plant/Nursery Garden: Adams Fairacre Farms
Poughkeepsie. 845-454-4330; www.adamsfarms.com

Hardware Store: Davies Hardware
Poughkeepsie. 845-452-6741;
www.davieshardware.com

Health Food Store: Mother Earth’s Storehouse
Poughkeepsie, 845-296-1069;
Saugerties, 845-246-9614;
Kingston, 845-336-5541;
www.motherearthstorehouse.com

Jewelry Store: Zimmer Brothers
Poughkeepsie. 845-454-6360;
www.zimmerbrothers.com

Liquor Store: Arlington Wine and Liquor
Poughkeepsie. 866-729-9463; www.arlingtonwine.net

Menswear Shop: Pleasant Valley Department Store
Pleasant Valley. 845-635-2220

Outdoor Sports Store: Kenco
Kingston. 845-340-0552; www.atkenco.com

 

 

Garden Accessories

Georgia’s Plantomes High Falls
Stone troughs make handsome garden planters, but they’re hard to find and heavy as all get-out. Georgia Terwilliger creates all sizes of troughs and planters, as well as birdbaths and fountain bases that look just like stone but are actually hypertufa (a mix of peat moss, perlite, sand, and Portland cement that’s much lighter). She also makes lovely little stone toad domes with mossy tops. “I’ve been a toad lover from childhood, so I want to help save them,” says Terwilliger, who designs natural-looking homes for our favorite slug controllers. “It’s what I’d like, if I were a toad,” she says. • 518-469-9170

Wallpaper and Paint Store

Sun Wallpaper and Paint Beacon, Fishkill, Poughkeepsie
When it’s time to spruce up your digs, Sun — in business since 1920 — offers more than the standard big-box-store inventory. Sure, you’ll find tried-and-true decorating products, but Sun is also stocked to the brim with other options, like upscale paint brands Farrow & Ball and Fine Paints of Europe. If wallpaper is your thing, you can browse through more than 150 styles in stock, plus choices from top designers like Ralph Lauren. The store also provides online shopping, decorating services, senior and student discounts, and helpful advice from salespeople for those times when you just can’t decide on the perfect color or pattern. • Beacon, 845-831-0093; Fishkill, 845-896-6200; Poughkeepsie, 845-471-2880; www.sunwallpaperandpaint.com

Place for Plumbing Supplies

N&S Supply Brewster, Catskill, Fishkill, Hudson, Kingston, Danbury, Conn.
This third-generation Valley company has been in business for more than half a century, selling everything from tubs to towel warmers, saunas to sinks. It stocks a full range of quality supplies and offer expert advice for residential, business, and specialty projects alike ­— along with top-notch, personalized service. It has also joined the environmentally aware green scene, offering a variety of super-efficient boilers, toilets, showerheads, and faucets. • Brewster, 845-279-8075; Catskill, 518-943-2150; Fishkill, 845-896-6291; Hudson, 518-822-1771; Kingston, 845-331-6700; Danbury, 203-791-9300; www.nssupply.com

Home Fabrics

TWG Fabric Outlet Middletown, Spring Valley
For home fabrics at much-lower-than-retail rates, this 26-year-old family business is an Aladdin’s cave, with more than 1,000 bolts by Waverly, Kravet, Robert Allen, Laura Ashley, P. Kaufman, and other big names. You’ll find velvets, cottons, linens, toiles, tapestries, and lace, and if what you want isn’t in stock, there are countless samples of fabrics you can order. Expect expert help, fabulous savings, and some great finds in the remnant room. Reupholstery and curtain-making services also come at highly competitive rates. One small drawback: it’s closed Friday afternoons and all day Saturday. • Middletown, 845-343-3423; Spring Valley, 845-352-6243; www.twgfabricoutlet.com

Place for Lumber

Williams Lumber and Home Centers Nine locations
Its newest 10,000-square-foot, full-service center in Hyde Park opened in the winter of 2008, and Williams continues to be a mainstay for lumber and all sorts of other supplies, ever since the family-owned business first launched in Rhinebeck back in 1946. The extensive inventory includes plywood, framing lumber, trim, and lots more — it’ll even deliver bigger orders right to your door, for free. You can also find everything from paint to power tools and housewares; check out its big selection of super-durable Carhartt work and outdoor clothes for the whole family. • www.williamslumber.com

Place for Heavy Lifting

Pine Bush Equipment Pine Bush, Holmes
If you’re in the market to buy or rent “a big-boy toy” like a backhoe, tractor, forklift, or other piece of large machinery­ — including low-emission, green models — this family-run business will fill your needs with expertise and fair prices. It offers extensive backup support, 24/7 service, and heavy-equipment-certification training classes. • Pine Bush, 845-744-2006; Holmes, 845-878-4004; www.pbeinc.com

Budget Gift Shop

Bop to Tottom Kingston
It’s almost impossible to visit this esoteric emporium and come out empty-handed — there are so many colorful, inexpensive temptations that owner Karen Clark-Adin has gathered from all over the world. You’ll find quirky toys (including charming, hand-knitted finger puppets for a mere two bucks); home accessories like lamps, bowls, throw pillows, scented candles, and soaps — as well as jewelry, bags, hats, mittens, and such. You’ll also find the distinctive, rustic, black clay La Chamba cookware from Colombia that’s rugged enough to use on the stove top and good-looking enough to go straight to the table. • 845-338-8100; www.boptotottom.com

Wood-carver

R. Stephan Toman at Sonrise Woodcarving Studio Cottekill
In this computer age, it’s something of a marvel that there’s still a call for the kind of meticulous, detailed wood-carving that R. Stephan Toman does. Whether you’re in the market for a highly ornate, heraldic-style mantelpiece complete with scrolls, rampant lions, and the like, or just need a ball and claw foot to repair a damaged antique, he brings true artistry to the job. In addition to architectural work, Toman also makes carved and painted signs and furniture with carved designs, and can reproduce your family crest, should you have one. • 845-687-9139; www.sonrisewoodcarving.com

Stone

Barra & Trumbore Kerhonkson
Marble, limestone, granite, travertine — all kinds of beautiful, timeless natural stone in every color and from all over the globe can be found at the workshop yard of Kerhonkson artisans David Barra and Martin Trumbore. For the past 17 years, the amiable pair has dressed up kitchens and bathrooms with hand-crafted counters, innovative sinks, and curvaceous vanities. To paraphrase one of their slogans: This stone took millions of years to form. Don’t wait that long to get some for yourself. • 845-626-5442; www.barratrumbore.com

 

 

Local TV Talent

Voices of Glory Highland
When their mother, Felicia, slipped into a coma after being struck by a drunk driver in 2007, the Cole siblings (Michael, 17; Avery, 13; and Nadia, 9) of Highland took to singing at her bedside. (Eight months later, Felicia awoke.) Recognizing their talent, the trio visited hospitals and nursing homes in an effort to brighten the days of other patients — and the rest is history. After bringing judge Sharon Osbourne to tears with their rousing a cappella version of “God Bless America” on America’s Got Talent, the Voices of Glory are now the nation’s feel-good story of the year. As of press time, they’d reached the final round of the show — and aren’t looking to slow down just yet. According to their guidance counselors, these young celebrities are personable pupils who have been involved in their school’s choir programs throughout their academic careers. In June, they even went home to sing at high school graduation. How’s that for hometown heart?

Backyard Chef

Jessica Winchell at Global Palate Restaurant West Park
Like other great chefs, Winchell likes to use the freshest ingredidents possible. That means tailoring her menus to take advantage of whatever is at local farms — or whatever is ripening in her own backyard. With gardens tucked away behind her restaurant as well as at her Ulster Park home, Winchell has her pick of herbs, tomatoes, garlic, squash, chilies, peas — if it’s ready for picking, it’s ready to make its way into an appetizer, entrée, dessert, or cocktail. (Her nontraditional, Mediterranean-style martini includes both rosemary and cherry tomatoes.) Whatever her gardens can’t provide, she seeks from local sources, like RSK and Davenport farms and Stone Ridge Orchards. But then you’d expect nothing less from a chef whose restaurant describes its location as “where local ingredients meet the world.” • 845-384-6590; www.globalpalaterestaurant.com

Coach

Steve Perks LaGrangeville
Born to coach is an apt description of Perks, a retired math teacher at John Jay H.S. in Hopewell Junction. For 17 years, he led the school’s cross-country and track teams. But it’s what he’s done since his retirement that really impresses us. For the past five years, Perks has held weekly track sessions for members of the Mid-Hudson Road Runners Club. This year, approximately 70 local runners — of all ages and abilities — took advantage of Perks’ training program, which includes a variety of workouts (personalized according to each runner’s ability level) as well as plenty of sage advice on foot turnover, active isolated stretching, plyometric drills, and other secrets of elite athletes. And for all this time spent and attention paid, he received no payment whatsoever — other than the gratitude of a host of weekend pavement-pounders around the county. An avid runner himself, Perks twice won the Dutchess County Classic Marathon in the 1980s; now in his early 60s, he regularly bests runners less than half his age in local road races. • www.mhrrc.org

Regular Guy Do-Gooder (tie)

Bob Baird at Touching Bases Rockland County
In 2002, longtime Journal News columnist Bob Baird founded Touching Bases, a baseball league for adults with special needs, after he realized players who aged out of a similar Little League program had nowhere else to play. Seven years later, the volunteer-run Touching Bases is home to 15 teams and 240 players. Its season begins in mid-August and ends when “we have to chip ice off of them,” Baird says. “I’ll run into them around town during the winter and they’ll say, ‘Hey, Coach! When does the season start?’ ” Players range in age from 21 to 87 — no, that’s not a typo — with three dozen or so over the age of 60. Baird hopes to see similar leagues pop up in other counties in the Valley. “We’re happy to share information and advice,” he says. “There’s every reason in the world to do it, and not one good reason not to.” • 845-598-1657

Regular Guy Do-Gooder (tie)

Dr. Lloyd Hamilton Nyack
Earlier this year, the low-cost, county-run health center in Ramapo where 82-year-old Dr. Lloyd Hamilton worked ran out of funding and closed down. Knowing that many of his patients lacked health insurance and would likely have nowhere else to turn, he decided to try to start his own office, one that would offer basic care for free. Against all odds — he did. In May, Hamilton opened Health Lifeline in Nyack. How can he afford not to charge patients a penny? For space, he uses a few rooms in an old convent; for supplies, he uses donated medical equipment; and for staff, he uses volunteer nurses and secretaries. As the rest of the country mired itself in an often-raucous debate over health care, an 82-year-old man in Rockland quietly set about doing what everyone else was only talking about: He treated those in need. • 845-358-5433

Regular Gal Do-Gooder

Dorianne F. Brown for A Dramatic Approach Washingtonville
Children with autism spectrum disorders find it difficult to express their feelings and to recognize others’ facial expressions and body language. You’d think that would make the prospect of performing in a play all the more daunting. Yet acting is exactly the thing Dorianne Brown believes can help children with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome (autism’s less-severe variant). Brown is the founder and director of A Dramatic Approach, a theater program for kids with an autism-family disorder. By asking participants to role-play characters in different social situations, Brown helps them develop much-needed interaction skills. (In a game called “I’m From Slovatnia,” for example, one student can speak only in gibberish, forcing him or her to communicate nonverbally.) “They’re practicing these social skills without even realizing it,” says Brown, who also runs a consulting firm serving families and schools with autism-spectrum children. Each workshop consists of several sessions of improvisation games and a final performance in front of family and friends. If you ask us, it’s an endeavor — and a director — worthy of a standing ovation. • 845-774-6773; www.spectrumpieces.com

Adult Rock Band Debut

Freakswitch Poughkeepsie
If you’re looking to get your freak on, hit up the Poughkeepsie-based hard-rock band Freakswitch, which formed in January 2009. Comprised of guitarist Mike Kenny, bassist Mike Polito, vocalist Brian Amato, and Mike “Scratch” Skaretka on drums, the band — whose sound hearkens back to Metallica and Godsmack — is a regular at Fishkill’s Keltic House and the Chance Theater in Poughkeepsie. They’re already rubbing elbows with the big guys (in July, they shared the stage with Pat Travers — a “really awesome experience,” says Polito), and were featured on Time Warner Cable Channel 6’s Poughkeepsie Live show in August. This fall, the ’Switch is in the studio prepping for its latest album, Seize the Moment, due out before December. • www.freakswitch.com

Ambitious Intern

Scotty “Deuce” Connolly, WPDH 101.5FM Poughkeepsie
Ah, intern: A classification synonymous with mild slave labor and impromptu latté runs, it is the rare undergrad who, upon completing an internship, advances beyond indentured servitude in this economy. Scotty Connolly is one of those few: Affectionately dubbed “Deuce” by the WPDH staff, the Marist College communications senior took to the airwaves in September 2008 and has been a fixture on the Coop & Tobin Morning Show ever since. (After his debut, listeners jammed the hotline in an overwhelming show of approval.) In addition to regular duties like answering phones and updating the Web site, he’s made community appearances and even manned the studio while the regular gang was away. And it paid off: Deuce officially became a Cumulus employee last December, responsible for the show’s production, overseeing the new interns, and taking a regular seat on the Morning Show during the week. With his radio-friendly voice, killer wit, and uncanny likeness to Owen Wilson, Deuce seems destined for greatness. • 845-471-1500; www.wpdh.com

Readers’ Picks

Actor: Liam Neeson
Millbrook

Actress: Melissa Leo
Stone Ridge

Artist: Pattie Eakin
Gardiner

Author: Da Chen
Highland. www.dachen.org

New Band: Set On Site
Hyde Park. www.myspace.com/setonsiteband

Chef: Serge Madikians at Serevan
Amenia. 845-373-9800; www.serevan.com

Golf Pro (tie): Tommy Monteverdi at Dutchess Golf and Country Club
Poughkeepsie. 845-452-5403; www.dutchessgolf.com

Golf Pro (tie): Rhett Myers at Vassar Golf Course
Poughkeepsie. 845-473-9838;
www.vassargolfcourse.com/lessons.htm

Local Musician: Pete Seeger
Beacon

Morning Show (tie): Joe Donahue, WAMC 90.3FM
Albany. 800-323-9262;
www.wamc.org/prog-roundtable.html

Morning Show (tie): Coop & Tobin, WPDH 101.5FM
Poughkeepsie. 845-471-1500;
www.wpdhmorningshow.blogspot.com

Politician: U.S. Representative Maurice Hinchey
Middletown. 845-344-3211; www.house.gov/hinchey

Radio Personality: Mark Bolger, Star 93.3FM
Poughkeepsie. 845-471-2300;
www.933star.com/pages/bolger.html

 

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