The town of Saugerties — one of Budget Travel’s “Coolest Small Towns” — has something new to crow about: the opening of the Diamond Mills Hotel and its Tavern. This boutique hostelry overlooking the Esopus began welcoming guests in early December; by New Year’s Eve, the Tavern was up and running. Executive Chef Giuseppe Napoli is a CIA grad and says his menu will appeal to all tastes, running the gamut from pub fare (burgers, Pilsner-battered fish and chips) to braised pork cheek with foie gras tortellini… Further up the Thruway, the Scrimshaw at the Desmond (Albany’s only AAA Four Diamond restaurant) recently revamped its décor, retaining the seafaring theme but spiffing things up with new wallpaper, lighting, and other improvements. The menu got a makeover, too, with favorites like veal Oscar and chateaubriand now sharing the spotlight with a special seafood menu (which changes each month)… The folks at Empire Cruise Lines, who pilot river cruises on the Mystère from Poughkeepsie’s Waryas Park, are working with Café Bocca owner Erik Morabito to bring locally raised veggies onboard for their lunch and dinner cruises… The catering arm of Rhinebeck’s renowned Terrapin restaurant and bistro has taken its show on the road, preparing custom meals both large and small at the venue of your choice anywhere in the Valley… In the money: The nonprofit Pattern for Progress has received close to $200,000 from the New World Foundation to develop a Valley “food hub” and help local institutions like colleges and hospitals do more business with our region’s farmers. To which we say: chow down!