Photos by Francesca Furey
The historic Hudson Valley town delights locals and visitors with restaurants and shops aplenty, along with outdoor activities.
One of the nine original towns of Dutchess County, Fishkill is rich in history. Its name is derived from the Dutch words “vis” and “kill,” which translates to “fish creek.” During the Revolutionary War, George Washington established the largest supply depot and encampment for the northern Continental Army here. The town also served as one of New York’s first capitals back in 1776, was home to the state’s first post office, and printed the first thousand copies of the New York State constitution.
There are reminders of Fishkill’s past throughout the town’s 27 square miles: The Van Wyck Homestead Museum—the former headquarters of Putnam County’s namesake Israel Putnam who fought at the Battle of Bunker Hill—and the adjoining Fishkill Supply Depot Site were considered the military nerve center of the Continental Army. At the intersection of Routes 52 and 82, you’ll find a statue honoring Daniel Nimham, the last Sachem of the Wappinger people and one of the Revolution’s first combat veterans. Towering over the town’s center is the First Reformed Church of Fishkill, whose congregation dates back to the 1730s.
In the 19th century, mills began popping up along the Fishkill Creek, bringing in investors and boosting population. Although the mills are long gone, the town continues to thrive, attracting new businesses and residents. There’s a bustling shopping corridor along Route 9, plus a charming historic district.
On Main Street, you’ll find Olive U!, a shop that imports oils, vinegars, and other pantry staples from Italy; Alps Sweet Shop, which has been making small-batch chocolates and other confections for over 100 years; and Knot Too Shabby, a crafts and art supply shop with monthly workshops.
There are plenty of popular spots to eat as well, like The Dutchess Biercafe, which serves up brats, sandwiches, and an extensive beer menu. Its new sister location, Beast Fishkill, is a barbecue joint a few doors away. Also on Main you’ll find American and Italian options at the casual The Tomato Cafe; for excellent high-end Italian, head to Il Figlio Enoteca (we’re partial to their pastas such as gnocchi with veal Bolognese and spinach cavatelli with roasted mushrooms); Golden Buddha Thai serves Southeast Asian fare; and for dessert, there’s The Cakery and Fishkill Creamery.
The family-friendly town has two school districts—Wappingers Central (north) and Beacon City (south), rated A− and B+ on niche.com, respectively—and lots of ways to stay active. Hikers will appreciate Fishkill Ridge and Stony Kill Farm trailheads; Sarah Taylor Park is great for walking, jogging, and picnics. In summer, head to SplashDown Beach, a waterpark with slides, wave pools, and a river for tubing.
Surrounded by farmland, the Hudson Highlands, and the river, Fishkill offers a lifestyle normally found in ultra-rural areas. Although living here is quiet, it’s not too quiet. Just how we like it!