Quiet, quaint, and hugging the banks of the Hudson with views of the distant Catskill mountains, Tivoli is the epitome of storybook charm. Located in the town of Red Hook and part of the Hudson River Historic District, this 1.5-sq-mile Dutchess County village is home to around 1,100 residents. While the population is petite, the sense of community is powerful.
What makes Tivoli worthy of a visit— and potentially a permanent stay—is its combination of young professionals, students from nearby Bard College, plus high-profile locals like contemporary artists Brice and Helen Marden and actors and filmmakers Mary Stuart Masterson and Jeremy Davidson. In fact, the owners of Fortunes Ice Cream (named the best ice cream in New York State by Food & Wine, among other accolades), Tivoli General, and the original directors of Kaatsbaan Cultural Park, a 153-acre artist sanctuary with year-round residencies and performances, are all Bard alumni who loved the area so much, they never left.
Tivoli is in the Red Hook Central School District—its high school was ranked 11th in our March review of over 50 Valley schools. The village boasts a vibrant arts community made up of Kaatsbaan, Hessel Museum of Art at Bard, and Tangent Theatre Company. (Mayor Joel Griffith is even a painter.) The Tivoli Bays—protected wetlands in the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve—is an ideal and picturesque area for hiking and boating. There’s easy access to Amtrak, with stations in the neighboring towns of Hudson and Rhinecliff.
The village has plenty of options to make foodies happy, too. There’s an excellent restaurant scene along Broadway: You’ll find authentic Italian fare at GioBatta Alimentari, owned by Francesco Buitoni (yes, that Buitoni), a seventh-generation pasta maker; Spanish-style small plates at Rojo Tapas + Wine; farm-to-table entrees, live music, and the largest selection of Irish whiskey in the country at Traghaven Whiskey Pub; and a Mediterranean menu at The Corner at Hotel Tivoli (owned by the Mardens).
As they say in Tivoli, the village name spelled backward is “i-lov-it.” We love it, too.