The late Andy Rooney once wrapped up a 60 Minutes episode with one of his trademark rants, this one about the seasons. “I think if we had a vote,” he said, “fall would probably be most people’s favorite season. Some people who like fall call it autumn. I never use the word ‘autumn.’ It sounds pretentious. The downside to fall is it’s the beginning of the end of everything. Flowers die, the leaves dry up and come off the trees, water in the lake gets too cold to swim in and vacations are over. First thing you know someone’s trying to sell you a Christmas tree.”
I agree with Mr. Rooney — I, too, believe that most people would name fall as their all-around favorite season. I certainly do. But I disagree with some of his other claims. To me, there is almost no downside to fall. Not to be insensitive, but who cares that the flowers die? We know that they’re likely coming back next year. And besides, they’re replaced with the fabulous fall foliage. (I do realize that I’m in a very small, very exclusive club, made up of people who love raking. As far as I know, there is no 12-step program for this yet.) And I really have to disagree with the statement that “vacations are over.” No way. Fall is a fabulous time to hit the road; the flights are cheaper, the crowds fewer, and the weather is often pitch perfect.
This year, our Fall Getaways package, which begins on page 36, focuses on seven historic hotels and inns that are all within a three-and-a-half hour drive from Poughkeepsie. Many of our readers are dyed-in-the-wool history buffs, and they will surely appreciate learning more about these one-of-a-kind properties. I admit that I had previously never heard of the Oheka Castle in Huntington. This 127-room mansion on Long Island’s northern “Gold Coast” is America’s second-largest house (exceeded only by North Carolina’s Biltmore mansion). Oheka was the dream home of financier Otto Hermann Kahn, who was allegedly the inspiration for the moustachioed Mr. Monopoly character. Now it’s a dream getaway (although dreaming about cash won’t cut it: staying is a pricey proposition), which can include guided tours of the house and stunning grounds. We also take you to New Hampshire’s Great Stone Dwelling — a massive edifice built by the Shakers to house their local community; at one time 128 people lived there. Now, groups are welcome to stay in one of the somewhat spartan rooms to experience a real blast from the past. We visit a historic inn in southern Vermont (George Washington didn’t sleep there, but Theodore Roosevelt did) and four more incredible places, including two right here in the Valley.
Of course, staying put in this area is also a great idea any time of the year, but fall is particularly fantastic. Besides the incredible beauty of our region, there is apple picking, pumpkin carving, and cultural events galore. In fact, the Valley goes into overdrive in September. That’s why our Fall Arts Preview (page 60) is an indispensable tool for making sure you plan the perfect outing. So, get out your calendars — it’s going to be one fun fall.
Olivia J. Abel
Editor In Chief