During the pandemic, Courtney and I have rediscovered the joy of road tripping. Normally, we both prioritize international travel, but this pandemic has pushed us to find safe ways to travel, explore, and appreciate the mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Our most recent adventure was to the beautiful Hudson Valley region of New York.
Obviously, the pandemic has changed the travel industry as we know it. As a lover of travel, it hurts to see the effects Covid has had on tourism and related industries. But, as living with a highly contagious, airborne virus becomes our new normal, there are still ways that we can safely travel to stay sane and support local tourism. Personally, I advocate for selecting and supporting boutique Bed and Breakfasts and Inns like Le Chambord at Curry Estate.
Unlike Airbnbs, B&Bs and Inns have to adhere to the same high standards of cleanliness and inspections that hotels do. However, unlike hotels, they are smaller, host fewer people, and, more often than not, are independently owned and operated by members of the community you are visiting. If you ask me, it is your safest and most responsible pandemic travel option!
The beautiful Le Chambord at Curry Estate is nestled on 10 acres of quiet, private, peaceful country property. Coming from DC the quietness of places like Le Chambord is always the first thing I notice and appreciate. The estate houses a 4-star restaurant, Wedding & Conference Center, Outdoor Pavilion, as well as an Inn with 21 rooms for overnight accommodations. They also host fun events for guest and locals like their Bourbon and Bonfire Evenings!
In addition to enjoying the peace and quiet of the estate and its delicious 4-star restaurant (which you can enjoy outside on the outdoor porch), Courtney and I also ventured out to explore the region. We quickly discovered there were lots of historic sites, gardens, picturesque towns, wineries, and farms to enjoy. Our first stop was Fishkill Farms, where you can pick apples, find the perfect pumpkin, and enjoy a delicious cider tasting.
We also visited the stunning Innisfree Gardens in nearby Millbrook. Ranked as one of the world’s top 10 best gardens, it did not disappoint. It is a mid-century garden where “sweeping landscape merges the essence of Modernist and Romantic ideas with traditional Chinese and Japanese garden design principles in a form that evolved through subtle handling of the site and slow manipulation of its ecology.” In addition to the gardens, you don’t want to miss strolling and antiquing in the charming town of Millbrook.
Our last stop on our all-to-short country retreat was the historic Vanderbilt mansion. Now part of the national park service, the estate, historically know as Hyde Park, was once one of several homes owned by Frederick William Vanderbilt and his wife Louise Holmes Anthony. It is one of the area’s oldest estates, and the present mansion was built between 1896–1899. It was designed by one of the nation’s preeminent architectural firm McKim, Mead & White and is considered an architype of the “American Renaissance.” While the 64-bedroom interior is sadly closed due to Covid, you can still wander the grounds and appreciate the incredible architecture.
Our weekend at the estate happened just as the leaves were starting to turn around the valley and as we explored the scenic highways, historic sites, and charming farms, we kept saying that we need to come back for peak foliage as it is the perfect spot to enjoy all things fall!