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2022 Awards of Distinction Finalist Spotlight: Outdoors

Date Published: October 12, 2022

Outdoors Finalists: Quiet Cove Riverfront ParkMillbrook Tribute Gardens | Wethersfield Estate & Gardens

2022 Outdoors Awards of Distinction Finalists

Congratulations to the Outdoors Award of Distinction Finalists!

Quiet Cove Riverfront Park, Poughkeepsie
Millbrook Tribute Gardens, Millbrook
Wethersfield Estate & Gardens, Amenia

The Outdoors Award of Distinction recognizes businesses and organizations that provide phenomenal and innovative offerings to visitors and contribute to a “Storied Experience” for travelers coming to Dutchess. Join Dutchess Tourism in celebrating all the honorees at the 9th annual Dutchess Tourism Awards of Distinction breakfast at The Henry A. Wallace Center at the FDR Presidential Library and Home in Hyde Park, NY. Read more about the event here.

Learn more about each finalist from Dutchess County Parks Director Susanne O'Neil and Wethersfield Estate and Gardens Executive Director Tara Shafer.


What about your business/organization inspires you?

Susanne O'Neil, Quiet Cove Riverfront Park: Dutchess County Parks has some of the most scenic recreation destinations in our area. We offer it all - spectacular wooded landscapes, miles of well-groomed linear paths and breathtaking views of the Hudson River Valley. What is most inspiring though is our incredible park staff who work tirelessly every day to make these destinations beautiful for residents and visitors to enjoy throughout the year. Our staff are the face of our parks system, they are public servants in every sense, and their hard work directly impacts the quality of life for our patrons each day. They connect to patrons, share our story and beautify acres (upon acres) of land all four seasons of the year.

Tara Shafer, Wethersfield Estate & Gardens: Wethersfield Estate & Garden is a place of open space and beauty for members of our community to enjoy. 


What makes your destination/organization unique?

Susanne O'Neil, Quiet Cove Riverfront Park:  Quiet Cove Riverfront Park is a gem in the county parks system. The 27-acre park is located along the Hudson River, just north of Marist College along Route 9 in the Town of Poughkeepsie. Approximately 40,000 individuals visit Quiet Cove annually to take advantage of the park’s amenities, including picnic areas and hiking trails, two observation decks that offer spectacular sunset views, an accessible kayak launch and the historic boathouse. Recently, the park received some much-needed improvements, including a new combined entrance and exit to align with the adjacent Hudson Heritage development project and allow for improved vehicle and pedestrian access from Route 9, and a facelift for the park’s access loop and parking areas. The new entry area now features a bus shelter and park benches as part of a paved plaza, the highlight of which is a sculpture of American flags that was recently dedicated to the frontline heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic.

What makes this park truly unique, however, is its rich history. The property was originally included in parcels of land sold in 1867 by William H. Davies and James Roosevelt to the State of New York to build the Hudson River Psychiatric Center and was developed into a water filtration and sewage treatment facility for the adjacent hospital campus. The site also housed a former U.S. Naval Academy boathouse and crew quarters, the latter of which still stands today and is available to rent for private events, and was an active site for collegiate rowing from 1891-1949. The site was also the home for Hudson River State Hospital’s Yacht Club, where they hosted staff picnics, seasonal parties and company regattas. In 2005, former Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus negotiated a cooperative partnership with New York State to maintain and operate the park under a 99-year lease.

Tara Shafer, Wethersfield Estate & Gardens: Wethersfield offers multiple opportunities to learn about the arts, horticulture and conservation. Bring a picnic, enjoy a walk in our garden and walk or ride on our trails. 


What are your hopes for the future of travel in Dutchess County?

Susanne O'Neil, Quiet Cove Riverfront Park: To hope to continue to welcome visitors with joy and gratitude and offer opportunities that are unique, inclusive and memorable to all who visit. 

Tara Shafer, Wethersfield Estate & Gardens: At Wethersfield Estate & Garden, we welcome visitors from all regions to come and enjoy sweeping vistas, cultural events and more. 

Photo Credit: Ngoc Minh Ngo (Wethersfield Estate & Gardens)

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