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May Featured Photographer: Ashley Napoli

Date Published: May 6, 2021

Seeing Dutchess County through our visitor's eyes is one of our favorite ways to experience our area! Meet this month's featured photographer Ashley Napoli, a local mom of two who shared her family's outdoor adventures with us. 

What is your name and where can people find your work? 

Ashley Napoli, Instagram: @Mamaa_llamaa

Describe your perfect staycation in Dutchess, or your idea of a fun weekend in the County. 

There is so much to see in Dutchess County, my husband and I have grown up in the Hudson valley our whole lives and this is where we have chosen to raise our children. This is home for us and our roots run deep here. One town though really does have it all, Rhinebeck.

We would stay at the Beekman Arms Hotel, the atmosphere of colonial America from the milled wood floors to its hand hewed beams and low ceilings. You just feel like you would be hanging out with George Washington. Walk right outside and you are in the heart of Rhinebeck, which I absolutely love. Then go over to Rhinebeck Bagels and enjoy a bite to eat. My boys would absolutely get the rainbow bagels. Then we would pack up and head over to Ferncliff Forest. Ferncliff Forest is such a great day hike with a walk around the lake. Then having a picnic in the lean-to and adventure up to the fire tower to see the Catskill mountains off in the distance.

After a good day of hiking, I would say having dinner at Bia. We are obsessed with Celtic culture and cuisine. Irish stout bread and one of the best Irish coffees I’ve ever had is a must.

After dinner, I’m sure my family and I would be in the mood for an extra treat. One of our favorite stops is Samuels Sweet Shop, we have been taking our children since they were babies. Our first experience there was years ago during the winter festival, Sinterklaas. This candy store brings back so much nostalgia.

At the end of the day, bring a few of those treats with us from Samuels and enjoy a beautiful sunset at Poets' Walk Park and watch the sunset over the Hudson. The end to a perfect day in Dutchess county.


What equipment do you use in your photography? 

 I use my phone's camera.


What is your favorite place to photograph in Dutchess and why?

I really enjoy Dover Stone Church for its amazing cave waterfall and trails.

When you first walk to the trailhead, you crest the hill, as you walk down the steps you look at the trail ahead of you, it invokes the feeling of the scene at the end of “Gladiator” when he was walking the trail home to be with his family.

Try and go right after a good rain to really experience the waterfall and the moss so beautifully green. You can really get some great lighting with this location whether it be overcast, a bright day, or even some rain.


Do you have somewhere on your list that you want to photograph in Dutchess, but haven’t gotten there yet? 

Tivoli Bay is on top of my list right now.

Give us a few photography tips:

  • Go with the flow, try and not to do posed shots as much. Take a few steps back from the family and capture the story.

  • A good overcast is great for photos, lighting is so important! Whether it's the golden hour or “Toy Story” looking clouds in the sky, it really makes a difference for pictures.

  • Let children really explore and make their adventure wherever you go. It’s one of my favorite things to photograph.

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