Winter, spring, summer and fall — exciting adventures are always in season here in Dutchess County! With so many fascinating places to visit and interesting things to do, New York’s Hudson Valley truly is a year-round travel hot spot. Outdoor excursions, a vibrant arts-and-culture scene and world-class dining — you'll find all that and more. Consider these Top 10 January events as you plan your stay this January and let the beauty and wonder of Dutchess County warm your soul.
If it’s a cozy getaway you’re seeking, be sure to check out our Top 10 Boutique Hotels and BnBs and book a relaxing, rejuvenating trip to New York City’s backyard. Located only 90 minutes north of Manhattan, Dutchess is dotted with quaint towns and villages perfect for a winter road trip. With nine Metro-North rail stations in the county and two Amtrak stops, getting here is quick and easy.
Keep that camera handy, as the scenery here is breathtaking in every season. Feel free to share your photos here and tag @dutchesstourism on social media.
Open every day, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. by appointment at the Millbrook School, Millbrook
Did you know the Trevor Zoo was open year-round? This charming AZA-accredited zoo — the only one in the nation run by a high school — features a wide selection of animals representing more than 70 species, several of which are endangered. One of those endangered species is the red panda; the Trevor Zoo is home to three red pandas: Betsy, Zhu, and their cub, who was born at the zoo last year. Members of the Millbrook School’s student body care for all the animals at the zoo every day, making it a rewarding experience for the students and the visitors alike! Click here to learn more about this one-of-a-kind attraction and to book your reservations.
Monday, Jan. 1 at multiple locations
And after a night of New Year’s Eve revelry, a first-day hike is the perfect way to start the new year on the right foot (pun very much intended). So, lace up those boots, zip up those parkas and head to one of these Dutchess locations:
• Staatsburgh State Historic Site (Staatsburg): Join members of the park staff for a free, 1.2-mile hike along the woodland trail in Mills Norrie State Park on the historic grounds of the Mills family’s opulent Gilded Age estate on the banks of the Hudson River. The hike will begin at 11 a.m. near the mansion and will include a visit to a small, little-known cemetery in the forest. Enjoy free hot cocoa courtesy of the Friends of Mills at Staatsburgh at the end of the hike. Click here to complete the required registration.
• Walkway Over the Hudson (Poughkeepsie): Step into the new year on the World’s Longest Elevated Pedestrian Bridge and enjoy stunning views of the Hudson and the surrounding highlands from 212 feet above the river. The Walkway is a former railroad bridge over the Hudson that opened on Jan. 1, 1889, and served as part of the Maybrook Line of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad until it was damaged by fire in 1974 and subsequently closed. The rebuilt span opened in 2009 as the Walkway, and its first-day hikes have become a New Year’s Day tradition. The Walkway is 1.28 miles across; it is flat and paved, and it has no stairs. No registration is necessary for this free hike, which begins at 1 p.m. For more details, click here.
Related: Find your new favorite museums, muses and more with the Dutchess Tourism Inspiration Finder, a mobile passport program featuring discounts at some of Dutchess County’s world-class arts attractions. Click here and connect with your creativity.
Jan. 6 – 21 at the Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck
CENTERstage Productions presents this production of the Tony Award-winning musical, with performances scheduled on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m., as well as Saturday matinees on Jan. 13 and 20. Set in Germany in 1932 — right as the Nazi party was starting to rise to power — “Cabaret” tells the story of an American novelist who visits Berlin to find material for his next book and finds himself immersed in the free-spirited world of a seedy nightclub. It’s a play with humor, humanity, and unforgettable musical moments. Click here to purchase tickets.
Jan. 14, Jan. 28, Feb. 18, March 3 at the Howland Cultural Center, Beacon
The Howland Chamber Music Circle presents its annual Piano Festival, featuring four sensational performances by world-renowned pianists that are sure to warm the hearts of concertgoers all winter. Jonathan Biss kicks off the series on Jan. 14, followed by the duo of Alessio Bax and Lucille Chung on Jan. 28, Conrad Tao on Feb. 18 and Ying Li on March 3. All four shows are set in the quaint and intimate concert hall at the Howland Cultural Center, where every seat is a good one. Each concert will be immediately followed by a reception with the artists. Click here to purchase tickets to the Piano Festival and other great HCMC shows.
Saturday, Jan. 20, 4 and 8 p.m. at the MJN Convention Center, Poughkeepsie
Grammy-nominated comedian and podcaster Nate Bargatze is selling out shows all over the world, and he brings his clean, relatable brand of humor to the Majed J. Nesheiwat Convention Center (formerly the Mid-Hudson Civic Center) for not one but two performances. You will recognize Bargatze from his 10 guest appearances on The Tonight Show. Click here to purchase tickets for either the 4 p.m. or the 8 p.m. show. If you have the time, make a weekend getaway out of it; The MJN Center is right next door to The Doubletree by Hilton Poughkeepsie, which is a perfect starting point for excursions throughout the Hudson Valley.
Jan. 22 – 26 at the Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park
This “basic training” boot camp gives you a solid foundation of knowledge and skills to be applied at home in your own kitchen every time you prepare a meal. This hands-on course will help you master certain techniques, such as mise en place (a French term describing the preparation and organization of ingredients before cooking); knife expertise; soup and stock production; and sauce-making. You will learn a variety of cooking methods, like roasting, grilling, sauteing, pan-frying, stir-frying, braising, poaching, and steaming. This is a golden opportunity to broaden your culinary horizons at the very school that has trained some of the finest chefs in the world. Click here to learn more about this and other fantastic programs scheduled throughout the year at the CIA.
Sunday, Jan. 28, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. at Dia Beacon
Dia Beacon is home to an extraordinary collection of contemporary art, and on the last Sunday of each month, Hudson Valley residents (residents of Albany, Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Orange, Putnam, Rensselaer, Rockland, Saratoga, Schenectady, Sullivan, Ulster, Washington, and Westchester counties) receive free admission to the gallery to view this vast collection. And there is much to see! Among the many long-term exhibitions on display at Dia Beacon is the recently opened “Shadows” by Andy Warhol. “Shadows,” is a single painting in multiple parts and is spread across 102 canvases; it is considered one of Warhol’s most abstract works. Click here for information on Hudson Valley Free Day.
Every other Sunday, Jan. 28 – March 24, 1 – 2:30 p.m. at Staatsburgh State Historic Site, Staatsburg
This popular series returns in 2024 with five events beginning on Jan. 28. In each installment, visitors will enjoy tea and refreshments in the formal dining room at the Mills Mansion while listening to talks on five different aspects of Gilded Age history. The programs feature scones, tea sandwiches and sweets, along with Staatsburgh Blend tea, a custom blend created for the site by Harney & Sons Fine Teas of Millerton. Topics of discussion will include “The Gilded Age in a Glass” (Jan. 28), which will examine the creation of some of America’s most famous cocktails during the Gilded Age, including the Martini, the Daiquiri and the Old Fashioned; “Gilded Age Love Stories” (Feb. 11), which explore the real stories that sparked the relationships seen on HBO’s “The Gilded Age;” “Belle da Costa Greene: Black Female Excellence Surmounting the Limits of Early 20th-Century America” (Feb. 25), which will celebrate the life and accomplishments of the woman who served as the librarian for famous Gilded Age Wall Street kingpin J.P. Morgan and amassed the famous Morgan Library full of rare books and manuscripts — while hiding her African American heritage from Morgan and the rest of the world; “Spilling the Tea: A History of Tea Drinking in New York State” (March 10), which will discuss the history of tea in the Hudson Valley, from its introduction in Dutch New Netherland to the Tea Act boycotts of the American Revolution, and beyond; and “The Beautiful Architecture and Tragic Life of Arnout Cannon Jr.” (March 24), which will investigate the tragedy-filled life of the man who designed some of Dutchess County’s most iconic buildings, including Wilderstein in Rhinecliff and the Masonic Temple on Cannon Street in Poughkeepsie. Click here to purchase tickets for any of the five events in the series.
Sunday, Jan. 28, 5 – 10 p.m. at Mill House Brewing, Poughkeepsie
Mill House Brewing Company presents its fifth-annual Wild-Game Dinner featuring a multi-course, family-style, wild-game meal, along with beer and cocktail specials, raffles and games. Be sure to try Mill House’s Hunting Saison, a traditional Saison-style beer which will be available for a limited time. Purchase individual tickets or reserve a table for your party for this popular dinner. Don't wait — this event sells out every year! Click here for details.
Related: The Dutchess Tourism Taste Finder is a mobile passport program that serves up perks at craft beverage tasting rooms and tap houses throughout Dutchess County. Click here to obtain “The Pass to Filly Your Glass.”
Tuesday, Jan. 30, 3 p.m. at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, Hyde Park
Every year on Jan. 30, the National Park Service hosts a ceremony to honor Franklin D. Roosevelt on his birthday in the Rose Garden where the former President is buried alongside his wife, Eleanor. All are invited to this free, public event, after which all visitors are welcome to gather in the Wallace Center for birthday cake and refreshments. FDR’s birthday parties — known as Birthday Balls — were important affairs during his years in the White House, although not because he sought fanfare or attention from the American people, but because they were opportunities to raise money and awareness for the battle against infantile paralysis, with which FDR himself was afflicted after contracting polio at age 39 in 1921. These fundraising efforts — which we now know as the March of Dimes — provided the financial backing to develop new methods of treating polio and ultimately led to Jonas Salk’s discovery of the polio vaccine in 1955. Click here for details about this and other great events at the FDR Library and Museum.
Dates TBA at Vassar College, Poughkeepsie
Visit Vassar College’s picturesque campus for the 22nd-annual week-long exploration of the arts of the 20th and 21st centuries. This year’s program includes readings of the play “The Game” by Solomon Hess ‘24 on Jan. 26 at 8 p.m. and Jan. 27 at 2 p.m. in Vassar’s Powerhouse Theater. “The Game” is about two men, one White and one Native American, and the relationship they have through, and with, the game of lacrosse. Check back for updates.
Attached photo of the Walkway Over the Hudson courtesy of @julialeemuzi.