As a 20-year resident of Rhinebeck I've enjoyed seeing the town's growing success as a destination for travelers and tourists. Some local residents have expressed annoyance to me about the increased traffic and congestion, the changes in the town's character, the expectations and demands of visitors and new residents. Some avoid the village entirely on weekends. But I always felt very differently, that I totally understood why people from all over would enjoy discovering this beautiful little town, its realness, its proximity to the beautiful Hudson River while accessible from New York City, its simplicity and peacefulness, the laid back quality of life here, the beauty of nature all over, the surfeit of cultural activities....it's all here. Whether for a day trip, an overnight, a week, or forever, there's just something unnameable about Rhinebeck that is just heavenly to experience.
And I wanted to share that with people. I'm a traveler, have been around the world a bit (and hope to see a lot more of it), and I wanted visitors to the area to be able to experience it the way I experienced Hanoi and Geneva and Naxos and Barcelona, through the people and through wondrous food.
For the past few years I've watched all those visitors stroll around the village of Rhinebeck and I felt like it would be great if there was something for them to do, something fun, something that would treat the senses, something that would get them closer to our culture, our vibe, our way of life. We have the fun, unique Olde Rhinebeck Aerodrome, we have the revitalizing Omega Institute, we have gorgeous places to hike and nearby mansions to discover, but I pondered the idea of an activity that would let people get to know us, the people of the Hudson Valley, a bit better, especially our huge array of food and drink artisans and creative people who are doing amazing things, new things that celebrate this market basket Valley ... now that would be a great way to spend a few hours in Rhinebeck!
So an idea germinated, for culinary walking tours, little crawls around town where visitors could experience our area as travelers rather than tourists, and taste really delicious food and drink and meet the people who make or farm or cook or brew it...that would be a great thing! So finally last year I got it going, and had a season of walking tours that seemed to be much enjoyed by guests, if our TripAdvisor reviews have anything to say about it.
It caught on so well, with requests for private tours and bus tours, that I decided to add more tours in some other Hudson Valley towns that I love dearly, like Hudson, Beacon and Poughkeepsie, all with their own unique and delightful characters that I thought would be perfect for Culinary Crawls. And there are more, like Saugerties and New Paltz and Cold Spring and many more, jewels of the Valley that deserve their own tours, and will get them, I hope, in the near future.
So that, my friends, is why I started Hudson Valley Food Tours, to get people up close and personal with this beautiful, ever-interesting, magical region. To experience it like a traveler does, via all the senses, via the people, and via the food.