New York Photos: Hudson Valley Wine and Food Fest

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Our trip into the Hudson Valley and the annual Food and Wine Festival started in a decidedly urban setting: my friends' East Village apartment in Manhattan. Festive, certainly. But the food we ordered was local only in that the soup dumplings came from a nearby Chinese take-out joint.  
Credit: Aaron Verdery 
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About two hours later, we swapped their one-bedroom for rooms in the stunning Rhinecliff, a boutique hotel scenically located on the banks of the Hudson River two miles from the town of Rhinebeck. First built in 1854, the hotel had fallen into disrepair until it re-opened—after five years of extensive renovation—last year.  
Credit: Nathan Borchelt 
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The new owners--two British brothers who fell in love with the property while drinking in its formerly dilapidated bar--embrace the hotel's distinctive charms, including the sound of passing Amtrak trains (the Rhinecliff Train Station is adjacent to the building). For guests averse to such noise, the Rhinecliff has earplugs waiting on the bedside tables.  
Credit: Nathan Borchelt 
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We arrived late at night on the eve of the first day of the Food and Wine Festival, and woke to gray skies and a steady drizzle that would plague the event for the entire day.  
Credit: Nathan Borchelt 
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But we persevered. Here my friend Amanda checks out the scene from an elevated platform at the Rhinecliff Amtrak Station while her husband Aaron takes a picture before we head over to the food and wine festival.  
Credit: Nathan Borchelt 
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The weather kept most of the attendees inside one of the many open-air shelters at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds. Wine talks with celebrated food celebs like Michael Green and food demos from local chefs like Ric Orlando (pictured) paired perfectly with vineyard tables offering tastes of reds and whites, along with food stalls, cooking tools, and...more wine.  
Credit: Nathan Borchelt 
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The horrible weather kept on throughout the night, blazing through the Hudson River Valley with steady torrents of rain and wind. Here I paused from wine drinking on the balcony off my room at the Rhinecliff to snap a photo of the storm.  
Credit: Nathan Borchelt 
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Thankfully, the next morning greeted us with perfect September weather: aqua-colored skies with light tufts of cumulous clouds and a gentle breeze that made the humidity and moisture of the day before a distant memory. In celebration, we headed to the festival early and (to be honest) spent more time sipping wine and tasting food than taking pictures.  
Credit: Nathan Borchelt 
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Food stands like this one surrounded the entire fairgrounds, but arguably the best food was available inside the somewhat-smoky section dedicated to the local restaurants, where organic, freshly prepared fare like venison ravioli and green beans was yours for a few festival tickets.  
Credit: Nathan Borchelt 
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Hudson Valley's culinary treasures shouldn't be thought of as limited to just food and wine, as evidenced by this all-too-tempting display of Baby Bourbon Whisky, distilled from New York state corn.  
Credit: courtesy, NY Tourism 
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After drinking our fill at the festival, we drove into Rhinebeck and then--inspired by the local produce on display at the event--stopped at a weekend farmer's market. Almost instantly we were burdened by heirloom tomatoes, squashes and peppers of all shapes and sizes, and a colorful array of mushrooms...  
Credit: Nathan Borchelt 
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...which made for the perfect, sumptuous picnic lunch at Storm King Art Center. The experience was topped off by a nice bottle of sauvignon blanc purchased at the festival (after many tastings)--the perfect way to cap a long, luxurious weekend in the Hudson Valley.  
Credit: Nathan Borchelt 
 
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