The theme of this year’s self-guided driving tour is “Hudson Valley Farms.” The route winds along scenic lanes through Staatsburg, Clinton, Rhinebeck, Red Hook and Clermont, with stops at several farms or estates with historic barns: Kross Creek Farm, the Locusts and Cedar Heights Orchard, each graced by a lovely garden. Also on the tour are Willow Brook Farm, with a view of an adjacent Dutch barn, and Clermont and the Ridge. At these last two estates, the barns have vanished, but some of the surviving outbuildings are of architectural interest and provide the context to help one envision the original layout of the grounds.
While in Staatsburg, the southern boundary of the tour, participants can take a detour and visit the beaux-arts Mills Mansion and Norrie-Mills State Park, site of a Calvert Vaux-designed estate. Montgomery Place and the stunning campus of Bard College are also easily accessible from the specified route.
The tour starts at the Rhinebeck United Methodist Church, located at 83 East Market Street. Participants must preregister by booking their $50 ticket at www.hudsonriverheritage.org. Admission wristbands, a tour packet including directions and a map and coupons for the optional $18 boxed lunch catered by Gigi’s (which can be picked up at Clermont) will be handed out at the Church. From there, people can head either north or south, congregating at Clermont in the early afternoon for the lunch and a tour of the house.