Rhinebeck: Go to Indulge Your Inner Gwyneth

Healthy eating, holistic exercise, and one extremely fancy mansion.

rhinebeck new york things to do

A Bread Alone bakery location. | Photo: Natalie Chitwood

With its multiple yoga and Pilates studios and an across-the-board emphasis on locally sourced foods, it’s easy to turn Rhinebeck — a quaint town on the east bank of the Hudson — into your own personal wellness retreat. Especially because the Omega Institute, a real (and rather famous) wellness retreat, is just a 15-minute drive away.

Distance from Philly: 3.5 hours.

Where to Stay

You don’t come to Whistlewood Farm for the eclectic pine-walled rooms (many of which have fireplaces) or totally Zen natural surroundings (hike miles of trails without leaving the property). The real reason you’re waking up at this B&B/working farm is owner Maggie Myer, your amicable, hospitable host for the weekend. She’s constantly whipping up baked goods — from blueberry muffins to strawberry rhubarb pie — that sit in the kitchen, tempting you to snag a late-night snack. At breakfast, she’ll cook your eggs (which are sourced directly from chickens freely pecking about the property) to order, then serve as your useful guide to Rhinebeck’s dining and entertainment scene, hand-drawn map included. From $200 per night.

What to Do

With weekend and week-long conferences devoted to improving mind, body and spirit, the close-by Omega Institute is a destination unto itself. Sign up for a workshop (programming runs May through October; big-name speakers have included Al Gore, Abby Wambach, and Deepak Chopra), then spend the rest of your day on-campus, hiking to the peaceful meditation sanctuary, playing tennis, relaxing on the sandy beach by the lake, or touring the Sustainable Living Center. (Staying overnight is an option, but not necessary.) When you get worn out from all that enrichment, book a deep tissue massage or glycolic facial at the wellness center. 

Where to Eat

Regulars lamented when the Local closed last year, but thankfully, Wesley Dier, a graduate of the nearby Culinary Institute of America, and wife Bryn Bahnatka-Dier reinvented their space as upscale American fish shack Catch 38. It’s one of the best bites in town, and the fish tacos are a must. Vegetarians will want to lunch at Aba’s Falafel for warm pitas stuffed with organic chickpea fritters and topped with mango curry sauce. For date night, dine à deux on bright salads and classic French fare at the romantic Le Petit Bistro. And stop by Bread Alone, too — the 35-year-old family-run bakery chainlet puts out picture-perfect croissants and organic sourdough loaves.

Places to Shop

Downtown, update your road-trip library at Oblong Books & Music, a cozy independent bookstore. Or head to Cabin Fever Outfitters for hiking gear that will feel equally at home in the closets of true outdoorsmen and gorpcore-wearing city-dwellers. The Beekman Arms Antique Market has heirloom-quality china and unique furnishings (as in, kitchen chairs with rooster-embroidered cushions), and on Sundays, you can hit up the farmers’ market to take a taste of New York — specifically, local produce and distilled spirits — back to Philly with you.

Worth the Drive

Explore the upstate hideaway of one of America’s wealthiest families at the 211-acre Vanderbilt Mansion estate in neighboring Hyde Park. Everything in this monument to upper-upper-class living is pretty much gilded or muraled, and you won’t want to skip the formal gardens.

Published as a part of “Into the Valley” in the September 2018 issue of Philadelphia magazine.