6.6 out of 10

Dutchess County

Ranked 24th best county in New York
41.7857904928974 -73.7653702585701
Great for
  • Safe & Sound
  • Clean & Green
  • Peace & Quiet
  • Lack of Traffic
  • Neighborly Spirit
Not great for
  • Nightlife
  • Public Transport
  • Shopping Options
  • Gym & Fitness
  •  
Who lives here?
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Country Lovers
  • Professionals
  • Tourists

Reviews

5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 5/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 5/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 5/5
2yrs+

"Find Your Favorite Spot in NY's Historic and Breathtakingly Beautiful Mid-Hudson Valley"

Dutchess County, located in the beautiful Mid-Hudson Valley, is home to 20 towns and two cities (Poughkeepsie and Beacon) in the state of NY. Many towns have individually-designated hamlets that are unique unto their own (such as East Fishkill's popular Hopewell Junction, or perhaps Dover's curiously isolated community called “Oniontown”). To the North lies Columbia County; to the South lies Putnam; to the East, CT's Litchfield and Fairfield counties and to the West, NY's Ulster and Orange counties.

Dutchess is home to many fine school districts like Wappingers School District (boasting a 100% graduation rate) and Arlington (my very own school district growing up, where I found teachers who believed in me, such as Mr. Clark of 9th Grade English, who inspired me to become an English teacher---which I'm planning to be for a future career). There's fine private schools like Randolph School in Wappingers Falls (a day school for many different ages, focusing on individuality and creativity to foster independent thought); there's also famous colleges like the Bard College, Vassar College and Merist College in Poughkeepsie, Dutchess Community College, the Culinary Institute of America, and others.

Dutchess is famous for its rich role in American history. Hyde Park is the hometown of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and visitors can explore the beautiful Estate and grounds, as well as Val-Kill, Eleanor Roosevelt's getaway cottage; both are located on the National Historic Landmarks list for the Unites States of America. You can explore Native American history and local flora and fauna at Bowdoin County Park, or visit two State Parks, James Baird and the Taconic State Park, both of which offer many fun outdoor activities for everyone to enjoy. There's many other parks and lakes in the area as well which offer fun for the entire family, both residents and visitors alike.

I love visiting Dutchess County, and I hope you'll get to visit the famous Dutchess County Fair, and pet a lamb and ride the Ferris Wheel. It's a gorgeous area that will make you feel right at home in the country. You might just not want to leave! While some places are pricier than others, it's very much worth the cost of living---which, in some areas, might be greater than NY. You'll be near lots of convenient anemities and excellent transportation, such as Dutchess County Airport, and many towns---especially the cities like Poughkeepsie---have train stations that can help you get places easier. There's also more history here than meets the eye, so you'll want to dig as deep as possible into the magical history of the Hudson Valley. Spend the weekend with your loved one at one of many bed and breakfasts, and dine at award-winning restaurants. Poughkeepsie offers affordable housing as well as several others areas. There's a great mix of city, suburban and rural throughout the county itself. Take a drive through and I'm sure you'll find what fits you the best. You'll definitely be having a grand NY experience, one way or the other!
Pros
  • fascinating history
  • great parks
  • Relatively affordable
  • Welcoming communities
Cons
  • most places need a car
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Country Lovers
  • Trendy & Stylish
  • Beach Lovers
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"History, verdant splendor, quality living, affordable prices!"

Dutchess County, which is mid-way between New York City and Albany, is an exciting mixture of the old and the new; the natural and man-made. There is much to recommend Dutchess County whether you are exploring it as a place to reside or a place to visit.

Those looking for homes here will appreciate the amount of land and house they can get for the money especially compared to some of the communities further down South in Westchester County. The housing range is extensive as there are lovely old homes with character and spanking new developments with the latest in upgrades. So, you can choose the kind of housing that suits your tastes. There are plenty of rental options also for those who are not looking to own a home.

Dutchess County's western border is actual 30 miles along the Hudson River. This combined with the many expansive parks and nature preserves, makes it a great place for every nature lover. Hiking and biking trails, fishing lakes and bird watching lookout points are plentiful and there is easy access to enjoy nature in all her glory.

The other fascinating part of Dutchess County is the history of this area. It has been part of American history from the time of the Native Americans through the European settlers and the Revolutionary War to modern times. There are many historical landmarks including the Roosevelt house that are worth a visit.

This county also offers many good schools, communities committed to offering high-caliber public services and extensive options for shopping and dining. Whether you think of it as living the American Dream or a chance to enjoy serene suburbia, Dutchess County can offer you real value for your money.
Pros
  • fascinating history
  • great parks
  • Relatively affordable
  • Welcoming communities
Cons
  • most places need a car
  • Somewhat removed from excitement
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"Dutchess County Combines a fair amount of variety, beauty, wonderful people and safety!"

It's kinda tricky to review a county. There is so much to cover, with some areas clearly much better than others, and other differentiated not by quality but by style.

Want the quiet life? Dutchess County certainly has you covered. I'd say a majority of the county is perfect for those looking to get away from the bright lights and loud noises of the city. At the same time, there are some cool artistic communities that will bring in a trendier crowd, such as my home town of Beacon. Parts of Dutchess County are very historic, such as Hyde Park, which is where FDR was raised, and is the site of his Presidential Library/museum. Yet other parts are a little bigger and commercial, such as Poughkeepsie.

There are some great colleges in Dutchess County, such as Vassar, but you also have quality educational opportunities for younger children. If you're a parent, there are a ton of great towns, villages, hamlets and cities that would be a perfect place to raise a child. Overall, Dutchess County is exceedingly safe. That's important for a lot of us, including myself, as a recently engaged fellow hoping to start a family in a few years.

That's actually one of the things that most drew me to Dutchess County. I was living in NYC, which I loved, when I was thinking about proposing. I took a day trip to Beacon to check out Dia Beacon, a museum, and I realized I wanted to enjoy a quieter life. I don't necessarily want to forgo the fun of the city altogether, and Dutchess County gives you a great balance, as it's plenty far from NYC to be truly quiet, but not so far that you can't make the trip on occasion to take in a show or Yankees game.

If you're considering Dutchess County, let me encourage you. It's safe. It's picturesque. The schools are good. The people are warm, friendly and welcoming. The cost of living isn't too bad. There are some (admittedly not a ton, but some) artistic opportunities. There is more to do in Dutchess County than you might expect from a small town area. You can let your kids run around playing without having to be overly worried.

There are a lot of great places in the world, and Dutchess County deserves to be ranked amongst the best. Nothing is ever perfect, but if you want to aim high and get close to that high point, Dutchess County is the place to be.
Pros
  • Welcoming communities
  • Relatively affordable
  • fascinating history
  • great parks
Cons
  • Somewhat removed from excitement
  • Almost too quiet
  • most places need a car
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Students
  • Country Lovers
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 5/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 5/5
2yrs+

"Appreciate Natural Beauty, Historic Venues, and Excellent Entertainment in the Mid-Hudson Valley"

Dutchess County is home to twenty towns, eight villages and two cities, nestled within the beautiful natural landscape of the gorgeous Mid-Hudson Valley of New York State. Once the Wappingers Native Americans held their council fires along the banks of the beautiful Hudson River; today, the expansive 825 square miles support a population of 297,488, living in one of the twenty towns, eight villages and two cities the county contains. Located at the base of both the breathtaking Catskill Mountains to the north and the stunning Berkshires to the south, Dutchess County offers quiet country living as well as city life, with easy access to Metro-North trains and the Hudson River waterways. In the early 1700’s it was settled by the Dutch, then later the Germans and even later, New England. It has been home to President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his wife Eleanor, and the house they lived in, and its land, have been historically preserved to commemorate the life of this former President and his family. Also in the historic town of Hyde Park---and overlooking the beautiful Hudson River---is The Vanderbilts’ beautiful mansion, where visitors can learn about the way people lived after the Civil War, and the lifestyle changes that this time established that wound up changing the lives of Americans---and the world---forever.

Living in Dutchess County is not as expensive as living in other counties like Westchester, and is perfect for the average middle class family who can afford a home for around $300,000. Poughkeepsie---a historic city that is the county’s governmental center---offers affordable housing (many created by the world-renowned charity home builders, Habitat for Humanity), and the county is working on making affordable housing available elsewhere as well. It’s home to world-famous colleges like Vassar and Merist (both in Poughkeepsie), and the Adelphi School for Social Work (also in, you guessed it, Poughkeepsie). In Hyde Park, you’ve also got the 5-star Culinary Institute of America, where tomorrow’s greatest chefs will be carefully coached into excellence. School sytems are excellent; Wappingers Falls is one of the best in the nation, as well as Arlington and Beacon coming up close seconds. Schools here are tailored to helping kids express themselves in the performing arts, and kids in Poughkeepsie will be right near the historic 1869 Bardavon Opera House, where they can perform themselves, as well as see a grand concert by the Hudson Valley Philharmonic. Children will also be excited to visit the Children’s Museum, also located in Poughkeepsie, as well as the city’s Galleria and South Hills malls (don’t forget Poughkeepsie Plaza for further shopping ventures as well).

You won’t be far from great dining and entertainment throughout Dutchess County. The Dutchess County Fair in Rhinebeck is one of the nation’s oldest fairs, and is famous for its rides and programs like 4-H contests. It’s got a country carnival-like feel, and you’ll be reminded of books like “Charlotte’s Web” as you roam the grounds eating cotton candy and feeling like a kid again. Antique lovers will feel right at home at Millbrook’s Antique Mall located at 3301 Franklin Ave., and everyone will enjoy the Farmer’s Markets in many locations throughout Dutchess County---but some of the best can be found at Kessman Flower Shop in Pawling, or Barton Orchards in Poughkeepsie. Also don’t forget Secor Strawberries for good ol’ fashioned strawberry (or pumpkin) picking in Secor Orchards Inc. in Wappingers Falls.

Great restaurants are everywhere to be found in Dutchess County. Recommended for a great family friendly outing is Red Rooster Burger Joint located on Rt. 22 in Pawling. There’s a lovely outdoor sitting area with picnic tables and a playground for the kiddies. Their burgers are some of the best I’ve ever had (including their egg creams and ice cream---make sure you get the twist with rainbow-colored sprinkles, and the chocolate egg cream is my favorite)! Afterwards, older folks can enjoy a great meal and live music at The Town Crier Cafe, also located on Rt. 22 in Pawling: this historic musical venue has hosted such artists in the past as Lucinda Williams and Bela Fleck and the Flecktones! There’s a minor $4 donation at the door and the cozy ambiance and wonderful food make this lively cafe a sure treat for locals and travellers alike. In Poughkeepsie, couples will love the Thai Lemongrass, and if you’re in the mood for a good drink with friends, hit up Whisky Jack’s Saloon in Wappingers Falls.

Dutchess County is home to many beautiful parks like Bowdoin in Hyde Park, as well as James Baird and Hudson Highlands State Parks. All offer great places to hike, bike and enjoy the wonderful natural beauty that is Dutchess County. Also located in several areas (such as Pawling for example) is the cross-country Appalachian Trail.

People of all ages can find something to do in Dutchess County. There’s lots of train stations that can get you to NYC and elsewhere in the country close to towns and metropolis areas. Dutchess County is 72% urban and 29% rural, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t need a car in most places to get from point A to point B. Major roads include the Taconic Parkway and interstates 84 and 87.
Pros
  • great parks
  • fascinating history
Cons
  • most places need a car
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Country Lovers
  • Trendy & Stylish
  • Beach Lovers

Best Cities in Dutchess County

1

Red Hook

4/5
"Lovely Creative Shops, Pleasant Folks and Friendly Atmosphere: You'll Find It All Here!"
42.0151018421863 -73.8934080112464
2

Hyde Park

4/5
"History Buffs Will Love It, Families will Treasure It, Food Connoisseurs will Adore It"
41.7891837411989 -73.8972601092996
3

Pawling

3.5/5
"Residential neighborhoods spaced out by natural environment."
41.5619 -73.6026
"When Visiting the Falls, Remember the 3 P's: Parks, Pizza and Pleasant Memories!"
41.5963850077843 -73.9054151277817
5

Millerton

3.5/5
"Time Slows Down with a Cup of Tea and a Book in Hand in Millerton"
41.9499845521877 -73.5086228809715
6

LaGrange

3.5/5
"LaGrangeville Will Always Hold a Special Place in My Heart"
41.6737873644601 -73.7131630687065
7

East Fishkill

3.5/5
"Growing township with recreational opportunities."
41.5815518747204 -73.7929663266049
"A Junction at the Crossroads of Hope and Possibility"
41.5832893964141 -73.80286702599
9

Poughkeepsie

3/5
"The Town of Poughkeepsie Offers Something for Everyone"
41.6832589302669 -73.8857475044052
10

Stormville

3/5
"Home to One of the World's Greatest, Oldest Flea Markets in NY State!"
41.5461740040529 -73.7261767799203

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