Destination: Rhinebeck, NY
Hotel: Mirbeau Inn & Spa
Dates: Mon. 9/7/20 (Labor Day) – Wed. 9/9/20
Still in the pandemic, I decided I would plan some adventures right in my home state of New York. I live in the state’s Lower Hudson Valley Region (about 20 miles north of Manhattan), and upstate-bound road trips or train rides include an endless list of wonderful places to visit and things to experience.
And so, I planned my very first solo Hudson Valley (New York) getaway – to Rhinebeck. Excited as heck! 🙂
I chose to leave on Monday (Labor Day) and return Wednesday because of the significant price drop from the weekend and, in my opinion, a better experience for this particular trip. — Its purpose was relaxing, wellness and spa-focused (with a little time to focus on goal planning and writing – if, and only if, I felt inspired to do so). Also, it’s during the pandemic, and less people around was a bonus!
Plus, I wouldn’t be rushed straight from a workday to get prepped and packed. I’d have the weekend to prepare for my getaway – a couple of days which I needed because I haven’t traveled solely for pleasure in a long while. Business travel is MUCH easier and more predictable to pack for, and that’s been the theme of my travel for a very long time.
I started on Friday (9/4/20) evening by creating a 3-day itinerary (premised by thorough research from the prior weeks of all the places I wanted to see, stay, shop, and eat or drink at); followed by a packing list; then followed by a pre-getaway shopping list and to-do list for Saturday, Sunday and early Monday morning that surely included making sure my entire apartment was clean and neat.
It’s always nice to come home from a trip – free of home chores;
Leave your luggage by the door;
Slip into cozy pajamas;
And relax and unwind from the travel, on your living room sofa, with a hydrating beverage and a good TV show or movie.
Monday, September 7, 2020
So on this past Labor Day (Monday, September 7, 2020), I woke up early, got dressed, put on my makeup, did my hair (if throwing it up with a clip at the top of my head counts), packed my bags, skipped breakfast (because I made other plans for that), and packed my SUV shortly after the sunrise.
I got into my SUV, entered my destination into the Navigation, calmed my last-minute anxiety by going through my packing list on my iPhone one more time [all items checked], turned on the SiriusXM 80s on 8 channel, and I made my way upstate – feeling free!
The first stop on the list was an adorable diner converted from an early-20th century railroad dining car.
I learned about this little gem during my trip planning research. The diner was directly on my route and about 5 minutes before my hotel. Perfect!
I think I caught the last spot in the parking lot, and when I walked in, I noticed a tiny table with seating on only one side (what I believe would have been the last dining table before the dining car server station, which was still relatively intact) – perfect for this solo traveler.
In fact, I liked just about everything from the very short stay I had here…
The waitress didn’t even look at me twice when I asked for my usual, but unusual, veggie omelet made with one egg and the rest egg whites, home fries, no toast; coffee with regular milk. She got right to it!
The breakfast looked like a lot of food, but it was actually quite light… and delicious. The coffee was that perfect level of medium-strong that I like too.
The locals were lined up at the diner bar across from my table, with more arriving as I stayed there, and I simply couldn’t help listening to the loud banter. Mostly talk about sports, but this one nugget of conversation I loved: One man says, “Nice day today!” Another man replies, “Nice day EVERY day!”
Hey, perspective! I smiled at that one.
I must say, it was the ideal breakfast stop to fuel me up to start this little New York Hudson Valley getaway!
I paid the bill, left the tip, and made my way past the farmland from Red Hook, NY into Rhinebeck, NY.
I arrived at my hotel, the Mirbeau Inn and Spa, at around 10am. The room check-in wasn’t until 4pm, but I called and planned in advance to secure a locker for the things that couldn’t stay in my SUV (which I accordingly packed for separately). And I had a full 3 days access to all of the spa amenities.
I immediately headed to the women’s locker room where I was greeted as shown in the photo below.
I switched out of my sundress and sandals and into the Mirabeau spa robe and slipper “uniform.” I was now official! 🙂
I walked through another doorway and around a corner that led to this zen room (or “waiting area” as the spa workers called it) with relaxing music, a fireplace, and a large dimly lit fountain at the center – surrounded by lounge chair seating – some solo and some in couples. You know, the usual spa atmosphere… but with people wearing face masks.
I made my way to one of the single lounge chairs and got comfy, not knowing at the time that that would become my go-to lounge chair for the entire stay. I tried really, really, REALLY hard to just lie there and be still and relax and clear my mind and be present… but it just wasn’t working.
I gave it a good hour of forcing myself into a relaxed state. But for someone not used to sitting, relaxing, and doing nothing, I felt the need to pick up my phone, post to social media, send a few texts back and forth. And finally, I realized that my body and mind were much more ready to start exploring the town. And so, I listened.
I went back around the corner and through the door to the women’s locker room. I quickly changed back from my spa robe and slippers into my sundress and sandals – plus added a big sun hat to protect my ironically fair Sicilian/Italian skin.
I explored the town for a bit, visiting a few of the shops. And I knew I desperately needed to get into relaxation mode … vacation mode … completely out of work mode. And what better way to do that than… hmmm… with an adult beverage?
I didn’t have this one planned. Remember, I was supposed to spend that part of the day relaxing and doing nothing in the spa area. So, I let the universe guide me here…
As I walked the streets, I could NOT stop admiring the historic Beekman Arms Inn, which I had passed about three times already.
[NOT shown in the photo I used, above, from the Internet] This place was packed from the outside and, from what I could see, inside as well.
I walked up to the hostess and asked if I could go inside and have a seat at the bar. There was room! Yay! And so, I entered this place, and I immediately fell in love with it.
[According to Wikipedia, this inn is America’s oldest continuously operated hotel. Pretty cool!]
The hostess led me into a large room that was obviously not the regular Beekman Arms bar, but rather a makeshift bar created in the middle of a dining room area consisting of bar height tables set in a square and covered with white linen tablecloths. In regular times, this would appear strange. But with the pandemic going on, you just expect weirdness everywhere you go. And in some ways, it makes things more interesting.
The menu and a chalk board next to the bar both claimed they made the “Best Margarita in the Hudson Valley” but with “house tequila.” I asked the bartender what the “house tequila” is; she honestly and/or smartly replied “garbage” LOL … I eyed the Casamigos bottle in the background and said “I’ll take the George Clooney!” 😉
I happily added on a shrimp cocktail appetizer, prompted by the state law requiring food with drink at bars during the current re-opening phase of the pandemic.
I was comfortably accompanied at the bar with a few nice, older locals to converse with – one of whom worked in my field of “marketing” – in Manhattan – back in the time when the field was referred to as “advertising” and it was common to drink whiskey during work meetings. [Cue in vision of Don Draper.] So that was an interesting chat for me.
On a different trip, I likely would have had a second margarita and continued talking, but not this one. Wellness and rejuvenation were my main missions here.
I headed back to the hotel with still a little time before check-in and read a book for a bit in a vintage French-styled living room area near the front lobby.
9/7/20 | Approx. 4:00 PM
I checked into my room (also vintage French décor; clawfoot bathtub included). I snapped a few photos before I had my way with the room. I was bound to make a bit of a mess of it with all the wardrobe changes, towels used, cosmetics laid out, etc. etc. – plus I requested for no housekeeping service throughout my stay.
Once settled in, I thought it would be a good time to head downstairs and relax in the large, outdoor whirlpool / hot tub before heading back into town and having dinner. And that’s exactly what I did.
Afterwards, I headed back to my room for a quick shower and to get dressed for the evening. I made plans for dinner at a restaurant called Terrapin. Mainstream meaning: “little turtle.” First impression of the outside: “magnificent!”
When I arrived inside, it was quickly apparent that this restaurant was a bit stricter than other places with the social distancing. The bar seats were not only distanced, but they had plexiglass barricades, ensuring that a single gal like me could not possibly engage in a conversation with any other person.
How does the saying go?… A great dining experience consists of great food, great company, great atmosphere, and great service. … I think I just made that up, I’m not sure, but it sounds correct. Anyway, I was certain to get two of the four there that night. And that would be the great food and service. I’ll take it!
Their menu’s main attraction appeared to be the Ahi Tuna. I knew this in advance as I planned my itinerary. (By the way, I eat every kind of food, so whatever comes highly recommended, I usually go with.) I asked the bartender for his recommendation (just for sport), and he said “the Ahi Tuna” (as I expected).
The Ahi Tuna was delivered to me by a/the chef (not the bartender) … Kudos! … It was delightfully cooked and spiced to perfection with sliced avocado and a delicious mixed green salad on the side. The dish made me wish I had more people with me to order with so I could sample more dishes. Another time, for sure!
I prepped/paired the dish with one mixed drink: Tequila (Patron) + seltzer.
Sometimes when I ask a bartender if they have Patron and then I order a Patron with seltzer, they snap their head back a bit and widen their eyes as if in a moment of shock. This was one of those times. I’m not sure I understand why, but I’d guess I either look like that wouldn’t be my drink of choice (aka: they’re impressed) OR they’re displeased because I’m not drinking a good tequila straight up (aka: they’re not impressed). I don’t know yet. I’ll have to personally ask the next one. 😉
Back to my room, I turned on the electric fireplace and read more of a book before my nightly routine and going to sleep (around 11pm).
Tuesday, September 8, 2020
I booked a 7am gym appointment (necessary to book an appointment during the pandemic), and I surely thought I’d decide to sleep in a little more and I’d miss it. But I didn’t. I got up at 6:15am, ate an organic beef jerky stick from my bag o’ snacks, and headed downstairs to the workout rooms. Large bottle of alkaline water in hand.
9/8/20 | 7:00 AM
Weights, cardio, and stretching routine.
9/8/20 | 8:30 AM
Back to the room for a quick shower and new outfit to roam the town in. Then an official breakfast at The Amsterdam. I wanted a nice omelet, but nothing too fancy, and this place was perfect. I got a nice cozy booth in the corner of the restaurant where I was able to write a few things in my notebook, drink coffee and eat without distraction. The waiter talked me out of the egg whites on this one, and I was happy he did. 🙂 Delicious!
9/8/20 | 12:00 PM
Arrived at the spa. You know the routine now… women’s locker room, changed into robe and slippers, through the door, around the corner to the zen waiting room, got comfy on “my” lounge chair. But, still, I could not completely relax.
9/8/20 | 12:40 PM
My masseuse arrived at my lounge chair to ask if I was “Jackie” and take me away. I was ready.
9/8/20 | 12:45 PM
My services began. The room had two massage beds and a shower. I asked if she’d be bringing me in a cute boyfriend. No such luck. LOL.
One bed would be used for the body exfoliation and French clay mask service. I’d then take a quick shower. And the other bed would be used for the Swedish massage. Sounded good to me! She began with those instructions along with handing me two small bowls containing sample dollops of the exfoliation cream (scents of ginger and lime) and the French clay mask (scents of coconut and, well, clay).
Approx. 100 minutes later:
My services were complete, and I was sent back to the zen waiting area. And FINALLY I was able to just be still and relax. In fact, I was SO relaxed that I completely fell asleep for about 20-30 minutes. The Central Nervous System (CNS) relaxation effects of the massage had worked – just as the science tells us. Note, again, to self, for more of these!
It was a while (for me) that I relaxed before heading back to my room to get ready for the evening. I washed my face, reapplied my makeup, and got dressed. No shower, as I was instructed to let the treatment products linger on my skin and work their magic!
I did some light walking around the town, browsed a few shops, and found this trinket tray with a very well-suited reminder.
While the desert and cacti don’t accurately represent the location I was in, those simple words are mighty appropriate for this trip and hopefully for what’s to come. Actually, many of the local shops are filled mainly with handmade products from different artists and places around the country and world. So, I was bound to purchase something made in another place, yet connected to me via Rhinebeck. 🙂
9/8/20 | 6:00 PM
Dinner reservation (for one) at Willow by Charlie Palmer. Right at my hotel. Normally I would sit at the bar, but I spied a table outside on the deck that I had to have instead.
I started with a glass of white wine, recommended by the designated wine connoisseur (I was feeling “something lighter than a chardonnay, dry, not sweet”… my only hints… he delivered.) The waiter brought me two mini square bread rolls with whipped butter and a cup of olives. Already, the flavor combinations are making me happy.
I ordered the Seared Scallops entree along with the Brussel Sprouts. I didn’t know the Brussel Sprouts dish would be so huge. I ate about a quarter of those; and, of course, I wouldn’t have dared left behind a scallop. 🙂
As I wasn’t having dinner at the bar, as per usual, I was ready to get the check and leave earlier than expected.
The night was still young, and I needed a little energy boost. — Now was the perfect time for me to hit up Samuel’s Sweet Shop for a latte and a sample of something chocolate!
Samuel’s Sweet Shop is co-owned by actor Paul Rudd – a celebrity crush I had started up back in the 90s when I first noticed him as “Josh,” Cher’s (Alicia Silverstone) ultimate love interest in the movie “Clueless.”
According to my spa masseuse, Paul Rudd is actually at Samuel’s Sweet Shop semi-often.
As soon as I arrived, I scoped the tiny premises for Paul. No Paul… but an exceptional iced almond milk latte and chocolate truffle (something spicy, I forget; chipotle perhaps?).
Even still with the espresso and chocolate kick, the spa treatment’s CNS calming effects were overpowering!
I returned to my hotel room, prepped for the next day, and went to sleep.
Wednesday, September 9, 2020
The next morning, I was planning to hit one of the nearby walking trails, but I decided against it because of the intense massage the day prior. It’s always best to NOT do anything strenuous for the next couple of days after a massage. I’ll leave out the science behind that, but I do know from past experience to rest my body for a couple of days after a massage.
I walked back into the town early in the morning for a simple breakfast sandwich at a place called Bread Alone… but I got the bread with eggs and cheese, so not technically “alone” (eyes rolling). 😉
And – of course – a coffee, which I drank through a straw made out of hay. Yes, hay! First time. They had them there for the taking, and I wasn’t passing up the opportunity. LOL.
I ate breakfast back at my room and then packed my bags; packed my car with most of my stuff; and checked in my technology gear, cosmetics, and other heat sensitive things at the front desk.
Now officially checked out of my room, I could relax and enjoy one more half day in the town.
I planned the exact stores and eateries I wanted to hit up, so that I kept my walking to a minimum as I did the evening before.
Oblong Books & Music was first on my list. I enjoyed perusing, but nothing jumped out at me to purchase. In fact, I had planned to purchase a new bookmark there, but they only had these free, promotional ones. So, I took it. 🙂
I wanted to buy one more thing, and I wanted it to be some form of jewelry. Something handmade. Something with a stone perhaps. Winter Sun & Summer Moon had plenty of beautiful pieces to choose from. I spent a while looking at everything. The piece I finally chose was a simple, handmade silk necklace with a moonstone pendant – by jewelry designer, Britta Ambauen. Shopping complete for me!
9/9/20 | Approx. 12:30 PM
Foster’s Coach House Tavern for lunch and wine.
This place was another one I planned to eat and drink at, although I didn’t know if I would fit it in at night or during the day. Their hours and my consistently revising schedule turned it into a light lunch and drink on my last day.
I ordered a glass of sauvignon blanc, which came in a plastic cup (fine by me!) and their Seafood Combo (sauteed shrimp, baked clams, and scallops) was soooo good! I loved this place!
Definitely will go back on my next visit… and it looked like it could be loads of fun at night as well.
After lunch, I walked around the town a little more and then made my very last location stop before picking up my checked pieces of luggage and heading home.
9/9/20 | Last stop = Samuel’s Sweet Shop
Yes, Samuel’s Sweet Shop – again – for yet another iced latte and chocolate truffle. Okay, okay, I’m really trying to run into Paul Rudd now, and that’s totally obvious!… Once again though, I strike out! … However – also once again – an exceptional iced latte and chocolate truffle (this time, mint). So, I’m still happy!
9/9/20 | Approx. 3:45PM
I picked up the last of my luggage at the hotel, packed my car, and drove home (((80s on 8))).
9/9/20 | Approx. 5:15 PM
I arrived back home – free of home chores;
Left my luggage by the door;
Slipped into cozy pajamas;
And relaxed and unwound from the travel, on my living room sofa, with a Hint flavored water, a couple of healthy snacks, and a good movie. It might or might not have been Clueless 😉
Right as planned! 🙂
Places I ate/drink at:
Historic Village Diner – Red Hook, NY
The Tavern at Beekman Arms – Rhinebeck, NY
Terrapin Restaurant – Rhinebeck, NY
The Amsterdam – Rhinebeck, NY
Willow by Charlie Palmer – Rhinebeck, NY
Bread Alone – Rhinebeck, NY
Foster’s Coach House Tavern – Rhinebeck, NY
Samuel’s Sweet Shop – Rhinebeck, NY