It is no secret how much I love representing this beautiful district in the New York State Assembly. The spectacular natural beauty of Dutchess and Columbia Counties is simply breathtaking — from the majestic Hudson River to the west to grand vistas and walks in Taconic State Park and the Harlem Valley to the east, and, of course, the undulating farm fields in between.
Even with all these lures outdoors, during the summer season now coming to a close, the region’s cultural and historic riches – which seem to grow exponentially every year — easily hold their own against those natural rock stars.
Grateful daily for driving a hybrid, I delighted in every opportunity these past few months from the always thought-provoking Powerhouse Theatre at Vassar in Poughkeepsie to the brilliant banjo concert in PS 21’s glorious apple orchard setting just outside the Village of Chatham; from the throbbing sounds of Moon Hooch at the Wassaic Project Festival in Amenia to the dance beats of Cumbiagra at Art Omi’s international artists fest in Ghent; from the tech friendly renovation of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library in Hyde Park to period-dress Independence Day at Clermont State Park to Olana’s Hudson River School of Painting unveiling on a beautiful bluff in Hudson.
Increasingly, this region is being duly recognized for its fabulous farms, food and drink production. New craft breweries and distilleries are joining the list of venerable wineries. This is fitting as we have world class soils and a legacy as the bread basket of the nation. We nibbled our way through an abundance of farm to table events this summer, including Fishkill Farm’s Centennial Celebration; Sylvia Center’s field dinner at Katchkie Farm; Farm On Foundation’s Hootenany in Copake; A barbecue celebrating interdependence at Hawthorne Valley Farm; the Chef and Farm Brunch in Millerton and Hudson Valley Bounty in Columbia County.
And speaking of food and drink, in the last few weeks my Where the Jobs Are tour has included visits to Dutch’s Spirits in Pine Plains, Clinton Vineyards in Clinton, Coach Farms in Ancram and Harney’s Teas in Millerton, as well as the Omega Institute in Clinton, one of the region’s largest purchasers of local foods. Since launching our Where the Jobs Are Tour in January, we have visited scores of local businesses — all sizes, for profit and not for profit – to talk with owners, managers and employees about ways we can support our local economy.
As if this wasn’t enough to fill our calendar, this summer we officially opened our two district offices, as well: 12 Raymond Avenue, Poughkeepsie and 751 Warren Street, Hudson. Both are conveniently located in walkable neighborhoods with homes, businesses and schools nearby. Because we think local and celebrate the arts, both feature rotating exhibitions of works by talented local artists, thanks to Dutchess Council on the Arts and the Hudson Opera House.
Please feel free to give us a call and come by to visit.