New home in Hudson Valley with brick front entrance, at Sleight Farm in Dutchess County

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8 Great Holiday Activities in Dutchess County

Hmmm…what do we love most about the holiday season here in Dutchess County? Is it the picturesque country setting or the community feel? The sparkle, the fun, the history, or the wide variety of cultural experiences? We simply can’t choose! Instead, we’ll share just a few of our favorite Hudson Valley holiday activities and hope that however you celebrate the season, you find beloved traditions or something-new-to-try on this list.

Locust Grove holiday events in Dutchess County

Travel Back In Time at Local Historic Estates
Each December, history meets holidays at Dutchess County’s fabled mansions. When visiting these local treasures all decked out with period decorations, you truly get a taste of Christmas past. Locust Grove Estate in Poughkeepsie offers a kids’ holiday-themed scavenger hunt and storyteller performances, while Wilderstein in Rhinebeck runs holiday house tours and a yuletide tea. The homes of Franklin D. and Eleanor Roosevelt in Hyde Park have a scheduled a holiday open house, and the FDR Presidential Library and Museum provides an opportunity to make holiday cards for sailors aboard the USS Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt along with other events for children. The grand Vanderbilt Mansion also has a holiday open house. Secret tip: Mills Mansion in Staatsburgh has one of the county’s best gift shops…and is one of the area’s top sledding spots after a snowfall. Visit each home’s website to confirm this year’s dates and details.

Dutchess County farm decorated for Christmas

Farm Fresh for the Holidays
Dutchess County’s farm bounty doesn’t end when the weather cools. Visit Sprout Creek Farm’s market or join them for a holiday brunch; check out the Holiday Fair and Market at Fishkill Farms. If cutting your own Christmas tree is part of your family’s holiday tradition, you’ll find no shortage of local farms and nurseries with wide varieties of evergreens to take home.

Poughkeepsie Celebration of Lights Parade and Fireworks
Every December, the City of Poughkeepsie, along with the Bardavon Opera House and other community partners, puts on a dazzling annual Celebration of Lights Parade and Fireworks. The parade kicks off on Main Street and ends with a Christmas tree lighting…then illumination heads skyward as the Poughkeepsie River District Business Association and Legion Fireworks puts on the area’s only winter fireworks display. The Bardavon often tops off the evening with a family film screening. Get details on this year’s event at

Holiday Craft and Artisan Fairs
It’s a win-win-win of holiday shopping: you get to avoid the mall while supporting local artists and giving unique handmade gifts. Check out the Hudson Valley Art Market at Locust Grove or the Dutchess County Community College Foundation Holiday Craft Fair, both on Thanksgiving weekend. The Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie hosts a Holiday Craft Fair with over 100 Hudson Valley artists, crafters, and food vendors. Shop with members of Arts Mid-Hudson at their annual Dutchess Handmade Pop-Up Shop Mondays through Saturdays until late December.

Sinterklaas in Rhinebeck

Joy, Magic, and Creativity at Sinterklaas in Rhinebeck
What do you get when you combine Christmas, Dutch holiday traditions, and a small-town festival, then throw in a dash of Mardi Gras? Answer: Sinterklaas — one of the most unique holiday events you’ll find anywhere! The Village of Rhinebeck comes together each year to put on this day-long party filled with performances of dance, music, theatre, and circus arts, plus craft workshops, food, and drink, all culminating in the spectacular evening Children’s Starlight Parade. It’s free fun for all ages and simply not to be missed. Visit for a complete schedule of this year’s festivities.

See The Nutcracker at the Bardavon
The iconic ballet is a staple at Poughkeepsie’s historic Bardavon Opera House, where performers from the New Paltz Ballet Theatre, along with guest dancers from the New York City Ballet, bring to life the story of Marie and her magical journey to the Kingdom of Sweets. Get details on this year’s performances at

ERDAJT holiday light display

ERDAJT Holiday Light Display
For over a decade, one family of five has established their home as New York state’s largest private residential light display, with over 600,000 lights, 1,200 individually controlled items, and a synchronized musical soundtrack on local radio frequency 95.3FM. It’s also spectacle with a cause: all donations collected from drive-through visitors are donated to local charities. You’ll find ERDAJT at 8 Patrick Drive in LaGrangeville; this year’s dates and hours are listed at

Kevin McCurdy’s Holiday Spirit Festival
This kitschy pop-up winter wonderland never fails to delight, with an “enchanted light forest,” interactive displays, live music and characters, holiday train exhibit, scavenger hunt, and special events. You’ll find it at 38 Sheafe Road in Wappingers Falls; visit for a calendar and admission information.

Whether you’re local, visiting, or thinking of relocating, learn more about Sleight Farm and why we love our corner of Dutchess County!

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