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Hudson valley day trip or....

My husband and I are thinking about taking a day off on Friday, December 13th to celebrate my birthday. We have two young kids at home with a babysitter so we will have from 9 to 5 to do whatever we want. I am thinking about going to Rockefeller mansion tour. Is this as good as the ones in Newport? Also, most importantly, where should we eat for breakfast and lunch? We like everything and price is not an object.

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  1. I like Lyndhurst Castle better re: bang for your buck. Kykuit is impressive, but not as impressive IMHO. Lyndhurst should be nicely decked out for the holidays by then, too.

    I don't know about breakfast, but think X20 in Yonkers would make a nice spot for lunch (Hudson River front, good food, etc.).

    These folks seem to have been dedicated breakfasters, so perhaps spend some time looking at their site (I am going to, for sure!)


    Have an enjoyable day off.

    Nancy C

    2 Replies
    1. re: Nancy C

      I went to high school with the Westchester Breakfast Club people. They know their stuff :-)

      1. re: Nancy C

        You mean Hyde Park? I haven't toured the inside of the mansions (Mills Mansion, Vanderbilt, FDR Estate) but they all have nice grounds, walking trails, and nice views, I'd say they are worth visiting if you don't mind going a bit further.

      2. Harvest on Hudson for lunch. If the weather is nice, you will have a great view of the river.

        1. If you go to Lyndhurst, for lunch check out Mina in Irvington or Cedar Street Grill (make sure you have the brussels sprouts!) for lunch.

          For breakfast, how about heading up the Saw Mill to Pleasantville and having breakfast at Jean-Jacques? Might also want to buy some delicious baked goods to take home--great almond croissants, macarons, pastries, tartes, cakes, quiches.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Elisa515

            Have you been to Mima lately? I've been meaning to get back there.

            1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

              Last time was about a year ago (I had a Groupon, and we also drank a lot of wine, especially for lunchtime LOL ). Definitely on my "price is no object" list.

              Want to go there with me sometime? We seem to have similar taste in food.

          2. I don't think Kykuit is open the month of December. I feel the Kykuit tour was worth it for the Carriage house alone which IMO is one of the most beautiful spaces in the County and often rented out for corporate functions. I did the tour in the spring and would recommend doing the same to take advantage of the gardens as well. I would suggest checking the Historic Hudson Valley website for house tour and event dates.

            There is no shortage of good food in Tarrytown and surrounding areas, did you have anything specific in mind? Sorry, I see you mentioned that you like everything, my pick would be Mint Premium Foods in Tarrytown.

            6 Replies
            1. re: chowdom

              You're right, it doesn't look like Kykuit is open. Actually, it seems most of the HHV sites are closed from mid November on.

              1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                The mansion at the Hudson River Museum is fabulous when decorated for Christmas.
                Yonkers, can be dicey but there are a couple of good funky
                Mexican spots. The Museum is close enough to Hastings and the other river towns though.

              2. re: chowdom

                Yes, I checked their website and it doesn't look like they are open in December. That's too bad!!
                There are some great restaurants recommended here. I will save this list for later when the mansions are open.

                Anybody know if there are other cute things to do? i live in Northern NJ so anything that doesn't require a long drive.
                Otherwise, we are going to do some breakfast and lunch in Manhattan and go to Morgan's library for an exhibition.

                1. re: Monica

                  Any interest, I'm not sure when they decorate Glenview for the holidays it's worth seeing.
                  If you do go you are really not far from some of the above mentioned restaurants.

                  1. re: Monica

                    How about going to Beacon and seeing Dia Beacon and some of the other sights? That way, you can take the lovely Palisade's Parkway (plus no traffic problems) and go over the scenic Bear Mountain Bridge.

                    There are some lovely places to eat in Cold Spring, but I'll defer to people more familiar with the area to mention specific spots. There should also be places in Beacon that would be worth checking out.

                    1. re: Elisa515

                      I was going to recommend Dia Beacon myself. That's a terrific idea.

                2. Boscobel in Garrison is lovely, too, but I haven't toured the house, just the grounds, and it will probably be too cold to explore the grounds. The views are gorgeous, though. Nancy C, I had no idea that Lyndhurst was any more than the craft fair, shame on me for living in the area so long and not knowing that! They're closed till the end of the month, but I am definitely going to have to go there to visit.

                  Monica, you have some really good options, depending on what you are in the mood for and what area you will be in. If you will be in the Westchester area...

                  If you are looking for upscale... River market in Tarrytown (no river views, sadly) and Kittle House in Chappaqua are owned by the same people and the food is very good at both. Check out the websites to see which suits your taste more. River market is more modern and trendy, whereas Kittle House is more cozy and historic. Kittle House does offer weekday breakfasts, which I have never had (though I have had their excellent Sunday brunch, and they do that very well). I can see having a really nice, probably quiet breakfast there on a weekday. The Tap Room is cozier than the main dining areas, but also darker. River market serves lunch and would be convenient to Kykuit if you decide to go there.

                  Also upscale: North in Armonk. The chef there has won multiple awards. The food is excellent and the restaurant is well loved by numerous Westchester CHs.

                  Beautiful views: As Nancy recommended, X2O's views are impressive. I haven't been there in several years so I can't comment on the food. Half Moon in Dobbs Ferry is a gorgeous space with dramatic views, but the food can be a bit hit or miss. They make really great cocktails.

                  Quirky neighborhood spots: A bit further north in Peekskill are two gems, Birdsall House and Peekskill brewery. If you did decide to go up to Garrison, both would be very convenient for lunch. Birdsall House is a very interesting, historic building with a sort of rogue farm to table/Southern influenced menu. Practically everything is made in house and the beer list is insane. Service can be awful or excellent. Peekskill Brewery is upscale American bar fare, a little less kooky than BH, and brews some very drinkable beers including a few sours (which I like). If you go upstairs, there are several table with river views (also views of the historic site of Abraham Lincoln's visit, if I remember correctly http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peekskil...).

                  Whatever you decide, enjoy, and please post back! Oh, and happy birthday! I'm a December baby too and I try to fit in as many birthday meals as possible. :)

                  1. It looks like there are some mansions and sites to see in New Hyde park. It's a fat but it may be a nice day trip. Any thoughts on these sites?
                    I assume this is part of Hudson valley too? Any good restaurants other than the ones in CIA?

                    11 Replies
                    1. re: Monica

                      They will not be open either.
                      If you end up in Yonkers I do not recommend X20 I had a horrendous experience there recently, I do hear that Dolphin is very good. I have not been there myself.

                        1. re: Monica

                          Yes I looked they have expanded the hours of operation/seasons

                          1. re: Monica

                            The CIA restaurant's fill up quickly so I would not waste any time. I love Formosa in Poughkeepsie. You can search the site or start another thread. Good luck, I have pushed the limits here :)

                            1. re: chowdom

                              which restaurant within CIA? The french menu sounds wonderful ..so is the new american style.

                          2. re: chowdom

                            As a fan of X2O I am sad to see this--mind describing your horrendous experience? Thanks!

                            1. re: Marge

                              I didn't want to post this because I like Peter Kelly, bear in mind I was never a great fan of the food at X20 I much prefer Rest X however I was not prepared for the abominable experience we had.

                              We pull up:

                              The valet asked if we were going to X20 we said yes
                              he requested we pay for parking before going into the
                              restaurant, when we got upstairs the fist thing they asked
                              at the hostess station was for the valet ticket so they could
                              validate it.

                              The good:
                              Fabulous piece of salmon
                              Peter Kelly stopped at each table
                              to say hello and to let people know
                              he hoped they enjoyed their meal

                              The bad:
                              The staff did not hide their contempt for their customers.
                              We had a 2pm reservation and arrived fifteen minutes
                              early. They seated us immediately in the center of the
                              room at one of the two tables that has a bench seat on one side.
                              We had requested a table near a window and I asked if we could wait for one as we were early, we were answered with a resounding "no there will be no available window tables"
                              At 2 pm I took a photo of the half empty dining room with over half a dozen empty tables by the windows.

                              I then requested a table with
                              four chairs as the folks I was with were
                              elderly and would have been more comfortable at one.
                              Again, I was met with no, nothing available.

                              I sat on the bench seat, it was horrible.
                              the seat is too low you could not put your feet flat on the floor
                              the bench had a pitch it is tilted forward enough that
                              one needs to keep adjusting the way they are sitting to
                              keep from sliding under the table.
                              I could barely walk by the time we got up.
                              The carpet leading to the bathroom is beyond
                              filthy and stained, I did enjoy the view though from the bathroom while washing my hands.

                              Only the RRW menu was available, they neglected to mention this when I made the reservation.

                              With the exception of the salmon the food was horrendous.
                              Tasteless tuna tartare
                              clumpy grits
                              rubbery trout
                              I removed my salmon from the dish it was served in so it wouldn't be sitting in a pool of what tasted like watery melted butter.
                              charred brussels sprouts disintegrated into dust
                              upon being touched, they were much more like
                              dehydrated brussels sprouts, inedible. The food at best was served tepid.

                              The ugly:
                              The service was almost embarrassing.
                              Condescending and rude and at times
                              downright hostile. I attempted to engage
                              in conversation the person who took our order
                              to see if she really was devoid of personality,
                              she was.
                              I commented on how good the salmon was
                              and inquired about the fish purveyor.
                              I got a condescending smile and not
                              a word out of her in response before she turned
                              and walked away.
                              Mains were brought before apps were
                              finished and plates were cleared while
                              some of us were still eating.

                              The entire time I drank my coffee,
                              I watched kitchen help and a couple of
                              bus boys play soccer in front of the kitchen
                              door with a large rolled up piece of packing tape.

                              I never loved the food at X20 and
                              I knew the food was not going to be
                              great but I was not prepared for the abomination
                              of a meal experience we had.
                              Attached are photos of the red velvet cake
                              one from a couple of years ago (the wedge)
                              one from our recent visit, that I ordered
                              to go and paid $9.00 for (the slice)
                              All this said I would go back for that
                              salmon in a heartbeat it was really that good...please X20 get your act together.

                              1. re: chowdom

                                Wow, that's terrible! Not that it's an excuse but--another reason why I don't patronize restaurant week. I would send a note to Peter Kelly, I am sure he would want to know about your experience (and hopefully rectify the situation)!

                                1. re: chowdom

                                  Sorry to hear about your poor experience at X2O. Did you actually eat there during Restaurant Week? Your review did not say so, but Marge mentioned it. We also don't do X2O during RW but have had some very nice meals at X during RW (disclaimer they know me there, but they also do at X2O). We were at X2O on Sunday to use our Groupon. The food was excellent and service very good. We were seated in the upstairs room, which from what I heard appeared to be all Groupon people, but it didn't bother me because the view from up there is actually very good, certainly better than sitting in the middle of the downstairs dining room.

                                  I'm guessing you did not say anything to Peter about your problems when he visited your table? How about to James, the manager?

                                  1. re: chowdom

                                    We were never big fans of X2O either, but I do like Peter Kelly, and have met him on several occasions at X. I was a huge fan of his first place in Garrison. It was amazing and, when I told the reservationist when I booked the dinner there that my husband had several allergies (thankfully, he got over most!), Peter created an entirely new 5 course variation of the menu for him. As for X (The former Bully Boy which will always have a place in my heart), unfortunately, the last couple of times we went, it was not up to its usual standards. I hope things straighten out.

                              2. re: Monica

                                Hmm, maybe they are call to check

                              3. Thanks everyone for your inputs.
                                It looks like we will be going to the mansion tour in Hyde park and have lunch at the newly opened French restaurant in CIA. To be honest, I wasn't really impressed with the last French restaurant they had there. Even the basic like bread was pretty mediocre but wants to find out if things have improved since then.
                                Dia Deacon sounds good too but we hate modern art...or should we say we just don't get it so we are going to pass it this time.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: Monica

                                  You'll enjoy the mansion tour. Let us know what you think of the restaurant.

                                  1. re: Elisa515

                                    Thanks. Any restaurant you recommend in that area for lunch? or early dinner?
                                    According to my research, people are recommending Terrapin and Mercato, etc.

                                    1. re: Monica

                                      The only place I know in that area (and some would say it's pushing it to say "that area") is the newly-moved (from Pawling) Towne Crier in Beacon. It's a music club that also serves dinner (with music or separately). Limited menu, mostly locally-sourced; we enjoyed everything we ate there, and the desserts are terrific.

                                      There is a separate dining-only area, but I didn't get a look at it.


                                      Another option for you would be to cross the Hudson at Poughkeepsie and take 9W on the east side of the Hudson, then have dinner in Nyack. There are many great restaurants there and I hope others will chime in. I've eaten in a few, but am by no means an expert--and would prefer to defer to people with broader experience of the many places there. I would like to return to Wasabi--delicious interesting food, beautiful modern decor, great service.

                                2. I got fooled once before and got fooled again today by eating at CIA. To be blunt, my husband and I had a terrible meal today.
                                  I got fooled once by going to their French restaurant(before it was called Bocuse) about 5 years ago and wanted to try their new French restaurant...of course, changing name doesn't mean that the meals are now prepared by more talented students. Everything we ordered from black truffle soup to foie gras to duck breast were terrible. I've never had a bad duck dish in my life until I had their duck dish today. I think they must have steamed the meat. The meat was chewy, the skin was soggy, rubbery.. The red wines we both ordered were terrible too...they were like drinking vinegar. Ordered their special desserts which consisted of various desserts, cannele, macaron, rice pudding and liquid nitrogen ice cream that they made tableside. Ice cream tasted like chewing gum...macaron had terrible shell...worst macaron I ever had...cannele had terrible center..not custardy as it should. And how can they mess up with rice pudding??? Ginger snap drink I ordered as dessert drink was so bitter I couldn't drink it.
                                  It was a big waste of $180.

                                  The mansion/house tour was awesome though...I especially loved the museum/library of Roosevelt.

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: Monica

                                    Sorry your experience was bad but I appreciate your post because I had been wanting to go try it. Now I won't bother.

                                    1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                                      I agree w/Monica. I've been to Caterina de Medici, American Bounty and the Apple Pie Bakery over the past few years and the only one I was happy with was the Apple Pie Bakery. I highly recommend A Tavola in New Paltz, Aroma Osteria in Wappingers, or Crave in Poughkeepsie over any of the CIA restaurants.

                                      1. re: applesauce23

                                        I should also add that this is the only restaurant where I left hungry after 5 courses of food.

                                        1. re: applesauce23

                                          We haven't been to the CIA restaurants in several years but agree that Apple Pie Bakery is really good. It was actually open on a Saturday recently, they sent out an email. They should do it more often, since normally it's only open M-F.

                                          1. re: MisterBill2

                                            Apple pie bakery was good but the line was way way too long.