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Wednesday, October 22, 2014
 
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RI Archives: Rural Road Trips

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Travel Essentials

Amtrak Empire Service between Albany, Hudson or Rhinecliff, NY and Penn Station, NYC.

Amtrak 449 Lake Shore Limited between Pittsfield and South Station, Boston.

Bard Bus and Shuttle  On select summer weekends, Bard offers round-trip bus service from Manhattan’s Lincoln Center directly to the Fisher Center, exclusively for performance ticket holders: $30 round-trip. Reservations are required. Box dinners can be ordered in advance for $10. Bard also offers shuttle service from and to the Poughkeepsie Metro-North train station for select performances: $10 each way.

Mega-bus between Albany and Ridgewood, N.J. and Penn Station, NYC.

Metro-North Railroad between Wassaic, Dover Plains, or Poughkeepsie, NY and Harlem (125th Street)  or Grand Central Station, NYC.

Peter Pan Bus Lines  Boston/Albany route serving Albany, Great Barrington, *Lee, Lenox, *Pittsfield, Stockbridge, Williamstown, and Boston South Station and Boston Logan Airport  (*greater frequency, better fares). NYC/Williamstown route serving Williamstown, Lee, Stockbridge, Great Barrington, MA, or Canaan, CT and Port Authority Bus Terminal, NYC.

Roosevelt Ride Free Shuttle  Free round-trip shuttle service daily (summer through October) from the Poughkeepsie train station to Hyde Park, Val-Kil, the Vanderbilt Mansion, Top Cottage, and the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum so Metro-North train passengers can tour historic sites without a car. For reservations and tour info, call the Wallace Visitor Center: 845-229-5320.

Weather Underground
The radar is especially useful for tracking snow, sleet and thunderstorms.

Gas Prices
The price of gas at many of the stations in your zip code and those immediately surrounding it.

[See more Excursion articles]

Staycation: A Better Way to Celebrate Valentine’s Day

Rural Intelligence Road TripsCandlelight, wine, a sumptuous dinner a deux topped off with a shared molten chocolate something-or-other.  Finally, she kicks off her stilettos…to pull on her snow boots.  As the couple bundles up in coats, hats, mufflers and gloves, they brace themselves for the ardor-squelching frigid night air and the deer-, ice-patch-, and drunk-driver-fraught trip home.  This is romantic?
 
Let’s rewind back to the stilletos and try that again.  Add just one small thing: a key.  To a room.  Right there on the premises.  Now we’re talking romance.
 
The feast day honoring the patron saint of lovers falls awkwardly on a Monday this year, normally chef’s night off.  Hopeless romantics that they are, however, restaurateurs, chefs, resort, inn, and b&b owners throughout the region have rallied to heed cupid’s call. “We’re typically not open that day,” says Colin Chambers, owner of The Falls Village Inn, in Falls Village, CT. “But the ladies have informed me that you don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day on the 12th or the 13th, so we’re staying open on Monday night and going all out.” 
 
Another thing you don’t do for Valentine’s Day is procrastinate until it’s too late to get a reservation.  Whether planning an overnight as suggested here or a dinner for two at a restaurant, now is the time to book.
 
Rural Intelligence Road TripsBlantyre Luxury Country House Hotel not only has its own night-lit ice skating rink (actually it’s three adjacent tennis courts that have been flooded), it has its own Zamboni.  “Our maintenance people are out there all the time, making the ice just so,” says Ann Brown, the owner.  “Just so” in every detail is what this Relais & Chateaux hotel delivers so consistently that, although rooms go for between $600 and $2000/night, Travel & Leisure readers once awarded it, “Best Value” in its price range.  For Valentine’s Day, the 21-bedroom hotel (which has a staff of 70) will feature horse-drawn sleigh rides from 6 to 9 p.m., and a special prix fixe dinner @ $180/person, plus tax and gratuity. Normally, Blantyre requires a 2-night minimum but those who mention Rural Intelligence may book for just the night of the 14th.
16 Blantyre Road
Lenox; 413.637.3556  
 
Rural Intelligence Road TripsCa’Mea Ristorante and The Inn at Ca’ Mea, this popular Northern Italian restaurant in the heart of Hudson also has charming overnight accommodations in an adjacent building.  For Valentine’s Day weekend, owners Roy Felcetto and Max Cenci are offering a two-night stay (any two consecutive nights between Friday and Monday), plus a couples massage at nearby Bodhi Holistic Spa, and a dinner for two at Ca’ Mea Ristorante for $500, excluding alcohol, tax, and gratuities.
333 Warren Street
Hudson; 518.822.0005
 
Rural Intelligence Road TripsCranwell Resort and Spa is offering a 50% off room rate special on Sunday February 13 and/or Monday, the 14th, plus 20% off spa treatments on the day of and after you spend the night, along with full spa privileges, including heated indoor pool, whirlpools, saunas, steam rooms and fitness center.  For the sports-loving couples, an invigorating snow shoe hike or some cross-country skiing followed by a massage might make a great start.  Cranwell has several dining options, from casual to formal.  On Valentine’s Day, guests may choose either from the a la carte (the $38 prix fixe ends at 6:30 p.m.). Rooms are $132.50 plus tax for a “resort” King (normally $265) and $157.50 for a resort suite (normally $315).
55 Lee Road
Lenox; 413.637.1364
 
Rural Intelligence Road TripsFalls Village Inn  Since shortly after New Year’s,  Inn owner Colin Chambers has been writing love notes on Facebook, “to get people in the mood,” he says.  “We live for holidays.”  On Valentine’s Day, to ensure quality control over both food and service, the Inn is limiting itself to two seatings of 40 people each, one at 5:30 p.m., the other at 8 p.m.  The prix fixe menu will feature firsts, entrees, and desserts designed to be shared.  Though they are not offering a dinner/accommodations package, as of this writing, three rooms (starting at $199), with complimentary champagne for the occasion, were still available for the night of the 14th.
33 Railroad Street
Falls Village; 860.824.0033  
 
Rural Intelligence Road TripsNo. 9 and Simmons Way Though individually owned, the restaurant No. 9 and the b & b Simmons Way share a building, so they make a felicitous Valentine’s Day combo.  Normally closed on Sundays and Mondays, No. 9 will be open on both the 13th & 14th and is offering a prix fixe dinner option, in addition to its usual menu.  For those having dinner at No. 9, Simmons Way is offering a special rate of $100 for a room with a private bath.  Separate reservations essential.
53 Main Street
Millerton; 518.592.1299 (dinner) , 518.789.6235 (room)
 
Rural Intelligence Road TripsThe Old Inn on the Green, is always romantic, with its authentic 18th-century ambience (lit entirely by candles every night), and fabulous food.  Normally closed on Mondays, the Inn will be open for Valentine’s Day and the owners Peter Platt and Meredith Kennard are offering their usual winter, mid-week, combined dinner-and-lodging rates—$198 to $298 for two, depending on the room’s amenities (all rooms have private baths; some also have whirlpool tubs and fireplaces) plus a prix fixe dinner.
Village Green
New Marlborough; 413.229.7924
 
Rural Intelligence Road TripsThe Red Lion Inn is extending the Valentine’s season to include the entire month of February, with the exception of school vacation week—February 18 - 20.  They’re calling it Sonnets in Stockbridge, and, to set the tone, they are including a book of poetry, Spring’s Third Day by Laura Gross, a local poet, with overnight accommodations in a deluxe guest room, dinner for two, breakfast for two, and, in the room, a chilled bottle of champagne and some locally crafted chocolates.  Sunday-Thursday $314.  Fridays $354; prices include tax and meal gratuities. For an extra charge, guests may upgrade to a superior room—a suite or a room with a fireplace.
30 Main Street
Stockbridge; 413.298.5545
 
Rural Intelligence Road TripsThe Rhinecliff Hotel This Hudson River-view hotel is offering two very different Valentine’s options: a 4-course prix fixe dinner in the restaurant @ $74.95 for two, not including alcohol, tip, and tax.  Upstairs, there will be a dinner-with-interactive-theatre performance of Wedding in Transylvania.  Guests for this are encouraged to dress the part—think: Mortitia and Gomez.  Dinner and the show @$49.95/person includes wine but not tax or gratuity, and begins at 7 p.m. Rooms, Sunday and/or Monday night, $259 - $339.
4 Grinnell Street
Rhinecliff; 845.876.0590

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