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Holiday Gift Guide: Dutchess Tourism Staff Picks

Date Published: November 17, 2023

The holiday shopping season is upon us, and Dutchess County is the perfect destination for unique gifts, artisanal food, specialty products and memorable experiences. Our staff is sharing their favorite places to purchase the perfect presents.

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Melaine Rottkamp, President & CEO

Dozens of books presented at Oblong Books


We have so many wonderful independent bookstores in Dutchess County! I can always count on finding fantastic gifts for family and friends (and for me!) and can easily spend HOURS browsing the shelves. Bookstores are my happy place. I love the staff recommendations on the shelves at Oblong Books in Rhinebeck and Millerton where I can pick up books from local and best-selling authors and also order books signed by Neil Gaiman, who is both.  If I’m in Rhinebeck, Megabrain Comics is a must, to pick up the latest issues, graphic novels and collectables for the fanatics in my life. And no trip to Millbrook is complete without visiting Merritt Bookstore. In addition to books, I like to shop there for toys, games, puzzles and stationery. Looking for quality used books? Look no further than Hyde Park’s newest shop Salmon of Knowledge!


Janine Metzger, VP of Finance & Human Resources

Splashdown Beach
SplashDown Beach; Photo by @djnimbus

For the holidays I love gifting fun experiences for children of all ages.  I love to see the joy when SplashDown Beach Water Park season passes are opened. Another great option is a gift certificate to Escape Time Adventures, an awesome way for families to bond over immersive and challenging escape rooms.


Dawn Hopper, Senior Director of Tour & Travel

I love shopping for gifts at our many museum shops. I always find inspiration at The New Deal Store at The Henry A. Wallace Visitors Center operated by the FDR Presidential Library and Museum for their incredible assortment of books, art, clothing and novelty items. At Locust Grove Estate, I like to shop for locally handcrafted items, art and unique items with ties to the estate and the Hudson Valley. Staatsburgh State Historic Site is another great shop featuring their Staatsburgh blend of Harney & Son’s Fine Tea, linens and anything with a Victorian flair. The fun part of museum shopping is you never know what treasure you’ll find!


Colleen Dorney, Director of Outreach & Operations

I love gifting Horseshoe Brand Hot Sauce to my friends and family to help spice up their meals! From their milder peach hot sauce to their XXXTRA hot sauce, there’s a sauce for every heat tolerance level. My personal favorite is their Maple Cayenne collaboration with Crown Maple, it’s good on everything – even just a cracker!


Kristina Mukherjee, Director of Marketing & Communications

Give the gift of memories! As someone with kids, I love the idea of gifting an experience instead of toys. A future trip to Trevor Zoo, a Hudson Valley Renegades baseball game, Mid-Hudson Discovery Museum (open year-round!) or a movie at Four Brothers Drive-In are all great options! If you’re looking for a present for an entire family, stop by Hudson Valley Marshmallow Co. and pick up a gift basket of gourmet hot cocoa mix and marshmallows. Paired with matching family pajamas and you’ve got the recipe for holiday traditions.


Raphael Beretta, Digital Media Manager

Slate Point Meadery
Slate Point Meadery; Photo by Hudson Valley Food Photography

I take immense pride in showcasing products from local artisans in the heart of the Hudson Valley. Dutchess County's craft beverage portfolio is incredible, and a 90-day Taste Finder pass makes a perfect gift for any beer fan, wine aficionado or someone looking to expand their palate. This mobile passport unlocks perks—including tastings, flights, pints and merch—at 13 destinations. With vintners, brewers, distillers and cidermakers contributing to local terroir, there's no better place to taste spirits than on the property it was made. Plus, Slate Point Meadery is an amazing spot to try mead for the first time!


Rich Gregory, Communications Specialist

Shopping for a family can require a person to visit many locations; as a hudsband and a father of two, I appreciate a one-stop shop. Eastdale Village in Poughkeepsie is an incredible place to spend an afternoon. Looking to gift your family sweets? Amanda's Macaron Shoppe has something to sweeten anyone's day. Ye Olde Gift Shoppe features an assortment of beeswax and soy candles, plus a range of wellness items and homegoods. Freddy B is an awesome spot to shop women's clothing and accessories, while Daffodils Gift Shoppe is your go-to for jewelry and bright, fun presents.


Lauren Beale, Consumer Services & Tourism Programs Manager

I love shopping locally at our vibrant holiday markets this time of year, and I am grateful that we have so many amazing artisans here in Dutchess County! If you want to truly pamper someone special in your life, I highly recommend gifting some candles from Be Still, soap from Opal & Amber, jewelry from Chloe + Lois, mugs from The Brass Bee Mercantile, and throwing in some Hetta to fill the mugs with! All of these products can be purchased online and many can be found in local shops and holiday markets.


Jessica Sarrantonio, Tourism Operations Specialist

For the people in your life who are pro-planet I would encourage folks to check out Tomfillery, on Main Street in Poughkeepsie. This is a bulk refill store that has a high standard for their products and excellent customer service! The shop is filled with a lot of delicious treats and healthy food options alike, that can warm any home! While I encourage you to shop in person to get the “Refull” experience, the shop conveniently offers the option to shop online, that’s right, they do the refill for you and you just pick up during store hours! If gifting food isn’t your fancy, then also see the great selection of latest eco-friendly household products beeswax wraps, laundry dryer balls, or their special Holiday & Gift section.


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