We brought a lightweight stroller which helped a lot in the train stations, museums, etc., and the stroller folded up and fit nicely in the overhead compartment on the train. We packed pretty lightly, but did have a bag of books, toys, and snacks for the train. We ended up watching videos on the phone during the last half hour or so of each trip, but otherwise our daughter really enjoyed both train rides.
It was definitely helpful to get to the station early enough to buy some breakfast and get a good seat with a window on the side of the train that looks right out on the Hudson River. We took a 9:45am train on Saturday that arrived in Poughkeepsie – last stop – at 11:45am.
We rented a car locally, which my husband picked up while I played with our daughter at the children’s museum. This was a lot cheaper than renting in Brooklyn and driving up. We rented from Avis on IBM Road (approximately 10-min Lyft ride from the station) for about $49.00/day for a mid-sized vehicle including car seat. Supposedly, both Budget and Enterprise will deliver a car to the train station if you book in advance.
We stayed in a really nice and inexpensive hotel suite at Hyatt House in Fishkill with an indoor pool and free breakfast. Our one-bedroom suite was very affordable even though we booked last minute. It was great for staying with a toddler because we had a full-size fridge/stove/microwave and the ability to close the bedroom door and hang out in the living room after bedtime. Our friends got a suite at the Courtyard Marriott in Fishkill which also nice.
On Sunday, we went to the Dia: Beacon. Our daughter had a great time there especially in the Richard Serra sculptures which you can walk through and the giant Louise Bourgeois (“itsy bitsy”) spider. There’s a place outside where you can watch trains going by and there are some fun books in the bookshop to browse.
It was too cold to do lots of outside activities during this trip, but on Saturday morning we stopped by Beacon Falls on Main Street so our daughter could see a real “roundhouse” which is mentioned in some of her books about trains. Though we didn’t eat there on this visit, Roundhouse Beacon is a good restaurant that has a great waterfall view and you can walk across the old train tracks nearby.
Restaurants we went to included lunch at Homespun Foods on Main Street in Beacon after the visit to the Dia: Beacon and The Vault on Main Street in Beacon - it doesn’t necessary look family-friendly, but was easy to get a big table with no reservation and great service, tapas, wine, and kids options!
We didn’t get a chance to explore Hyde Park (the FDR home), the Vanderbilt Mansion, or Val-Kill, Eleanor Roosevelt’s home, but we did go to Eveready, a cool retro diner in Hyde Park which we also recommend!
Of course there’s so much more to do in the nicer weather like apple picking at Fishkill Farms, Bear Mountain peddle boats & pool, exploring the great playgrounds in Beacon, and beautiful nature walks around Mohonk Mountain House!
I would recommend this as an inexpensive, easy, and relaxing winter weekend with young children especially if you can convince good friends who also have kids to come along!