The town’s whisper-soft approach to fashion speaks volumes.
By Todd Plummer
Photography by Beth Schneck
Rhinebeck avoids the spotlight. Don’t confuse it with the modern art scene you’ll find in Beacon, or the old money attitude that permeates some of the Berkshires enclaves. Those wishing to see and be seen should just stay on the train as it cruises by on its way to Hudson—because Rhinebeck is where people come to disappear.
Perhaps that’s why, for a town of its size, so many celebrities come from or settle there. Emma Roberts, Rufus Wainwright and Ramona Singer—all known for their dynamism and larger-than-life screen and stage presences—were born there, yet no longer call it home. Others come here to soak in its quiet atmosphere and slower pace of life. After making it big in Hollywood, the actors and friends Paul Rudd and Jeffrey Dean Morgan have settled in Rhinebeck and co-own the adorable (and irresistible) Samuel’s Sweet Shop. They walk freely up and down Market Street, blending in with everyone else. You never know who you’ll bump into in this town.
That’s because Rhinebeck loves flying under the radar. It’s renowned for its Rhinebeck Crafts Festival, one of the Hudson Valley’s most unique shopping experiences, where artisans and craftspeople show off their wares, but the event happens for two days each June—blink and you’ll miss it. Excellent food, too, is found unexpectedly: in an old church at Terrapin and in a converted brownstone at The Amsterdam.
Here, nobody does anything too loudly; it’s the low-key, you’d-never-know type places that earn the most street cred with locals. That’s not to say that the look here isn’t carefully cultivated—it is. Beautifully broken-in jackets are de rigueur, as are perfectly slouchy flannel shirts and jeans that look like you’ve worn them forever. You don’t want anything that looks too new, too clean, too crisp in Rhinebeck; which, in a way, is a form of fashion in itself.
If you want to stand out, go somewhere else. If you want to live quietly—and clandestinely stylish—come to Rhinebeck. But, hey, don’t tell a soul.