Winners of the 2018 Dutchess Tourism Awards of DistinctionPoughkeepsie, NY– Dutchess Tourism, Inc. (DTI) celebrated National Travel Rally Day with the announcement of the winners of the 2018 Dutchess Tourism Awards of Distinction, Tuesday, May 8th in front of a sold-out crowd at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library & Museum. Three finalists in each of seven categories were highlighted at a special, locally-sourced breakfast catered by Simply Gourmet that included premier products from Harney & Sons Fine Teas, Hudson Valley Fresh, Bank Square Coffeehouse, and Taconic Distillery, among other outstanding providers. Central Hudson was the event’s Platinum Sponsor.

Winners in each category (in bold) received beautiful, hand-crafted awards made by Hudson Beach Glass:

The Dutchess County Executive’s Award for Overall Distinction: Bard College

Finalists were: The Culinary Institute of America and the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library & Museum

Arts Award of Distinction: The Wassaic Project

Finalists were: Beacon Arts/Second Saturdays and The Moviehouse

Culinary Award of Distinction: Hyde Park Brewing Company

Finalists were: Indoor Organic Gardens of Poughkeepsie and Terrapin

Family Entertainment Award of Distinction: Harlem Valley Farm & Food Alliance which consists of Brookby Farm, Hoofprint Cheese Company, JSK Cattle Company, Locust Hill Market & Soukup Farms       

Finalists were: Bounce! Trampoline Sports and Four Brothers Drive-in Theater

History Award of Distinction: Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome

Finalists were: Bannerman’s Castle and the Beekman Arms

Outdoors Award of Distinction: Formal Gardens at F.W. Vanderbilt National Historic Site

Finalists were: James Baird State Park and Norrie Point Paddlesport Center

Hospitality Award of Distinction: Sabrina Kardas, Hampton Inn Fishkill

Finalists were: Paige Flori, Boutique Wines, Spirits & Cider and Scott Koster, Millbrook Vineyards & Winery

“The Dutchess Tourism Awards of Distinction are another way we can highlight the amazing businesses, organizations, restaurants and historic sites that make us Distinctly Dutchess,” said Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro. “Congratulations to all of this year’s finalists and winners, especially those up for the County Executive’s Award for Overall Distinction: Bard College, The Culinary Institute of America, and the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library & Museum. These organizations consistently go above and beyond to serve the community and offer an incredible variety of programming and attractions.” He added, “Having such a diverse range of destinations to share with visitors, family and friends is just one more reason Dutchess County is a wonderful place to live, work, and raise a family.”

National Travel Rally Day is a part of National Tourism week, which runs from May 6–12, 2018. The annual event, established by a congressional order in 1983, serves to champion the power of travel and the impactful contributions tourism makes to the US economy. Tourism continues to be a major economic driver for Dutchess County and has seen continuous growth since Dutchess Tourism began promoting the area in 1984. An estimated five million people visit Dutchess annually and in 2016, spent an average of $568.3 million on lodging, food, shopping, and area attractions. Tourism is New York’s fourth largest industry and employs 10,484 people within Dutchess County.

According to Dutchess Tourism President & CEO Mary Kay Vrba, “The travel industry in Dutchess County is so strong because it is so collaborative.” Adding, “These 5th Annual Awards of Distinction allow us to celebrate exceptional tourism partners county-wide who work tirelessly to innovate, grow and invest to build a destination that attracts millions of visitors from all over the world.” Vrba also noted, “We could not market Dutchess County as successfully as we do without the full cooperation and support of our many partners who understand that together, we can accomplish so much more building our ‘Distinctly Dutchess’ brand than we can alone.”

Following the awards breakfast, DTI hosted its annual Brochure Exchange outside the FDR Library & Museum. Almost 100 local tourism representatives furthered those collaborations by exchanging information about their sites to increase awareness of the various activities and destinations tourists can enjoy throughout the county.

Dutchess Tourism appreciates all the event sponsors in addition to Platinum Sponsor Central Hudson. Gold sponsors were BBG&G Advertising & PR and Hudson Valley Wine & Food Fest. Silver sponsors were the Content Studio at Martinelli Custom Publishing, Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce, Hudson Valley Renegades, Millbrook Vineyards & Winery, The Poughkeepsie Galleria, and the Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel. Bronze sponsors were Adams Fairacre Farms, Andrea Reynolds, Crush & Varma Law Group, The Culinary Institute of America, Dutchess County Fairgrounds, Hudson Valley Concierge, Hyde Park Brewing Company, Luminary Media, Mount Gulian Historic Site, and the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation, Taconic Region.   



Dutchess Tourism is the officially designated destination marketing organization for Dutchess County and is accredited by the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) of Destinations International. It is an independent 501c6 non-profit organization that works to bring tourism dollars to area businesses by marketing and promoting the assets of Dutchess County to the nation and the world. The office is located at 3 Neptune Road in the Town of Poughkeepsie with 18 Tourist Information Centers located around Dutchess County. The website is and they can be reached at 845-463-4000. Dutchess County Tourism was founded in 1984 under the umbrella of the Dutchess County Economic Development Corporation, became incorporated as Dutchess Tourism, Inc. in 2014 and is partially funded by monies received from the County of Dutchess.

Contact: Nancy Lutz