Harlem Valley Appalachian Trail Community Receives Dutchess Tourism Award of Distinction

May 12, 2017
Press Release
Dutchess Tourism


Harlem Valley Appalachian Trail Community Receives Dutchess Tourism Award of Distinction
The Appalachian Trail Boardwalk over the Great Swamp in Pawling, N.Y. Credit: New York-New Jersey Trail Conference.


The Harlem Valley Appalachian Trail Community was honored at a special breakfast on May 9 to recognize the winners of the 2017 Dutchess Tourism Awards of Distinction.

Dutchess Tourism, Inc. (DTI) celebrated National Travel Rally Day with the announcement of the winners of the 2017 Dutchess Tourism Awards of Distinction. Three finalists in each of seven categories were highlighted at a special breakfast on Tuesday, May 9, at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library & Museum.

Winners in each category are in bold:

The Dutchess County Executive’s Award for Overall Distinction: Millbrook Vineyards & Winery

Finalists were: Bardavon 1869 Opera House and the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College.

Arts Award of Distinction: Dia: Beacon

Finalists were: County Players and Jazz in the Valley Festival

Culinary Award of Distinction: Oliver Kita Fine Chocolates

Finalists were: Sprout Creek Farm and Taconic Distillery

Family Entertainment Award of Distinction: DC Sports 

Finalists were: Dutchess Stadium/Hudson Valley Renegades and Spins Bowl

History Award of Distinction: Staatsburgh State Historic Site

Finalists were: Bannerman’s Castle and Historic Red Hook

Outdoors Award of Distinction: Harlem Valley Appalachian Trail Community

Finalists were: Ferncliff Forest and Interlake RV Park

Hospitality Award of Distinction: Doris Mack, Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site

Finalists were: Kisha Jones from the Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel & Conference Center and Patty Polmateer from The Culinary Institute of America

The finalists in Outdoors category do a wonderful job of helping visitors experience the beauty the Hudson Valley is known for. Designated an A.T. Community on March 2, 2013, Dover and Pawling joined together to form the Harlem Valley Appalachian Trail Community. Working with the Trail Conference, more than 75 volunteers spent two and a half years constructing the 1,600-foot, oak-decked boardwalk which includes a 34-foot bridge and crosses the length of the A.T. across the Great Swamp in Pawling. This effort has increased local stewardship and expanded sustainable tourism efforts.

National Travel Rally Day is a part of National Tourism week, which runs from May 7–13, 2017. More than 4.5 million people visit Dutchess annually and in 2015, spent an average of $528 million on lodging, food, shopping, and area attractions. Tourism is New York’s fourth largest industry and employs almost 10,000 people within Dutchess County.

According to Dutchess Tourism President & CEO Mary Kay Vrba, “The Awards of Distinction are a way for us to celebrate the excellent work our tourism partners are doing to create a Distinctly Dutchess experience for the millions of visitors that travel to the Hudson Valley every year.” 

The presentations took place in front of a sold-out crowd who enjoyed a locally sourced breakfast catered by Simply Gourmet that included premier local products from Crown Maple Estate, Irving Farm Coffee Roasters, and Harney & Sons Fine Teas among other outstanding providers. Central Hudson was the event’s Platinum Sponsor.

Following the Awards Breakfast, there was a Brochure Exchange outside the FDR Library & Museum. Almost 100 local tourism representatives exchanged information about their sites in order to gain a greater awareness of all the various activities happening at destinations throughout the county in order to then share that information with tourists. 

The Trail Conference won the Dutchess County Outdoors Award of Distinction in 2016.