Poughkeepsie Venues go with the Flow of Local Schools
This weekend, college students and their families will dictate the business in the Poughkeepsie area. The previous weekend, Vassar held its annual parents’ weekend and now Marist will do the same. For these weekends, and other major school events, surrounding restaurants and hotels fill up weeks, if not months, in advance. So one can anticipate full rooms at local hotels and waits at their favorite restaurants.
Popular Poughkeepsie attractions and their regular customers are often at the mercy of the college’s academic calendars. As soon as dates go up for the new school year, people start booking rooms and making reservations for the following year.
“At least a couple months ahead of time,” says Holiday Inn Express manager Brett Carter, when asked how long they have been sold out of rooms, “I want to say since June or July.”
Fine dining options, such as Shadows on the Hudson, are also booked solid this weekend during their peak mealtimes. The earliest family’s started making reservations eight months in advance, and two weeks ago the system reached its capacity.
“For dinner on Marist parents’ weekend Saturday we are completely reserved,” lists off Seamus Quigley, Shadows’ general manager, “Sunday brunch we are completely reserved.”
Shadows is already almost completely reserved for Marist graduation in the Spring, at about three quarters capacity. Even more so than family weekends, Marist and Vassar graduations consistently bring a huge crowd into town, filling the restaurants and hotels.
“[Bookings] mainly go off of the schools, down to when they have their graduations,” says Latoya, from the front desk at the Courtyard by Marriott.
With almost 20 thousand students between Vassar, Marist and Dutchess Community College, and roughly 30 thousand Poughkeepsie residents, the college population formidably compares to that of the entire town. So inevitably, the school’s schedules have an extensive influence on the activity of the rest of the town.
According to Lydia Skeen, a hostess at Cosimo’s Trattoria and Bar, these college events bring in a comparable crowd to Christmas Eve, New Years Eve and Valentine’s day. “It’s about the same as holidays,” she confirms, “pretty booked up, and the same amount of servers.”
In addition to college students and their families, the area is also a temporary home to many tourists. Marist and Vassar events bring reliably busy weekends, but so does the Fall season in general. With the changing leaves, and manageable weather, crowds are only escalated by this popular time for tourism in the Hudson Valley.
“It’s the Fall foliage,” explains Brett Carter, “we have always been busy in this area especially for the Fall.” Employees from the Hampton Inn, Days Inn and Culinary Institute of America concur with Carter that their busy season runs through October.
In anticipation of the Marist family rush, restaurants and hotels alike claim to be well-staffed and well prepared for the weekend. For last minute accommodations this weekend, the Courtyard by Marriott still has a few rooms available and the Icehouse will be taking walk-ins on off hours.