A Weekend at New York Sheep and Wool Festival

Unless you are an obsessive knitter like me, you most likely have never heard of Rhinebeck, New York. Or perhaps you have because of its location in the Hudson Valley of Upstate New York. 

I visited Rhinebeck, NY this year to attend the New York Sheep and Wool Festival. Doesn’t that sound thrilling? It was! This famous festival among knitters is held over two days at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds and commonly referred to as “Rhinebeck”. 

For many years I have dreamed of going to the New York Sheep and Wool Festival. Tales of the hundreds of yarn vendors, delicious autumn delights, and opportunities to join like minded friends sounded so enticing. 

In this post, I’ll be breaking down what I loved about my time in Rhinebeck, NY, my thoughts on the NY Sheep and Wool Festival, and our stay at the Interlake RV Park.  

There are over 300 vendors at the New York Sheep and Wool Festival!

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Things to Love about Rhinebeck, New York

I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed our time in Rhinebeck, New York. I hadn’t expected the adorable downtown or the beautiful scenic drives nearby. I think you’ll find plenty to appreciate about this area!

Outdoor Adventures in Rhinebeck, NY

Whenever we visit a new place we always scope out the local walking and hiking trails available. If we had more time we would have loved to explore more of the Catskill Mountains but were happy with what nature we could see in our short weekend. 

Burger Hill Trail

For a quick workout with a beautiful view, check out Burger Hill in Rhinebeck. 

At less than a mile it won’t take you long to get to the top. 

But you may want to spend a few minutes taking in the foliage views. 

View from Burger Hill Trail, Rhinebeck, New York

Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge

For a beautiful view of the Hudson River, you can walk across the 1.5 mile long bridge that connects the towns of Kingston, NY to Rhinecliff, NY. 

This trail is located only 4 minutes from downtown Rhinebeck. 

The bridge features a walking path on one side of the bridge and during foliage season offers beautiful views. 

Bundle up if it’s windy though, it can be freezing! We didn’t make it across the whole bridge because it was so cold. 

This bridge is also a part of a massive 750 mile-long trail system called the Empire State Trail primarily created for bikers. More info is available on their website, here

The View from Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge, New York in a handknit sweater (almost mandatory for Rhinebeck attendees!)

Kaaterskill Falls

For an adventure nearby you can take the scenic drive to Kaaterskill Falls. 

While I was at the festival, Ben had a solo adventure of his own to visit these falls. He said the drive from Interlake RV Park to the falls was gorgeous and I’m bummed I missed out!

The hiking trail Ben chose was a moderate 1.6 miles. Alltrails shows options to extend the hike if you’re looking for something more. 

He did mention that it was extremely crowded around 11am on a Saturday. So get there early!

Kaaterskill Falls, Catskill, New York

Downtown Rhinebeck, NY

There are tons of cute shops in downtown Rhinebeck, NY. 

I loved visiting the Oblong Books and Music and Samuel’s Sweet Shop. 

We also stopped at the Village Pizzeria for ice cream and Bread Alone for tasty treats (although sadly they had sold out of bread by the afternoon)

If you are hoping to do some shopping while in town, check out this local Rhinebeck Shopping Guide. 

Where to Eat in Rhinebeck, New York

We only ate out once this weekend and chose Smoky Rock BBQ. 

We sat in heated bubble spheres and enjoyed delish BBQ dishes. 

But there are TONS of restaurants to choose from in Rhinebeck, NY. 

A few other restaurants that sounded amazing but we didn’t get to try:

Le Petit Bistro French Cuisine

The Amsterdam Farm to Table

Market Street  Italian Cuisine

Outdoor bubble dinning at Smoky Rock BBQ, Rhinebeck, New York

What to Expect at New York Sheep and Wool Festival

The first thing you should note is the festival takes place in October when the fall foliage is at it’s peak in he Hudson Valley and autumn vibes are at maximum coziness levels. 

If you’ve heard of “Rhinebeck” within the knitting world then you’re most likely familiar with the fact that it’s massive! Spanning multiple different buildings within the Duchess Fairgrounds, I’m embarrassed to admit that I got lost a few times within the festival. 

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There were multiple signs like this around the fair plus paper maps to help you get around

This was my first time attending and I was on a solo mission. Normally, I would suggest attending with a friend or loved one but don’t let that hold you back if no one can join you. 

There is something so liberating about going to a crowded space alone and being able to meander the stalls, people watch, and enjoy your own company that introverts like myself rejoice in. 

In addition to the New York Sheep and Wool Festival, there are multiple other smaller festivals to explore. I didn’t have time to do that this year, but be sure to check them out if you’re interested. 

Tips for First Time Attendees to New York Sheep and Wool Festival

I hope these few tips will make your first trip to “Rhinebeck” a blast!

Attending Saturday vs. Sunday

As most previous attendees will attest, Saturday is way busier! At times I couldn’t get to vendors because there were too many people. And of course, that meant the lines were longer as well. 

But I wouldn’t let that deter you from visiting on Saturday because this is often the day that most knitting podcasters offer meetups on the famous “hill”. I personally didn’t stick around for the meetups as I was exhausted from all the excitement and headed back to the RV park around 2pm. 

Sunday felt much more relaxed and peaceful for shopping and browsing. 

Parking at New York Sheep and Wool Festival

There are multiple entrances and parking areas. We chose the _________entrance.

There didn’t appear to be any fees for parking but we didn’t go to the other entrances. 

If you have a willing partner like my husband, you can have them drop you off right at the gate!

There really should be a support group for spouses who were dragged to a knitting festival! 

Festival Tickets and Fees

The entrance fee was only $13.00 online and you can purchase it ahead of time. 

Fall foliage during the “Rhinebeck” weekend is spectacular!

I joked with Ben that I really needed to purchase my ticket ahead of time just in case they sold out! 

He insisted that for a knitting festival I would be fine. BUT, there are over 30,000 people that attend Rhinebeck! That’s an amazing number. 

Food Options at “Rhinebeck”

There are plenty of food trucks available for lunch or a snack. I really enjoyed the baked good’s spot where I had the most delightful scone! 

Most food vendors at the New York Sheep and Wool Festival is your standard fair food, burgers, fries, steak sandwiches, etc. There are a few unique food vendors including a fried brussel sprout food stand!  

There was also a whole building dedicated to small businesses right behind the food vendors. 

Animal Exhibits

Even non-knitters will love the animal exhibits! There were so many adorable sheep on display! I believe they were part of an auction sale. 

The event is not just for knitters but for farmers as well. 

Sheep and alpacas everywhere!!!

Crafting and Yarn Vendors at “Rhinebeck”

I was surprised to see just HOW many vendors they’re were! 

Of course most vendors were independent yarn dyers or fiber vendors. But there were also food vendors and other crafting supply vendors. 

As well as a whole section dedicated to knitting books. 

Review of Interlake RV Park in Rhinebeck, NY

If you are thinking of visiting the New York Sheep and Wool Festival or just visiting Rhinebeck, NY, check out this accommodation resource the festival provides each year. 

Spacious campsites at Interlake RV Park, Rhinebeck, New York

Most people will stay in nearby hotels and Airbnb rentals, but we chose to take Arby the RV!

We chose to take our RV to reduce the costs for the weekend as well as have our own space to return to after the festival. It can be so nice to sleep in your own bed after a long day of socializing!

Interlake RV Park

We chose to stay at the Intervale RV Park a few minutes from the fairgrounds. 

The campsites were spacious and the campground was incredibly quiet. 

There didn’t appear to be any activities at the campground but that could have been due to it being October and the end of the season.  

They did have a playground, rec hall for games, pool, and a snack shack. 

The bathrooms and showers could have been updated a bit but were clean and efficient. 

We paid around $70/night. 

Overall, we felt the campground could have used a little TLC and didn’t love our stay, but it was sufficient for our weekend adventure. 

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Interlake RV Park, Rhinebeck, New York

One amazing part of the campground: You’re most likely going to meet other knitters in the campground!

I was lucky enough to meet a lovely neighbor from Florida and we’re still in touch today!

Final Thoughts

I hope I conveyed the true enjoyment I got out of my time at the New York Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, New York. 

And if you’re not a knitter then I hope you’ll still consider a visit to Rhinebeck, New York.